Use Surveys to Find Collaboration Hot Spots within your Organization…


You have started the effort to introduce Social Business tenets within your organization.  Maybe you spoke to different business groups, you captured some key data on business processes, and have identified key stakeholders who could be part of your Social Business Program.

Hopefully you have executive support at the “CxO” level to have political support to continue the Social journey.   You will also need to speak to IT to understand the legacy technologies and new strategies coming in their roadmap.  Hopefully, your IT organization publishes its roadmap, but if they do not, you will need to work with executive relationships in order to understand and discover key projects that may impact your efforts.

Lots of HOPE…but….what if you don’t have executive support, or you have no quantitative data to show the organizational “pain” of being stuck in the web 1.0 world?  How can you discover the hard data that will allow you to tell the “Social” story? 

Simple, perform a survey….geared to the whole organization in order to understand how much time and effort they are wasting performing simple day-to-day tasks around collaboration.  In order to build that Social story, you need to create a day-in-the-life scenario from multiple levels in the organization.   This is a key point, it will be difficult enough to tell a story to a wide range of persons without having a connection to the various levels within the organization.  Upper management has a different experience sharing and obtaining information than lets say standard employees and lower management.  Conversely, there is more perceived risk in being a Social Business for senior execs than lower management and standard employees.

So below is examples of survey questions I have used to have created a complete story of the Collaborative pain points within the organization, building the narrative for transforming the company into more of a Social Business culture. 

I will show sample questions for several processes and technologies.  For many of the questions we want to capture the maximum and minimum times so we can average out the time allotted for each action.  This provides a better statistical distribution for more realistic results, which leads to realistic analysis of the efforts for employees and management.

Average time spent per day to complete the following tasks.

1. LOOKING FOR EXPERT or NEW INFORMATION (Looking for who is best qualified to answer a particular question or help out with an issue)  

This is a very typical problem with many organizations.  Most people do not leverage the corporate directory, and have poor enterprise search capabilities

2. SHARING OR SENDING INFORMATION MORE THAN ONCE(Duplicate requests for your information that you provide to others) –

This is probably one of the biggest pain point I have seen in any company.  Many companies have document or content publishing, but they can be spread across several systems that are not interconnected.  Many informational data types are documents which can take up large amounts of mailbox quotas or hard drives. 

3. SEARCHING FOR INFORMATION FOR MY OWN PROJECTS, ACTIVITIES or INITATIVES to get my job done (excluding meetings)

So this is another pain point that frustrates business processes owners and process consumers.  This will show just how poor the Search optimization efforts are, the lack of Content Management System & Processes, or how Siloed your company is when you cannot find the “RIGHT” or relevant information.  This is where a Social Business provides the ecosystem forming a “PULL” culture.  Employees can “PULL” information they need, to whatever device they choose, whenever they need it.

Working Across LOBs and Functions

1. Number of PROJECTS/PROGRAMS MANAGED PER WEEK (An activity is here defined as a set of tasks to reach an objective which requires the collaboration of several employees; (it can be a project, a sales or administrative process)

This question can be used to see how user’s work in their daily life.  Do they work within their own BU/Function, or do they regularly have the need to collaborate across the organization?

2. Percentage of the people you work with are inside your business Unit

3. Estimated days spent per month on BUSINESS TRIPS

While face-to-face is the preferred method of meeting for many people, having a robust collaborative infrastructure can alleviate the need for short 1-2 day or overnight  trips which for large number of employees become expensive.

Daily tools used to collaborate: How much time spent in each tool per day?

1. Phone (mobile or office phone)

2. Email

3. File Sharing (in Workspaces)

4.Intranet

5. Web Conferencing

6. In-Person Meetings

Collaboration requirements – What value do you see with the following capabilities?

High – Medium – Low – No Value – Capability unknown to me

1. A SINGLE Platform for Employees to share Knowledge, Blogs, Threaded Discussions, Forums, and Community-Based groups (i.e. Community of Practices, Community of Interest, Community of Experts) for information sharing and topics of interest?

