Intelligence Insiders: ES Michelson of CVS Health

Intelligence Insiders profiles in-house social intelligence experts working at the world’s leading brands. This week, we speak to Eric S. Michelson of CVS Health

  • When did you first become involved in the ‘social intelligence’ sector?  

  • In 2008 I was asked to manage an early stage social listening program. I had no prior experience in social intelligence or marketing at all. Few did, at least on the intelligence side. It was my customer service management background that attracted attention for the position.


  • What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Anything and everything that was involved in discerning “truth”. From physicist to psychic.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the skills for either.


What, in your opinion, are the key benefits of social data analysis for your organisation?

They find themselves surprised at the recommendations that can generated from people talking to each other, or announcing to the world, can be garnered. Apparently, this doesn’t arrive through other research methodologies. Which, actually, surprises me.


Which department owns social intelligence in your organisation?

A team in marketing called Enterprise Insights.


Is the value ‘social intelligence’ recognised across your organisation?  

I’m swamped with research requests.


Is social data used in combination with other data sources in your organisation?

That’s an interesting question. The short answer is yes. For one thing, social insights help to inform further research and spend on research in the sense that insights generated by social research can focus other qualitative and quantitative studies. What makes the question interesting, as other corporate researchers know, is that we often don’t really know where, when, and how our research is being used.


Are you worried about regulatory restrictions impacting on your work in the future?

I will presume this question is about privacy. I work in a highly regulated business with respect to individual privacy so I actually welcome regulations that protect privacy and provide the guardrails that protects everyone. I can easily work with the publicly available discussion to generate the business insights needed and preserve the privacy of individuals.


Which social data analysis tools do you use? Do you have a favorite?

No favorites. Most of the time I’m using Sprinklr. I work with Brandwatch sometimes and have worked with several others over the past 12 years or so.


Do you think the ‘social intelligence’ community needs its own professional body?

Yes, primarily for ongoing opportunities to learn from each other and from others outside of the field who we can engage to improve our perspective and skills.


Name a book you would recommend to others.

The Three Body Problem and the follow up two books in the trilogy. It’s a fascinating story than unfolds over many lifetimes as Earth prepares for an invasion. The book explores what a globalized society ultimately values, an important exploration of privacy and surveillance, game theory, how emotions influence decision making and much more. Plus, it’s a great read. Bonus – written by a citizen of the People’s Republic of China. The man knows of what he writes.


Name a social account that everyone should follow.



Which person, living or dead, would you most like to follow you on social?

Who would I like to read my social posts? When I was more active on Instagram, poets and artists.

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Michael Feeley
Michael Feeley
Michael Feeley is Editor of The Social Intelligence Lab. More content by

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