Crisis of the Week: DuPont’s Board Fight With Activist Investor | WSJ

The crisis this week involves DuPont Co. and its successful effort to defeat a slate of candidates to its board put up by activist investor Nelson Peltz and his Trian Fund Management L.P. DuPont was under pressure from Mr. Peltz to give him some board representation and to perhaps split the company to maximize shareholder value. In addition, the company and Chief Executive Ellen Kullman had to persuade shareholders to disregard recommendations from proxy advisors Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis & Co. to back Mr. Peltz.

Vincent Schiavone, executive chairman, ListenLogic: “I think Dupont/Trian is an important case study of how to handle the activist investor proxy fight crisis many chief executives and boards face today. Ellen Kullman and her team executed flawlessly from start to finish, as they needed to, to win against one of the best activists in the business, who had significant support from powerful allies.

“Kullman and her team were rigorous in their research and analysis of Trian and its allies’ positions and communications. They identified factual errors and debatable conclusions and very effectively used them to bolster their arguments. They communicated well against the activist positions while emphasizing their success, a clear strategy for the future and progress against that strategy.

Read the entire piece here.

Senior Moment: Social Media Shifts

One of the prevailing arguments largely used against social intelligence (the collection and distilling of ethnographic insights from discussions across the open social universe) has been that participation across social media is largely limited to younger demographics and not inclusionary of older segments. Although younger age segments have a dominant position across social media, older segments are well represented and actually represent the fastest growing element across most corners of the open social universe.

Getting Social

According to New Media Trend Watch 33 percent of the 80 million Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) use social media, which is over 26 million individuals across the United States.

Looking at massive mainstream social networks specifically, Fast Company reports the fastest growing demographic for Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket, a segment that has grown 79% since 2012.

For Facebook and Google+ the 45 to 54-age segment is the fastest growing demographic, seeing a 46 percent jump for Facebook and 56 percent leap for Google+.

Generation Growth

This growth has not been contained to the mainstream social networks however and has spanned online communities, blogs and open comment sites, aside from the massive networks.

Today, 67 percent of Internet users between the ages of 50 and 64 are using online social circles, according to Pew. Beyond this, the segment of Internet users 65 and older who engage social media has dramatically increased from 13 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2013.

With 60 percent of seniors online according to Forrester, representing over 21 million individuals, over eight million seniors are actively engaging across the open social universe. If this growth trend continues that segment will approach 12 million in two year’s time.

Senior Moment

Again, this is not to say that youth doesn’t have a dominant position across social media, however the claim that older population segments are not widely participating in social media is simply not the case and certainly not an adequate argument to ignore the vast discussions spanning the open social universe. Getting a deep understanding into each demographic segment with social intelligence is a powerful weapon for brands.

Gaining insight specific to the older populations is valuable in terms of the segment’s size (~21 million seniors in the US), income and brand attitudes, where 63 percent of seniors tend to be brand loyal compared to 53 percent of online adults in the US, according to Forrester.


Expert Insight: Social Insight’s Impact on Marketing

Mark Harrington
Chief Marketing Officer

Through engagement with many of the world’s leading brands across a myriad of industries from food to pharmaceuticals, we often get an array of insightful questions about social intelligence and the threats and insights that come from the open social universe. Given this, we’ve tapped some of our experts to periodically provide insight on questions surrounding social risk and social intelligence. Our Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Harrington, oversees ListenLogic’s marketing, content and communication initiatives and is a guest columnist for publications like Social Media Today, Direct Marketing News, Marketing Profs and Business2Community.

With the wide spectrum of insight social intelligence provides to brands here are some recent questions on impact to Marketing:

What’s the most valuable insight social data can provide to Marketers? -Ashley H.

The biggest overall value from social intelligence is probably the fact you can understand the behaviors and preferences of millions of shoppers and consumers without ever asking a question. The ethnographic approach in itself has value just in observing individual behaviors across such a massive population. But I think the question wants a bit more specific of an answer. I think it’s hard to boil it down to just one, but getting very deep into consumer personas and corresponding activity and behavior has incredible value for product positioning, messaging and campaign development. Here is a review of five innovative insights I think provide tremendous actionable value to Marketers.

What do you find is the biggest challenge for Marketers to embrace social insights? – Will K.

First, it’s a new realm, which tends to come with initial hesitation. Second, hearing “social media” and “big data,” which are both often nebulous terms, can be daunting. But once marketers see the tangible, actionable insight that can be extracted from billions of social conversations they get it pretty quickly. When you work with Insight and Research professionals who have been doing this for decades and or have PhDs in the realm and they see insight applied and react by saying, “I never knew this was possible,” it’s eye-opening. I know personally using surveys and focus groups for companies like eBay and Citi, I certainly wish I had access to this type of data for the speed and depth of the intelligence it provides. The impact is impressive, so much so that were even seeing traditional industries moving to adopt it because the insight is so actionable.

