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September 15, 2010 / The_Mike_Johnson

Inside Gatorade’s Social Media Monitoring Hub

This is not the real Gatorade Social Media Monitoring center, but if I was in charge this is how I  would create it.

Photo by cleanwalmart     Photo by StuSeeger   Photo by benwatts  Photo by molotalk    Photo by yezi9713

Almost three years after the debut of Twitter and four years after Facebook, growing user adoption of these two websites by consumers  can no longer be ignored by major brands. In the September 15 Wall Street Journal article, “Gatorade’s ‘Mission’: Sell More Drinks,” we get an inside view of  Gatorade’s Mission Control room in Chicago:

“Sitting in a glassed-in converted conference room at Gatorade headquarters Meg Poulelis tweets encouragement to high-school athletes before big games and taps out responses to Facebook queries such as when to use the new protein drink. Ms. Poulelis is one of a handful of employees who staff “Mission Control,” part of PepsiCo Inc.’s latest effort to kick-start sales of Gatorade, which had been on a three-year sales slide. Staffers sit in Gatorade’s “Mission Control” room in Chicago, used to monitor the Internet and social-media outlets. Gatorade has four full-time people on the Mission Control effort. Whenever someone uses Twitter to say they’re drinking a Gatorade or mentions the brand on Facebook or in other social media, it pops up on a screen in Mission Control. On Saturday, the staff jumped into a Facebook conversation to correct a poster who said Gatorade has high-fructose corn syrup.”

I understand monitoring your product/brand image, but at what point do those brand managers that are responsible for the monitoring of what is being said jump into the conversation? We find out here:

“Aware that consumers may be wary of intrusion, Ms. Poulelis and her colleagues have to figure out when to pipe up—and when to hang back—when someone online is talking about Gatorade. “If they’re directly asking where to buy products, we’re going to weigh in,” Ms. Poulelis said. Mission Control, launched in April, represents an unusually extensive effort by a company to track social media, according to experts. Most companies are in some stage of figuring out social-media tracking, from hiring advertising agencies to do it for them to using free or off-the-shelf software tools to do it themselves. But few have staff monitoring blog and other posts alongside those tracking online-ad traffic, producing a consolidated picture of the brand’s Internet image. Gatorade hopes such coordination will help head off potential crises like a brouhaha last year over PepsiCo’s slow response to consumer complaints that an Apple iPhone application for its Amp energy drink was sexist.”

So does all this 24/7 monitoring and keeping record of what exactly consumers are saying about your product do anything to help with sales?

“It’s unclear yet whether tracking social media sells more sports drinks. Gatorade sales rose 7% in the second quarter and 2.4% for the first half of the year, according to the trade publication Beverage Digest.Gatorade remains under pressure from Coca-Cola Co.’s Powerade, whose sales increased 16.8% in the first half of the year in spite of a minimal social-media presence. Powerade’s Facebook page has less than one-tenth the followers of Gatorade’s page.”

No matter what new technology exists, good old fashion street marketing still remains:

“Powerade plans to roll out a social-media strategy in the coming months, but has done well so far relying on so-called street teams who pass out Powerade samples at athletic events, said spokesman Scott Williamson. “It’s old-school social media,” he added.”

Read the full Wall Street Article

You may also be interested in these posts:

Johnson & Johnson’s Social Media Strategy

How Pfizer, Tiffany and American Express Engage Their Employees

JetBlue’s Social Media Strategy

The NBA’s Social Media Game

How to Make Effective Videos That Connect With Your Audience

Hashtag Killer Psych USA Network Social Media Strategy

How CNBC, Pepsi, and American Express Harness Mobile Marketing and Commerce

Gary Vaynerchuck Book Discussion Jab Jab Jab Right Hook

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