Brian Solis - PR2.0
I received an email from my friend at CIO Journal just as I boarded a United flight from Mexico City to San Francisco. He was on deadline and the topic was too good to miss. I’ve spent more than a fair amount of time studying and reporting on the social landscape as it pertained to internal engagement, communication and collaboration.
I frantically typed on my iPhone with my thumbs before the door closed. Time was.running.out. With the hit of the send button, the door closed, and I was relieved to know that I made the deadline. Fast forward….the article recently ran in WSJ’s CIO Journal with a few of my thoughts. Since the topic is important to me and hopefully you as well, I wanted to share the response in its entirety. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the subject…
Here’s the setup (edited):
A company has rolled out a new social media platform to its employees in the hopes of improving its health and safety record by getting workers to talk about best practices and also to point out problems or things that need to be done differently.Question 1:
Is it unusual for companies to introduce a social media platform to fix this type of problem (versus trying to foster more collaboration for business processes)?Answer:
Research shows that when a majority of the employee workforce is “disengaged,” it’s due to the reality that a lack of leadership or belief in overall corporate purpose or direction is prevalent. Social + gamification without uncovering and fixing employee relationships is simply gaming the system. However, social + gamification combined with an overhaul in process, management, and communication is how to bring about true change. Without investing in the culture, most initiatives are short lived and often minimizing the problem.
As my good friend and digital sociologist Stowe Boyd would say, “The tangible result of culture change is behavioral change.” The opposite is also true. This is why management needs to explore its DNA to give employees something to align with.
Is adoption of enterprise social media a challenge. particularly when there is distrust of management?Answer:
A recent Altimeter Group study published by Charlene Li found that businesses that employ enterprise social networks without a true vision for collaboration or how to improve relationships often fail to meet expectations. Also, without leadership adoption, it’s impossible to lead by example.
Hope this helps.
Join me as the story continues…#WTF
Blame it on the youth they say. Indeed, there’s a great assumption that the future of technology falls in the hands of emergent generations. The youth of today will someday represent the majority of consumers, employees and citizens. That’s always the case, but what we don’t yet fully appreciate is just how different young adults think today. We don’t yet understand what it is they value and why. We’ve not yet assimilated how they make decisions and what factors influence their daily activities and journeys.
Generation Y, also referred to as Millennials, and Generation Z represent those individuals born in the late 1970s or the early 1980s to the early 2000s. They follow Generation X, my generation, and they are already a powerful force in the future of the global economy and politics.
70 million people in the U.S. belong to the Millennial Generation aka Millennials today. Millennials also represent 35 percent of the workforce today, and by 2014, they will comprise of almost half of all employed professionals. In a separate study conducted by Millennial Branding, it is expected that by 2025, Generation Y will represent 75 percent of the workforce.
Right behind them is Generation Z. And as they grow up, they too will have a profound impact on society. In fact, they already do. In the United States, Generation Z is said to already control up to $30 billion in spending.
What’s different about these generations than those before them? Gen Y and Z were born with digital in their DNA. While that may seem like a given, it is the very detail that separates them from their parents, teachers, businesses, governments, and any organization other than those already run by Gen Y and Z. As a result, our society splits into two camps, those who “get” these connected generations and those who do not or will not.Your Experience is Not Their Experience
I’ve studied connected behavior for many years now. And it never ceases to amaze me how older generations refuse to see the world any other way than through their perspective. It’s almost as if there’s a superior and inferior right to certain life experiences. Yes, to ignore our own experience and point of view is a personal strength. But when considering the vantage points of Generation Y and Z, it is also a potential weakness.
For each decision we make in life, we bring an abundance of life lessons that help us choose what we believe the right path at every personal and professional intersection we encounter. But we are not qualified or truly experienced for that matter to assume that how we make decisions and how younger generations make decisions are in parallel. And, we cannot assume however, that as we design products, services, or any agenda for that matter, that Gen Y and Z will appreciate those outcomes as we seem the. The reality is that they already see the world differently than you and me.
Perspective is a gift nowadays. It’s in how we see the world through their eyes that we can then invest in the future of their experiences.
They will not do the same for us…at least not yet.
Some of us can multitask, but we say our ability to do so diminishes each of the tasks we simultaneously perform. This is not true for younger generations as their brains are wired differently.
We complain about privacy in social networks. They’ve mastered it.
We don’t get why people share as much as they do online. They’ve created incredible filters to sort through the noise.
We use Google.com to find relevant information but younger Generations go to trusted networks or rely on YouTube videos to make decisions.
We watch TV on televisions. They watch TV on tablets and smartphones
We listen to radios on radios. They listen to music on Pandora, Spotify and the like.
We can eat dinner or sit in the same room with loved ones without looking at our phones and we get angry when others don’t return the favor.
We trust family and friends and younger generations trust people “like” them whether they know them or not.
This is just the beginning…Empathy is the Gift worth Getting: Seeing the World Differently
Look, getting older doesn’t mean we have to become irrelevant. Assuming that the way we live is the only way to live is incredibly presumptuous. Young adults started life differently than us. What they know is what they know. You and I had to learn how to evolve from analog to digital and we’re still learning. But the gap that separates us and them is bridged only by our ability to take the first step toward understanding their behavior, expectations, and preferences. Then and only then can we build a more connected world and chart a better course for the future of education, commerce, government, art, and everything that keeps society and humanity moving forward in positive and productive ways.
In a study of young adults in the US and UK conducted by JWT entitled “GEN Z: Digital in their DNA,” we learn just how connected they are and how different they are from us.
When some of us wonder whether or not Facebook will follow the way of MySpace and all the other social networks that succumbed to digital irrelevance, we can see that for those 13-17 and 8-12, Facebook is the online homebase for 84% and 46% of younger generations respectively.
For those who question whether or not kids who focus on their screens are having an affect on conversations in the real world, be warned. Times, they are a changin’. In the study, almost half of Generation Z expressed that they feel their real social life happens on social networks. And, 43% in aggregate feel more comfortable talking to people online than in real life.
Online relationships are also making the world a much smaller place. This is true for all those connected online however. But for 26% of such a young demographic to say that they would have to board a plane to visit their online friends is exceptional and practically unprecedented.
And when you ask Gen Z parents how they feel about their children’s online behavior, 68% wish they would log off and engage more with the real world. But that’s just a digital fantasy it seems as younger adults are already affecting how households make important purchases.
73% influence this week’s dinner menu.
69% influence entertainment.
60% influence TV.
The list goes on…
What’s clear is that Generation Y and Z are born digital and therefore engagement strategies, products, services, and employee relations need to also be born digital to meet expectations. If you think you’re placating or giving into this generation whines or unfounded demands, think again. This is just a way of life for them and any organization or decision maker that doesn’t understand them cannot with any meaningful effect engage them or earn relevance among them. But think for a moment what this means.
These younger generations aren’t the only one who are becoming incredibly connected. Anyone who throws themselves into the digital lifestyle start to exhibit different but eerily similar behavior to that of their more youthful counterparts. iPads or Droid tablets, smartphones, laptops, Nike Fuelbands, FitBits and other personal devices, social networks, connected devices, collectively contribute to an always-on society. The result, people are not only connected, they’re informed, empowered, and discerning. This means that they are also either elusive or immune to traditional marketing messages in traditional marketing channels.
