NEW YORK, April 29—Burson-Marsteller has formed a strategic alliance with PlanetFeedback, an online service that gathers feedback on corporations from consumers, employees and other stakeholders. The alliance will “help companies identify and leverage their most vocal and passionate customers using real-time Internet technology and interactive marketing techniques,” according to a statement from the PR firm.
The alliance will combine Burson-Marsteller’s research into e-fluentials—its term for online opinion leaders—with PlanetFeedback’s online applications, which are designed to collect, analyze and manage influential customers’ opinions of brands, products and services.
“PlanetFeedback’s products will let us put our research to work for our clients,” says Chet Burchett, president and chief executive of Burson-Marsteller U.S. “Our partnership with PlanetFeedback will enable clients to build customer loyalty and manage relationship-marketing campaigns. Likewise, it helps clients identify issues and take action proactively.”
According to Pete Blackshaw, PlanetFeedback’s founder and chief marketing officer, “Burson-Marsteller has been at the foreground of identifying influential stakeholders both online and offline. Their research on e-fluentials, combined with our experience in managing consumers who give feedback to companies online, brings about a powerful suite of offerings to clients who want to control the buzz on their brands, products and services.”
Under the terms of the alliance, BM will offer offer PlanetFeedback’s branded products, ExpressFeedback and BrandPulse, to clients seeking to manage their relations with online customers. ExpressFeedback collects information from consumers, analyzes the feedback in real time and pushes relevant content to visiting customers, providing them with immediate guidance. BrandPulse, an online buzz measurement tool, scours Usenet groups, discussion forums and other online sources for consumer-to-consumer communications about companies, products, competitors and relevant issues.
“The PlanetFeedback tools provide us the flexibility to target individuals among our clients’ viral stakeholders across the web as well as to identify and recruit campaign participants on an ongoing basis,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, Burson-Marsteller’s chief knowledge and research officer. “Joining the forces of PlanetFeedback and e-fluentials, we have acquired a large base of viral individuals who have already opted-in to take surveys and write letters or e- mails to companies.”
Last year, PlanetFeedback entered into a strategic alliance with Ketchum, creating a product called Influencer E-Pulse, enabling the agency’s clients to gauge consumer reaction to new products and marketing initiatives.