20:20 Social Position Paper on Social Business Strategy

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In this position paper, we have offered the outline of a methodology for aligning Marketing with Operations, and using emerging social technologies for transforming business, instead of merely reaching out to customers with marketing messages.

Also see: http://gaurav.2020social.com/position-paper-the-2020-social-approach-to-social-business-strategy/

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20:20 Social Position Paper on Social Business Strategy

  1. 1. 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy: A Position Paper The 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy September 12, 2009 Gaurav Mishra (gaurav@2020social.com) Dave Evans (dave@2020social.com) This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. 2020social.com Gaurav Mishra and Dave Evans Page 1 of 9
  2. 2. 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy: A Position Paper Introduction: The Need to Align Marketing and Operations The emergence of social technologies -- that enable customers to connect and share experiences regardless of physical location or prior acquaintance -- is reshaping the ways in which businesses take themselves to market. It’s an accepted notion now (at least for almost everyone reading this position paper) that the traditional top down model of marketing is in trouble. It’s no longer enough for an advertising agency to come up with a positioning for the brand, and push it out to customers through a mix of media channels. The brand is now realized on the Social Web, in conversations between strangers, who then amplify, quash, or otherwise reshape each other’s opinion on the product or service, often based on first-hand experiences. These two sets of messages play off against each other in the mind of the prospective customer, and increasingly, customers are listening to their peers, instead of marketing messages. The Social Web exposes any misalignment between implicit or explicit expectations set by the CMO in marketing messages and the actual experience delivered by the organization run by the COO. It is therefore critical that the CMO and COO be in absolute alignment, so that the organization (over-)delivers on what the brand has promised, leading to customer delight, loyalty and advocacy. The alignment between Marketing and Operations is a critical, but too often overlooked, element in leveraging the power of the Social Web. The Social Web is seen too often as just another media channel. It’s not. While a well-conceived presence on Facebook or Twitter is valuable from the perspective of running targeted ad campaigns or viral conversational marketing campaigns, that view is inherently limited. It’s time, we believe, to step up from Social Media Marketing to Social Business Strategy. "Social Business Strategy" (social technologies + business strategy) is different from "Social Media Marketing" (social media + marketing) in two important ways. First, when you stop looking at social technologies through the "media" lens, you realize that content and conversation are only the first level in what these technologies enable: collaboration, community and collective intelligence are the other levels. Second, when you stop looking at social technologies through the "marketing" lens, you realize that their impact goes beyond merely reaching out to customers, to connecting customers, partners and employees. In this position paper, we offer a step-by-step systematic approach to aligning Marketing with Operations, and using emerging social technologies for transforming business, instead of merely reaching out to customers with marketing messages, through yet another media channel. 2020social.com Gaurav Mishra and Dave Evans Page 2 of 9
  3. 3. 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy: A Position Paper The Experience Ecosystem At the core of our approach to Social Business Strategy is the idea that conversations are driven by experiences. If you want to drive positive conversations about your brands, you should start by creating an experience that is worth talking about. The Experience Ecosystem provides the framework for creating talk-worthy experiences. It consists of all the touchpoints between the organization and the customer, including products, services and partners, sales and support channels and interactions, and the values for which the organization and its individual brands stand for. Working within the Experience Ecosystem, the best way to create an experience worth talking about is to design it collaboratively, with customers, employees and partners. Social Applications for ideation, support and expertise-sharing enable such collaboration. A collaboratively designed, talk-worthy Experience Ecosystem often results in the formation of communities of customers, partners, employees and even citizens. Community Platforms catalyze such communities and enable them to connect even more closely, ensuring deeper connections and even more widespread circulation of positive conversations. 2020social.com Gaurav Mishra and Dave Evans Page 3 of 9
