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Social Networks and Companies

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Why should companies care about social networks? What do social networks have to do with the perceived credibility of a company? - The presentation was part of a Finpro company workshop where sustainability was the wider issue.

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Social Networks and Companies

  1. 1. Social Networks and Companies Workshop “Consumer Driven Changes in Energy Consumption“ November 12, 2008; Ines Seidel, Finpro
  2. 2. 1. Relevance of social networks • Some examples • Emerging opportunities 2. Credibility • Some examples • Dos and Don’ts Picture: cobrasoft © Finpro
  3. 3. Relevance: Social media activity becoming mainstream n t ent le o en fi g m m pro k blo om om e s g a ac a c sit ge etwor blo n ow a e eg e n w eav blo s v Ma cial n my ea new ad La La e t o tar R as on on S 72,8% 57,3% 54,8% 45,8% 38,7% “Which of the following activities have you ever done?“ Active Internet Users in 29 countries worldwide. (UniversalMcCann, March 2008) © Finpro
  4. 4. Relevance: Strategic shopping and Word of Mouth Have you ever done this in relation to a company you do not trust? Refused to buy their products/services Criticized them to people you know Refused to invest in them Refused to work for them Investigated more about their activities Ignored attempts to communicate with you Shared your opinion on the web 0 20 40 60 80 100 Source: Edelmann: Trust Barometer 2007 (3100 Global Respondents) © Finpro
  5. 5. Relevance: Large audience for critical citizens Flickr, the popular photo sharing website, is used by sceptical citizens as well as NGOs to document critical opinion as evidence Pictures: flickr screenshots © Finpro
  6. 6. Relevance: Users may rate a company‘s claims Websites like greenwashingindex or stopgreenwash (by Greenpeace) invite people to rate ads Pictures: greenwashingindex screenshots © Finpro
  7. 7. Relevance: Communities give shopping advice At Utopia (Germany), the community for “strategic consumption”, consumers give each other advice on what to shop with an ethical conscience Pictures: utopia.de screenshot © Finpro
  8. 8. Relevance: Networks take action in real world Carrotmob (U.S.) Let’s Do It! 2008 (Estonia) “Mobs” of shoppers as the carrot for 3% of Estonians collected driving greener business practices – 10.000 t of garbage on 3.5.2008 shops agree to use a percentage of a throughout Estonia – the event communities’ shopping on energy was organized by internet efficiency improvement. entrepreneurs using Google maps and GPS phones. Pictures: carrotmob video, detail of teeme2008.ee map © Finpro
  9. 9. Relevance: 1. Risk Management Listen in to Social Networks in order to • Know what is criticised • Monitor your image • (and that of your products, competitors, industry) • Trace relevant consumer trends Pictures: tony clough © Finpro
  10. 10. Relevance: 2. Activate Networks Networks as marketing platform • Crowdsourcing innovation, marketing, financing,… • Build products around communities • Picture: cobrasoft © Finpro
  11. 11. 1. Relevance of Communities • Some examples • Emerging opportunities 2. Credibility • Some examples • Dos and Don’ts Picture: cobrasoft © Finpro
  12. 12. Opportunity: Marketing through Social Networks Pictures: utopia.de screenshot © Finpro
  13. 13. Opportunity: Crowdsourcing Ideas, Marketing,… • My Starbucks Idea is an interactive forum where people can post and rate ideas for a better Starbucks service • Many ideas relate to making Starbucks greener: reusable sleeves, recycle bins, reusable cups, locally sourced baked goods, fair trade coffee,… © Finpro
  14. 14. Opportunity: Build Products around Communities Windunie (Netherlands) • a collective of 230 wind turbine owners, most of whom are farmers who operate wind turbines as an extra source of income. • Produced energy is sold directly to housholds and business clients • Windunie's customers can pick a specific farm they want to buy electricity from. • Consumers not only enjoy renewable energy, but also the added value of supporting local farmers. © Finpro
  15. 15. Opportunity: Switch to networking • Identify relevant stakeholders and communities. • Decide if and how you want to engage with them. Do you have the resources? • Track opinions. Be prepared to hear good and bad – and respond honestly. • Partner with existing communities or set up your own, if you are big enough. • Listen to your users‘/clients‘ advice on change • Learn from successful and failing other social networks and crowdsourcing projects! Picture: bobmorley © Finpro
  16. 16. 1. Relevance of Communities • Some examples • Emerging opportunities 2. Credibility • Some examples • Dos and Don’ts Picture: cobrasoft © Finpro
  17. 17. Royal Dutch Shell: Accused of Greenwashing Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) filed a complaint against Shell‘s campaign because the picture and claim were misleading. The ad was banned in the UK. Royal Dutch Shell: quot;We use our waste CO2 to grow flowers, and our waste sulfur to make super- strong concrete. Real energy solutions for the real world.quot; © Finpro
  18. 18. Vattenfall Climate Manifesto: Just Greenwashing? http://climatesignature.vattenfall.com Picture: climatesignature.vattenfall.com screenshot © Finpro
  19. 19. Vattenfall Climate Manifesto: Openness s s t io n e al qu red. Critic nswe get a well… H ow u. to yo is u p Picture: climatesignature.vattenfall.com screenshot © Finpro
  20. 20. Vattenfall Climate Manifesto: Social Network Savvy Activate networks Community competiton Link to personal Facebook profile/blog Picture: climatesignature.vattenfall.com screenshot © Finpro
  21. 21. Vattenfall Climate Manifesto: Not everyone pleased Greenpeace Germany created a website that resembles Vattenfall‘s, arguing that Vattenfall is one of the worst energy providers in Germany. An alternative manifesto can be signed. Picture: http://www.klimaunterschrift-vattenfall.de screenshot © Finpro
  22. 22. Six Sins of Greenwashing™: Based on a study by TerraChoice 1. Hidden Trade Off: Highlight one eco-friendly attribute, and ignore a product’s other (potentially more significant) environmental concerns. 2. No Proof: Claims that can’t be verified. 3. Vagueness: Terms like “chemical-free” which can be true or false, depending on interpretation. 4. Irrelevance: Claims that – while true – are unhelpful or irrelevant (like “CFC-free,” when CFCs have been banned for almost 30 years). 5. Lesser of Two Evils: Like “green” herbicicides, which ignores the fact that herbicides in any form aren’t good for the environment. 6. Fibbing: Companies flat out lie Source: TerraChoice, based on consumer product analysis, 2007 © Finpro
  23. 23. Elements of Convincing & Credible Communication • Integrity: Align message and corporate behaviour • Consistency: Same message across products, labels, promotions and choice of partnerships • Transparency: Be honest and clear, do not exaggerate. • Listen: Learn from your customers‘ suggestions • Offer layers of information: Help consumers making decisions without always having to read the small print (e.g. through labels). Offer more information to those interested. • Check the facts: Double-check claims. Acid test with experts. • Continuous improvement: Show you are aware reaching sustainability is a process. Source: TerraChoice, based on consumer product analysis, 2007 © Finpro

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