When government departments are beating a path to your door as a digital intelligence agency, it’s clear that your product or service is really hitting the mark.

Trufflenet is doing just that, carving out a niche as a global player in sophisticated research and analytics, helping major brands and public sector organisations to understand how their products or campaigns are being echoed online.

Executive chairman Nigel Clarke unveiled Trufflenet in 2009 after a year had been devoted to writing software to incorporate the key features, specifically 100,000 concept libraries in nine different languages.

These concept libraries – the result of 30 years’ academic study into how words and phrases are used in conversation – guide continual online scans of search terms and social media, adding value by providing clients only with material that is relevant.

“Growth, at the moment, is huge,” says Nigel, who has teams in London and Hanoi. “What we do is to provide an analysis of what is being said in the media about a brand or a product, campaign issues, or a subject to be commented on.

“We don’t just search on key words. We produce a much deeper set of data, far less irrelevant. The human element of the business deals with sentiment, which computers don’t do that well.”

He adds: “Market research people, especially, have realised that there a major benefits to working online as well as in traditional media. The first step was online focus groups, then online surveys, but this is different – passive listening in to conversations online is a totally new concept that is being increasingly embraced by major blue chip businesses to provide insight to support decision making.”

In recent weeks Trufflenet have advised the likes of Colgate Palmolive on a competitive launch, an English Premier League football club on reputational issues, had a report published on the UK Government Home Office website on how police officers use social media, and delivered its first work in Mandarin and Arabic for a global pharmaceutical company.

Trufflenet is backed by Westleigh Investments. Roxburgh Milkins has helped Westleigh over a number of years as it has purchased and invested in a diverse range of businesses.