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Integrating Dialogue in
How You Have to Adapt
Online and Offline
Do you know if you should participate – and how?
Picture credit: Marc_Smith via Flickr.

Having Conversations in a Flat World
What is happening in the world is nothing but a         talent a publisher and create...
internal communications or HR and want to               It still is most likely today that different initiatives
Whether or not you engage in communication            companies will do, and this is why there is a price
online with blog...
emotions and wrong interpretation of facts. Any          Being a pharmaceutical company Lundbeck
one individual who has th...
communities meet in the brick and mortar world,        its new media strategy. The daily amount of
and by this Lundbeck ma...
employees and having conversations with more              Facebook – can be used for engaging
employees, but of course so...
trusted sources? Which channels do they normally          on this in the next bullet. Much of what
use? Which channels can...
Version 1.1. Published on 18 April 2010. Your comments, suggestions and feedback on this white paper will be appreciated.
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Line of-sight white paper - integrating dialogue in communication - how you have to adapt online and offline - 18.04.2010


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White paper on dialogue in communications and social media. This paper.explains how the development online go hand in hand with a tendency, which has existed in many years in communications and management. All communication gets more dialogue oriented and value based. The paper gives you ideas on how an organisation can adapt to this development (which does not necessarily include social media, although it often will be a good idea). The paper point out witch objectives an organisation should set for its communication today. And the paper inspires you to solutions in web 2.0 online communication.

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Line of-sight white paper - integrating dialogue in communication - how you have to adapt online and offline - 18.04.2010

  1. 1. Integrating Dialogue in Communication: How You Have to Adapt Online and Offline
  2. 2. Do you know if you should participate – and how? Picture credit: Marc_Smith via Flickr. © Line-of-Sight 2010 Page 2 of 10
  3. 3. Having Conversations in a Flat World What is happening in the world is nothing but a talent a publisher and creates a closer connection revolution. The world is getting more human, between our personal and professional lives. By more interconnected and – when thinking of this Web 2.0 leverages and enhances the focus on organisational structures – more flat. The world is conversations and purpose. getting more social. This has a lot to do with online communications, social media and with other Web It is perfectly true that most companies and 2.0 developments, but there is much more to it. organisations have not yet arrived in today’s open The development online only enhances a and value driven world with conversations at the development that is already happening. center of it, and they have not adapted their management style and communication to it. Of Since the end of World War II the development in course there will always be knowledge that you an anti-authoritarian direction has accelerated in should never communicate openly about. the Western World. Today being a leader in a Confusing transparency with integrity and honesty company or elsewhere increasingly imply being is a recipe for disaster. But in the coming years questioned when the leader asks subordinates or many more of us will adapt our communication to co-workers to do something. Modern leaders have the new reality as much as we can in order to lost power and aim at leading by example and sustain the competitive power and market share of values and not by orders. The focus is on building our companies. It is about having dedicated and personal relations and having a meaningful and engaged employees and a strong brand. open dialogue, which is about purpose and answering questions starting with why. Everyone From where we are today in 2010 it could take expects honest answers. We all demand that there Facebook a few years to climb to be the world’s is some sort of higher purpose behind what we are most visited website ahead of Google and the rest doing in our working hours from 9-5 as well as in of the world’s huge online communication. our spare time. It is not enough for a company to Facebook has already topped Google in the U.S. If earn money just for the sake of it. Profits should be the 2000’s was the Google decade, then the 2010’s the score, not the game. will be the Facebook decade. This makes questions like these important to answer:  What have you done in response to this development in your company or organisation?  How do you handle your company’s offline and online communication with conversations at the center of it?  How do you ensure that privacy is respected?  What do you as an individual do?  How do you coordinate or separate your communication to different audiences in the different roles of your professional and private life? Bosses need to adapt their management style. Picture credit: HikingArtist via Flickr. If you know how to answer questions like these, you are ahead of most of us. In the In this humane world, where personal freedom communications consulting industry consultants and a sense of purpose mean a lot to all of us, we struggle with finding out exactly how to respond in have got the Internet and company intranets, a balanced manner tailored to the specific needs of which make access to knowledge easy for each individual company or organisation. Some in everybody. And now online communication has this industry of professional consultants see that developed into Web 2.0, which enables large scale there is a need for a response because they focus conversations and makes everyone with the right on external communications. Others focus on © Line-of-Sight 2010 Page 3 of 10
