Insightful Innovators

Alba Hermo

VP Data & Intelligence, Edelman Mexico & LATAM


Winner 2024

Alba Hermo

What is your job title? How do you use social listening in your work?

I´m Vicepresident of Data and Intelligence for Mexico and Latam in Edelman. 

We use social listening for everything as an always on and always ready to use tool. As an earned-centric communications firm focusing on promoting and evolving the reputation of our clients we need to follow closely what´s the public conversation about our clients. With this ultimate purpose, we use social listening for risk and opportunities detection, for media and influencers mapping and for campaign ideation gathering insights from consumers, brands and culture. Beyond these uses, we are constantly seeking for new applications and offerings using social listening as reputation diagnoses or risk assessment among others.

What’s your background? How did you get into social listening?

I started my career in academia as an intern applying qualitative and quantitative methodologies in projects to inform public policies around media consumption and content distribution. There I discovered my passion about research and how to make it actionable to solve problems in the real world. After I finished my degree, I was determined to follow that path in the corporate world so I started working on market research and digital marketing firms applying traditional methodologies to the new social media ecosystem. That's how I discovered social listening and how I learned to unlock its power to inform and optimize marketing and communication strategies.

What’s been the project you’ve been most proud to work on?

My favorite project, the one I feel more passionate about and the one that makes me feel proud every day is the project I started in Edelman almost 10 years ago building and evolving our data and research offering and the data-driven culture within the extended teams. Edelman culture encourages each collaborator to innovate and look for different solutions to end with different outcomes. That mindset definitely inspires us to do our best and to think out of the box, which is the perfect match for an always changing industry such as digital and social intelligence.

What’s the biggest misconception about your work?

That we are just social media monitors. Social listening is the how, a methodology, but it's not a product itself. With social listening you can design so many deliverables and so many actions can be taken from it in terms of creative concepts, stakeholder mapping, risk and reputation management, camping impact measurement among many others. I always push my team to look for the actionability, for the “so what” on the information we provide. That´s how we move from social media monitoring to social media intelligence.

Any nightmare clients? Why? (No names)

Actually, no. We have very challenging ones but definitely we take that energy to push us forward, to deliver the extra mile, to try different paths to deliver the expected outcome (with some tears in the process of course!). This healthy environment and relationships with clients is possible due to two aspects: first, the incredible client managers we have at Edelman that builds a relationship of trust, proximity and transparency and second (and again) Edelman DNA that always looks for clients that match their core values. 

Is there anything that you’re doing with social data that you don’t see others doing? Any missed opportunities?

Predictive intelligence. Most companies are still using data to understand the past and the present, but what about the future? With the historical and rich data that social media provides we are testing some models to predict KPIs for a campaign, the potential damage on an issue in a company reputation or the impact of a campaign.

Who has made a lasting impression on you? Any SI heroes?

My team impresses me everyday and they are definitely my SI heroes. The effort, the enthusiasm and the dedication they give everyday inspire me to keep going. And how they upskill their knowledge, how they innovate in the way they analyze social media data, how they bring actionable and valuable information on the table to make everyone's work easier and more effective. On the other side, I think that social media analysts have the funniest work in the marketing industry. Always in touch with trends, with social pulse, with pop culture, and of course with memes! I believe that the nature of our work makes it easier to feel motivated, to feel engaged. 

How do you think the social intelligence industry will evolve in the next few years? 

For sure Artificial Intelligence will bring (and it's already bringing) some innovations on the social intelligence field as well as to the whole marketing industry. The role of analysts will move from piloting to copiloting the analysis doing synergies between the machine and the human as never before. I expect and desire that this will bring the analyst more time to think, deepen, test hypotheses and activate rather than structuring and pulling data as today. 

In a longer term, social intelligence should adapt to the ever changing social media landscape, with the new platforms, formats and branded activations that the future will bring.

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