Fueling real-time comms with real-time data: a conversation with VW’s Cameron Batten

November 22, 2022

Written by Kimberly Monitto

Managing a brand’s reputation has never been an easy task, and in this day and age, it has also never been more challenging. In an interview with PR Week, Cameron Batten, SVP and CCO for Volkswagen Group of America, and NewsWhip CEO Paul Quigley, talk about how using real-time data can protect your brand, help manage crises, and mobilize comms teams to act quickly and respond in real-time.

The Volkswagen Group is one of the largest automotive companies in the world. It owns some of the most prestigious and well-known brands globally, including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley and Ducati. Managing these names is not easy, and Batten has had to find ways to filter through the noise and focus on what’s important. 

The best way he’s found to do this? Using real-time data.

Batten and the VW team utilize real-time data tools like NewsWhip to understand where their brand stands in the public eye. “We use NewsWhip to understand who knows what,” he said. Batten explains that using real-time data helps his team look at how information about their brand is spreading across media outlets, allowing them to then see how it progresses on socials. This then helps them put their point of view into the world whenever they see any news that includes them spiking. 

Batten emphasized how helpful NewsWhip is when it comes to applying thresholds to filter data and receiving specific, real-time alerts. NewsWhip dashboards are a great, fluid way to stay up to date on specific happenings both in and out of a brand’s industry. As NewsWhip CEO Quigley said, “real-time data is unfiltered, drinking from the fire hose.” NewsWhip’s unique, customizable filtration system allows users to focus their dashboards on what they need in that moment, quieting the rest of the noise that is rapidly coming in– something that has been very helpful for Batten and VW in times of turmoil. 

But, as Batten says, the dashboards are more of the “backend” of the system. What sets NewsWhip apart for him are the clear-cut alerts he can get straight to his inbox. Data can be overwhelming, so an established alert system that keeps him, his team, and other channels updated (daily, in real-time, or periodically) helps make the noise less distracting. These updates can be real-time or predictive, instead letting users know when certain happenings are expected to get to predetermined levels of engagements. Because of this system, VW can prioritize what news they really need to stay on top of with these distinct pings. 

At the end of the day, Batten focuses on his big three — NewsWhip and its data allows Batten to make a point, set context, and manage relationships for his brand. “In the job of PR, we need to build strong relationships,” said Batten. “Sometimes that involves tough conversations… we use NewsWhip to educate and enlighten our team to engage in that meaningful dialogue [to set our brand apart].” 

Real-time data is only the beginning of setting a brand up for success. But, it’s clear that because of this technology, VW has a much easier time staying ahead of the curve and finding new opportunities. 

If you’d like to see how real-time data can help your company, check out our product suite here.

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