According to a Google Insights macro study exploring the “Zero Moment of Truth,” today’s shoppers now rely on over 10 sources when making purchase decisions. This is twice as many as the previous year. The more society embraces the digital lifestyle the more likely this is to go up.
We’re moving from a world that prefers “screen face” to face-to-face engagement and it knows no geographic or demographic boundaries. In a separate Google report, “The New Multiscreen World,” it the extent of cross platform, cross screen consumer behavior among connected consumers was revealed. Google found that we are indeed becoming a society of multi-taskers and multi-screeners with consumers spending an average of 4.4 hours of leisure time across four screens every day. Those screens include smartphones, laptops, tablets and TVs. The study also found that only 10% of all media interactions are non-screen based, which include radio, newspapers and magazines. Wow.
What’s clear is that Millennials and Generation Z behind them are in fact born digital. To get them takes effort. And, to keep up with younger generations takes a shift from antagonism or skepticism to that of comprehension. Understanding how they connect, why, and how doing so influences online and real world behavior, we can make informed decisions about how to develop relevant engagement strategies and meaningful products and services.
Essentially we must become digital anthropologists and ethnographers to learn and appreciate the differences and subtle nuances that create a great divide among living generations. Doing so teaches us about current culture but also conditions us to better anticipate change. This is important as technology is only accelerating therefore making change a constant.
As we learn more about these digital natives, chances are that we too, might very well become the people we’re trying to reach. What we cannot do however, is underestimate the influence of these connected generations on economy or society. They, and those who learn how to connect with them, contribute to a culture that’s not only digitally literate but also interconnected. Perhaps soon, we will not be so different after all.
Join me as the story continues…#WTF
Image Credit: Intel, “How computers are born”
Part Two. An edited excerpt of What’s the Future of Business, Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences
In Part 1 of this series, The First Mile: The Broken Link of Social Media Customer Service, we reviewed the opportunities and challenges that face any business seeking to engage customers in social networks. To become customer-centric requires a culture that supports customer-centricity and an active investment in defining the first mile experience.
The first mile of customer engagement is a post-commerce or post-transaction strategy that invests in an ongoing experience to keep customers happy now and over time. Doing so sparks positive word of mouth and in turn influences decisions the dynamic customer journey that defines the new era of connected consumerism. If in fact getting closer to customers is a key objective, then why do many businesses neglect the first mile of customer experience?
In February 2012, American Express published a report that found 46% of U.S. internet users stormed branded social media presences to express frustration about poor experiences.
In the American Express study, the results were as telling as they were indicative of how much work it’s actually going to take to transform customer experiences. For the most part, brands miss a majority of activity in the social web whether it’s good or bad. But, if you break it out to the most common engagement opportunities, companies will need to rethink the overall social media strategy and allocation of resources. Social media marketing is just the beginning. Customers aren’t on popular social networks because they’re looking to be entertained by their favorite brands. They’re online to seek and share experiences.
Take a look at these numbers for example…
50% – The number of customers seeking an actual response from a company about a service issue.
48% – The percentage of people who praise a company for delivering great service or experience.
47% – The influence factor of your customers who share information about service and experiences with a wider audience.
46% – Those who vent frustration about a poor service or experience.
43% – The amount of customers asking others how to have better experiences.Rejoining the links
If people are acting as either an extended and connected sales force, marketing team or as detractors, perhaps a reset in priority is necessary.
When you look at how social media is supported inside the organization, you find that there’s a broken link between social media marketing and customer service. In fact, the majority of time, money and resources are invested in marketing and not in supporting customers through influential social networks.
If a customer shares an experience or asks a question the ability for marketing to acknowledge the act is certainly there. The trouble is that most of the time, the person or team in front of most social presences cannot effectively respond with any form of resolution or satisfaction. Nor is there an internal process or technology platform that connects outside activity through social marketing to customer service and back out again. This leads to a phenomenon that I call the Broken Link of Customer Engagement or the Social Arc Effect.Let customers own their experience
Just because a company does not have a dedicated presence for customer service on social networks doesn’t mean that customers understand the difference. To everyday consumers, a Facebook page or a Twitter handle is the brand. Customers do not see silos, they see one company. It’s up to the social media team to connect the dots instead of lock social in a silo of its own.
Customer-centricity starts with recognizing that customer experiences are in fact owned by the customer. As much as we attempt to integrate experiences into product features and design, the ultimate experience unfolds at the point of outreach. In social media, most activity is run out of the marketing department. As a result, when a customer expresses discontent, praise, or simply requires direction on the social presences of any brand, it is initially received by the community manager or the representative agency/consultant.The lost art of following up
Depending on internal processes and connectedness, chances are that customer sentiment will pass the first point of entry, but according to statistics, customer needs will become the victim a siloed enterprise. In reality, marketing doesn’t talk to customer service and customer service, without design, doesn’t recognize conversations and expressions en masse.
In a study conducted by Satmetrix in mid-2012, it was revealed that less than half of the companies it surveyed tracked and followed up on customer feedback in social media. An astonishing 28% do not track or respond leaving customers to question their value to the businesses that they support. The lack of acknowledgment or engagement also leaves the door wide open to competitive courtship.Linking social media to improve experiences
In 2007, I wrote a piece on how social media presented an opportunity to turn customer service into the new marketing. I believe that acquisition in social media is only part of the story. The brilliance of social networks is that it presents opportunities for engagement to transform negative experiences into positive outcomes. Conversations also inspire opportunities for product refinement or innovation to create remarkable experiences from the onset.
Retention is the new acquisition. For the companies that are experimenting with social media, it’s time to break it out of the traditional call center and create a proactive group of expert agents. While social media is yet another channel for agents to engage customers such as chat, email, and phones, the reality is that it requires a different philosophy to effectively manage relationships and agent performance.
Time to resolution, cost per engagement, NPS, wait time, these are metrics of an aging era. Advocacy, referrals, positive endorsements, reviews, loyalty, these are the metrics that can be directly linked to social customer service among many other tangible outcomes including ROI.Unlocking advocacy
The first mile of customer satisfaction starts with reflection and introspection. To become customer-centric requires a change in how we value customers and the role they play in the decision making cycles of those who make choices based on the shared experiences of others. The first mile is then paved through listening, governance, and engagement.
The Arc Effect is a visual representation of what is and what could be. Completing the arc should become a 2013 priority investment for any business genuinely pursuing customer-centricity. It takes good intentions of course, but to truly improve relationships and unlock advocacy requires that social media strategists work with customer strategists to create an integrated series of processes and defined roles and responsibilities. Doing so delivers a holistic experience that turns customers into stakeholders and stakeholders into protagonists of aspirational experiences.
The story continues…#WTF
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
This post is based on a piece I wrote for AT&T’s Networking Exchange
Part One. An edited excerpt of What’s the Future of Business, Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences
For all that social media is doing to change business for the better, it’s not yet enough. Interview any executive and ask them what their priority business goals are for 2013 and I’m sure you’ll see some element of customer-centricity on the list. Yet the challenge that exists for any organization trying to get closer to customers lies in the definition of customer-centricity. If getting closer to customers is a key objective, why do many businesses neglect the first mile of customer experience? Sure products and services count for almost everything. But if and when a customer has a question, wishes to share ideas or provide feedback, or needs help, why is it often the beginning of buyer’s remorse or resentment?
