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Listen First!: Turning Social Media Conversations into Business Advantage by Stephen D. Rappaport

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Part I

Steps to Effective Listening

ARF's Definition of Listening

A conversation about listening takes place nearly every day at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), and like most new concepts, people talk about it differently depending on their perspective. As an industry organization, we aim to be rigorous and inclusive on matters that affect our advertiser, media, research, agency association, and academic members. Since good investigators begin by standardizing definitions, that's where we will start. The ARF defines listening as:

The study of naturally occurring conversations, behaviors, and signals that may or may not be guided, that brings the voice of people's lives into the brand.

Let's dissect this definition and explain our reasoning.

“The study of naturally occurring conversations, behavior, and signals…”

The study of: People's authentic, unfiltered thoughts, feelings, and emotions

naturally occurring conversations: Those that take place among people and through interactions with brands or companies in an open, noncoercive manner

behavior: Observing what people do, such as shopping or using brands

and signals: That people emit silently, such as through gesturing or biometric measures

“That may, or may not, be guided…”

That may/be guided: Directed by other people, brands, or organizations in ways that focus naturally occurring conversations on agreed-upon topics

Or may not/be guided: Conversations take their own direction

“To bring the voice of people's lives ...

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