“The combination of advanced tools and expert analysis is essential for any business serious about harnessing communications to support its commercial objectives.” – Andy Lane, Instinctif Partners 

Headquartered in the UK and operating across EMEA, Instinctif Partners is an insight-led strategic reputation consultancy partnering with clients to navigate change, mitigate risk, and build value through communications that shift perceptions across the corporate, financial, consumer, and political landscape. 

Andy Lane, Deputy Managing Director for the UK & Ireland, leads a high-profile client portfolio spanning financial services, the built environment, and tech, and collaborates across the group – which includes strategic innovation and brand consultancy, Truth Consulting – to integrate platforms, including Signal AI’s advanced analytics into client service and business development.

As in most industries, AI is changing the game for brand and reputation specialists like Instinctif. AI-powered search vs. Boolean queries means even non-technical teams can provide custom reporting for clients and be less reliant on data teams for meaningful insights. Whereas traditional media monitoring technology requires advanced Boolean logic to create precise queries — so specific that relevant coverage is overlooked or so broad you need hours to sift through results — Signal AI delivers AI-powered search.

Any client team at Instinctif can easily research a company, industry, or topic in depth without relying on internal Boolean experts to craft their queries and clean results. Consultants can now focus on advanced analysis and strategic work at a faster pace and in greater depth than would ever have been possible before. In this case study, Andy shares three practical examples of how Instinctif deploys advanced analytics across the client journey.

Key Results

Powerful Insights at a Glance

Consultants can access instant insights to deliver to stakeholders, clients, or internal teams — their achievements, challenges, and untapped opportunities — without relying on complex and restrictive Boolean logic.

More Meaningful Analysis

Instinctif specialists go beyond basic data analysis to tap into hidden trends and nuances, leading to quicker identification of opportunities and threats. They help clients anticipate emerging narratives to ensure communication strategies are ahead of the pack.

Democratization of Data

By using Signal AI’s proprietary Association Score instead of Share of Voice, the team can better understand the industry landscape and campaign impact across brands, from mid-tier to multinational. 

Saving Valuable Time

Signal’s tools help shift the focus of consultancy time from data collation and foundational analysis to focus on strategic thinking and creative problem-solving. The breadth and depth of analyses, which might have been prepared once a quarter, are now available daily to make better decisions faster to build and protect reputations.

Early Adopters, Now Established Partners

Since 2017, Instinctif has harnessed Signal AI’s AI-powered analytics tools and increasingly applied them across the whole breadth of its proposition. Tools and techniques that were the preserve of media monitoring conversations only are routinely part of the development, execution, and evaluation of strategic reputation management, brand-building campaigns, integrated press office, capital markets communications, public policy, and stakeholder engagement. 

As an early adopter of Signal AI in an emerging space, Andy recalls: “When I think back to my first in-house comms role, we received coverage in the post and via PDFs if we were lucky, so it’s mind-blowing to think what Signal AI was capable of doing when we began working together, let alone today.”

Drawing on expertise in strategic insights and reputation, Instinctif drills down into what matters for their client’s critical stakeholders. They use Signal AI insights from the first exploratory conversations with potential clients to day-to-day advice and strategic reviews. Instinctif’s Signal users have fully immersed themselves in the platform and operate as a hybrid team servicing clients and sharing learnings across the group. Andy shares, “We have experts working across multiple comms disciplines who find Signal’s capabilities are transformational when providing high-quality and timely insights and advice to our clients. The ability to interrogate millions of data points and blend multiple metrics helps to overcome many of the practical and conceptual limitations of traditional media measurement and evaluation.”

3 Ways Instinctif Leverages Signal AI’s AI-Powered Tools

More recently, Andy has been working closely with the Signal AI team to shape development plans and test new features and facilities coming into the market, including our latest suite of features for advanced analysis.

“We’ve relished the chance to work with Signal AI to help test its new features and functionality before they come to market. It’s great to let our imaginations run free on the potential for data-informed insights to shape communications strategy while ensuring the end products are finely tuned to provide clarity, confidence, and certainty.

In our latest webinar, ‘Transforming Strategic Communications: AI-Driven Insights with Instinctif Partners,’ Andy shared three practical applications for the advanced analysis capabilities within Signal AI’s platform. “We use Signal’s tools to help clients understand brand reputation as a living, breathing entity which is constantly evolving under the influence of competitive markets and always-on media.”

1. Understanding Brand Reputation as a Living Entity: Blending Science with Simplicity to Assess Competitive Context and Media Narratives

Context:

Instinctif Partners advises some of the largest organizations in the world—including brands such as Barclays, Amazon, Nestle, and Google—some of whom can generate tens of thousands of media mentions a month. Equally, it works with high-growth start-ups and scale-ups seeking to disrupt their markets and carve out a position in an established sector narrative. 

Challenge:

Without AI, sifting through this volume coverage to understand which underlying stories are moving the needle and impacting brands’ reputations positively or negatively is an uphill battle. With this much coverage, seeing the forest through the trees takes a lot of work. It can also lead to misleading conclusions about the relative impact of businesses of different sizes or standing in the media.

Solution:

With Signal AI’s Topic Analysis feature, Instinctif’s client teams can instantly synthesize massive volumes of media mentions into individual highlights and priority themes for further interrogation. The combination of the raw data and clear visualizations provide a fast track to access key insights quickly and ensures consultancy time can be prioritized towards critical thinking tasks. 

“Rather than present something surface-level that looks good in isolation but falls apart under scrutiny, Signal’s approach brings the necessary depth and rigour to inform decisions that can materially impact reputations.

