Orenda is the public relations brain that never sleeps


By: Tanya Seajay | Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Orenda Software Solutions

When there are millions of people with interest in and influence over your brand on social media, how do you measure changing perceptions?

That is exactly the question we’ve answered with Orenda Software Solutions.

We’ve created a different way of looking at social media and giving corporations timely insight in an automated way.

“Orenda” literally means the power within all of us to have the ability to overcome. Applying this in context, Orenda gives corporations not only the power to manage their reputations but also the ability to sort through or “overcome” 100,000 Twitter mentions in one day.

But does it have legs?

I spent more than a decade of my career as a journalist before I moved to public relations (PR). My primary focus as a PR professional is brand and reputation management. Everyone wants to know, “Does this story have legs?” In other words, will people be interested in it? Legs can be a good or bad thing, depending on whether it’s news and you want people to know and talk about it, or if it’s a scandal, in which case you want it to die a quick and painless death.

It’s one thing to track legs in a newspaper environment (remember collecting press clippings?) but another altogether with the proliferation of social media. Thus I became increasingly interested in social media. I was on it and watching it, and I thought to myself: how do you keep track of the millions of people who are talking about a corporation and how that affects perception, brand and reputation? And that was when we began developing the Orenda solution employing cloud and cognitive technologies.

My goal was to break down what people say on social media — give the words positive and negative values — and apply social science principles so that I can dissect the conversation in an instant to determine whether trust and satisfaction were eroding or increasing based on the conversations.

Dashboards give a snapshot of public sentiment

Today, the Orenda solution goes beyond social listening. The software quantifies social data by measuring, categorizing and interpreting it according to established methodologies used in the PR discipline.

By presenting the user with refined comprehensive data that focuses on insight rather than information, Orenda overcomes the problems that excessive amounts of data pose. Our goal is to make decision making as quick and easy as possible.

For example, the Overall Corporate Standing live dashboard shows fundamental factors of a healthy relationship, such as trust, influence, satisfaction, commitment and so on.

Are you having a bad day or a bad run?

Real time with social media is important because there are corporations whose reputation has been destroyed overnight. At the same time, there are companies that are unaware of the constant erosion of their brand because it was happening so slowly.

Orenda looks at both cases. We can also take tiny nuances and see, show and demonstrate where the brand is and what the brand momentum is — either it is going up or down. You can look at it over 30, 60 or 90 days and get a clear picture of whether you are having a bad day or a bad run.

Orenda runs on the IBM Cloud

Orenda runs on the IBM Cloud platform. We were with another cloud provider but moved to IBM Bluemix to be able to scale up to any degree. We feel extremely confident that a company’s data set is secure, because IBM takes good care of the precautions and the restrictions that allow people to feel confident that their information is going to be safe.

Orenda is constantly running, so we need a reliable method of collecting data when the workday ends. Since the switch to IBM, we haven’t encountered any problems with data storage or access.

Defeating trolls and cracking the code on sarcasm

We integrated IBM Watson Personality Insights into our dashboard via the IBM Bluemix development platform. Orenda’s core analysis centers on what people are saying online. With the Watson solution, we can evaluate who is talking about a brand or product. This makes reviewing data more accurate and efficient.

Additionally, trolling — using inflammatory statements to start a reaction — can be difficult for a human to detect, so we’ve been using Personality Insights to indicate whether the sentiment is accurately judged depending on the commenter’s personality traits. We can then determine whether the message is ironic, sarcastic or deceptive.

Orenda dissipates the pressure for PR professionals

How could you possibly sort through 100,000 Twitter mentions a day; how many people would you have to devote to them? You no longer need a dedicated team if you have Orenda monitor Twitter and then simply have a PR professional review the key findings using human intuition to draw conclusions. Orenda removes the pressure of going through things manually to try to figure out what’s going on. It also eliminates the need to organize and report the findings, because all the information is available for any team member to see on the dashboard.

What’s next for Orenda

We are looking into integrating additional Watson application programming interfaces (APIs), including Tone Analyzer, Natural Language Classifier and Language Translator into the Orenda software. Each of these APIs is almost like a Lego: you can take a Lego and plug it into the Orenda software system. If it works, it works well. We’re able to gain a customer. If it doesn’t and nobody needs it, we just take it out and put in another Lego block. IBM offers that flexibility, and we can grow where the market wants us to grow without a huge amount of time and investment trying to figure out whether it’s going to fit the marketplace.

Orenda is like the focus group that never ends. We believe that if you know better, you do better.