Building A Social Analytics Company: Q&A with Prerna Pant, Co-Founder and COO of Circus Social

Circus Social is a social and digital data analytics company, and has started building 20/Twenty to cater to the growing demand for better data analytics platform for marketers. 20/Twenty aims to be the ‘Bloomberg terminal’ for marketers. 

LadyBoss spoke to Prerna Pant to learn more about the inspiration behind Circus Social and her motivations as an entrepreneur.

Q: Tell us about Circus Social. How long you’ve been doing it, and who your users are? 

A: Circus Social is a social and digital data analytics company that focuses on helping our clients enhance & sharpen their digital footprint by uncovering valuable insights about their audiences. We currently work with brands and agencies including Coca-Cola, DBS, Nikon, Singapore Tourism Board, TBWA, Ogilvy, Publicis and many more in both the public sector and private sector.

20/Twenty, our next generation social & news monitoring platform also features a Command Center – as well as access to Premium & Print News with Dow Jones Factiva.

 

Circus Social (1)

 

Circus Social has been around for 4 and a half years. We started out as a tech solutions business that worked with agencies and brands to build custom technology for their needs ranging from dashboards to apps. While doing this – we found that there was a growing demand for better digital data analytics platforms – that were built with the end user in mind. That’s how we decided to start building 20/Twenty – and then completely pivoted once we had a few paying customers – and a product that we knew that marketers wanted.

I always say and believe that your experience does not need to define what you do – as long as you can evolve and continue learning!

Q: What were you doing before entrepreneurship? Tell us about your background and how it helps you with what you are doing now? 

A: Prior to this – I had worked in marketing and PR for several years. I also helped build the social media offering at Ogilvy & Mather Singapore. All of this experience greatly helped in setting the foundation for what we do today – and how the product evolves. All of the roles I had prior to this involved ‘building’ something from scratch – whether it was brand identity, an offering or a team. That’s probably why the entrepreneurship bug came so naturally to me.

That being said – I always say and believe that your experience does not need to define what you do – as long as you can evolve and continue learning!

Q: What’s the idea behind 20/Twenty as a platform after  Social Circus’ earlier iteration, Eureka? 

Circus Social (2)

A: Both Eureka and 20/Twenty came about initially as a means to serve our own client requests. When we were actively doing social media management for our clients, our community managers were struggling to come up with ideas and we wanted something better, that aggregated all content visually and which was built with the end-user in mind. Eureka was built for inspiration only – but when we tried to sell it and no one wanted to pay for it – we took their feedback instead and reworked it into a platform that was developed for marketers, by marketers : 20/Twenty, perfect vision for business success.

Q: What makes 20/Twenty different, from its social listening and monitoring rivals? 

A: We’ve cut data in the way that makes sense for brands and marketers (which surprisingly no one does as of now). You can easily find insights and conversations that are driving your share of voice, trends that you should be paying attention to and most importantly – find what’s going viral as it happens.

20/Twenty also uniquely brings together 3 very important channels together : Social, Online News, and Offline News (print) through our unique partnership with Dow Jones. As a plus – you can easily segment data from Earned Social, Earned News, and Owned Platforms – all on the same dashboard.

The main ideology was for 20/Twenty to serve as the perfect platform for marketers, by marketers – and for it to be a product that came to life from our own real-life experiences and pain points. This makes it super intuitive and  very easy for an end-user to use – even without having a deep understanding of data analytics and insights.

Our newest offering is the Circus Command Center – that is perfect for brands that need real-time insights, and the ability to find and capitalize on trends and viral content as it happens.

Circus Social (3)

20/Twenty also uniquely brings together 3 very important channels together : Social, Online News, and Offline News (print) through our unique partnership with Dow Jones. As a plus – you can easily segment data from Earned Social, Earned News, and Owned Platforms – all on the same dashboard.

Q: What are the features available on 20/Twenty? 

A: We’ve got all the bells & whistles you could ever want on a monitoring and intelligence platform – as well as a few bonuses like:

Unlimited keywords and topic tracking as well as unlimited users
Unlimited owned and competitor platform tracking,
A fully customizable interface – because we know very well that one size does NOT fit all
Social, Online & Offline News seamless integration
Real-time data with real-time engagement & traction updates
Trends and Global Trends
Themes Trackers for inspiration
And a very special Collaboration section so that you can truly work on as teams – and break down all analytics silos.
And of course, the very sexy Circus Command Centre

Q: In terms of sales & marketing, how do you reach your clients (mostly B2B), and what works? 

A: We host webinars, speak at several events & universities and send out regular updates to all of our potential customers and database.  I spoke at SMU on 15 February, for a Marketing Excellence session on Social & Digital Analytics Case Studies.

The future of data analytics lies in integrating new forms of data and identifying patterns.

Q: Where do you see the future of 20/Twenty?

A: The future of data analytics lies in integrating new forms of data and identifying patterns. This is the direction we are heading in and are very excited already about some of the new features we are launching very soon .

Q: Tell us about your Number 1 business challenge? 

A: It’s a challenge that I also consider an oppportunity – and that is to keep changing and adapting with what your customers are really looking for – and doing this faster, better and more effectively than my competitors can (And I think are). I take great pride in saying we have a product update at least once every 2 weeks – and release a new cutting edge feature once a month.

Q: As an entrepreneur, what motivates you personally? 

A: The need to feel proud of myself, and the drive to create something great. And to harness the great big ball of energy in my gut into something special and meaningful.

You really absolutely cannot do it without a team that believes in you, believes in the work and also believes in themselves.

Q: What would be your advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs keen in starting a business? 

A: I truly believe that no matter what happens – there will be times when you truly think that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. If you can make it through those times – everything else will be a little bit easier. Never be satisfied with the status quo and make sure you set the standard for that.

But also – and most importantly – surround yourself with fantastic people. You really absolutely cannot do it without a team that believes in you, believes in the work and also believes in themselves.

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