2. Video conferencing?

3. Video Conferencing Room?

4. Desktop-to-Desktop Video conferencing?

5. To deliver collaboration capabilities to Mobile Devices?  Blackberry iPHONE, Android & Other Smartphones (Leading towards a BYOD opportunity)

6. Have a single Voice-mail for your desk and mobile phones? (unified messaging)

7. Instant messaging\Chatting\Presence Awareness embedded in: Intranet, Extranet, Various Web-Based Applications?

8. The need to collaborate with External customers and partners in a Centralized platform?

What do you think? (open questions)

1. From a collaboration point of view, what are the two most critical processes to be improved?

2. What are the two main barriers for collaboration in the organization?

Final Points

So this survey will provide some key metrics in understanding the state of collaboration within the organization.  What you should be looking for is the time spent collaborating within the organization, in how efficient and open collaboration is.  The results of this survey can be used to create a strong narrative in determining where to frame , how incorporating a Social Business culture in the organization.

The value however is in how to interpret the data collected from the survey.  Building the story of collaborative and business process challenges is one of the best ways to get executives and business stakeholders to recognize how moving the organization towards making the business more “Social”…..

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Social Business for 2012…Stand & Deliver


I apologize for not blogging for a while, I have been going through some professional challenges, and I am happy to say those challenges have passed, and I am ready to resume my ramblings and writings about things social….

In 2011, there was a lot of news coverage on the impact Social Media had regarding world events (Arab spring) and assorted other events in finance, media, etc.  With regard to Enterprise Social Networks, the big stories were the Social IPOs of LinkedIn, Jive Software, and many others.   While the market performance of these companies is still unfolding, and the feasibility of the long term sustainability is unknown, what is clear is the need for the vendors and partners of these Social Software companies…. that 2012 will be the year where the narrative moves from promises to executions regarding the business advantages Enterprise Social Software can provide. 

The public acceptance of Social Media is undeniable, yet within the enterprise there are still significant barriers to acceptance and proper adoption for the business benefits to be quantified.  Political and financial obstacles provide the greatest challenges, and without the proper change management program, employees can feel Enterprise Social Software is simply another tool; another layer of complexity delivered by an out-of-touch IT department. 

@Greg2dot0 published his 5 predictions for Social, and there are 2 that caught my attention:

(1) ROI of Social tied directly to process metrics.

Within my own enterprise social journey, I created the change management program around linking the usage of Social Software to hard numbers such as cost savings from on-boarding, reduction in attrition of employees, revenue from sales cycle velocity, etc. 

(2) Stop focusing on adoption and focus on solutions

As @Greg2dot0 points out, adoption is a phase, not a method, and I agree.  Executives investing in Enterprise Social Software want to know there are benefits for this investment.  They hear about the cultural changes, this new way of working, and the other benefits of Enterprise Social Software, but now the time must be to demonstrate real value, business value which can be measured and validated.

As IT departments are dealing with reducing budgets, consumerization of IT, and the loss of key talents to other companies, and they are struggling more than ever to deliver business value.  So it makes sense for IT to be more metrics and business focused when partnering to install Enterprise Social Software solutions. 

Cloud computing can offer the agile computing model necessary for IT to keep pace with business, but there is typically so much legacy IT within companies, the Cloud hybrid model is usually discussed for moving forward.  It is this legacy IT that also brings the opportunity regarding Enterprise Social Software.   Of course the cloud does not provide low-cost models, but the subscription model does provide opportunity for the beginnings of the change management programs needed to bring a socialized work enviornment to the company. 

While the employee has their day-in-the-life processes, which may be inefficient, challenging, or downright painful, a good Enterprise Social Software, architected along the transformation of business processes, can alleviate some of the employee’s pain , while churning some cultural transformation activities.  The decision can be made to cut ties with some of the legacy systems and leap forward using the newer Social applications.  It is key here to storyboard for employees, a clear, easy-to-understand model of how their work processes will improve, and how that translates into business value; either top or bottom lines.

So while 2012 brings new hope that Enterprise Social Software will become an integral part of the IT portfolio, and act as the basis for changing how we work, how the corporate DNA is shaped, and how business can be transformed, it is time for Enterprise Social Software, and those who champion its cause to STAND AND DELIVER….

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Thank You Steve Jobs


I have never purchased an Apple product, not for any reason other than I liked Microsoft computers, and by the time I wanted a MP3 player, smartphones had evolved with that capacity.  My parents bought my brother an Apple II back in the day, and he continues to use Apple products with great regard, so perhaps I need to reexamine my next computer purchase?

