Q&A with the CEO
By Anne-Mette Riisgaard
In March of 2022, I sat down with Hypefactors founder and CEO, Casper Janns, to gain a deeper understanding of the Hypefactors platform.
We discussed the importance of media intelligence- and monitoring, reputation management and trust, as well as to uncover some of the ways in which organizations can benefit from using the Hypefactors platform.
How did it all start? Why does Hypefactors exist?
“My personal background is in consulting within strategic marketing and advertising — an area in which a lot of attention and effort go into measuring and documenting the effect of implemented initiatives. I am a big fan of this business-driven approach. By way of digital solutions, marketing departments have managed to prove the link between strong marketing performance and strong business performance.
Before I started Hypefactors, I was CEO at an agency that originally only focused on marketing. But as time passed, we began to consult within the fields of communications and PR as well. Marketing teams are very brand-and-sales focused in nature as they are responsible for »paid media«, i.e. advertising, TV commercials, Google Adwords etc. Communications teams, on the other hand, are responsible for the reputation of the company and the so-called »earned media«, i.e. the editorial mentions that you cannot just pay to get across but have to earn from grabbing the attention of third-parties like, for example, journalists.
When looking into many large companies’ approaches to communications, two main points became clear to me:
- Trust and reputation are crucial concepts for any business’ success. Nevertheless, this is not managed as effectively as other important contributions to success. This is mainly due to the lack of ability to document and measure results to obtain reliable insights. Unfortunately, this can lead to situations in which the value of the work done by professional reputation/comms teams are underappreciated.
- Media complexity and workload are increasing dramatically. This is not fitting very well with a lot of manual processes such as old-school press clipping services, Powerpoint media reports, Excel and reactive phone calls with the international teams to find out what is going on. I was sure there was a better way.
What was the idea behind Hypefactors?
“My idea was simple. I wanted Hypefactors to be the »digital wingman« of reputation professionals by 1) having more crunched and ready-to-digest relevant facts on media reputation and media insights, and 2) making it all a lot easier. I believe that »earned media« should be treated as seriously as »paid media«. While simple media monitoring like finding relevant mentions for a client is, of course, important – it is far from sufficient enough. We need to use modern technology to deliver deeper insights into media reputation and media intelligence in general. And we need to automate more processes in order to support PR departments and comms teams a lot better. At the same time, professionals working with communications, corporate reputation and insights should be supported a lot better. We need to make their daily work life easier by automating processes and workflow.”
What is Hypefactors? What can it be used for?
“Hypefactors is enterprise software-as-a-service. It is a total media intelligence tech solution that can be utilized by companies and other organizations for better and easier media intelligence and reputation management. On a basic level, Hypefactors provides clients with near real-time information on any relevant media mention from across the globe and across media types. On a more sophisticated level, clients gain access to enriched and aggregated insights on the media performance. Additionally, the platform is equipped with tools like comprehensive analytics, KPI’s media reports done with one-click, news distribution and news/press rooms — all in the same platform! Last, but definitely not least, we also try our best to make the platform and mobile app very user-friendly and easy to work with – using it should be a pleasure to use, not a pain!
In these ways, we want to empower clients to make more informed decisions about media intelligence and media reputation.”
Just to be sure, what does »media monitoring« and »reputation management« actually mean and why is it so important?
“The term »media monitoring« refers to the act of looking for and collecting third-party created information presented in the media, whether online, print, broadcast, social media or from reviews, which has the potential to impact your company in some way or form.
The term “reputation management« refers to the act of managing the ways in which your company is perceived on a more general level. As our contemporary media landscape continues to grow and evolve, media monitoring and reputation management simultaneously become increasingly integral parts in the success of any business. For example, a company’s product might be absolutely brilliant — but if people do not have a general sense of trust in the company that sells said product, the quality of it really does not matter that much at all. We actually see a lot of painful examples of this right now at this fragile moment in history.”
Who uses the Hypefactors platform?
“Anyone working professionally with earned media, media- and market insights and reputation- and trust management. Most often, though, our clients are people within communications/PR, marketing and top management.”
How can AIs help solve challenges within the fields of communications and reputation management?
“Everyone talks about artificial intelligence or AI – but more often than not, it just sounds like a bunch of bullshit. And I, too, will admit that when we talk about our AIs, it might also sound like hot air. But diving a bit deeper into it makes a lot of sense — or that is at least what we think, haha!
In order to explain it, I usually like to say that all our AIs can be replaced by competent human behaviour. The problem is, however, to gain access to sufficient qualified human resources and to make them evaluate everything consistently. This is where AIs come in.
AIs are immensely helpful for PR and communications departments when it comes to dealing with the sheer magnitude of data processing required. Put simply, AIs are not limited by human capabilities. For example, while a very well-educated person might speak 4-5 languages proficiently, an AI can decipher 70+ languages. Moreover, unlike human beings, AIs perform systematically over time. Where a person’s judgment may vary due to internal or external influences, an AI will provide the same assessment of the same information every time.”
Tell me a little bit about the AIs that comprise the Hypefactors platform:
“The Hypefactors platform is powered by six AIs that work together. We refer to them as »Source-AI«, »Understand-AI«, »Perception-AI«, »Origin-AI«, »Context-AI« and »Character-AI«. Our »Source-AI« ensures that users get the best and most comprehensive external view of their media monitoring. Our »Understand-AI« transforms the raw unprocessed data from the »Source-AI« into a structured and machine-readable format.
Our »Perception-AI« utilizes deep-learning based natural language processing to identify prominence and reputation through the classification of user mentions in texts as displaying either negative, neutral or positive sentiments. Our »Origin-AI« provides the user with the ability to explore audience demographics, i.e. it determines the specific language in which the mention is written, where in the world the article in which the mention appears was published, as well as who read said article. This empowers users to determine how “strong” a particular mention is. Our »Context-AI« digests the data coming from »Understand-AI« by extracting main keywords and categorizing them into various predefined categories. Lastly, our »Character-AI« enriches the extracted data provided by our Understand-AI by identifying and characterizing each mention to a specific media type (i.e. the format in which the mention appears) and media category (i.e. “science and technology”, “art and culture” or “politics”).”
What differentiates Hypefactors from competitors?
“One of the things that differentiate Hypefactors from competitors is better insights for better decision-making combined with ease-of-use to support communications and reputation specialists. Our core technology, including our AIs, is Hypefactors property, which puts us in a strong position to add even more functionalities for the benefit of the users on top.”
Tell me a little bit about how major trends are affecting your work:
“One thing is for sure; it has never been more exciting to work with media reputation and it is not going to slow down! Let me point out three trends that are currently influencing our work:
- The problem of people’s distrust in the news. Right now, we are seeing a rise in real »fake news« and propaganda in which people attempt to affect the flow of information in their favor by blatantly ignoring or manipulating objective facts. Subsequently, becoming better at identifying and deciphering »fake news« and propaganda through a conceptual understanding of the inner workings of such texts. But, as I mentioned previously, the sheer amount of information available makes it impossible to cipher through it all without using AI technology.
- Breaking down cultural barriers between people. I firmly believe that awareness and understanding of different peoples and cultures will become even more significant in the future in terms of combating cultural differences that are bound to occur in a global world. As the world becomes more and more global, media intelligence needs to be global as well.
- Corporate trust and reputation are moving up on the top-management agenda. Subsequently, top management will demand deep insights and clear facts. This is serious business and should be treated accordingly.”