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New AI vision: creating a semantic map to adjust a communication strategy

This is the story of a company using big data analysis to adjust its communication strategy when changing the business model to transform from an internet store into a marketplace.



In 2019, OZON, Russia’s leading e-commerce company, came to PR News for media coverage analysis. Earlier it had transformed its business into a marketplace covering virtually all product categories and, as part of that transformation, changed its branding, communications and positioning. The company wanted to see how the audience was responding to the new image and whether its communications needed adjustment.



We suggested trying automated semantic analysis. To do it, we identified over 4,000 mentions of OZON in the media over a period of 12 months – we selected original articles in the most quoted traditional media outlets and posts on the social media with the highest engagement rates. We then fed those texts to specialty software for a deep analysis.

The whole process was broken down into five stages:

  1. Highlight key passages in the texts containing descriptions of and opinions about the company;
  2. Sort the resulting excerpts into categories based on content, sentiment/emotion and connotation;
  3. Measure the level of emotion for each piece of text on a scale of 1 to 5;
  4. Feed the texts to specialty data analysis software to get a matrix of words and phrases used based on frequency;
  5. Analyze the matrix to identify key characteristics of the company and its brand as seen by the audience.


What the analysis revealed?

We found that three characteristics – dynamic, bold and strong – formed the core of the company’s image in traditional media. Each was conveyed through a number of words and phrases, the most popular in the case of the “dynamic” characteristic being “transformation”, “advancement”, “change” and “growth” (“The company isn’t resting on its laurels, constantly initiating something” would be a typical sentence).

The key characteristics on social media were convenience, loyalty, usefulness, trustworthiness and respect, each communicated through both positively and negatively-charged words and phrases.


The outcome

We arrived at the following verdict based on the analysis: the company’s efforts to change its image have been effective; the audience hears, understands and is receptive to the company’s messages, resulting in a generally attractive image of OZON. However, there are some potential risks. For example, the message of a bold company has potential for mixed interpretation and therefore carries certain risks.

This thorough and nuanced analysis offered OZON an insight into how the audience actually views and responds to the change in its branding. As far as we know, the company used our research to make adjustments to its communication strategy in order to improve its image with consumers.