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This AI-Boosted Survey Tool Helps You “Gauge” Your Brand’s Potential Fallout

Culture

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Cofounders Andrews and DuBois bring years of experience engaging underrepresented communities to the brands and marketers who most need to hear from them.

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The fallout of an ineffective or offensive ad campaign—think Pepsi, Dove, or H&M—can cost brands huge sums of money, as well as hard-earned customer trust. In the eyes of Gauge, a DC-based research startup, a key reason for these gaffes: “they’re talking with the wrong people.” Their app wants to change these conversations, centering the populations who often end up most affected.

Gauge’s cofounders Brandon Andrews and Joshua DuBois met at the firm Values Partnerships, which worked with nonprofit organizations, foundations, and religious leaders to “tackle the intersections of race, politics, media, and faith.” It is frequently at these intersections where brands and marketers are often at a loss- simply because their expertise lies elsewhere. Andrews and DuBois developed a deep understanding of how to listen to these populations and implement their wishes in a smart, sensitive, and effective way. Now they’re bringing this sensibility to the companies that need it most.

Afrotech lays out the approach of the app simply:

Gauge uses focus groups to help companies make decisions and gives surveys to tastemakers and industry experts. Surveyees can download the app and are compensated with gift cards and cash for every questionnaire they complete.

Artificial intelligence is then deployed to analyze the responses given, yielding detailed insight on the potential impact of a brand’s choices. With tastemakers that include Ferguson activist DeRay McKesson, #oscarssowhite founder April Reign, actress and LGBT activist Trace Lysette, YouTuber Brendan Jordan, and many others, the bench of individuals – and populations – consulted on a company’s potential moves is deeper than most tend to consider.

Gauge has already played a major role in Google’s Titan Generator Hackathon earlier this year, deployed to provide user feedback during the event that was supported by March for Our Lives, Color of Change, United We Dream, and the International Indigenous Youth Council.

The event and its resulting solutions “aim[ed] to be a catalyst for a broader coalition of support and action”; Gauge hopes to do the same in a larger marketplace, with the goal of catching potentially disastrous faux pas (often the result of too little diverse input) earlier. “With technology,” Andrews said, “we could create a better, cheaper, and faster way for brands to engage with diverse customers.”

Gauge is available now for desktop, iOs and Android.

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