Vision Critical

Vision Critical

October 14, 2009 13:17 ET

Vision Critical: NASCAR Awarded Online Panel of the Year

NASCAR uses fan input to make improvements to the sport by tripling amount of consumer research and minimizing research costs by 80%

NEW YORK, NEW YORK--(Marketwire - Oct. 14, 2009) - NASCAR's ability to listen to and connect with its fans earned it top honors at last week's Vision Critical Client Panel Summits in Toronto and New York. The "Panel of the Year Award" is nominated from a selection of Vision Critical's 300 global online panels and recognizes the client who does the best job of engaging consumers and generating business results from that interaction, using their online panel community. NASCAR, America's #1 motorsport, engaged with its most avid fans and solicited their feedback on a variety of topics. This fan engagement resulted in important changes to the sport while helping the company save costs.

In 2009, regular consultations with the "NASCAR Fan Council" - a private online community of 12,000 avid fans - played a role in NASCAR making two major changes to its on-track competition.

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 the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2010.

"The Fan Council has created a shift in company culture as it relates to consumer research," says Brian Moyer, NASCAR's Managing Director of Market and Media Research. "Nearly all departments have embraced the Fan Council for a variety of topics related to the sport. The council members, representative of our avid fan base, do an excellent job engaging us."

The changes NASCAR has made after consulting its most avid fans demonstrate how their voice is being heard in major business decisions. It's no wonder NASCAR has a waiting list of passionate fans ready to join the Fan Council. In addition to those successes, the panel saved NASCAR an estimated 80 per cent in consumer research costs while enabling the company to conduct more than three times the amount of consumer research with avid fans - an incredible value during today's economic climate.

Jennifer Reid, Vision Critical's Senior Vice President of Strategy and a judge for the Panel of the Year Award, says online panels like NASCAR's Fan Council are the future of market research. "The internet has already caused the entire field of research to undergo a shift," says Reid. "Online panels add social media and community engagement to research in a way that really provides a channel for consumers to voice their ideas and opinions. NASCAR's Fan Council empowers consumers in a way they now expect from their brand."

In addition to NASCAR, finalists for the Panel of the Year Award included Taco Bell, Allure magazine and Aeroplan.

About Vision Critical

Vision Critical is a global research and technology company specializing in custom online panels, private communities, and innovative online methods. Vision Critical delivers both the technology and full service research to help clients build stronger connections with their customers using interactive surveys, discussion forums and 3D environments.

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