  4. 4. 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy: A Position Paper Deconstructing the Experience Ecosystem So, the obvious question arises: How do you collaboratively design an Experience Ecosystem that drives conversations and results in close-knit communities? You start by listening. Your customers, partners, and employees are talking to each other about you, often in public, and their conversations include a treasure trove of feedback about your Experience Ecosystem, along with ideas to improve it. In short, they offer clear signals as to how they will take ownership for the experiences and conversations that will drive your brand. However, listening is only the first step. You also need to respond to these people and participate in these conversations, not with the intent to direct them in one direction or another, but with the intent to engage them and learn more. Over time, as you track these conversation threads, you should seek ways to build profiles for the people who are participating in these conversations, and identify which conversations, and which people specifically, are the most valuable to you. 2020social.com Gaurav Mishra and Dave Evans Page 4 of 9
  5. 5. 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy: A Position Paper Some of these conversation threads will involve responding to and converting prospects who are considering your products or services. Other conversation threads will relate to supporting existing customers seeking an explanation or a solution. Still other conversation threads will be about customers, prospects, partners or employees giving you feedback on your Experience Ecosystem. In each of these cases, you should use Social Applications -- small, distinct code objects that connect people, facilitate sharing, and enable coordinated experiences -- to tie these conversation threads with other similar conversation threads and leverage the power of collaboration. A prospect considering your offering may benefit from the reviews and experiences of other customers. An existing customer might find that other customers have already shared useful tips on how to solve common problems. Finally, customers can collaborate to find the best ideas to improve your products, services, and sales and support processes, or design entirely new ones. Once you have collaboratively designed a talkworthy Experience Ecosystem, you should build Community Platforms to catalyze the formation of communities, and transform customers, partners and employees into evangelists. Leveraging the Underlying Social Elements It is important to leverage the three underlying Social Elements in your Social Business Strategy. We refer to these as the Social Object, Ladder of Engagement, and Social Graph. Conversations and communities don’t happen in a vacuum, they coalesce around Social Objects. Often, campaigns, and even brands and organizations aren’t compelling enough as Social Objects themselves. So, you need to associate your brand with a bigger Social Object: a lifestyle, a passion, or a cause. First, identify possible Social Objects, their relative importance and their inter-connections through something like a mind mapping exercise. Then, arrange them in a Social Object Hierarchy. That done, it becomes straightforward to evaluate and select one or more related Social Objects and build talk-worthy experiences around them. The next step is to construct a Ladder of Engagement, clearly identifying the various levels at which customers, partners and employees will be engaged in the Experience Ecosystem. We use a basic seven-step Ladder of Engagement for the customer: consume content (read a post), curate content (Digg a video), create content (post a photo), collaborate (edit a wiki), try offering (sampling), purchase offering and evangelize offering (create a fan page). Then, we list the expected interactions under each of the seven levels and map them to functionalities, features and metrics. In most customer-centric organizations, the Ladder of Engagement for partners and employees is often a derivative of the Ladder of Engagement for customers. Once the Ladder of Engagement is mapped out, and the infrastructure to enable it is in place, all tactical marketing campaigns, including engagement and activation programs, 2020social.com Gaurav Mishra and Dave Evans Page 5 of 9
  6. 6. 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy: A Position Paper effectively serve the purpose of transitioning users to higher levels in the ladder of engagement. Seen from this perspective, marketing campaigns fit into a broader long-term strategy so that they build upon previous campaigns. One way to transition users up the Ladder of Engagement is to integrate their Social Graph. A user’s Social Graph on a social platform is the sum total of their profiles, relationships and interactions on the platform. Users have separate social graphs on different social platforms and connecting those serves two important purposes. The user experience is seamless across platforms, so user engagement is deeper. Not only that, the organization gets more visibility into the users’ overall social behavior and can engage with them at multiple touchpoints. It’s becoming increasingly easier to integrate the users’ Social Graph across brands, campaigns and social platforms, using RSS feeds, widgets, and APIs. 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy In essence, this approach to Social Business Strategy involves asking three questions related to conversations, collaboration, and community. 2020social.com Gaurav Mishra and Dave Evans Page 6 of 9