  4. 4. internal communications or HR and want to It still is most likely today that different initiatives facilitate, that the employees of a company get from a company experimenting with listening and more engaged. Some focus on a specific channel, finding its voice in a social approach to be it online, personal communication or some sort communications will be positively received by its of printed communication. Some focus on specific important stakeholders, such as its customers, stakeholders or audiences. In fact all individuals in business associates, investors and employees. The companies, regardless of what we do, are longer a company will wait to adapt to the new struggling with the same challenges with adapting reality, the higher the expectations will be, and the our communication to the new reality of dialogue- more aggressively the expectations will be voiced. driven communication. The expectations to a shift in a company’s communications and attitude towards individuals In the end there is only one approach to giving inside and outside the company will continue to good answers to the fundamental questions arising rise, until the company delivers on these from the development to flat and social societies. expectations. There need to be an integrated approach across channels and audiences. In order to come up with The shift in expectations does not mean that there a sustainable response companies and is a need for an online Web 2.0 response from organisations need to break down silos internally every company to the rising demand for more and open op for dialogue with different external dialogue-driven and value-based communication. audiences and the general public. Employees need In many companies other channels are more to be set free to participate in whatever situation effective than the new Web 2.0 channels online. they are in and whatever field they work in, of So don’t be misled by the development. course with certain important limitations to it. Everybody should know the answers to the fundamental questions about how to communicate in today’s flat and value driven world. Everybody should know the position of their company on important issues and how to be updated on them, and everybody should feel responsible for sharing and discussion these positions wherever relevant. And everything, as always when it is about communications, should start with the brand mission and purpose. This is how a vision for the perfect communication in today’s transparent world should be. With this in mind, we can start to improve and modernise our communication. Many companies are in no Good. And how did you respond online? way close to this goal. We all need to start where Photo credit: David_Carroll via Flickr. we are and from here develop the communication of our company or organisation, so that it, if Every company must analyze and decide how it necessary, gradually will develop into a fully Web can best apply its communication to the demand 2.0 leveraged multi channel dialogue-driven, for more dialogue, more openness and more coordinated, open and emphatic communication value-based communication. It is important for effort. every company to build and maintain relations to influential stakeholders and audiences in areas of A real world approach to comms 2.0 interest. But the choice of channels depends on the situation in each company and can differ a lot. In many cases a company or an organisation today Social media and other Web 2.0 channels are still can get along with ignoring the demand for an nothing but new channels. Don’t forget about good open and honest dialogue that has arisen with the old channels and good old habits. They could still development of modern Western anti- be the best response to your need for authoritarian societies, and which is enhanced by communication channels. Web 2.0 and made much more visible. © Line-of-Sight 2010 Page 4 of 10
  5. 5. Whether or not you engage in communication companies will do, and this is why there is a price online with blogs, social media, wikis and more, of participating even though many channels can be your communication will gradually be influenced used free of charge. In the near future some by the expectation that it should be able to companies will transform themselves to being respond to inquiries or developments in a matter media and create new roles inside their of few hours. To most companies it will be a organisations to serve as editor or publisher to all necessity to be able to respond online, because channels with the primary objective of ensuring everyone searches the Internet. But not all that timely, relevant and engaging content is companies need to participate in social media or produced, distributed and connected to different other Web 2.0 channels. audiences of importance to the company. Each company with no exception needs to analyze When a company engages in social media and the which channels it should use for communications like it enters into conversations which it can’t and relationship building to stakeholders of control. This will gradually bring the company in a importance. In many cases the analysis will show situation, where issues that it used not to that Web 2.0 channels should be part of the communicate about will emerge as important communication mix. issues and hence influence it’s brand and reputation, whereas other issues that the company used to communicate about will show only to be of The term “Web 2.0” covers Internet design limited interest to the stakeholders that are and applications that facilitate interactive important to its business. information sharing and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Generally speaking it