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From Community Management to Command Centers

From Community Management to Command Centers

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Published by Brian Solis
In early 2007, Chris Heuer, Shel Israel, Deb Schultz, Giovanni Rodriguez, and I explored the evolution of social media within the enterprise at an intimate business event in Palo Alto. One of the more memorable discussions focused on the rise of an official role within business to listen to social discourse and channel inbound questions and comments as well as official responses. The question eventually arose, how do we classify this new role within the organization? The designation of “Community Manager” earned the greatest support that day, but it did so with a caveat, “communities, by organic design, could not be managed.”
In early 2007, Chris Heuer, Shel Israel, Deb Schultz, Giovanni Rodriguez, and I explored the evolution of social media within the enterprise at an intimate business event in Palo Alto. One of the more memorable discussions focused on the rise of an official role within business to listen to social discourse and channel inbound questions and comments as well as official responses. The question eventually arose, how do we classify this new role within the organization? The designation of “Community Manager” earned the greatest support that day, but it did so with a caveat, “communities, by organic design, could not be managed.”

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Published by: Brian Solis on Jan 10, 2011
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From Community Management to CommandCenters
By Brian Solis, blogger at  BrianSolis.comand principal of  FutureWorks, Author of the highly  acclaimed book on social business 
In early 2007, Chris Heuer, Shel Israel, Deb Schultz, Giovanni Rodriguez, and I explored theevolution of social media within the enterprise at an intimate business event in Palo Alto. One of the more memorable discussions focused on the rise of an official role within business to listen to socialdiscourse and channel inbound questions and comments as well as official responses. The questioneventually arose, how do we classify this new role within the organization? The designation of “Community Manager” earned the greatest support that day, but it did so with a caveat,“communities, by organic design, could not be managed.”Fast forward several years, the community manager has evolved into an industry standard positionwithin the social media value chain; it is also the beneficiary of its ownappreciation day.
If a conversation takes place online and we’re not there to hear it, did it really happen? 
Community management is indeed a critical role in any fledgling social or adaptive business.Monitoring keywords provides us with invaluable insights that reveal the sentiment, volume andreach of activity within our markets. Listening to conversations provides us with an opportunity to feelwhat people are saying and the experiences they’re sharing. If we pay attention, we can surface theideas and touchpoints that gives us purpose and provide us with opportunities to earn relevance.Over the years, the role of the community manager has evolved. What started as a gateway tosurfacing the conversations related to brands in the emerging conversational landscape, evolvedinto something far more sophisticated. And, we’re just getting started.
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis
 
Houston, We Have a Problem
When I think about those famous words, “Houston, we have a problem,” I immediately envisionscores of individuals seated in rows, each facing desktop terminals, while collectively positioned infront of a series of large screens. This was after all, mission control, and the fate of the astronauts inApollo 13 rested in the hands of the technicians and scientists overseeing the operation.In the realm of social media, community management usually entailed one person tracking keywordmentions as they appeared. As conversations amplified and social graphs propagated, brandsaffected the most by never-ending activity in social networks and blogs required a more advancedsolution for tracking, measuring, and potentially engaging stakeholders, influencers, and detractors.This new obligation only intensified as social media moved from digital outliers to the mainstream.Now, some of the socially vulnerable brands in the world require a mission control not unlike whatwe envision when we hear those two words, “mission control.” The difference is that this newinfrastructure is designed to ensure positive brand experiences as well as the impact of real-timebrand democracy.In some cases, brands receive thousands to tens of thousands of mentions per day. In reality, it wastoo much for any one person to command. And like that, the importance of listening and monitoringintensified and rapidly demanded a new support infrastructure. We are now moving from the era of community management to fully fledged command centers.
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis
 
Several months ago, Gatorade debuted its version of a social media command center. Spawnedwithin Gatorade’s marketing team, Mission Control allows employees to track and visualizeconversations, sentiment, and also the performance of existing campaigns.Mission Control is manned by as many as six individuals that track various activity and in somecases, feed insights back into the organization for response and also introduce shifts in currentstrategies. Additionally, the team is monitoringclickpathsand reactions to improve landing pages,content, and digital bridges to optimize efficacy and outcomes.Carla Hassan, Gatorade’s senior director of consumer and shopper engagement, is not content withsimply monitoring and adapting. In an interview with Mashable, Hassan intends to “take the largestsports brand in the world and turn it into the largest participatory brand in the world.”Gatorade’s move is bold and admirable. It sets the tone for brands around the world to listen,engage and also adapt. As a result, the company is already fostering increased interaction betweencustomers and athletes and scientists. The goal of any participatory brand is to introduce mutualbenefits at the point of engagement as well as throughout all possible touchpoints online and in thereal world. The reality is that in order for Gatorade’s mission control to prove its value beyond yetanother corporate cost center, it will have to yield revelations, barriers and opportunities to ultimately justify its existence across all of PepsiCo.
The Dellwether of Customer Sentiment 
In social media, Dell is one of the most oft cited best practices in the hallmarks of social media. TheDell Hell days were nothing short of historical for any business. Consider it a baptism by fire if youwill. Dell was forced to listen, engage, and adapt in order to weather the social storm. And, over theyears, Dell has perfected the art and science of linking listening to relevance. While you may growtired of hearing about Dell’s successes in Social Media, the truth is that their social endeavors haveaffected the entire organization, opening doors between departments and collaboration andultimately eliminating the walls that once siloed critical business functions. In many ways, Dell isyears into designing both a social and adaptive business. With the recent launch of its Social MediaListening Command Center, customers officially become part of Dell’s value proposition.
(cc) Brian Solis,www.briansolis.com- Twitter, @briansolis

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