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We talk a lot about how narratives that emerge and spread online can pose real, tangible risks to businesses. Just look at how narratives insinuating a connection between COVID-19 and 5G cellular technology emerged in fringe corners of the internet in 2020, began to spread, and eventually culminated in arson attacks on dozens of cell towers in the United Kingdom. 

But what if a risk narrative were spreading not in far-away comment sections and social media threads, but right under your nose? 

Twilio provides powerful communications tools that businesses can use to engage with their customers. In a recent Zignal Labs Town Hall discussion, Mike Buckley, Vice President of Communications at Twilio, discussed how his team uses narrative intelligence to make sure they’re alerted any time their communications tools are used in ways that violate their company policies. 

For example, if a user were to misuse these tools to spread mis- or disinformation – a scenario that Twilio has, in fact, encountered in the past – Mike’s team would find out almost immediately, and be able to respond appropriately, thanks to a narrative intelligence protocol that includes the Zignal Narrative Intelligence Cloud.

Watch the video clip below to hear it in Mike’s own words, and access the full discussion for more insight from Mike and the other panelists on narratives, narrative intelligence, and what it takes to be successful at risk mitigation and communications today.

 

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Key Quote from the Clip

When you watch the clip, one key line to remember is this one:

“We have a bunch of early warning systems set up…that can make a big difference in terms of responding, in terms of talking to our customers, in terms of making sure that something that starts small doesn’t grow too large.”

We singled out this line because it gets at two key points: One on the methodology of narrative intelligence, and one on its overall importance:

1. Move away from ad-hoc processes.

Replicable systems built to trigger warnings when a narrative crosses a certain threshold, as Mike alludes to, are key to getting ahead of narrative-borne threats.

2. A small narrative today can be a big one tomorrow.

Don’t assume a narrative relevant to your business is negligible just because it hasn’t spread widely yet. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from recent events, it’s that a narrative that starts small can quickly grow and impact you in tangible ways. Err on the side of caution, and keep an eye on narratives even when they’re small.

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Town Hall Panelists

Here are the the experts that share their insights on communications and risk mitigation in the full Town Hall discussion:

  1. Mike Buckley, Vice President of Communications, Twilio
  2. Colleen McGroarty, Director of Communications Intelligence, Prudential
  3. Jennifer Granston (moderator), Head of Insights and Chief Customer Officer, Zignal Labs