Over the years, companies invested in automated solutions to improve the efficiency of inbound customer engagement. Sophisticated voice recognition systems alleviate the hardship of pushing a button to direct calls. Improved call transferring lessens the frequency of getting dropped. Web forms, click to talk applets, and email now ensure that the first round of automated replies you receive look more human than ever before. And, internal metrics are now designed to reduce the amount of time we can get our issues resolved, reducing the need to build comfort, confidence and trust in each call. No, I’m not serious. But this is the reality that a majority of human beings experience to attain satisfaction or resolution.The Customer is Always Right—Right Now
Enter social media. Customers no longer require a “hotline” to express sentiment nor do they need approval to do so. Everyday people express themselves through every channel possible. You’ve heard it before. A happy customer tells a few people, but an unhappy customer tells…everyone. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Yelp, blogs, Foursquare and a myriad of other social networks, customers now possess the ability to share their experiences and affect the impressions and ultimately decisions of an unprecedented number of peers each and every day.
If you’re reading this, you probably already get this. Yet, still today, almost eight years after the inauguration of the social media movement we know today, there’s still a disconnect between the importance of social networks and customer expressions and the ability for executives to appreciate the affect and the consequences of not engaging. It’s the difference between the function of customer service and the intentional result of customer satisfaction.
In the realm of social media however, every comment either compliments or peels away from the sanctimony of an engineered brand. And, if the formula of happy customers telling a few and unhappy customers telling many more holds true, the collective of customer experiences are indeed indexed for others to find and consider in their decision making cycle. One must not need be a mathematician to understand that when someone searches about your company, chances are that without engagement or design, posts, comments and real-time conversations will work against you. In February 2012, American Express published a report that found 46% of US internet users stormed branded social media presences to express frustration about poor experiences.
Imagine considering a series of brands related to a product category you’re investigating. In the first round of research, you find a series of posts, videos, and conversations that reveal negative experiences and the inability for the company to positively change opinions. Chances are that you’ll react accordingly.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss the disconnect between social media marketing and social customer service within the organization. We’ll also take a look at how the majority of time, money and resources are invested in marketing campaigns and not in supporting customers. If customer retention is the new acquisition, a shift in the balance of marketing and support is desperately required.
The story continues…#WTF
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
This post is based on a piece I wrote for AT&T’s Networking Exchange
How do you define engagement?
No matter how you define it, engagement is something that we most likely underestimate. Engagement symbolizes the touches that occur in various moments of truth and this should completely change not only how you engage someone in each moment but also how the inside of your company works with one another to make it frictionless and experiential.
Whether a customer stands on the stage of awareness, consideration, purchase, or post purchase, touch points open and close. And, it is in those moments that engagement, regardless of source or shape, affects the next steps and impressions of customers.
These moments of truth however are not limited to any one channel. Whether customers are navigating social, mobile, web or IRL (in real life), they approach each stage of the journey with different needs, in varying stages of decision making, and with one of several frames of mind depending on the context of engagement and also the screen (smartphone, PC, tablet, TV, etc) they’re using in each moment. It’s becoming increasingly complex, but then again so is the path of consumer decision-making. That’s why I wrote WTF, What’s the Future of Business…someone had to tell the story of the new customer journey, their way points, and how to reach them. The answers revealed that social was only part of the adventure.
The image above represents a detailed customer journey map, which outlines the important steps your connected customers take during and following decision making. The map also introduces the diverse elements that factor in to each step. Perhaps more importantly are the channels and screens individuals use to make their way along the journey. Mobile, social, web, IRL, they each contribute to a customer experience that either helps or prevents them from moving along in your favor.
In my research I’ve found that more often than not, each stage of the customer journey along with the mixed channels that they use are defined or programmed by different groups within the organization. The social experience is developed independently of the mobile experience, which is disconnected from the web experience. The point is that customers only see one brand or business and therefore each channel should complement one another to deliver against a desired experience and journey optimized for the moments of truth and for the context of each screen.The Expansion from Social to Digital Engagement
One of the ways I’ve defined “engagement” over the years was quite simple, when a business and consumer interact within their channel of relevance during various moments of truth. Engagement though, is then measured by the actions, sentiment, and outcomes that result from each interaction. To optimize results, experiences, click paths, outcomes, and sentiment must be defined and enlivened through each channel in each moment. To do so takes vision, articulation of that vision, and collaboration with all stakeholder groups to cast a unified approach. Yes. It’s the age-old argument of bringing down silos and opening doors between departments and groups that just don’t talk to each other right now. But, that’s just what needs to happen and the more progressive companies are already taking note.
One such company is one that you’re more than familiar with. Starbucks recently appointed Adam Brotman, former senior vice president of Starbucks Digital Ventures, was appointed to an entirely new executive role, chief digital officer. The CDO role assumes all of Starbuck’s digital projects, which includes web, mobile, social media, digital marketing, Starbucks Card and loyalty, e-commerce, Wi-Fi, Starbucks Digital Network, and emerging in-store technologies.
Sephora is another forward thinking company that is uniting disparate channel strategies and various customer journeys in the name of holistic experiences. Sephora recently underwent a makeover to define the ideal customer experience and how it would play out in digital and real world channels, including in store engagement, while complementing and optimizing one another.
Perhaps a Chief Digital Officer is just the beginning. What we’re really talking about is someone who can bridge marketing, sales, service, and technology to create a frictionless path between customers and the business…at every step of the journey. Perhaps it’s time to think about escalating the role to someone who can own the entire customer lifecycle and bring the people within the organization together to do it. To break down walls, someone must be able to show how and why everyone can and should work together and also what’s in it for them. It would take someone who isn’t tied to any one function but instead someone who has everybody’s best interest inside and outside the organization to redefine the experience and how it’s formed and sustained. As I write this, I imagine someone taking over the role of customer journey management for digital, social, mobile and IRL.
The digital lifestyle is just a way of life now and businesses that don’t think beyond social or traditional will miss the greater opportunity to lead desirable customer journeys, experiences and outcomes. Take one more look at the Dynamic Customer Journey. As you plan for 2013 social, mobile, digital, and other channel strategies, consider how each can converge into a reciprocal and congruous ecosystem. The future of customer experiences lies in experience design and more importantly, customer journey mapping…across the screens and IRL.
Welcome to a new world of customer journey management (CJM) and the ability to bring people together around a common vision for improving customer experiences, sentiment and relationships.
The story continues…
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
This post is based on a piece I wrote for AT&T’s Networking Exchange
Guest post by Eric Schwartzman, founder and CEO of Comply Socially, which helps employers manage the risk and capitalize on the opportunities of social media in the workplace. Follow him on Twitter @EricSchwartzman
The online Boston Marathon bombing witch-hunt last week dragged social media down to a new low.
Social media has become “the cocktail party from hell,” writes Maureen Down in her column “…with the flood of information jeopardizing meaning.”
