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Inside Gatorade's Social Media 'Mission Control'

Team Conducts Thousands of One-to-One Conversations Via Facebook and Twitter

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NEW YORK ( -- In a room crammed with flat-screen monitors, Gatorade monitors social media and deduces what its customers want and what's next -- or should be next -- for the multibillion-dollar beverage brand.

Launched in April, Gatorade Mission Control is credited with engaging consumers and informing the brand's strategy. The team has had more than 2,000 one-on-one conversations with consumers, while the brand's likes on Facebook have skyrocketed to 1.2 million, reaching the 1 million milestone a full five months ahead of schedule. Mission Control is credited with increasing mentions of G Series Pro, a subset of the G Series, by 9% on Facebook and Twitter.

Carla Hassan, senior director-consumer engagement, also said the brand has been able to reshape the conversation. Since the launch of G-Series and Mission Control, discussions about sports performance have jumped to nearly 60% from 35% in April. Gatorade is particularly proud of that stat, as it has been working to recast itself as a sports-performance innovator, rather than just a sports drink.

Four full-time staffers monitor the center, while executives, such as Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Robb O' Hagan and Ms. Hassan drop in frequently. Gatorade's agencies, including VML, Fleishman-Hillard and OMD, are also heavily involved in the effort. Mentions of the brand on Facebook and Twitter are monitored, as are online conversations surrounding Gatorade, its competitors and broader topics like sports or hydration.

Here, we talk to Ms. Hassan about Mission Control and get a brief tour of the space.

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