For me I see Steve Jobs and Apple in two distinct timelines.  Before Apple and to some extent Steve Jobs, held this esteem of a cool, hip, groundbreaking, culturally changing company, they both had demons to exercise.  Lets recall, Apple was in such a bad shape, it had to accept funding from the “evil empire”, Microsoft.  In 1985 Steve was forced from the company he founded, with many analysts writing him off, yet Apple did prosper without him, growing from $850 million to over $8 Billion in revenue.

When Steve’s company NeXT was acquired by Apple in 1996, this provided Steve a way back into Apple to work on his vision, with new respect from his Pixar dealings.  The first and in my opinion the most pivotal product release for Apple, and Steve was the iPod and subsequent iTunes music store, which was really the first “Application” store created.  The iPod introduced the general public\consumers to technology that was cool and easy to use.  Steve designed the iPod to be “human-focused” while many MP3 players before were “technology-focused”, and soon white headphones were appearing everywhere.

Of course the next release was the one that changed our world….the iPhone.  I recall seeing this in 2007, and thought immediately that this just changed everything.  In fact, I told representatives from RIM in the early 2008, if RIM did not have embrace this new touchscreen technology completely, they would be marginalized.  When the RIM guys in the room laughed and told me the phone was cool, but would never be accepted by business, I knew then and there RIM would be replaced in the enterprise in 5 years.

So while I am not an Apple customer, clearly the impact of Steve Jobs has and hopefully will continue to impact technology, observed by the copy-cat products that have since emerged form the iPhone launch.  Apple, under Steve Jobs perceptionally invented the Smartphone market, and created an entire genre of Mobile Devices that have fundamentally transformed how we do business, how we live, and how we relate to each other.

Steve Jobs did something very magical.  His executed vision was far more than cool technology, it actually created a new cultural paradigm, and in my opinion, without Steve Jobs and Apple, all the benefits of Social Business, Social Enterprise, Social Networking would just relegated to be just another web site.

So thank you Steve for being brave, for being daring, and for being honest with yourself and most importantly with all of us.

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Collaboration has changed….are YOU Ready for the “Empowered Enterprise”?


When I began working on Collaboration within organizations over 15+ years ago, it was called “Messaging & Collaboration”.  Email was the primary collaboration medium and it was an excellent technology.  Other than in-person meetings or voice calls for collaboration, email allowed collaboration over distances between multiple persons or groups.  Document Collaboration was most popular amongst the collaborators via email , yet unknown to us practioners, siloes were being formed.  If you were not on the email thread you were out of the conversation.  Email, Instant Messaging, Portals,  and other collaborative technologies increased the abilities of users to collaborate and work more effectively, yet silos still were being formed and thus existed as barriers to true leveraging of Collective Intelligence.  Just being able to collaborate on documents, projects, send large attachments, and instantly communicate did not fundamentally transform the enterprise to leverage the “Collective Intelligence” of organizations.  In order to capture this intelligence, we have recently seen the explosion of a Social Networking paradigm within the enterprise paralleling the advent of Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, MySpace, etc.  It is now called “Social Business”, and it is a great term because it encompasses internal and external communications that occur within business. Linking people across the enterprise along with business processes can unleash new avenues of innovation and empowerment.   This new type of Enterprise Collaboration when mixed with Social Business concepts allowing the growth of an organization’s Collective Intelligence creates what I call the Empowered Enterprise”.

Enterprise Collaboration key tenets

First is Informational Acceleration.  Today Information is produced and shared with rapid availability both inside and outside the firewall.  Digital Information is now produced natively and organizations must review their existing information lifecycles to architect methods to provide that information to enterprise & public consumers over digital mediums.   When a company is slow to adapt to changing business climates, you can be sure their competition is not waiting…all markets are too competitive for companies to take their time in adapting the Collaboration Strategy to their Business Strategy.  Innovation comes without warning, from anywhere at anytime.  With the internet, information is now available globally.  Enterprises need to be adaptable and agile to leverage these rapid advancements in order to maintain competitive advantage.