covers You must get used to the fact that you can’t any the development since 2004, which has given longer control your company’s brand and us social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, reputation. You can influence it and have success wikis, blogs and more, all media that in framing important conversations surrounding frequently also are labeled “new media”. your brand. And you can with success introduce new conversations and thoughts to the benefit of But the sharing of online conversations, which your company. But you have lost control of is the engine of Web 2.0, has been around communication in this new world of purpose- much earlier than 2004. The development driven individuals constantly asking you why- started in the late 1970’s with bulletin boards, questions and raising discussions of importance to and when Usenet was established in the early your company, that you are not always able to 1980’s newsgroups came along, where users predict. posted and read public messages. The more proactive and honest you are, the more Companies that need to engage with different likely it is that you will be able to influence audiences online in blogs, social media, wikis and important conversations and frame them in ways the like in many cases enter into a perception that will be to the benefit of your business. Your game, where they will never be able to have company will be able to discover and participate in conversations with everybody who wants to, conversations that you previously would not have because it is also a numbers game. Hence the known of. Many conversations will result in game is about seeking out influential individuals valuable feedback from stakeholders, which your amongst the company’s different stakeholders and company must decide if it will act on – and respond to them in a way that gives them and sometimes it must. So the dialogue-style of other participants the perception that you are communication will influence your company, and willing to engage in a conversation with it can do so in very positive ways. It is not possible everybody. to have real conversations without letting the dialogue trigger concrete actions. This is true Listening and responding online in Web 2.0 today, as it have always been true to companies channels is not enough. As in all other fields of with a deep understanding of public relations. communications a company will want to take the lead. Social media represents a new opportunity to There is another side to social media and other participate proactively; to introduce new thoughts, Web 2.0 channels. They can develop into a ideas and solutions. This is what more and more “people’s court” that is completely based on © Line-of-Sight 2010 Page 5 of 10
  6. 6. emotions and wrong interpretation of facts. Any Being a pharmaceutical company Lundbeck one individual who has the passion and the operates in one of the most regulated industries. emotional resources to spread their word about a There are strict limitations to Lundbeck’s company, a product or a service can do so quickly communication. Many pharmaceutical companies throughout a large number of web sites. You must with Facebook pages simply disable their be able to handle such a situation, amongst other Facebook walls because they are afraid, that they things by building relations before you need them. will be held responsible for postings made by users. New media speeds up communication, and in many companies their emergence requires the But Lundbeck has developed a concept that makes setting up of a system that constant monitor it possible to have online conversations with end discussions of importance and lets the company customers. The sites are run by a foundation, and respond in the right channels to important and there are Chinese Walls between the commercial complicated issues in a matter of hours. activities in Lundbeck and what is published at the DepNet and DementiaNet websites, of which there In all circumstances communication in social are more than 20 worldwide. media need a lot of filtering to sort out the relevant stuff. 95 percent or more of the communication on Facebook, Twitter and other social media is pointless communication of no value to others than a very few individuals. Web 2.0 tools like social media didn’t invent conversations, but they amplified and connected them to large audiences. Web 2.0 distributes and concentrates power in new arenas and amongst new individuals. Everyone with the right talent can be an influencer, and everyone with sufficient talent can leverage his or hers influence and become a real power with direct influence on the Together with Web 2.0 friends. business of your company. Picture credit: HikingArtist via Flickr. The key to having success with Web 2.0 and as a Lundbeck pays independent doctors to answer business build your brand positively is to start or questions from users at the sites, and by this participate in conversations, where you as a Lundbeck is able to create communities and company use your key competences to contribute facilitate conversations amongst patients online real value to society and potential customers. This, which are perceived as valuable by its end the next two cases will show. customers. Doctors mention products in their postings, and in many cases it is products made by Pharma launch online communities Lundbeck’s competitors. The Doctors at the Danish site mention Lundbeck’s products less In Europe, where the Scandinavian countries frequent than the seize of Lundbeck’s market today are some of the world’s most broadband share could justify. penetrated countries, the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck via the foundation Lundbeck When Lundbeck recently was attacked in the Institute has developed two online communities Danish press and accused of being unethical in for their end customers, which are patients, marketing its medicine by the means of DepNet relatives and physicians. and DementiaNet user after user responded online and stated how much they valued the The first of the Lundbeck communities, DepNet, conversations and content at the sites and was launched in 2001. Only the second, defended Lundbeck against criticism. DementiaNet, was launched after 2004, which is today considered to be the year when Web 2.0 Lundbeck has an integrated communications took off. DementiaNet was launched in 2005. approach. In Denmark Lundbeck arranges meetings that let participants from their online © Line-of-Sight 2010 Page 6 of 10
