FEATURE19 August 2015

Emotional intelligence

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Chris Johnston is no stranger to analytics. In his previous life in PR, he advised clients like Hewlett-Packard, Grant Thornton and Danske Bank on the protection and promotion of reputation.


In reviewing the many reports on large surveys from research agencies that fed into these companies’ strategies, he felt that the area was ripe for disruption.

“There are a number of challenges with surveys, ” Johnston says. “They’re retrospective, timely and costly to undertake – and sometimes they’re just giving you the answers you want to hear, to questions that aren’t always appropriate. Like a bank asking people to rate them on how innovative they are. Do people actually wake up in the morning and think about that? They’re more interested in: ‘how quickly can I get money from the ATM? Is my mobile banking performing well?’”

In 2011 Johnston — alongside the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast — launched Adoreboard, which measures online sentiment around brands, and which was named as Best Technology Start-up 2014 by the Silicon Valley Global Leadership Forum. The platform scours thousands of online news and blog sources, as well as social media, for information ...