Like last time in the Philippines, this is a new presentation. I like the audience here, they help me reshape my thoughts with their feedback. I need to make some adjustments to its dynamic, but the core is there.
I took the audience for a tour at my experience in management issues that arise with the integration of social technologies into corporations.
Organizational Culture Shift
The new interaction between the brand, the employees -the internal assets-, the existing base of customers -the external assets- & the potential customers, seen a as rings in expansion -rings of trust expansion-, is shaking the organizational roots of companies.
I’ve seen it happening in front of my eyes: power struggles between departments, executives being wary of employees’ empowerment, absence of strategy -from target definition to clear objectives- in the hastiness to jump on the social bandwagon, lack of expertise leading to social fallouts.
Clear strategic objectives and being advocates of internal change to succeed are factors maximizing the opportunities -and monetization- of social media.
From Anarchy to Participative Democracy
Most of the organizations I’m consulting with are still at a pre-socialization stage, where testing out means authenticity flies high, but where the experience for the customer can suffer a lot, not mentioning the absence of readability for executives steering the company’s strategy. I called that -bluntly- Anarchy.
The Protectorate -a UN Mandate of sorts- solution, to keep my political system analogy, by outsourcing social media handling to agencies is worth a look but the disconnect between the reality of a company and the message of an external body is often clear and hard to consolidate.
The Central Planning route offers constitency but doesn’t really take the various needs of various departments, social technologies being very different if used for customer support, talent scout or direct sales for instance.
Democracy is a model that remains costly, but certainly the one that offers an excellent balance without the need of total overhaul of the organization. Participative democracy, like the one I enjoy as a Swiss citizen, requires such a DNA reprogramming that I don’t think it will be achieved by most. Only newly-created companies built on that baseline -think Zappos- or small enterprises organizations can currently hope to get to that stage.
You know, Switzerland is still the only country in the world with a wide direct voting system. Hard to replicate indeed.
Evolution of Trust and Control
I also propose that trust and control can be correlated in their evolution. The term ‘brand’ still evokes a culture of ownership, thus a trust more limited than if relayed by -less controllable- employees and customers, who might not be controllable but who can increase loyalty -trust equity- towards prospects.
From the inner circle to the outer ever-expanding ones. In fluid dynamics talk, a ripple.
A ripple towards a bigger customer base. More sales. More revenues.
Interactive is Not Social
The creed of all this? Use the fast feedback loop that social media brings into the equation. Monetization of the opportunities of social marketing comes at this realization.
And with people being the field of that expansion, C2C -even for B2B companies- is playing a key element of this foundation.
C2C. Consumer to consumer. People to people. Human to human. Interactive is not social, be warned.
Digital Brand Health
Before my talk, Dr. Donald Patrick Lim , ex-Yehey recently hired by MRM, shared a very interesting take on social capital. Using a financial output comparison, he proposed a new Digital Brand Health framework.
He assesses that by looking into components of online brand presence, one can derive the total health of the brand. This baseline become the pulse used for diagnostics and corrective measures.
Smart. I’ll comment the framework in another post. Hope Donald puts his presentation online for you to see, it’s worth it.
Jeremiah Owyang, whom I brought in my bags for his first visit here, ran his famous workshop of developing a social strategy. I’m sure he’s going to post this new presentation on his Slideshare soon, so let it just be said that he accompanied us on a fascinating journey from socialgraphics -the demographics and social technologies usage of your target- to ROI calculation case studies.
This presentation is the best I’ve heard from him yet. He’s stepping up his game every time. Impressive stuff. He has also mastered his on-stage persona. Call me lucky for having him as a friend.
Negativity is overblown
During the Q&A, Jack Madrid, GM Yahoo! Philippines whom I finally met in person after all this time conversing online, had a very sharp question on dealing with negativity.
I support the view that negative mentions are overblown in the eyes of many, meaning that they’re not as widespread as one would want to believe. They also allow for benchmarking. I will never believe that any product has no flaws. Negative reviews help me value the positive comments.
Now, product is the new marketing. Companies have thus to undertake self-inquisition journey to evaluates their offering -and themselves-, then only choose the right providers & consultants and train their staff appropriately.
By humanizing, brands also grab the added benefit of getting a more forgiving audience. Humans do forgive humans. Humans do mistakes. Brands are faceless.
In that regard, the Nestle debacle is proof, in my eyes, of poor foresight from the Swiss-based corporation. Crisis management know-how & processes are crucial on the real-time web.
Interestingly enough, I didn’t hear any of the attendees telling us how the loss of ownership bothered them during that Q&A. I usually get that a lot from executives. Didn’t they dare to?
The event, catered to C-level corporate people and marketing executives, was organized by IMMAP & Fiera de Manila at the exclusive Tower Club in Makati. Thanks to Leah, Nix, Norelyn and team for a fantastic event. I was honored to be sided with such great analysts like Jeremiah and Donald.
Note that Jeremiah will keynote tomorrow’s 4th IMMAP Summit (9.15am PHT), followed by the fascinating Maria Ressa, whom we had the chance to meet at ABS-CBN Studio 6 earlier this afternoon in Quezon City.
I’ll participate on a panel, ‘Going Social with your Brand’ moderated by Crisela Cervantes, head of ABS-CBN Interactive, at 4pm PHT. At 5.30pm, I will join Jeremiah on a live webcast hosted by the excellent TJ Manotoc.
My keynote on Social Listening & Earned Media is scheduled on Friday around 2pm.