When everyone’s talking about a crisis in real time and you have unlimited access to what they’re saying, the wisdom of the crowd can be very hard to find. With so much information swirling around, looking for meaning manually is impossible because there are never enough people to consider everything out there at once.
“What happened to Sunil Tripathi’s family scares the hell out of me, and I feel that any sort of crowd crimesolving platform needs to take that into account–the risk of lives being disturbed by overenthusiastic sleuths is just as important, in my opinion, as the potential for solving unsolved crimes,” says Neal Ungerleider, who wrote about how Reddit became a hub for a crowdsourced Boston Marathon bombing investigation.
Like most of the other social networks overflowing with new posts every millisecond, Reddit lacks even the most basic analytics. According to another story by the AFP, Reddit uses Google Analytics to monitor their own traffic.
We need to take a moment to acknowledge the critical importance of being able to find trends and credible sources in big data. When Google Reader goes away on July 1, 2013, not a single alternative offers in-feed search or analytics, and nobody seems too concerned about. In my book, that’s totally crazy. Without the ability to drill down and analyze your feeds, all that news is just a bunch of noise.
At what point does it become irresponsible to provide the world with access to a communications tools that can literally reap havoc in the lives of individuals and companies without providing any visibility at all into the patterns and shapes of the content being shared?
Is a social network without integrated analytics like a vehicle without a safety belt?
Freddy Mini, CEO at Netvibes — a Google Reader alternative that’s more focused on providing insights than powering engagement — says, “Context is the comparison of metrics.”
Meaning comes from the intersection of multiple sources. In the old days, journalists triangulated truth against a handful of sources. Today, we need to triangulate truth against millions of sources.
An avalanche of information is not necessarily a good thing. More often than not, it’s a path to obfuscation rather than enlightenment, where speculation inflicts irrevocable harm and sensationalism travels farther and faster than tolerance.
If you’re a business, the takeaway is that sharing without analytics is essentially useless, that engagement is not as valuable as insight, and that seeing things in context is more important than being popular.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
Like many, I found myself gripped by the real-time reports that poured in on the evening of April 19th…Boston Police were in close pursuit of the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Up to this point, I mostly followed the story via @CNN and CNNLive. I noticed however, that some of the most interesting updates were shared via Twitter directly by the Boston Police (@Boston_Police).
As police surrounded the second suspect while he hid in a recreational boat in the backyard of a home in Watertown, I shifted from online to TV. Yes…my phone was nearby and it was in fact my second screen. I tuned in to Anderson Cooper on CNN to witness the apprehension as it happened.
Cooper cut to a report from a CNN field correspondent, who shared unconfirmed cheers among local residents. In that moment, I saw a Tweet come through on my phone from @Boston_Police, “Suspect in custody. Officers sweeping the area. Stand by for further info.”
Just then, something truly significant had occurred. Once again, we were reminded that…News no longer breaks, it Tweets.
Anderson Cooper then asked the reporter to hold on as he looked down at his phone and on live television, shared with the world, that Boston Police had confirmed that the suspect was in fact in custody…via a Tweet on Twitter.
TNN, the Twitter News Network is a powerful thing. In real-time, people create an incredible information network that expedites awareness. While it also raises the need for real-time fact checking, the information divide that Twitter introduces between citizen media and mainstream journalism is notable and game-changing.
Here, the Boston Police broke the story via Twitter and essentially informed and scooped traditional media in the process.
We do in fact live in interesting, and tweetable, times…
I’m so excited. As I type, I’m moments away from heading to SFO to visit Tokyo for the first time in years…
I’m proud to announce that it’s finally the End of Business as Usual in in Japan!
The new book features new content specific to the Japanese economy. But that’s not all. It also has received a new title and cover design.
Introducing… エフェクト = EFFECT
Mr. Natsuno, a board member of Nico Video and professor at Keio University contributed a special message at the beginning of the book. Thank you Mr. Natsuno…
There will be a special presentation and press conference to celebrate the occasion. The event will take place in Tokyo at the Place Hotel, 1-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku.
The book is also available now on Amazon.
I would very much like to thank Hide Hashizume and Eiko Hashizume for all of their work and support over the last year on the book and this event. Also, thank you to Mr. Kanayama for his work in translating the book. It’s more than exciting to finally have completed エフェクト and to have the privilege of bringing it to Japan personally.
Over the years, businesses have developed sales, marketing and service strategies around the funnel. Awareness, interest, desire, action, to this day, describes the likely steps a customer may take in making a decision. Over the years, it was assumed that the liner path would also continue through a transaction to a state of loyalty and ultimately advocacy. The process of customer engagement to this day is designed to shepherd people along this delicate path. For at any moment, consumer attention, interest, and resulting action could fall astray without superintendence.
I call this the “Cluster Funnel” and it’s meant to demonstrate how a customer lifecycle when viewed in aggregate is broken.
Without awareness there can be no consideration. Hence, businesses today invest to varying degrees and effectiveness in marketing, advertising, and communications strategies. To earn customer attention isn’t a switch that toggles on and off, it is a state of perpetual engagement. The blaring noise that customers continually experience has forced them to adapt. Second nature acts as a defense mechanism to tune out the constant barrage of marketing messages and clever campaigns. Awareness at the top of the funnel is elusive but never more important.
The Cluster Funnel from What’s the Future of Business
For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that everyone understands the value of the funnel (or at least the idea of it) to attract customers and invest in long-term relationships. But what if businesses were investing their time and resources in the wrong places? What if where we think we can impress upon customers or get them to notice us is not at all where their attention is actually focused?
These are important and timely questions to answer as they will reveal a new journey to embark upon. The truth is that what we know and what we need to know are in fact separated by an unfolding reality that requires immediate intervention.
Your market has already been disrupted. Through an unforgiving series of technology revolutions paired with an era of individual empowerment, your customers are not only more informed, their expectations have matured. The “C” change in consumerism has ushered in a genre of connected consumers. As a result, your customers are learning about you or your competitors differently. How they make decisions does not at all follow a linear path. How they are influenced and in turn influence others is profound in its reach and effect. What was once simplistic, or overly simplistic depending on your point of view, representation of a fluted customer journey is in fact much more dynamic and connected.
Engagement is as much art as it is science. But to better understand the behavior of your connected customers or as I refer to them “Generation C,” takes practice of the social sciences from digital anthropology and psychology to sociology and ethnography. Understanding behavior exposes patterns in consumer activity that in of itself reveals new touch points. Appreciating how customers form and make decisions and why inspires empathy and creativity. This research will specifically point to what Altimeter Group refers to as the Dynamic Customer Journey. What you’ll learn following your research is everything. Most notably, your business will now earn clarity in how and where to focus efforts on shaping decisions and experiences pre-, during, and post commerce. Additionally, you’ll learn the specific factors, people, technology, communities, and resources that affect every stage of your customer’s journey. The results will contribute to a far more accurate point of view that tailors marketing, sales, service, and loyalty strategies to be more effective and engaging. But it won’t stop there.
Inspired by McKinsey’s work and my own research during the writing of The End of Business as Usual, we re-imagined the traditional funnel into a constant and very public elliptical path that often repeats itself.
