Initiative Looks Ahead With Prophesee

Interpublic Group’s Initiative has created a social-media solutions division called Prophesee and hired Raquel Krouse as svp to run it, the agency has confirmed.
In effect, the shop has taken a four-year old research tool of the same name, used initially for post-analysis of campaigns, and expanded it into a full-time practice offering analysis, insights and activation advice for clients in the social-media space.
Krouse, a social-media veteran, joins Initiative from a sibling Mediabrands operation, the Emerging Media Lab, where she advised IPG clients on a variety of social-media issues. She will report to Bant Breen, president, worldwide digital communications at Initiative.
“In the early days Prophesee was used a lot for one-off research projects for clients, usually tied to assessing campaign results,” said Breen. “Over time the value of that information has increased.” As social media has gained traction, he said, many clients increasingly are seeking full-time monitoring of online conversations about their brands, advice on how to interpret the chatter and the ability to incorporate knowledge gained into marketing techniques.
“So it’s been an evolution from a research tool to a real-time monitoring system that drives activation,” said Breen. “And it impacts very quickly on specific messages that should or shouldn’t be highlighted and on other elements like choice of celebrities for ads, appropriate channels and even how companies should handle certain customer services.”
Krouse will oversee a team of about 20 social-media analysts located at two primary hubs in New York and London. Sibling IPG shops will be able to tap into Prophesee’s expertise as well, said Breen. Additional hubs are also being planned.
Before joining the Emerging Media Lab three years ago, Krouse held senior roles at Omnicom’s LyonHeart and CDMiConnect.
In addition to proprietary research for clients, the unit will conduct industry-related research for public consumption, said Krouse. This week for example, Prophesee will issue a report on social-media activity for Super Bowl advertisers during the 18 hours surrounding the game. That will be followed by a more in-depth report on client activity for the two weeks
surrounding the game.
Clients are increasingly interested in developing “earned reach” social-media strategies tied to big events like the Super Bowl, she said.
And the role of social media as a marketing tactic will continue to grow with advancements in technology, she said, noting opportunities to tap into “conversations in the living room” with the expansion of interactive TV techniques.
A number of clients have agreed to use the expanded service, said Krouse, but she declined to identify them without prior clearance.