How Top Brands Like Gatorade And The Super Bowl Use Social-Media Command Centers

From Fast Company:

Some of America’s most compelling brands are harnessing the conversational aspect of social media by setting up “listening command centers” to capture, monitor, and utilize social media conversations. In doing so, they are monitoring online conversations about their brands, reacting instantly to viral buzz, and creating companies that consumers feel involved in–and in some cases, even bringing in bigger profits as a direct result.

One of the first to introduce this technology was Gatorade, which launched its mission control center in its Chicago offices in June 2010. The technology allows the company to monitor social media conversations about the company through a range of visualisations and data streams.

It also enables fans to participate in the company on a new level. During the Super Bowl, Gatorade enabled fans to interact with NFL starts through Ustream, and they’re now running regular live social media events, such as having sports stars answer questions using Twitter and Ustream.

And this command center technology isn’t just for big companies–it can benefit public services and charities as well. The American Red Cross believes social media will play an increasing role in disaster response, as it can provide real-time information and give relief workers a direct line to affected individuals. Its new digital command center launched in March, just in time to respond to the thousands affected by dozens of tornadoes that ripped through 10 states.

Dell played a major part in helping the Red Cross launch its command center, modelling it after its own social media listening center and providing equipment and funding. Dell’s center launched in 2010 and has since been at the forefront of its marketing and customer response strategies. Said Dell’s VP of social media and community, Manish Mehta, “Ground Control is about tracking the largest number of possible conversations across the web and making sure we ‘internalize’ that feedback, good or bad … It’s also about tracking what you might call the ‘long tail’–those smaller matters that might not bubble to the surface today, but are out there, and deserve to be heard.”

Dell’s ground control center tracks around 22,000 daily posts about the company across a wide range of social media, and enables Dell to participate in online dialogue about their brand and use social media insights to improve their products and marketing.

Continue reading the rest of the story on Fast Company