The stages of the Dynamic Customer Journey are familiar as they reflect similar methodologies in the traditional funnel. However each step is unique in the contributing factors for how consumers discover, analyze, choose, and share. The screens they use to search and purchase, the people who influence them, the content that informs them, the social networks they rely upon, the collective experiences of others, and the real-time conversations that shape impressions, each introduce guidance, doubt, and validation that works for or against your right now. The most important revelation in the DCJ is how every stage feeds into a discoverable online repository of shared experiences that influence all those who embark upon a similar journey. Without positive influence there is no hope for preference. And, without positive experiences there can be no chance for loyalty or advocacy.
It is only by traveling in the digital footsteps of your customers that uncovers a new landscape for engagement and also a new reality for your business. Embracing your connected customers will help them embrace you in return. At a minimum, the gifts you receive by embarking on this journey and investing in engagement, education, and meaningful experiences are empathy, relevance, and ultimately reciprocity…all of which is measurable by traditional business metrics.
The story continues…
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
“If we feel instinctively liked by someone else then we tend to project unto them the qualities we like in other people…and that’s priceless.”
Those are the wise words of Kare Anderson, expert on the art and science of understanding and perfecting behavioral cues. As she shares, emotion precedes rational thought. In this episode of Revolution, we learn about the importance understanding what we do and don’t appreciate in others to improve how we connect and communicate. If you’re aware of what of these nuances, you can bring out the best in other people including yourself. Kare’s work doesn’t just focus on real world or even interactive engagement. She believes that the same techniques can be applied to improve design, user experience, and ultimately relationships.
Shot on location at The Four Seasons Hotel, San Francisco
We are indeed witnessing what can be best described as the end of business as usual. With the closure or dwindling performance of businesses once regarded as too big to fail or with the rise of every new Occupy-like movement around the world, we are reminded of the grand chasm that exists between consumer values and the values of today’s businesses. What is becoming painfully obvious is that people everywhere are calling for change and they’re taking to the streets and also their smartphones, tablets, and popular social networks to demand attention.
The reality is that people are much more connected than ever before and their mission is to not only mind the gap, but narrow it. Technology is a game changer and through the devices and networks that connect consumers, it is also the critical path for businesses to earn and re-earn relevance and trust. Without evaluation or introspection, businesses however may well face digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than the ability to adapt.
On April 21st 2011, Forbes ran a sobering article that carried an ominous prediction, “If the current trend continues, over 70% of Fortune 1000 companies will turnover from 2003 to 2013.” Change is in the air and what the relationships between customers, stakeholders and businesses look like from here forward is uncertain. But, it is in the attempts at defining meaningful relationships where businesses will find guidance moving forward.
Think about it for a moment. Today’s biggest trends- the mobile web, social media, gamification, real-time- are changing the consumer landscape. Everyday people are empowered and influential. What we must realize however is that consumers are learning how to improve their online experiences and as a result, it is forcing individuals to think and re-think about the people, organizations, and information they choose to connect with. You are either part of the equation or you’re not.
While this is the end of business as usual, it is also the beginning of a new era of relevance. Businesses now have an opportunity to become relevant in new channels and networks by earning attention and forming meaningful alliances. To do that takes far more than gimmicks, creative marketing, contests and viral videos. It takes the consistent delivery of value based on ongoing listening and meaningful engagement.
The reality is that how this new breed of connected consumers discovers, shares, and communicates differently than their traditional consumer counterparts. To connect with them requires study to identify challenges, themes, POVs, and interests. To adapt, organizations need to examine the impact of technology on consumer behavior and understand its affect on how connected consumers make decisions and influence the decisions of their peers.
People have uninhibited access now to social platforms, channels and tools to express themselves at will. And, people too have an offline and online voice that when used individually and collectively, they can reach the masses and organize movements that cause everything else to pause for reflection. Yet, even though we know this, businesses are still struggling to understand the real impact of connected consumerism. Many still wonder if this is all just a fad.
At the heart of this consumer revolution is the need for people to be heard and for them to see that action is taken on their behalf. Technology serves as the glue that bring like-minded people together. This is why relationships are now more important than ever. Even though people are connecting in social networks, just creating a presence on Facebook or Twitter isn’t enough to show that you’re listening. Nor does it convey empathy or a new vision. Hosting conversations or getting people to follow you on Twitter or Like you on Facebook is one thing. But, to connect and foster real relationships, organizations must learn how to dedicate resources to listen, learn and adapt the processes, systems, experiences and prevailing culture that will entice and nurture consumer engagement.
The reality is that we live and compete in a perpetual era of Digital Darwinism. But, nothing today is too big to fail nor too small to succeed as long as relevance and value are in scope. Even though technology may seemingly play a role in working against your business, it can also work for you. The good news is that you have a role in defining where all of this goes.
Everything begins with learning how and where to listen. I’m not referring to the type of listening that tracks mentions of your company or competition. I mean discover how to deliver value based on what’s said and unsaid. It is attention and value that will attract connected consumers and ultimately earn their affinity. Additionally, what you learn, must permeate the organization to help it adapt to new opportunities. To survive digital Darwinism, it’s not about the survival of the fittest, it’s about the survival of the fitting. I refer to this as the Laws of Attraction and Affinity in Chapter 11 of The End of Business as Usual and have included an excerpt of the list below.
To attract consumers and earn affinity, business must follow the Laws of Attraction and Affinity:
1. Identify where the attention of the connected consumer is focused.
2. Define a higher purpose along with genuine intentions. Also, establish a sense of value to attract connected consumers, giving them something to align with.
3. Establish an identity and a presence worthy of affiliation. Give people something to believe in and something exciting to be a part of.
4. Design the presence and engagement strategies and all that fuels interaction to be beneficial and shareable—this is, after all, about shared experiences.
5. Based on the presence of each D2C community, localize the value, content, storefront, and engagement program to match the culture and activity within.
6. This isn’t a power switch; stay consistent and dedicated through meaningful interaction.
7. Remain true to the original mission and intention. Do not be swayed on the basis of short-term temptations.
8. Recognize and reward community participants—reciprocity is a strong pillar of community and relationships.
9. The adaptive business will listen, learn, and change based on the needs of the connected, and all other consumers to stay relevant, indispensable, and valuable.
The story continues…
Yes…that’s me floating above Shaq’s head.
One of the highlights of SXSW Interactive this year was Dr. Shaquille O’Neal (did you know he had a doctorate degree?). He joined me on stage at the Long Center for Performing Arts to a theater packed with adoring fans. Before we took the stage, we spent some time to shoot a special episode of Revolution.
Not only is Dr. Shaq an NBA champion, an Olympic gold medalist, a 15 time All Star, 6th on the all time scoring list, and an all-around icon, he’s an active investor and self-described geek. His portfolio includes Google (pre-IPO), Five Guys, Vitamin Water, Muscle Milk and a whole slew of traditional businesses and tech startups. While at SXSW, we walked through the Startup Village as part of a “Pitch Shaq” initiative hosted by real-time video network Tout. At the end of our session, Shaq announced that he would take official meetings with two lucky startups, Speakerfy and Beam.
