Sprinklr today announced that it has acquired brand/influencer company Branderati. Sprinklr is a social media management platform aimed at the enterprise and Branderati is a platform that allows brands to recruit new and connect with existing advocates and influencers. The acquisition seems to complement what Sprinklr can offer so I decided to talk to Branderati’s Ekaterina Walter (who will transition to become the Global Evangelism Lead at Sprinklr), and Sprinklr’s VP of Marketing Jeremy Epstein about what this move means for Sprinklr and how companies will connect with and engage its advocates in the future:
Mack: Why did Sprinklr want to acquire Branderati? What does Branderati’s platform allow Sprinklr to do that it couldn’t without it?
Ekaterina: Sprinklr bought us because Ragy (Sprinklr CEO and Founder Ragy Thomas) understood that advocacy has moved from hype to real business driver. Sprinklr’s charter is to provide end-to-end social media infrastructure. To fulfill this mission the company needed to add advocacy marketing as a core, integrated module that acts as a seamless extension of the social stack.
Branderati technology and expertise brings several things to the equation.
First, our screening technology captures API and self-reported data to align potential advocates with predefined profiles of ideal ambassadors. This technology is critical for any brand looking to create highly vetted advocacy networks at scale. By combining this screening process with the ability to identify candidates across moderation, social listening and CRM, we will deliver the most complete advocacy recruitment solution in the marketplace.
Second, from an engagement standpoint we bring the ability to create entire members-only programs that are highly targeted and personalized to each ambassador. By combing this engagement platform with the larger campaign management and scheduling functions in Sprinklr, the platform becomes a unified command center for activation of both advocates and the broader community.
Third, from a measurement standpoint there are very specific types of tracking data we provide in order to track ambassadors’ true impact. By bringing deep views of this insight into the main reporting suite of Sprinklr we provide a single source for nearly your entire paid owned and earned social impact.
Lastly, Sprinklr acquired focused expertise. We have been managing sustained advocacy programs since 2010. The experience and best practices will be a huge benefit to future Sprinklr product development and to their clients.
Jeremy: Think of it in terms that are near and dear to our heart.
Yesterday: we could find passionate advocates (listening), we could nurture them (engagement), and we could reach them en masse (owned and paid).
Today: we can do all of them, but we give brands the ability to say to these people “hey, you’re a fan, can we work with you in a special capacity and notify you of offers/campaigns/etc. in a permission-based way” and then do ALL of that from within the same platform AND measure the impact of owned, paid, and earned media on a given campaign across all channels.
Your community becomes a balance sheet asset.
No one else in the world offers this.
Mack: Does this acquisition signal a growing desire by brands to connect with and manage advocates at scale?
Ekaterina: No doubt. Now that companies have built enormous communities, the question becomes “How do we focus on those members of our communities that are crazy about our brand and will help us ignite brand love and passionate conversations around our brand?” It isn’t about vanity numbers any more, it is about the influence that drives action (conversion, purchase, etc.). And sheer fan numbers on social networks can’t do that. Yes, they can help drive awareness. But only advocacy and word-of-mouth will drive current and future customers to buy.
Brands have been struggling with this for a while now while trying to recruit and engage advocates both internally (employee advocacy) and externally (customer advocacy). Branderati platform at a minimum eliminates the headache of manual management and reporting, as well as sustainable creative engagement.
Mack: Along with the previous question, over the next 6-12 months do you feel there should be more interest from brands in ‘activating’ fans, or in simply collecting better feedback from them to apply to existing marketing and business processes? A sort of ‘feedback loop’ if you will?
Ekaterina: It’s a must. If you look at how Ragy built Sprinklr and evolved his roadmap, for example, you will see that it was primarily done through customer feedback. The customer needed something, Ragy listened. He consistently asked: “What can I do to help? Or perfect the product?” He brought clean “feedback loop” into Sprinklr’s product development and that was one of the key reasons why he continues to succeed.
You see, in the social economy it is all about relationship capital. That should be the true beacon of any business. And bringing customer into this process is essential for company’s success. Especially if your customer is already an advocate of your brand. These relationships impact your bottom line the most. Hence, we will continue to see more and more brands shift there mentality from “views and fan numbers” to “influence through advocacy.”
I appreciated Ekaterina’s last answer as I think this is the missing ingredient in the quest to ‘activate’ fans. I think it’s a great fit for a social media management platform like Sprinklr to acquire a company like Branderati. The rise of social media has made it much easier for companies to directly connect with its customers via these tools, and its fans as well. I just hope that companies don’t focus on trying to ‘activate’ fans because they want new salespeople, but instead focus on the enormous value that could be created by leveraging fans as a feedback channel to improve all businesses processes. The opportunity to ‘activate’ fans and increase sales generated from these fans is very real, but brands shouldn’t overlook the incredible amount of insights that fans possess into who their customers are and how to reach them effectively.
Very exciting times and I am thrilled to see the added focus that many brands are placing on connecting with their fans and it sounds like the Sprinklr acquisition of Branderati will make that process a lot easier.
UPDATE: Here’s the press release on the acquisition.