In today's evolving media industry, it's critical that agencies and brands stay ahead of the curve and look for innovative ways to stand out among the competition. Wasserman, an agency that focuses on sports and entertainment representation, recently launched a proprietary social audience platform to do just that.

The platform, called Unlock, utilizes real-time data to track over 200 variables across more than 330 million social profiles worldwide and provide actionable insights into today's consumer behavior. It intends to not only profile audiences, but to understand them on a deeper human level and then match those audiences with the best partnership opportunities for talent, brands and properties.

For instance, Unlock can analyze the social following and engagement for Olympic hockey player Hilary Knight after the women's hockey team took home the Gold and determine the best partnership opportunity for her going forward. Since winning Gold in women's ice hockey, Unlock was able to determine that Hilary Knight has increased the value of her social engagements by 119% and that the makeup of her social audience also shifted tremendously from being mostly die-hard hockey fans to being more mainstream sports fans, opening her up to partnerships with brands across different verticals that she might not have thought to partner with before.

I recently spoke with Wasserman SVP of Research & Insights Shelley Pisarra so she could further illustrate how the platform will help provide a deeper human understanding of consumers' behaviors and mindsets to deliver a competitive advantage for clients looking to reach and engage targeted audiences.

What makes Unlock unique?

Pisarra: Unlock is unique in two ways. Unlock analyzes real-time observed data from social media. Most current research tools provide information on claimed behavior from past reports. It is a difference between knowing who someone is opposed to who they said they were in the past. The platform also creates best-fit partnership opportunities for our clients. Essentially, we can take our client's audience or their target audience and overlap this audience across potential partners around the globe to find opportunities to grow or better engage their target audiences. This feature enables our clients to find the best, most efficient partnership match for their objectives.

What can you learn and understand from analyzing one's social audience?

Pisarra: We can learn a number of different variables including geographics, psychographics, brand affinities, and attitudinal and topical behaviors. These factors enable our clients to create more engaging content for their audiences, partner with the most effective influencers, and essentially help brands and other partners assess the right avenues to show up with their target consumer base in the most relevant way.

Why did you choose to create this platform instead of leveraging/licensing others already existing in the marketplace?

Pisarra: We saw an opportunity in the marketplace to enhance the understanding of audience passions and potential when making partnership, content, or engagement decisions across properties, brands, and talent. We partnered with our data provider, Zoomph, to develop a new proprietary solution which can drive tangible results for our clients.

Do you still see brands primarily focusing on just a person's followers for purposes of matching and, if so, how will you seek to change the discussion?

Pisarra: No, brands have definitely moved beyond just looking at one's followers for targeting and prioritizing partnerships. Engagement goes well beyond a follower-base. In addition, many brands are seeking to reach a target audience that they may not be necessarily engaging today. Unlock is able to profile that audience and help brands understand how to best connect to them, whether it be through a partnership, content, or other engagement tactic.