If you have a question related to social intelligence or social risk send it

ListenLogic’s CMO Discusses the Corporate Impact of Social Intelligence

Our CMO, Mark Harrington, recently wrote a feature piece in Social Media today called ‘Beyond “Buzz”: Five Key Social Business Intelligence Considerations.’ In the piece he reviews the major considerations leading companies are making when selecting their social business solution. We caught up with Mark to talk more in-depth on a variety of topics related to the feature.

Q: Of the five major considerations you lay out (quality, action, complexity, speed and expertise), which tends to be the most significant driver for businesses seeking advanced social intelligence?

A: Tough question since every business is different. It’s hard to diminish the importance of any of them, but I think we see speed and expertise and two significant drivers with most clients. In terms of speed, we often see a company come to us in need of an immediate social tracking solution. It ranges from an emerging industry issue or a product launch to a major action by a competitor or a social crisis. In most cases the company needs immediate, actionable intelligence to help guide their strategic plan and tactical actions. The other that tends to stand out is expertise. A lot of organizations head down the self-service tool route and realize that they end up getting meaningless noisy “buzz.” They also realize that they deep expertise to analyze and identify critical findings, else they simply get buried in irrelevant noise.

Q: When you look at the intelligence ListenLogic provides, where does the value for a company come from?

We talk to so many clients who review our findings on their markets, products, consumers, influencers and competitors and immediately say, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this.” The value of the insight is multidimensional. First, it’s deep and robust, providing understanding across millions of individuals a scale not widely accessible, even to the largest corporations. Second, it’s timely – back to the importance of speed. Yu need the answer now, not after the crisis or initiative is over. Finally, everything we provide is focused on the ability to take action. This is where “buzz” falls short, because you can’t act on it, or even trust it. We provide fast, detailed intelligence that corporations use to set strategy, drive innovation, make decisions and overall impact their business. That’s where the value really comes from.

Q: You mention a lot of teams that an benefit from social intelligence like “Risk, Legal, Corporate Communications, Marketing, Product, Brand, Insights and Innovation.” Do you see that expanding across the enterprise?

That largely depends on the culture and foresight of the company. Marketing, Brand and Product have been early adopters, primarily because of the nature of their responsibilities. They need to understand their markets, consumers, competitors and trends. Risk, Legal and Corporate Communications are emerging since these groups are starting to see significant threats that emerge via social media. We’re also seeing a lot growth with Insights and Innovation Teams. Beyond this, there is growing interest from groups like Human Resources and Investor Relations to get a better handle on the shifts and behaviors of their constituents, in this case employees and investors, respectively.


ListenLogic Co-Founder Presents Big Social Data’s Growing Impact on Health Industry

ListenLogic Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Mark Langsfeld recently presented ListenLogic’s advanced social business intelligence solutions at The Pharma Market Research Conference. During his marquee session to myriad of pharamaceutical market researchers and brand managers, he reviewed how big data processing solutions are facilitating deeper, strategic understanding of markets, products, patients, caregivers, health care professionals and competitors by major pharmaceutical and health care companies.

Today nearly 170 million US consumers research their prescriptions online and, according to PwC Health, 90% of 18 to 24 year olds trust medical information they receive on social networks and 80% of this segment share their own health experiences online. As an increasing number of individuals look online and rely on social media to be part of their health decision-making process, health care and pharmaceutical companies are realizing they need to strategically listen and understand the insight this social intelligence provides.

Big Data’s Impact

During his session, Mark provided attendees with a deeper understanding of how advanced streaming big data technology is now delivering enhanced big data management and structure of the social and online conversations being shared by millions and millions of patients, caregivers and health care professionals on a daily basis.

“Having the ability to ask complex questions of the hundreds of millions of daily comments is revolutionizing how health care and pharmaceutical companies understand deep topics like the unmet needs of patients, the decision-making process of caregivers and the overall journey a patient goes through,” he explained.

He also illustrated how ListenLogic Health is pioneering major advancements in this space by providing this sort of insight to 15 of the Top 20 pharmaceutical companies across a wide array of therapeutic areas like diabetes, HIV, oncology, endocrinology, cardiovascular, allergy and asthma, infectious diseases, cosmetics and medical devices. “Our technology and expertise is helping the pharmaceutical industry understand products, markets, patients and competitors like never before, which is driving their strategic decision-making,” he said.

Deeper Consumer Understanding

In the clip below he reviews the in-depth patient personas ListenLogic Health assembles with its advanced social intelligence technology. Pharamaceutical companies are using this sophisticated intelligence extracted from big social data to understand the patients and care-givers on a deeper level, identify unknown and emerging market segments, and guide the overall strategies for their brands. Beyond the pharmaceuticals, companies across a myriad of industries are using this type of deep consumer inspection to identify, understand and consumers more effectively.