On the technology front, Shaq is always looking for the next big thing. He bypassed traditional media and announced his retirement on Tout, a platform that at the time had only been live for six weeks. Shaq was early to embrace Twitter where he still engages with his now 7 million fans. In fact, Jack Dorsey was once asked who he thought the ideal Twitter user was and his response was Shaq. Why? Because he’s engaged, it’s him, and he believes in community. His mantra for social media is 60% to make you laugh, 30% to inspire you and 10% to let you know about this product.
Take a few minutes to watch this enchanting interview. I think you’ll agree, Shaq is not only an investor, geek, and super star, he’s also a wonderful human being.
Jeff Ashcroft (@JeffAshcroft) along with @TheSocialCMO host the popular #MMchat (Marketer Monday) every week at 8 p.m. eastern on Twitter. It’s a rapid fire exchange not only between the organizer and the guest but also everyone following along #MMchat. It certainly makes for exciting dialog in real-time and also later when the full transcript is published. I recently joined them to discuss the future of business and why now is the time to become the hero in your hero’s journey. I’ve recreated our exchange (each in 140 characters or less) for you here…
Question 1: Why are experiences more important today than ever before?
A1: .@TheSocialCMO Thank you so much for having me on again. This is always one of the most invigorating conversations I can be part of.
A2: Experiences are something we feel and we share what we feel. We share what moves us
A3: When people ask questions for advice or direction, shared experiences are the result. In social, they’re more important than ever
A4: Customers are sharing experiences about your business now. Why leave them to chance. Define them at every step!
Question 2: In the book you say experiences are even more important than products! Bold statement can you share your reasoning on this?
A1: Experiences are more important than products. Products are manifestations of the experience you want people to have+share
A2: Products are just part of the experience ecosystem. You have to first define the experience you want people to have
A3: Products play a role in the manifestation of the experience they will have and share. You must define the moments of truth
Questions 3: Seems like everyone is talking about disruption. You’re saying disruption is more than just social media, can you elaborate?
A1: Disruption is something that occurs naturally. It’s “creative destruction” if you will. But it’s accelerating beyond social
A2: Social is just one part of disruption. I call it “The Wheel of Disruption” and it includes big data, mobile, real-time, etc.
Question 4: Need for more emphasis on experience is clear in the book. How is user experience now starting to influence business decisions?
A1: Shared experiences form an influence loop that is connected to each moment of truth. It’s what people find that guides them
A2: It takes more than google now. people are talking and connecting. experiences are shared in tweets, posts, videos + reviews
A3: You’ve optimized search, your website, your mobile app, but you haven’t optimized for shared experiences
A4: Shared experiences affect customer impressions and next steps in each moment of truth. Shift from impressions 2 expressions
Question 5: In WTF? There seems to be underlying story recounting the hero’s journey. Can you share your thoughts with us on this journey?
A1: A VERY GOOD QUESTION!
A2: Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a 1000 Faces has influenced so many, including Hollywood…Star Wars, The Matrix.
A3: The Hero’s Journey explores mythical journeys such as those of jesus and buddha and the common experiences they shared
A4: I revisit the Hero’s Journey from the standpoint of your customer. What is their journey? What is their experience?
A5: Your customer is your hero…you define their journey
A6: In the end however, as the reader, you are also becoming the change agent. Therefore you are also “the hero”
A7: I re-imagined the Hero’s Journey for you to outline where you’ll meet challenges and how to break through them
Question 6: Brian, love design of the book. I understand in this case it wasn’t your typical publisher process, how was it different?
A1: Number 6 is great too!
A2: 2 show the importance of experiences, you have to create an experience. Whats the Future of Business is an experiential book
A4: The book is square, think coffee table format, 4 color, full of visuals, and its designed to be an analog (mobile) app!
Source: Jeremiah Owyang
A5: @gapingvoid provided an original piece of artwork for each chapter based on what he took away after reading it.
A6: What’s the Future of Business is as helpful and inspiring as it is beautiful… #promise
A7: Remember, this is your time… #AdaptorDie
A8: The future is yours to define… #InnovateorDie
A9: Thank you everyone. You always get my mind racing with possibilities!
FIN: Thanks for joining us! Your participation & feedback was GREAT! An extra SPECIAL thanks to @BrianSolis for joining us! #MMchat
The full transcript including all responses, questions, and answers is here.
WTF is now available!
When he’s not starring in movies and television, Adrian Genier is a serial entrepreneur. Most recognized for his role as Vincent Chase in HBO’s Entourage, and also the upcoming movie, Grenier has co-founded or invested in several companies including SHFT, Fansnaps, and Churchkey Can Co. Now he’s at it again but this time, he’s changing his tune.
While at SXSW in Austin, I spent some time with Grenier to talk about his new music incubator, The WRECKROOM. The idea is not unlike tech incubators planting seeds of innovation around the world. WRECKROOM is a collaborative space built in Grenier’s home in Brooklyn. Artists are encouraged to come by, write and collaborate. And for those artists that get the attention of the team, recording and distribution could be a possibility.
On the website, you’ll see and hear some of the WRECKROOM’s current portfolio including Caldwell, a band he formed with Emily Caldwell. While on set, we were also introduced to another WRECKROOM project, The Skins, a band that I also fell in love with during their live performance that followed this interview. Let’s hear from Adrian now on this latest episode of Revolution.
Do more with less! Sound familiar? This is a statement I hear in almost every strategy and planning meeting I attend on behalf of enterprise and startup clients alike. The idea of course is to accomplish great feats, beyond the output or achievements of years gone by, without the previous resources exploited over time.
Several years ago, I adopted a way of thinking to help me realize that how things are done today isn’t indicative of how they could be. As such, I’ve adopted a mantra of “constraint forces creativity.” Constraint isn’t defined by cash flow or edicts, but instead the restriction of the boundaries that confine us to customary processes and views.
Yes, there are times when you can, when you should do more with less. But doing more with less isn’t a mantra in of itself. It’s a representative of a form of administration that attempts to boost productivity while operationalizing processes and optimizing efficiencies. Yes, that was corporate speak. It’s nonetheless true however.
This is how organizations compete today without necessarily thinking about how these activities position them in the future.
Innovation and risk taking often carry too much of a cost to bear for some companies. It’s more than finances however. Exploring new solutions also presents a significant opportunity cost that may in fact signify doing more with more rather than doing more with less. This presents a catch 22 of sorts. If you effectively “do more with less,” you may actually deliver less with less. If you discover ways to creatively excel, the pervasive culture of optimizing and operationalizing business practices may not truly appreciate the extent of your (and your team’s) sacrifices. New ideas often die on the vine.The Hacker Way
“The Hacker Way” is the ideology that Mark Zuckerberg has long employed at Facebook. It’s also the name of the road that leads to the company’s sprawling campus in Menlo Park California.
To succeed in business today, there’s indeed a hack for that…
Everything begins with a shift in perspective and culture. What if the entire organization or at least those with driving impact where empowered? Sometimes it takes learning from the lean and mean world of startups to get larger organizations back on track.
Startups are the new darlings of their industry. Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest, Uber, AirBnB, these are the forces that are disrupting age-old business models while creating entirely new markets. In the world of startups, unlike larger organizations, employees not only wear multiple hats, they’re empowered to excel on each front to help the organization gain momentum and ultimately grow. This is classic intraprenuerialism. This approach takes the elements that represent the defining pillars of entrepreneurialism and attempts to celebrate them within a larger ecosystem.Intrapreneurs are the New Entrepreneurs
Intrapreneurs rethink and promote innovation in processes, product development, marketing, collaboration and anywhere and everywhere it’s needed or possible.
