Vision Critical

Vision Critical

October 27, 2009 19:49 ET

NASCAR and Vision Critical Win Award for Listening to Fans Using Online Panel

NASCAR's Online Consumer Panel, Powered by Vision Critical, Prompts Key Changes to Sport and Wins Competition for Prestigious Social Media Award.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--(Marketwire - Oct. 27, 2009) - Forrester Research has awarded the Forrester Groundswell Award in the Business-to-Consumer Listening category to NASCAR, a client of Vision Critical(R). NASCAR is recognized for its ability to engage and listen to consumers and generate business results from those interactions, using the sport's private online community known as the "NASCAR Fan Council." The third annual Forrester Groundswell Awards were announced this week at the Forrester Consumer Forum in Chicago.

NASCAR introduced the "NASCAR Fan Council" in 2008 - an online community of 12,000 avid NASCAR fans - to get a better understanding of its fan base. In 2009, regular consultations with the council resulted in two important changes to the sport while also helping the company to triple its research and reduce consumer research costs by 80%:

- Double File Restarts: When fan sentiment ran high for a new restart format - in which the leaders line up side-by-side following cautions to restart the race - NASCAR picked up the comments, validated, and initiated a new double-file restart rule, to overwhelmingly positive reviews.

- Earlier and consistent TV start times: When fans voiced their opinions about event start times, NASCAR listened and quantified sentiment resulting in earlier and more uniform start times for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2010.

"The Fan Council has created a shift in company culture as it relates to consumer research with nearly all departments embracing insights from our most avid fans," says Brian Moyer, NASCAR's Managing Director of Market and Media Research. "It's an honor to be considered among leading consumer brands such as Coca-Cola, Fox/American Idol, and Walmart when it comes to this award for listening."

The changes NASCAR has made after consulting its Fan Council demonstrate how important fans' voices are in major business decisions for America's number one motorsport.

"NASCAR's Fan Council really deserves this one," says Andrew Grenville, Vision Critical's Chief Research Officer. "NASCAR's use of the online community is completely consistent with the sport's core values and their approach to the Fan Council is genuine, passionate, respectful and engaging. It's a winning approach."

The Forrester Groundswell Awards recognize excellence in achieving business and organizational goals with social technology applications. The awards program was developed to support and recognize the principles outlined in the Forrester Research book Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies (Harvard Business Press, 2008).

"Every year the quality of business social applications goes up, and marketers become more sophisticated," said Josh Bernoff, Senior Vice President, Idea Development at Forrester and coauthor of Groundswell. "This year's winners stood out in a very competitive field; all of them demonstrate not just creative use of social technologies, but impressive, measurable results."

This year, there were more than 140 entries to the Forrester Groundswell Awards. Winners were chosen in Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) divisions across a number of categories - Listening, Talking, Energizing, Supporting, and Embracing - that represent the strategic goals that Forrester Research advises organizations to consider when using social technologies to interact with their customers. Additional winners were selected in a special Employee and Non-Profit division to recognize outstanding social applications in management and social impact.

About NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North America's premier sports. NASCAR is the No. 1 spectator sport - holding 17 of the top 20 highest attended sporting events in the U.S., and is the No. 2 rated regular-season sport on television. NASCAR races are broadcast in more than 150 countries and in 20 languages. NASCAR fans are the most brand loyal in all of sports, and as a result more Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport.

NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, and one local grassroots series, as well as two international series. Also part of NASCAR is Grand-Am Road Racing, known for its competition on road courses with multiple classes of cars. NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. Based in Daytona Beach (Fla.), NASCAR has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Charlotte (N.C.), Concord (N.C.), Conover (N.C.), Bentonville (Ark.), Mexico City, and Toronto.

About Vision Critical

Vision Critical is a strategic interactive research company combining interactive technology, strategic researchers and global panels. We help the world's largest brands reduce research costs while generating more engaging and insightful relationships with their consumers. Vision Critical provides a visual approach, panel technology and our own national panels to allow entire markets to be embraced with the click of a mouse. The company has offices across North America, Europe and Australia and a Global Partner Program that provides other market research companies and consultants with access to our technology.

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