Brands, celebrities, companies and products have to deal with negative press every day. From mismanaged employees to mismanaged public personas, the media loves to pounce on the negative.
The old adage is any press is good press, but what if a brand knows better? What if the press they’re experiencing is demonstrably bad for their public perception? That’s where General Sentiment can step in.
Using General Sentiment’s Perception Media value calculation, we can adjust sentiment analysis and volume tracking to measure the “negative press” any one topic may be receiving.
When it comes to transportation news, often the press is on the negative side. Rarely do successes in local transit make national headlines. It’s the mistakes that catch the national attention.
Such is the case with Metro-North’s recent tragic derailment of a New York City-bound train that left four dead and dozen injured. Within hours of the Dec. 1 accident in the Bronx, not only was the National Transportation Safety Board on the case, but so too was the national media. As a responsible arm of the tri-state area’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro-North did all it could to address the tragedy with an eye toward corporate responsibility for the crash.
But even the most fervent of PR campaigns would not have been able to stop the negative sentiment from flowing around the tri-state area and even around the country.
In the days following the Dec. 1 crash, Metro-North’s brand image suffered greatly. Already reeling from a tough Thanksgiving weekend of delayed commuters, the transit brand saw the web dig their claws in. Using sentiment analysis, which measures the conversation tone surrounding a brand on a scale from -100 to +100, General Sentiment was able to determine that an overwhelming number of commenters viewed the brand negatively.
Metro-North’s sentiment score fell to -89 following the crash, very nearly exhausting the possible negative sentiment that could be levied against the brand. With thousands of commenters weighing in, and almost all negatively, the volume of articles mentioning Metro-North had not been higher all year, and the articles’ agendas were almost always that of negativity and disparagement.
But how can we better measure the impact of these remarks? Obviously Metro-North responded as best they could, but the press generated had a hugely negative impact on their brand. Using General Sentiment’s Crisis Media Value, a sub-calculation of Impact Media Value, which measures the influence of press in dollars and cents terms, we calculated that over the course of just four days Metro-North had experienced a negative media impact of $16,480,440.
Looking further back into Metro North’s own corporate history reveals that the company has rarely experienced sentiment that broke into positive territory for too long. In May of 2013, Metro-North had to weather a similar storm when a tragic accident sent two trains hit each other in Connecticut.
Just as in the tragic Bronx accident, this Fairfield, Conn. accident proved to be a bottoming out point for Metro-North’s sentiment score. Sentiment dropped to -91 the day following the Fairfield accident and did not return to the positive range until more than two months later. However, the pure volume of reactions to the Fairfield accident was much more localized, meaning volume was lower and Crisis Media Value did not approach the damage of more recent events.
Can Metro-North expect the same lasting negative sentiment? It’s not entirely clear, but using General Sentiment’s data, companies and brands can examine just what the web has to say, and what the web’s powerful voice is doing to their brand image.