The Digital/Social War Room Gains Steam

Who can forget the photo of President Obama and prominent members of his administration anxiously watching monitors while the assault on Osama Bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan went on in real-time.

Now it seems that brands are having their own “Zero Dark Thirty” moments, in terms of monitoring digital and social campaigns. Okay, maybe the Bin Laden reference is pushing it, but we’re definitely noticing more media “war rooms” being set up that monitor all types of outreach.

Case in point: Yesterday HP and NASCAR announced the creation a NASCAR Fan and Media Engagement Center (FMEC), which will be based at NASCAR’s headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. The center will have all the latest tech bells and whistles, courtesy of HP, including state-of-the-art servers and digital displays.

According to a news release, the Media Engagement Center will “help NASCAR analyze fan sentiment, identify emerging issues and discover topic trends for instantly actionable insights.” Media analysis plays heavily into this: HP’s Autonomy software applications will analyze all forms of media, and give NASCAR the ability to combine those metrics for a full media relations/fan engagement picture.

The FMEC reminds me of PepsiCo’s “Mission Control” war room that was set up in 2011 to track social media for its Gatorade brand, which at the time was introducing a new line of sports drink products.

There’s another angle to the HP/NASCAR announcement that’s worth noting. Both organizations are struggling to get back to prior greatness. HP recently made a list it doesn’t want to be on—the 10 Most Hated Companies in America, with blatant mismanagement cited as its downfall, while NASCAR has struggled to fill up the grandstands at its racing venues in recent years, thanks mostly to the bad economy.

This collaboration will give NASCAR a much-needed deep dive into its customer base and HP a platform for proving that it hasn’t lost a step in terms of technology.

Definitely a win-win.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

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