Second is the Technology available to foster this collaboration of digital content.  Sharepoint, JIVE, IBM Connections, Facebook, Twitter, Quora, NewsGator, SalesForce.com’s CHATTER, and many other collaborative platforms provide the technology necessary to provide the ecosystem needed to lubricate the Collective Intelligence efforts.   The advancements of Cloud Computing & Mobile Devices have provided new capabilities IT teams can now leverage to deploy these various technologies with little up front investment necessary to capture value. 

Third is the Consumerization effect on collaboration that has swept into every company.  With the advent of the Internet, almost all types of collaboration is now possible, interacting with anyone from anywhere at anytime.  Employees (& business units) experience this outside the office and cannot understand why IT cannot provide the same level of capabilities at the same cost…(Low or Free!).  This phenomenon has led to challenges to IT and CIOs who are trying to balance collaboration capabilities with legislative regulations around data protection.  An example of this is evident with Mobile Devices;  tablets, Smartphones, Blackberry, Android & Apple devices, Windows Mobile devices, and others are incredibly powerful and capable devices,  empowering the consumer’s and their Collective Intelligence, and the enterprise is still struggling to catch up and understand the “value” and justify the rational of a ‘”BYOD” (Bring your own device) mindset to the Enterprise.

The Fourth tenet is the Perceptions\Expectations of new employees coming into the workforce. These Millennials or Generation “F” (Facebook) employees grew up with the speed and availability of information as normal as playing with conventional toys were to older employees.  To them, not having these advanced collaboration capabilities means your enterprise is old-fashioned, restrictive, and too slow to provide them the instant gratification they grew up with.  To this add the fact younger employees have a different perspective and outlook on the world; the lines between companies and cultures are blurred to them, they tend to be more altruistic than older employees.  Younger workers have been empowered by their parents and teachers their whole lives and expect to experience the same level of empowerment in the enterprise….with little restrictions or rules…You may not like to hear it, but it is a reality.

Collaboration and the expectations around how workers share information, knowledge, and ideas has certainly changed.  How will your organization prepare to become the Empowered Enterprise?

Focus on People

I believe the key to the Empowered Enterprise is to first focus on PEOPLE, vis-à-vis the culture of the company.  Your culture dictates directly how your organization effectively collaborates, innovates, moves at the pace of information and is competitive.  If your culture is built on a Command & Control model, you are not leveraging your greatest corporate asset…the Tacit Knowledge each employee has and wants to share!  The sense of belonging to a larger social consciences that can change the organization for the better.  Generally, employees want to do more and give to the company their best effort.  Companies need to have faster decision making processes, empowering employees to perform under the new global business climates.  Command & Control cultures prohibit that empowerment and cause frustration, limiting your company’s ability to innovate and adapt to changing business conditions.

In order to craft the Empowered Enterprise leveraging a Social Collaborative Program, a very strong Change Management Program must be architected within your company.  This Change Management Program needs to have some key components in order to be successful.

Key Change Management Points

1. Identifying groups & communities of practice within the company that are already successful who can be enlisted to demonstrate value and to commercialize to other employees the tacit value of this new type of collaboration.  Community Managers will help train employees how to work within this new ecosystem, and this builds the WIIFM (What’s in it For Me) use cases and helps spread adoption and acceptance.

2. Strong Top-Down sponsorship for a Community Management Program; dedicated employees to act as advocates for this new way of collaboration.  Community Managers engaging across all levels of the organization will be key to combat resistance from personal who see this new collaboration paradigm as a direct threat to their established power base.  Senior Management must openly endorses Communities of Practice (CoP), Communities of Interest (CoI), and Communities of Experts (CoE);  drivers to empower employees and bridge silos, it can lead to rapid acceptance and adoption.

3. Communication, Communication, Communication!….too much communication is not enough in this effort.  It will be key to send out frequent communications on how this new collaborative culture can benefit the employees, the company, and lead to greater organizational performance…video communications are powerful enablers to link faces to the overall effort in changing the culture.  Show how segments of the organization are becoming more successful within the new collaborative ecosystem, and others will want to follow.

