Lean into LUCA – democratising access to digital insights


Access digital insights at scale with LUCA

Another string to our Human Understanding Lab’s bow, LUCA is an AI-powered service that supports fast decision-making and responsiveness to market opportunity. It collects insights quickly and efficiently so clients can boost campaigns, and it reduces the requirement for teams to research, gather, combine, and analyse digital data.

In the latest episode of Lab Leaders, Faye discusses LUCA with the brains of the operation, John Cunningham, Group Chief Technology Officer of UNLIMITED. John provides context on what LUCA is, how it works, and why you should be using it in the marketing mix.


What is the purpose of LUCA?

LUCA is all about:
• Freeing up human talents
• Helping with repetitive manual tasks
• Generating high-quality insights at pace for other teams to consume


How was the idea of LUCA borne?

Like lots of organisations during COVID, we were looking at how our team might work differently and how they could be better distributed. We also wanted to create a platform that allowed non-technical and technical users to kick off projects or insight capabilities quickly. The goal being to use these insights to carry out work as part of the team or individually.


How can LUCA help businesses gather and analyse human insights?

For our clients, LUCA provides a completeness of insights which we can capitalise upon with further work. It helps us:

• Be more specific with strategy planning to meet aggressive pitch or client work deadlines
• Use lots of small data as opposed to “big” data
• Analyse different media sources, including opinion and conversations
• Take a wider set of insights from the entire strategy planning process

From an operational perspective, LUCA also helps us:

• Scale our human talent
• Automate areas where people may find themselves waiting on behavioural or neuro scientists to complete tasks
• Improve speed and get to team handoff quicker


How does LUCA help us go beyond data and gather insight in an “off the shelf” way?

People often look at the funnel but lose the creation of insights, which is a problem because they drive the creative and strategic briefing processes that lead to content generated for social, web experiences, or CRM.

In terms of the completeness picture and insight process, LUCA allows us to observe behaviours and capitalise on them for our clients. We can take insight and rapidly convert it into something that consumers can experience or use, so we looked at some off the shelf solutions. These can be helpful when you have new services for monitoring or social listening platforms, however, a lot of the time, they’re very good at doing particular things, but aren’t very good at others.


How does LUCA go one further and why is that important?

Social platforms are great for showing conversations that happen on their platform, i.e. the external URLs that people share, but they don’t understand where these URLs then take individuals.

LUCA enables us to look at the context of both the conversation and the URL shared. We can follow URLs and analyse the content at the end of them to understand the conversations from a sentiment, theme, or topic perspective, all within the context of the social platform and the URL. This gives us complete context and crucial information which we can present from a data visualisation perspective.


Can you tell us more about how LUCA democratises data and makes it more accessible for everyone?

We split the platform into two sections:

• Content intelligence, i.e. the theme and topic analysis of the conversations, as well as the media shared
• Understanding the personalities of the end customers, either individually or as a group cohort

LUCA helps us look at the candidate and media placement piece and ask where people are really sharing content from. Here, we can draw hypotheses around who was influencing that target group.


Do you have any specific examples of this in action?

We did have a couple of examples where a client was fixating on getting their press releases, or specific content, out to a particular media owner.

By looking at the media analysis piece, we found that out of the 24,000 articles shared, only 17 were from their desired media location. We then discovered a number of much more useful, longer tail platforms for deploying content, which would hit the same target audience.

From a personality perspective, the data was presented as a radar chart. This helped the client understand the various personality profiles of those individuals, based on what they shared. Our data science teams were then able to apply a data science clustering approach using personality data points that data science experts aren’t necessarily used to working with. All of this allows us to tap into real conversations beyond the level we’ve been able to before.


Is it a case of being a little more holistic rather than starting with a hypothesis?

Yes, LUCA is an additive, something extra to garner insight, which can include:

• Demographic data on customers
• Customers’ location
• What’s important to them
• First party research on specific points

And we always make sure each part of the process is timely, efficient, and evidence based.
By gathering more points of view and applying more lenses to each topic, we can also disprove our own hypotheses. This helps us avoid routes we may have inadvertently and incorrectly gone down.


Would you say that we’re providing a new perspective for marketing or comms managers?

Yes, a lot of client conversations feel I’m being chased up a hill with burning pitchforks, because it’s a challenge to the way they work and always have worked. This makes sense because agency folk are guilty of getting fixated on how they think their brand is represented or understood by customers.

However, when people talk about a brand, brand experience, or brand personality, one of the often overlooked aspects is constructing this artificial brand persona and how it would be perceived as a human from a customer’s point of view, and how they’d react to them.

LUCA is fantastic because it allows us to analyse how people see us. It’s not just about how the brand projects itself, but how people actually perceive it.


What would you give clients as a takeaway in terms of giving LUCA a try, or approaching different ways of working with and looking at data?

Clients tend to engage the research community in looking for really big rocks, and they spend a lot of time finding them. Then, because they’ve invested all that time and energy in the big rocks, they want to focus on those and nothing else.

What I’d recommend is looking under lots of little rocks, which we can do efficiently with LUCA. You’re likely to find something interesting or something you didn’t expect, and you can explore it with a bigger lens or kick off larger research tasks or projects.

It’s also a way of testing the water across lots of different data points we have access to. One of the next iterations will be analysing SEO and performance data with regards to brand analysis, so you can see how people talk about brands in the news, on social channels, and how competitors rank in terms of SEO performance.


Lean into LUCA with UNLIMITED

If you’re in marketing, comms, or digital and you want to be audience-led, there’s every reason to turn over some small rocks with LUCA. It gives a unique opportunity to test your own thinking at scale, with new data and insights you potentially weren’t aware of.

You can check out our Lab leaders podcast through our website for more about human understanding, and for more information about LUCA, visit our website: https://www.unlimitedgroup.com/humanunderstandinglab/.

You can contact our Lab Leaders host via email at: Faye.Hawkins@unlimitedgroup.com.