Intelligence People: Simon Quinton of Edelman Intelligence

This week, The Social Intelligence Lab meets Simon Quinton, Account Director at Edelman Intelligence.

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

I’ve been working across social intelligence for over 12 years now, having started out as an ‘internet researcher’ back when social was still very much in its infancy (Twitter had only JUST been developed and MySpace was still big), so have seen it change an awful lot since!


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

I recall that for a long time I wanted to be an archaeologist, but then I’m not the most academic person in all honesty so that went by the wayside. After that I took more of an interest in marketing having started a business when doing my GCSE’s, so that kind of gave me a path forward.


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

Given the importance of social in our everyday lives now, it would be remiss of organisations not to tap into such a huge data pool of insight. For me the benefits are three-fold; firstly, that organisations can actively see what audiences are saying about a multitude of topics or trends, be it in relation to the organisation themselves, competitors or their industry, secondly, that social data can provide organisations with generally a more unbiased viewpoint (whilst also being able to see advocates/detractors) and then lastly that social data can be used to provide benchmarks and measurable outcomes from different activities.


What aspects of your work do you most enjoy?

I think that helping organisations and clients to have a better understanding of the impact of their online, and sometimes offline, activities is something that I like getting most involved with. As social intelligence experts, I feel that we now have the ability to shape strategic thinking and direction across an organisation so that the end results are better for both themselves, but also the end user/consumer.


What are the biggest challenges in your day-to-day work?

I feel there is still a challenge in educating people and organisations into seeing the full potential that social data and intelligence can produce, especially around its ability to provide actionable insight and often at a much lower cost than some traditional research methods. Of course, access to data is becoming complicated, but this I feel is also part of the education as often organisations have more data than they realise, so it’s just about unlocking the right doors to it!


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

To some extent yes, as I alluded too in the previous question, access to data will always change and go up and down, but I feel so long as we, as an industry, do not abuse this access then both organisations and consumers will be happy enough to share data, given we can also prove the value in why we need it. Ultimately, I believe in the internet being a free space, unrestricted (to a fair extent of course) by governments or regulators, but obviously the social platforms do need to do more to make people feel safe online and that they can freely share their views and opinions still.


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

I’m lucky to work in an agency that invests in multiple tools and analytics platforms, alongside working with clients who invest in others, so have plenty of experience in this area! Being slightly impartial here mind, I don’t have one favourite per say, but rather I use the tool that offers me the closest answer to the question/s I have which can vary a lot! Saying that though, I do love Tubular Labs for their amazing video analytics & creator insights, an area that I feel is often overlooked in terms of social analysis.


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

Yes, very much so. I’ve seen the industry grow from next to nothing to what it is today and along the way there have been plenty of times when having a professional body or someone overseeing accountability would have been useful. I appreciate that anyone can call themselves a social data/intelligence ‘expert’ these days but being part of a professional body would certainly help to add credibility to that claim in my opinion.


Name a book you would recommend to others.

Gonna hold my hands up here as I’m not much of a regular reader! However, I’m partial to a good autobiography or memoir, so with that I’d recommend ‘Coal Black Mornings’ by Brett Anderson, frontman for British band Suede (this is also a personal plug as I’m a huge Suede fan and help out on their social sometimes! 😉).


Name a social account that everyone should follow.

You probably all follow it already, but I’m always checking out / @ socialmedia2day, as they really keep on top of all the latest and greatest happenings in the industry and it’s a good one-stop shop for useful insight and stats too.


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

Tough one, but I’m going to go with @TheRock (aka Dwayne Johnson), just because A) I’m a huge wrestling nerd so it’d be REAL cool, and B) because imagine all the follower’s I’d get from him following me! Ha!

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

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