In the startup community, one of the most talked about trends in intrapreneurialism is the role of growth hacking. To be a growth hacker is someone who is specifically tasked to do more with less. The difference here is that growth hackers take it upon themselves to do more with less as they hack the way things are done to find a potent way of obtaining goals.
What is a growth hacker?
Growth Hacking is the art and science of creating awareness, traction, adoption, and advocacy using unorthodox and surprising means. It’s quite literally a hack for traditional processes to accelerate business.
In 2010, Sean Ellis introduced us to the role of growth hacker in his post, “Find a Growth Hacker for Your Startup.”
In his post Ellis recognizes the difference between Growth Hacking and traditional marketing and business development, “…the problem is that most startups try to hire for skills and experience that are irrelevant, while failing to focus on the essential few skills. Typical job descriptions are often laden with generic but seemingly necessary requirements like an ability to establish a strategic marketing plan to achieve corporate objectives, build and manage the marketing team, manage outside vendors, etc.”
If you’re unaware of Quora, spend some time there. Quora is the defacto Q&A hub for all things disruptive and bleeding edge when it comes to technology, trends and the people behind them. On the topic of Growth Hacking and what it is and isn’t, the top ranked answer comes from Andy Johns, “It’s the idea that an entrepreneur can take a clever or non-traditional approach to increasing the growth rate/adoption of his or her product by ‘hacking’ something together specifically for growth purposes. What people call ‘hacking’ today will become common sense to most in the tech world in the future because people are waking up to the fact that growth doesn’t simply come from having a good product.”
Of course when you hear the word hacker, you probably think of breaking into networks or hijacking computers to illegally access files and information. Hacking is though a method of bypassing traditional tasks to obtain a goal.
To compete for the future and ultimately relevance, leading technologists believe that the future of marketing comes down to technologists. Growth Hacking sounds intriguing, but at its root, it represents homage to programming and respect for the culture of online, social and mobile communities in order to influence different behavior.
In 2012, Andrew Chen, an entrepreneur and blogger based in Silicon Valley described the skillset that serves as the undercurrent of growth hacking in his noteworthy article, “Growth Hacker is the New VP of Marketing.”
This is a defining piece as it outlines the importance, the responsibilities and the potential outcomes when growth hackers assume the role of marketing, “This isn’t just a single role – the entire marketing team is being disrupted. Rather than a VP of Marketing with a bunch of non-technical marketers reporting to them, instead growth hackers are engineers leading teams of engineers.
Growth Hacking is intrapreneurialism enacted.
Chen continues, “Before this era, the discipline of marketing relied on the only communication channels that could reach 10s of millions of people – newspaper, TV, conferences, and channels like retail stores. To talk to these communication channels, you used people – advertising agencies, PR, keynote speeches, and business development. Today, the traditional communication channels are fragmented and passé. The fastest way to spread your product is by distributing it on a platform using APIs, not MBAs. Business development is now API-centric, not people-centric.”People are the 5th P of Marketing and the Source of Growth in Growth Hacking
While I take exception to the last line being “API-centric” and not “people centric,” Chen’s bigger argument is that it takes technologists to hack technology to reach desired audiences to drive desirable clicks, conversions and outcomes. He’s right. But, he’s wrong about people. People represent the 5tH P of Marketing and it’s through empathy in understanding real world challenges that opens the doors to new opportunities. Said another way, people and their aspirations and frustrations should inspire you.
The key is programming journeys that deliver coveted experiences. And that’s what this is really about. Growth Hacking finds new ways of creating awareness and constructively handholding people into a dynamic customer journey that is thoughtful, productive, and meaningful…on any platform.
To succeed in business and continually compete for the future takes a culture of intrapreneurialism to spark innovation within. Remember it’s less about doing more with less and absolutely about finding or creating solutions when resources or opportunities are either constrained or inhibited by convention. Growth hacking isn’t just about finding new means for the sake of hacking it, it’s about discovering a means to an end when the various forms of other means produce mediocre or lackluster results.
Why settle when new frontiers have yet to be discovered?
WTF is now available!
Originally appeared in AT&T’s Network Exchange
Image Credit: Shutterstock
I just can’t believe it. On Friday afternoon, my Twitter stream was overflowing with Tweets and Retweets of what could only be best described as an outpouring or gushing of love and support for my new book by some of the world’s most recognized celebrities in the world. Seriously…WTF!?
See for yourself…
I’m sure by now you’ve figured out that these are fake…these Tweets are not real and I didn’t actually publish them….but that’s the point. What if I had? Allow me to explain…
These tweets were generated using a controversial service LemmeTweetThatForYou. Although the site is about a year old, I just learned about LTTFY upon reading a rather serious article today on Poynter that points to the darker side of the service, “…site raises concerns for journalists.”
While it’s all fun and games at first, there are incredible implications that can arise for those who do not take proper measures to check facts. And in a real-time world, getting to the truth is often an important task that goes undone. There’s an innate element of trust in social streams…either that or inherent gullibility or laziness. People tend to believe what they see and react accordingly. There are people who are already ReTweeting this post without getting this far to see it’s in fact a farce.
That should be a bit scary for journalists and anyone else concerned about potential hoaxes. Of course, it would be pretty easy to debunk one of these fake tweets if you just visit the person’s actual Twitter profile to see if the tweet really exists.
What’s the big deal you might ask?
Everything you see in the screenshot above is customizable. From username to date and time to the number of ReTweets and Favorites, you can put Tweets into anyone’s mouth or fingertips in real-time.
As Jeff Sonderman wisely cautions readers, “But what if it’s passed off as screenshot evidence of an allegedly deleted tweet? Much tougher to disprove. Proceed with caution.”
Indeed. Sometimes in real-time, we need to take a moment to make sure that what we see is right…right now. Verify. Fact check. Take a breath before reacting. At the same time, we need to take a moment to made sure what we also do is right…in real-time. As I’ve always said, with social media comes great responsibility. But what doesn’t change, even in the face of technology, is ethics. You are what you Tweet…even if you fake it.
UPDATE: Jason Falls (@JasonFalls) makes an important point…a point that I didn’t emphasize in my story. I’ll make the point now and also demonstrate his point of view through Tweets…
UPDATE 2: My friend Paul Sinclair also alerted me to a site where you can fake wikipedia pages.
Welcome to the season 4 premier of Revolution! Believe it or not, this is the fourth season of bring you some of the best minds exploring the revolution and evolution in tech, business, and culture. In this premier episode, I’m more than proud to host San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on the show. Together we explore how governments can adapt and improve services by embracing startups and the culture that helps them accelerate and excel.
As you’ll hear, Mayor Ed Lee believes that the answer begins with recognizing that the gap that separates how things are done and how they need to be done can decrease with technology. One of the first orders of business was to form a tech chamber of commerce, SF CITI (Citizens Initiative for Technology and Innovation) to leverage the collective power of the tech sector as a force for civic action in San Francisco. Companies include AT&T, Salesforce.com, Jawbone, Twitter, and Zynga.