In this example, the contrasts in media profile between Brand A and Brand B – two direct competitors – are quickly apparent, enabling a strategy to be shaped for Brand A to shore up its weaknesses and capitalise on areas of strength to establish a more positive and differentiated profile. The data was a critical input into conversations about evolving Brand A’s narrative, what USPs it needed to reflect, and how it would differentiate itself from Brand B and its wider competitor set.

Brand A Most Impactful Topics Visual, Reputation Insights using Signal AI Web App
Brand B Most Impactful Topics Visual, Reputation Insights using Signal AI Web App

2. Identifying Key Reputational Drivers and Detractors: Interrogating The Positive and Negative Forces Shaping the Profiles of Brands and Business Leaders

Context:

No brand is fully the master of its reputation, with every communications function needing to balance proactive plans against the ever-present risk of external and internal events. In the highly regulated world of financial services, where Instinctif is immersed daily, corporate engagements and creative campaigns must constantly vie, not just with competitors but with market movements, investor actions, and regulatory and political initiatives, to positively impact a brand.

Challenge:

For growth businesses or those undertaking a repositioning or restructuring, it is vital to be able to step back from external relationship building and individual milestones to understand the aggregate effect of communications on a brand’s profile and reputation. For example, how can a business managing a steady M&A pipeline ensure it doesn’t lose sight of wider opportunities to reinforce its reputation and guard against emerging risks?

Solution:

Delving deeper into the functionality behind the Topic Analysis feature allows Instinctif to understand the overall impact of proactive and reactive storylines on its clients’ brand reputations in the media. With this data, it’s possible to pinpoint narrative gaps, identify potential weak spots, and address imbalances between a brand’s desired focus and values and how its communications are landing with the outside world via print, online, broadcast, blogs, and social channels. 

In this example, Brand C has built a positive media profile following a sustained period of growth and expansion. In doing so, its communications became increasingly self-referential, with a greater focus and emphasis on the business itself at the expense of its wider sector and the issues of importance to its clients. While building from a position of strength, the analysis highlighted a need to scale up proactive thought leadership and campaigns to establish a stronger profile as a ‘voice of authority’ in its markets.

Brand C Key Topics Visual using Proximity, Sentiment, and Volume, Reputation Insights using Signal AI Web App

3. Evaluating Performance and Driving Continuous Improvement: The Democratization of Data

“The capabilities here apply to businesses of all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be a global multinational, generating hundreds or thousands of media appearances daily, to benefit from this depth of insight.”

Context:

Ever since the dreaded days of reporting ‘advertising value equivalents,’ demonstrating impact has remained a perennial challenge for corporate communications functions, particularly where budgets for proprietary research are tight. While metrics such as share of voice and key message penetration take core reporting beyond the simplistic start-points of coverage volumes and brand mentions, these indicators can run into difficulty when assessing businesses of contrasting sizes, with diverse competitor sets, or when impacted by issues or crises.

Challenge:

Businesses seeking to share a certain narrative with the outside world or seize a share of an existing conversation need more sophisticated means of measuring their success and fine-tuning their communications approach. This is particularly relevant for businesses seeking to ensure their public messaging is aligned with the narrative they share behind closed doors with sensitive audiences such as potential investors or regulators.

Solution:

Signal AI’s suite of tools, particularly the Association Score, allow Instinctif to assess the extent to which any client’s priority topics are aligned with how the media write about them. It also allows client teams to identify where a brand is gaining traction on a specific topic or theme relative to competitors, even in industries where securing a dominant share of voice is unrealistic and a potential distraction from achieving the business’ commercial and communications objectives.

In these examples, Brand D was successful over a 12-18 month period of profile- and potential fundraising to develop a brand presence in its core target media that was closely attuned to the priority areas of growth and opportunity that would attract potential investors. The analytics showed that, while behind on coverage volumes, its media profile was clearly and positively differentiated, providing strong material to promote via paid, owned and social channels to maximise visibility among its target audience. 

Brand D Example Customer Experience Landscape Visual, Reputation Insights using Signal AI Web App
Brand D Example Customer Centricity Topic Association Landscape Visual, Reputation Insights using Signal AI Web App
Brand D Example Contested Topics by Association Visual, Reputation Insights using Signal AI Web App

Save Time, Dig Deeper, and Easily Share Insights with Signal AI

In today’s dynamic communications landscape, staying ahead of the curve requires more than just time, resources, and attention to detail. It demands innovative tools.

AI paved the way for Instinctif Partner’s data analysis and campaign measurement approach. Since implementing Signal AI into its workflow, Instinctif has significantly improved its ability to uncover more robust strategic insights faster and provide stronger evaluations of the communications strategies it leads. Through AIQ-powered data-driven insights, you can confidently measure your campaigns’ true impact.

Interested in learning more? Book a demo here.

About Instinctif Partners

Instinctif Partners is an EMEA communications consultancy of strategic reputation advisors, who partner with clients to navigate change, mitigate risk and build value through communications that influence and engage the right audiences in the right way. Its multi-disciplinary team works across audience, sector and geographic boundaries, with deep expertise in energy, financial services, technology, retail, food, healthcare and the built environment. Clients benefit from close integration with sister agency, Truth Consulting, a global strategic insights consultancy specialising in business strategy, brand development, innovation and communications. Truth brings together an eclectic mix of expertise in strategy, qualitative and quantitative research, semiotics, behavioural science, foresight, unstructured data, analytics, comms and content.

About Signal AI

Signal AI is a reputation and risk intelligence company helping business leaders make sense of the world by uncovering trends, risks, and opportunities to support critical decision-making. Signal AI analyzes external data across 226 markets and 75 languages, providing actionable insights to navigate industry trends, manage reputational shifts, and mitigate risks.