By Frances Cooperman, SVP, Marketing at Dataminr
We all remember Oreo’s perfectly timed “you can still dunk in the dark” tweet that kicked off a proverbial real-time marketing gold rush.
Then, just three years in, the concept of the command center died down with many communications professionals condemning the practice as a shortsighted gimmick that only generated temporary buzz.
However, as Bloomberg points out in a recent article titled, Trump Has Made the Social Media Manager Your Most Valuable Employee, the role of community management is being seen in a new light and brands are revisiting their own practices.
Without spoiling what is a very worthwhile read, the article points out that brands have a responsibility to be in the know. We live in a new paradigm where conversations around critical issues are happening on social media, even if they originally started verbally.
The twists and turns these conversations take cover a wide range of issues, which in turn impacts many companies. While the original intent of the war room was designed for opportunistic marketing, today it serves a greater purpose as a means to monitor and react to unexpected and unscripted conversations that could negatively impact the brand.
The 2016 election was a stark reminder that an unexpected name-drop can inadvertently drag a brand into an unwanted conversation and renewed the need for a social media war room.
Everyone remembers when Donald Trump Jr. unfavorably compared Skittles to Syrian refugees in a tweet last year, and, in a similar situation, when Donald Trump name-dropped Tic-Tac in the now infamous video where he spoke insensitively about women with Billy Bush. In both situations, these brands’ social media teams diffused the situation quickly, but it could have escalated further if the brands were unaware.
To ensure brands are not caught off guard, war rooms and social listening strategies need to be re-tooled and re-staffed so they’re always prepared to engage when they are mentioned in conversations, especially when those conversations are negative.
Look no further than Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Chevy and Toyota, which were the subject of some of Trump’s latest tweets. While social media war rooms may have been called shortsighted or too “in the moment” in the past, to not have a war room established and properly staffed is itself irresponsible, considering that opportunities and threats can come from anywhere at anytime.