Additionally, San Francisco partnered with Code for America to help re-examine the way the city delivers services to people who live in poverty. The goal is to create a database and network of hope.
Mayor Ed Lee’s work focuses on today and also 10-15 years down the road. His team and his partnership with entrepreneurs, non profits, local businesses and investors, and influencers is already expanding possibilities for how San Francisco can look over the years, improve relationships with and opportunities for citizens, and help businesses thrive…all through technology and the new perspective and capabilities that come along with it. As the Mayor believes, everything comes down to improving and leveraging civic engagement.
It is with the utmost excitement that I finally announce the availability of What’s the Future of Business, Changing the way businesses create experiences (www.wtfbusiness.com). You can get it now at Amazon, B&N, iTunes. It’s also available for Nook and Kindle.
It’s been a long journey to this point. Following my last book, The End of Business as Usual, I set out to answer an important question, if this is the end of business as usual, then what‟s next and what do we do about it?
The book explores in a fun, visual and insight way how connected consumerism breaks down into Four Moments of Truth, the role of technology in decision-making, and how businesses need to create experiences that mean something in each stage and also spark engagement between consumers based on those experience.
What’s the Future of Business also takes readers on an uplifting “hero’s journey” to help them bring about change from the inside out. The end result demonstrates how experience design amplifies customer relationships, drives word of mouth, and fosters organic advocacy. The point is that experiences can often trump your product or service.
WTF is the Experience: Where Business Meets Design
With the new book, I also set out to try something new with the very traditional model of book publishing. My goal was to make the book an experience and as such, we took a creative approach to living up to the book‟s tagline, “changing the way businesses create experiences.” It‟s designed to be immersive…think of it as an analog app.
The design is striking and also features a neat slider that guides readers through each chapter. First, the book is printed in 4 color and is square in shape, similar to that of a coffee table book. It was designed in partnership Mekanism (the team behind the popular Pepsi/Beyonce ad during Super Bowl 2013. Every chapter also features original artwork based on key themes within each by renown artist Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid) of Social Object Factory.
See for yourself…
Image Credit: Steven Gadecki
In business, social media is becoming a lot like email. Every company has it. In an Altimeter Group survey of 700 executives and social strategists fielded in late 2012, we found that 100 percent of participating enterprise organizations run to varying extents an active social media strategy. But unlike email, organizations haven’t mastered how to effectively communicate through the likes of Facebook or the tweets of Twitter.
Over the last several years, businesses have increased the pace of adopting social media strategies for use in marketing, service and other related capacities. What’s becoming very clear however is that adopting social media and understanding its impact on customer and employee relationships and also the bottom line are not always linked. This disconnect between social media strategies and business value is forcing many executives to rethink their overall approach and the infrastructure they built to support it. The result of this reflective process is motivating organizations to transform everyday social media initiatives into deeper social business strategies.
Charlene Li and I spent the better of the last year studying how organizations approach social media and how planning, processes, and outcomes mature over time. Our findings are significant and are included in our newly released report, “The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Media Transformation.”
The results of our work were surprising to say the least. We uncovered a notable gap between organizations that executive social media programs and campaigns and those that specifically invest in social business strategies. Altimeter defines the evolution to a Social Business as the deep integration of social media and social methodologies into the organization to drive business impact.
On one side the chasm, there are businesses (or departments) that are actively investing in social media without intentions or outcomes being tied to business goals. On the other side are organizations that are deeply integrating social media and social methodologies throughout the company to drive tangible business impact.
In fact, we found that only 34% of businesses felt that their social strategy was connected to business outcomes and just 28% felt that they had a holistic approach to social media, where lines of business and business functions work together under a common vision. A mere 12% were confident they had a plan that looked beyond the next year. And, perhaps most astonishing was that only one half of companies surveyed said that top executives were “informed, engaged and aligned with their companies’ social strategy.”
But there’s hope. Charlene and I learned that the two most important criteria for a successful social business strategy are that it is 1) clearly aligned with strategic business goals of an organization, and 2) has organizational alignment and support that enables execution of that strategy. What separates them are six distinct stages that we believe most organizations have or will traverse as they mature.
The six stages are as follows:
Stage 1: Planning – “Listen to Learn”
The goal of this first stage is to ensure that there is a strong foundation for strategy development, organizational alignment, resource development, and execution. Key tenets of this stage include listening to customers to learn about their social behavior; using pilot projects to prioritize social efforts; and using audits to assess internal readiness.
Stage 2: Presence – “Stake Our Claim”
Staking a claim represents a natural evolution from planning to action. As you move along the journey, your experience establishes a formal and informed presence in social media. Key tenets of this stage include leveraging social content to amplify existing marketing efforts, providing information to support post-transaction issues; and aligning metrics with departmental or functional business objectives.
Stage 3: Engagement – “Dialog Deepens Relationships”
When organizations move into this stage, they make a commitment where social media is no longer a “nice to “have” but instead, is seen as a critical element in relationship building. Key tenets of this stage include participating in conversations to build communities; using engagement and influence to speed path to purchase efficiently; providing support through direct engagement, as well as between people; establishing a risk management and training discipline to shift mindsets; and fostering employee engagement through enterprise social networks.
Stage 4: Formalized – “Organize for Scale”
The risk of uncoordinated social initiatives is the main driver moving organizations into Stage 4, where a formalized approach focuses on three key activities: establishing an executive sponsor; creating a hub, a.k.a. a Center of Excellence (CoE); and establishing organization-wide governance. Organizations should plan for a potential CoE pitfall, however, as creating one may lead to scaling problems in the long-term.
Stage 5: Strategic – “Becoming a Social Business”
As organizations migrate along the maturity model, the social media initiatives gain greater visibility as they begin to have real business impact. This captures the attention of C-level executives and department heads who see the potential of social. Key tenets of this stage include integrating social into all areas of the business; garnering executive engagement; forming a steering committee; and pushing social operations out to business units.
Stage 6: Converged – “Business is Social”
As a result of the cross-functional and executive support, social business strategies start to weave into the fabric of an evolving organization. To move into this stage, organizations need to make a commitment to a single business strategy process; merging social with digital; creating holistic customer experiences with converged media; and developing a holistic social culture.The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Media Transformation from Altimeter Group Network on SlideShare
Today’s leading companies are already becoming obsolete. Fortunately or unfortunately, they won’t know until it’s too late. In 10 years, 40% of the Fortune 500 was replaced. Irrelevance is only accelerating. It’s Digital Darwinism out here. #AdaptorDie!
Ignorance is bliss, until it’s not.
Technology…social, mobile, real-time, it’s changing the world. Customers are evolving into something new. They’re more connected, empowered, and demanding.
Can you answer the question everyone is asking?
What’s the future of business is not a question as much as it is the answer. And, it all comes down to you.
WTF explores in a fun, visual and insightful way, how connected consumerism breaks down into Four Moments of Truth, the role of technology in decision-making, and how businesses need to create experiences that mean something in each stage and also spark engagement between consumers based on those experiences. It’s also an experience in of itself. It’s a visually rich, square-shaped (coffee table style) four-color journey…think digital app but in an analog format.