  7. 7. 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy: A Position Paper Question 1: How can we build an Experience Ecosystem to activate customers to higher levels in the Ladder of Engagement, ultimately leading to trial, purchase, loyalty, and advocacy? Question 2: How can we build Social Applications to integrate the Social Graph (profiles, relationships and interactions) of customers, partners and employees, and enable collaboration in the areas of ideation, support and expertise sharing? Question 3: How can we build vibrant Community Platforms around Social Objects (lifestyle, passion, or cause), that are bigger than the organization, brand or campaign itself? Case Studies: Dell and General Motors We have used the well-studied case studies on General Motors and Dell because as well known examples they clearly show the direct application of the methodology and approach we have outlined in this paper. As with any grounded, analytical method, the real proof comes through the use of the methodology to predict or drive success. These projects are underway now and will form the basis for future cases. 2020social.com Gaurav Mishra and Dave Evans Page 7 of 9
  8. 8. 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy: A Position Paper GENERAL MOTORS In January of 2005, General Motors VP Bob Lutz took a then-revolutionary (and still far too uncommon) step: he launched his “FastLane” blog (http://fastlane.gmblogs.com). FastLane earned wide praise from social media practitioners and business executives alike as a solid first step to reconnect with customers and better understand the issues, opportunities and trends that were driving potential car buyers to other auto manufacturers. However, the FastLane blog in itself was not sufficient. GM stopped short of using customer inputs to collaboratively design its Experience Ecosystem and still risks, at best, failing to build early evangelists for its next generation of cars, and, at worst, building the wrong cars altogether. GM is now going further with GM Labs (http://thelab.gmblogs.com) where participants can read about advanced automobile concepts and share their thoughts in public. We congratulate GM for taking this step and pressing further into collaborative design, but believe that it still has a lot of ground to cover. DELL In August of 2005, in an open letter to Michael Dell, which started the “Dell Hell” meme, blogger Jeff Jarvis wrote: “Your customer satisfaction is plummeting, your market share is shrinking, and your stock price is deflating.” He was right: Dell was indeed struggling. To its credit, Dell ultimately listened to Jeff and went about the task of reconnecting itself to its customer base. Since then, it has implemented the Salesforce-based Dell Ideastorm ideation community (http://ideastorm.com), started a Lithium-based support community (http://en.community.dell.com), leveraged Twitter as a sales channel (http://twitter.com/delloutlet) and built the “Digital Nomads” (http://digitalnomads.com) and “Take Your Own Path” (http://takeyourownpath.com) communities to tap into big Social Objects: being a global citizen and being a self-made entrepreneur, respectively. Bob Pearson, the (then) Dell Communities and Conversations VP, who headed Dell’s social media program, saw integrating social media within Dell as the first step, and using social media to revolutionize the business infrastructure of Dell as the second step. This ties in directly with our theme of tapping into conversations on the Social Web to collaboratively design the Experience Ecosystem. Conclusion: Social is Not Only About Marketing In this position paper, we have offered the outline of a methodology for aligning Marketing with Operations, and using emerging social technologies for transforming business, instead of merely pushing marketing messages to customers. We will be delighted if you remember these three highlights from this position paper – 1. Step up from Social Media Marketing to Social Business Strategy 2020social.com Gaurav Mishra and Dave Evans Page 8 of 9
  9. 9. 20:20 Social Approach to Social Business Strategy: A Position Paper Use social technologies, and the value systems embedded in them, in an integrated manner, across customers, partners and employees, to transform your business and create long term business value. 2. Align Marketing and Operations to design a talk-worthy Experience Ecosystem As Dell’s Bob Pearson noted, creating positive experiences directly drives positive conversations. Listen to and learn from your customers, partners and employees. Use Social Applications to engage them in collaboratively designing your products, services, and customer-facing processes like sales and support. 3. Catalyze a community around the Social Object, not the Brand. More often than not, your brand is not an integral part of your customer’s social life, so don’t try to build a community around your brand. Instead, catalyze a community around a big Social Object -- a lifestyle, passion, or cause – and associate your brand with it. Remember, social is not only about marketing. About 20:20 Social 20:20 Social is a Social Business Strategy company, serving Indian and international clients. We add value with our strategic approach and unique understanding of business, communities and social technologies. Contact at contact@2020social.com. Gaurav Mishra is the CEO of 20:20 Social. Previously, Gaurav has held senior marketing roles at the Tata Group, taught social media at Georgetown University as the 2008-09 Yahoo! Fellow, and co-founded Vote Report India. Gaurav holds an MBA from IIM Bangalore. Contact at gaurav@2020social.com. Dave Evans is the Consulting Director of 20:20 Social. Dave is the author of the top-selling book “Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day" and serves on the boards of several startups. Dave holds a BS in Physics and Mathematics from the State University of New York. Contact at dave@2020social.com. Copyright This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. 2020social.com Gaurav Mishra and Dave Evans Page 9 of 9

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