Gatorade’s Social Media Command Center
Can the company's approach to monitoring brand health, perceptions and conversations provide an alternative to traditional consumer research?
We were impressed by a recent look at Gatorade‘s social media command center – referred to as Gatorade Mission Control Center – at company headquarters in Chicago. The center resides in a room in the middle of the marketing department, and acts as a war room for monitoring the brand in real-time across social media.
Six large monitors run a number of data visualizations and dashboards – which are also available at employee desktops. The brand’s tools track data including the number of tweets that are relevant to Gatorade, terms relating to the brand, its competitors, athletes and sports nutrition-related topics, and hot blog conversations across the blogosphere. The brand also runs detailed sentiment analysis around key topics and product and campaign launches. The video at the bottom of this post demonstrates the different metrics tracked by the brand.
The goal of the project, according to Gatorade’s Sr. Marketing Director, Consumer & Shopper Engagement Carla Hassan, is to “take the largest sports brand in the world and turn it into largest participatory brand in the world.” To that end, the brand not only takes information by monitoring its presence across social media, but also uses social media to give its fans increased access to its athletes and scientists. Sounds like a truly mutually beneficial relationship.
Gatorade’s Social Media Command Center also got us thinking about this approach as an alternative to more traditional consumer research. Specifically, monitoring real-time, natural conversations that pertain to your brand, product and customer base to understand your consumers’ needs, mindframe and respective opportunities. A better, more natural alternative to the test tube, almost clinical approach represented by focus groups and many ethnographies, perhaps?