4. Patience and Expectation Management will be key as not all of the organization will jump to embrace this new collaborative culture.  Remember, collaboration is about people, and change is not comfortable for everyone.   Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) linked to qualitative and quantitative values can be helpful to demonstrate value and drive acceptance and adoption.  But keep in mind you will NEVER have 100% of the users actively contributing.  Choose your KPIs carefully and define success using realistic measures.

5. Do NOT deploy the technology platform will ALL features and functionality on Day One.  If you deploy with too many capabilities, you could confuse your employees and they will see the platform as just another tool.  I recommend identifying key capabilities and deploying with a minimum of functionality enough to on-board the users.  Publish a roadmap of capabilities to spur interest, excitement, and provide another reason to return to the platform. 

6. Do not be too restrictive in the beginning of the deployment.  Allow for Communities and Groups to be created by all users.  Provide awareness training to solicit good behavior and best practice, but don’t be too authoritarian or you will have users complaining about Command & Control behaviors and they could abandon the platform.  Make the idea of using this new Social Collaborative Platform fun and promote an openness for users to share.  Remove as many barriers to resistance as possible.  Vocalize the use and promote early adopters.

In Closing…

You need to understand in todays’ world information control is really an illusion.  Technology has enabled people to access information from anywhere, anytime, at a rapid pace.  Instead of trying to control the information flows,  it is better to channel it approriately.  Employees today are being asked to do more with less, and the business climate has forced companies to prioritize investments in technology choices.   Align the technology with business models fostering employee and customer empowerment, and an organization’s culture can become its greatest asset if allowed to flourish and prosper in alignment of these business goals.

Collaboration is no longer just about processes and technology.  It cannot be, as the speed of information and available choices in business-to-business and consumer buying behaviors has forced organizations to evolve or lose market share.  Certainly each organization has to tailor its culture to maximize its business model, but to compete at a global level, you need to unleash your greatest asset; your people, empower them by establishing a open culture devoid of roadblocks and bureaucracy. Give them the atmosphere to create, innovate, and share information openly.  This cultural shift of empowerment has to come from every level of the organization.  It must be communicated from the CEO all the way down.  Foster and reward that culture of empowerment and you will see how your company becomes the “Empowered Enterprise”.

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Your social network now becomes the “Universal Network”…


univeral network

If you look at how many people are on the various social networking sites, the total would be well over 1.5 billion, with 900,000 million users on Facebook and Twitter alone.  Imagine how many people that is and the impact on our lives….Sharing photos, news, connecting to family and friends, promoting events, ideas, growing businesses, etc.  Now what if I told you all those uses of Social Networking pales in comparison to what is coming?  Imagine your network expanding 10-fold, 20-fold? Imagine being connected to more than humans, Imagine being connected to almost everything you own, everything you use, all the time, anywhere?

So now your saying, Richard; I don’t want any more connections, any more things to look at on my wall.  I was drinking from the firehose before, and now your going to double it???? no thanks…….well, your Universe could get a whole lot larger….

Toyota announced it was setting up a social network between cars and their owners using SalesForce.com’s Chatter and Microsoft.  The impact of this is huge, but not from the sole standpoint of your vehicle tweeting you or FaceBooking-ing you when it has something to share.  No the real impact of this is NOT from only the consumer side, but more importantly from the Industrial and Manufactoring  sectors involved with Building Management, Remote Monitoring, and assorted other Industrial uses like Energy Management Systems.  The events with Toyota will no doubt help fuel the race for consumer productsd being able to share with their owners various status updates and other engagements, pinning on the heels of the SmartGrid and SmartMeters ability to inform you thru your Social Network and Mobile Devices of occurring changes to their status and your environment.

The floodgates could begin to open up on this with the success of the Toyota Social Experiment, and we will surely see copycats in the consumer space, beginning with autos, expanding to appliances, potentially expanding to all types of objects.  With so many additional devices connected to the internet, the potential for abuse is clearly increased exponentially.  I also wonder should this new paradigm unfold as expected, would it signal a dramatic change in Social Network adoption?

I guess our Social Network is about to get just a little bit larger…

 

June 9th update: Enterasys rolls out software-allows netwrk admins 2 access mgmt system viaTwitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & SFDC’s Chatter. http://tinyurl.com/3mva28z

So here is another example of what I was saying….Now all types of devices will take part on the social wave, expanding your network…

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One-Sixteenth of an inch is all that separates us….


