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What is Universal Energy?

Splash of red and black to represent universal energy
January 29, 2019by Andy Dexter

We’ve been working on developing, testing and deploying some new metrics to help analyse your unstructured data. We call them Universal Energies.

These are the unchanging and deep-rooted concepts that resonate with us, expressed in different ways through communications and language generally. Concepts like harmony, nurture, protection, self-expression, mastery, indulgence, and many more.

They’re anchored in our research into the drivers of human happiness and cultural need-states. And they’re equally relevant to brands and people.

Here’s an example of a few of the Universals. There’s also another set of ‘shadows’ connoting oppositional concepts (conflict, anxiety, and so on).

In this example we’re comparing the signals sent out across all the marcomms material of two competing brands. You can see that Brand A (in red) has a distinct energy profile (based on the text and imagery it uses) around community, belonging, empathy, nurture, and so on. Brand B (in green) is more about creativity, aspiration, liberation, and joy.

As it happens, Brand A is a much loved and longstanding but relatively traditional retail brand; Brand B is a challenger in the same home furnishing category. Brand B is succeeding in differentiating itself with a sharp combination of messaging and imagery with a distinctly edgier tone. If you are the first to guess who they are, there is a prize… 😉

What can you use the Universal Energies for?

The thing about Universal Energies is that they really are universal. This means that that you can use them on almost anything…

  • Any and all unstructured text of any length, where the goal is to quickly extract measurable thematic sense before diving into the detail. It could be consumer narratives in research; could be social, or newsfeeds; in fact any paid, owned, or earned data up to a scale of hundreds of thousands of datapoints.
  • Any large scale (or small scale) deconstruction and testing of the core messages behind advertising or visual comms material. Category analysis, brand mapping and positioning diagnosis.
  • Creating new brand metrics: what the brand is saying, versus, for example, what people are saying.
  • Measuring customer experience. How do experiences make people feel?
  • Tracking the evolution of energies over time (example below), and using this for brand advantage and competitor intelligence.

We’ve used the Energies on a vast range of paid, owned, and earned data.

We’ve dissected existing and new research data – both qualitative and quantitative – allowing clients to extract better value and new insights, faster.

We’ve deployed them on customer reviews, employee feedback, social sources like Twitter, Instagram, discussion forums, and so on.  

And we’ve used them (as you can see in our example) to profile brand messaging in a way that allows you to directly compare across a category and beyond.

All this helps uncover natural structures and narratives within unstructured data, delivering:

  • Revelation rather than search.
  • Complex energy rather than base sentiment.
  • Meaning rather than simple coding.

If you’d like to know more about our Universal Energy framework and how it can help you measure meaning, please do get in touch.