Today, much of the focus on social business intelligence has revolved around marketing and product groups driving innovation and development, identifying opportunity and measuring efficacy. While the marketing application of this intelligence to drive revenue and innovation can deliver tremendous value to the enterprise, there is another side of advanced social intelligence that is delivering strategic, real-time detection of emerging threats and risks to help protect the corporation.

From boycotts, protests, lawsuits and occupations to extortion attempts, hacks, sabotage and misconduct, the volume, severity and complexity of risks and threats facing corporations has dramatically increased with the exponential growth of social networks and open-source channels.

Today, major corporations across a wide array of industries like food and beverage, media, consumer packaged goods and pharmaceuticals are using advanced social threat detection to identify a wide variety of daily threats to their operations and organizations in real-time.

Widespread Threats

Leading corporations are under fire on a variety of fronts, from isolated incidents to well-organized initiatives. Threats arise on a regular basis from consumers, prospects, influencers and even competitors on a myriad of levels. Some of the more common social threats facing businesses include:

Employee Misconduct (Human Resources / Corporate Communications / Consumer Relations / C-Suite): Whether illegal activities or violations of corporate policy, this is an area that many Human Resource Departments are tracking to mitigate liability and protect reputation.

Product Incidents (Corporate Communications / Risk / Legal / C-Suite): Factual or not, many companies face online posts from consumers claiming quality issues or defects with a product, often with significant damage claims. These can escalate to extortion attempts against the organization.

Reputational Risk (Corporate Communications / Risk/ Legal / C-Suite): This covers a massive area and with hundreds of millions of individuals broadcasting online, there are countless ways to impact the reputation of an organization, which many smart organizations are tracking on a daily basis.

Legal Threats (Legal / Risk / C-Suite): Whether civil or class action, smart Legal Departments are using social threat detection technology to identify potential legal threats against the organization whether from consumers or counselors.

Industry Issues (Corporate Communications / Investor Relations / Consumer Relations / C-Suite): Whether regulatory, investment or compliance in nature, many social crises can arise from employees, executives, analysts or journalists, some of which may be intentional while others inadvertent.

The multidimensional emerging threats facing an organization are not always isolated incidents. In fact, an increasing amount of serious corporate risk is being generated from activists, ax-grinders and even authorities that are targeting businesses and industries with organized campaigns across sophisticated, yet unapparent, social networks. These social networks provide a catalyst to expand the reach, enhance the efficacy and increase the influence of these campaigns, ultimately increasing pressure on the corporation.

Corporations are tracking a wide array of serious risks against their business. Among the organized social risks corporations are facing are:

Facility Security (Security / Human Resources): The Occupy Movement was a wake-up call to many corporations realizing they require intelligence to identify organized facility threats to protect their employees and property.

System Breaches (Technology / Security): Many organizations are targeted with various levels of hacking against their systems and platforms which can wreak havoc on their organization, employees and customers.

Executive Safety (Security): Varying types of threats against executives and board members are serious issue that Security Teams are increasingly tracking with advanced social intelligence.

Competitive Threats (Marketing / Product): Companies are also keeping close tabs on the real-time activities of their competitors to identify threats and opportunities for their brands within the market.

Immediate Threat Identification

To effectively identify and report real-time threats across social and open-source media, corporations need an advanced social detection solution that delivers:


Streaming Big Data Processing: With billions upon billions of daily social comments, small samples of posts are not adequate to monitor the entire open social universe to find relevant threats in seconds. Businesses are turning to powerful streaming big data processing at over one billion operations per second to collect, filter and classify relevant threats and keep pace with social’s exponential growth.

Complex Concept Models: Traditional Boolean keyword strings will find some examples if the company knows what they are looking for. However, with risks and threats coming from all directions in all shapes and sizes concept models are required to identify the thousands of ways risks present themselves.

Deep Intelligence Expertise: Many leading companies are now relying on dedicated Social Intelligence Centers from expert analysts who strategically serve as a ‘round-the-clock’ extension of the corporation’s internal team for extended threat detection and expert risk analysis.

Unveiling the Threats

Let’s look at an example, below is an influencer map of activists currently targeting the beverage industry with a variety of campaigns focusing on issues ranging from soda tax to decreased portion size to sweeteners.

Many in the beverage industry believe that these activists and influencers are independent and isolated in their initiatives, working on their own to promote their individual causes. However, with ‘big data’ advanced social intelligence these influencers can not only be identified but also connected, revealing a complex, veiled network of relationships between these influencers and activists displaying a sophisticated initiative strategically targeting the beverage industry.

In this example, the influencers span the media, government, entertainment, academic and industrial realms.

This type of insight, along with advanced social threat detection, empowers corporations to immediately understand both the established and emerging threats allowing the organization to strategically plan, coordinate and engage appropriately to mitigate risks across the enterprise. This approach not only empowers the corporation with clear visibility of the complex risks facing their business, but also enables it to protect and grow the business.

Never before have leading corporations faced the volume or complexity of the threats the open social media universe is facilitating against their businesses. Given this, gaining the insight and visibility into these risks on a complete and real-time basis is now critical to allow organizations to strategically respond like never before to mitigate risks, diffuse threats and overall protect the organization on an enterprise-wide basis.