One-Sixteenth of an inch is all that separates us from each other.  “I’m not going to be so petty as to let one-sixteenth of an inch come between us! We need each other’s wisdom and encouragement. We may be different cultures, nationalities and skin colors; but let’s remember we are all God’s children”…

So here I was listening to Television Preacher talk about our racial differences, different prejudices and how it limits our ability to reach and connect with God.   How long-held beliefs could limit us from becoming the person God wants us to be.  This man spoke how when we get to heaven there is NOT going to be a section for all different religions, races, creeds, how we are all going to be together in God’s presence.

This man went on to speak about “Invisible Walls”, and when you go beyond those walls you never know what is on the other side.  How we are all from different groups, different backgrounds, yet how we need to break through those “Invisible Walls”.  To get past traditions of separation; “this is the way we used to do things”…so we can all come together…to accomplish something special…

So while I was listening to this man, I thought that I could take what he was saying, without any moral equivalency of course, and transmute that message to how Organizations move to becoming a true Social Business. I mean look at what the parallels are, and they are striking:

Leads to Prejudices Prejudice & People Prejudice & Organizations
“Invisible Walls” (ignorance of other’s way of thinking and why) x x
Different Groups (religious groups or organizational towers) x x
Different Geographies (align with culture differences) x x
Different Beliefs(religious, doctrines) x x
Different Cultures & Traditions (how we do things here…) x x
Unwilling to adopt new ideas x x
Not from my “neighborhood\business unit” x x

So we can see from this table, there are in fact some parallels in both how we rationalize and quantify prejudice against people and organizational prejudices.  Again there is NO MORAL EQUIVALENCY, but the fact is if you take the table above, and inject Enterprise 2.0\Social Business doctrines, you can break down the same types of prejudice within the organization:

  • I am in the US division, and those Europeans’ analyze too much..
  • Those Americans rush to decisions without taking all the factors into account…
  • IT guys always say “NO”. They don’t understand my needs.
  • My manager is in another continent.  He can’t understand me…and doesn’t care about me…
  • I cannot believe that guy\girl was made a manager…I would be better than him\her…
  • India outsourcers don’t know how to think out of the box…
  • Those Europeans workers are always on vacation…they are lazy…
  • Finance thinks it is all about money, they don’t care about customers…
  • My department knows how to run correctly…
  • I can’t stand working with that group..
  • I feel like no one understands me in this company…
  • Those guys the factory are useless, and who cares what they think…
  • So in looking at these above statements, I am sure you have heard or said some of them before in your own company.  With the advent of Enterprise 2.0\Social Business platforms, there may now be the method to break down those prejudices, to break through the “Invisible Walls”.

    Capability Effect on Organization
    Discussions\Forums Start to talk & engage with each other…
    Communities
    (CoP, CoI, CoE)
    Bring different groups together…under common points…to find consensus..
    Ranking\Rating show true knowledge & verify expertise from others
    Microblogging Communicate
    Blogs Post opinion and get feedback.  Engage..Share ideas…
    Wikis Teach others, learn from others…

    Enterprise 2.0\Social Business is meant to allow companies to come together for common purposes. To be able to break down those organizational silos, those Invisible Walls built up over long periods of time. To be able to openly communicate & collaborate in ways we never thought possible.  To find common ground, dispelling long held traditions that different parts of the company could not work together at all levels.  To break down the Passive Resistance that often derails what the leadership envisioned for the company.

    Maybe I am too idealistic, but since almost one-third of our lives are spent at work, if our companies embraced a culture of inclusion, acceptance, tolerance, empathy, diversity of thought, sharing of new ideas, and promotes organizational harmony…the very traits of a Social Business or an Enterprise 2.0 organization…perhaps this would trickle into our personal lives and effect the way we think about a great many things….

    So the bottom line is there is only One-Sixteenth of an inch that separates us…let us see how we can move past that to work together.   We need each other’s wisdom and encouragement, and while we may be from different cultures and backgrounds, we should all strive to work together…under one company….

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    Effective Marketing is still about the Message….NOT about the Social!


    I was thinking about all the posts I have seen, and even written about Social Media “Jumping the Shark”.  Is Social Media just a fad?  When will it fade away?  I don’t think it will fade way, but evolve and be a key part of the Marketer’s portfolio or toolkit. 

    I thought about marketing campaigns that failed using Social Media, and if you listen to the pundits, who espouse Social Media as the key to all customer engagements, the key to “driving your business to new heights of profitability”.  I say not true! 

    With the advent of Social Media, much of the focus around marketing campaigns has been around the technology provisions that Social Media affords.   Blogs, Tweets, Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups, “Like” buttons, YouTube, and Geo-location services are among the more prominent technologies.  These technologies are indeed powerful, yet there are still stories of failed Social Marketing campaigns which used these technologies.  So why did they fail?  What was it about these Social Marketing campaigns that caused them to fail?

    First let’s look at what makes a good Marketing Campaign:

    1. It should produce actual results.  Amazing huh?  The campaign is tied to a strategy or action plan.  This provides clear goals for the marketers to focus the campaign on.  Metrics need to be captured to validate the original marketing plans.

    2. Generates Continuous Information activities.  The campaign should generate an ongoing information turn; to identify the key contacts within your market segments, to identify the profile characteristic’s of your customer base, and to trace your brand’s perception, your marketplace positioning, and customer’s preferences, etc. 

    3. Reinforces the brand identity.  The campaign must reinforce the brand and its positioning within the marketplace, or you can confuse your audience. Good Communication is still KING!

    4. Interacts & Connects with customers on a personal level.  The campaign needs to reach the emotional connections that customers and potential customers can envision and link to your product\service.

    5. Does not Piss People off.  The marketing campaign should not annoy people, unless you’re trying to make a point that your product or service alleviates pain points within people’s lives.  Even then the campaign should not make people work too hard to capture the concepts of the campaign.

    So now we see what a good marketing campaign should encompass, to add social media elements simply should amplify the message your trying to deliver to customers and potential customers.   There are some pretty famous failed campaigns that attempted to use Social Media to convey a message, but clearly were not thought thru:

    1. Wal Mart‘s Facebook Campaign – Wal Mart here tried using Facebook pages feature to market itself in a different image, “practicality” vs. “style”, and failed miserably as opposed to Target, the company!
    2. Skittles Twitter Campaign – Although it should have worked out in their favor, skittles underestimated the power of tweeting when it utilized Twitter, which in turn turned what could have been a great campaign against them through the attacks they received about their product through the Twitter community!
    3. Kiva.org‘s Twitter Campaign – By applying a the “#followfriday” concept, Kiva.org tried to tremendously increase the number of followers and sadly, they failed (we think it’s due to choosing the wrong audience).
    4. Starbucks Social Media Campaign – Though their idea to leverage the customer community to drive co-innovation is a great one in theory, Starbucks less than planned or integrated campaign failed to gain the feedback sought.
    5. Advani‘s Political Social Media Campaign – Though his people were on the right track utilizing a blog, a Facebook page, a Youtube channel and others, there was too much emphasis on advertising rather than communication which lead to a less than desired outcome.
    6. Molson Canadian Facebook Photo Contest Campaign – The photo required to enter the draw for a trip to Cancun promoted irresponsible drinking and lead to the plummet of the campaign!
    7. Target Rounder‘s Facebook Campaign – One which utilized a lie created just to gain more fans and a larger community!
    8. Brinpopcorn.com‘s Social Media Spammer – They tried to bribe top diggers to place them on the first page!
    9. General Motor‘s SUV “create your own advert” Viral Marketing Campaign – The problem was that the environmentalists created negative ads!
    10. Resident Evil‘s Viral Marketing Campaign – Sony’s Resident Evil mobile marketing campaign backfired when people thought they are receiving actual mobile viruses!

    So in looking at the above campaigns, we can see almost all of the above failures did not conform to good marketing campaign standards.  Tweets and Facebook Posting mean nothing without some good strategy and planning behind it.  I like to review any Social Media campaign, and after stripping away all the technology, examine if the campaign could stand on its own merits to accomplish the objectives?  If it could, then adding the technology should be a boost to the execution.

    So the moral is by now we have learned so much from failed Social Marketing Campaigns, is use the power of Social Media technologies not as the core of the campaign, but as the lubricant between your audience and intended message.

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