  7. 7. communities meet in the brick and mortar world, its new media strategy. The daily amount of and by this Lundbeck makes an important content being produced distributed and discussed connection between conversations in different already has transformed Harvard Business School channels. into a small media, and this is only a beginning. The school will continue to produce, distribute and Business school transforms to being media discuss content as long as it strengthens and markets the Harvard Business School brand and Harvard Business School in Massachusetts, USA, attract potential students. has been into publishing for many years. It has published its general management magazine The revolution also happens internally Harvard Business Review since 1922, and today its publishing activities span from books and articles It can’t be recommended, but some companies use to videos, podcasts and blogs. Facebook as their intranet. Privacy-settings make it possible to prevent that outsiders participate in Schools and universities are amongst the first a company’s internal discussions. And a company companies you should expect to develop into being can get started right away with having media in the world of Web 2.0 publishing and conversations and knowledge-sharing internally, dialogue. Generally speaking many schools and which in many cases their intranet is not capable universities have strong brands and are perceived of facilitating. as being trustworthy and on the forefront of things. They are the ones journalists for generations have turned to in order to find reliable sources to help them get a perspective on whatever they need. Schools and universities have a lot of content, which could be interesting to publish and discuss. In a few years many schools and universities will not need traditional media as much as traditional media will need them, because the schools have become media themselves. Many schools and universities will soon be amongst the trusted brands that we turn to, when we need a perspective on recent developments. This we can often best do online, and if we are also allowed to participate in conversations with them, we will It is a trend that employees create groups on create strong connections with brands that share Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning or on other social media and discuss knowledge of importance to our sites, and in some cases those groups develop into individual interests. an alternative channel for internal communication without even having management participating. Harvard Business School is on the forefront of this Well, you might realize that you are about losing development, and in getting here Harvard has control with your external communication, but given up control of its own valued brand and what do you think will happen internally? handed it over to individuals who participate in conversations online and elsewhere. A large group In many cases, whether it is internal of the school’s professors and other management communication or external communication, you experts are blogging and tweeting, and their do not have any other choice than to adapt and knowledge and teaching are distributed in participate. If you don’t, you will be in the dark. YouTube videos. By all this the professors are having conversations with audiences around the In some companies social media and blogs can be world. By doing so they add new flavor and feel to used in internal communication to streamline the old brand, which one candidate not so long ago internal processes, for team building purposes and said reminded him of “mahogany and taxidermy”. to encourage and facilitate collaboration. Social And this image of something old-fashioned is what media and blogs can help leaders in gaining Harvard Business School wants to modernize with visibility and to be able to listen to more © Line-of-Sight 2010 Page 7 of 10
  8. 8. employees and having conversations with more  Facebook – can be used for engaging employees, but of course social media can never be audiences in causes and all kind of personal a substitute for face-to-face communication. interests. Respect required for users need for privacy. Before you start with Web 2.0 comms  Twitter – good for multiple purposes. No 1 social media for professional communities How do you in your company get started with exchanging thoughts and ideas. social media, blogs, wikis and other Web 2.0 tools?  YouTube – good for multiple communications It is most likely that employees in your company and branding activities. already engage in external social media and blogs.  Flickr – good hub for sharing of pictures if The majority probably already has a Facebook linked to other online channels and pictures profile and would welcome guidelines. The real are not copyrighted. challenge with Web 2.0 is that it enhances the  LinkedIn – network for professionals and need for an integrated and highly skilled good for employer branding and professional communications function in every company. Here communities. is what you should do:  Wikipedia – your brand as perceived by the community. Strongly influences search engine  Experiment with social media, blogs and results. Be sure to know what is and what is other Web 2.0 tools. Don’t hesitate. Make not acceptable to edit. your own observations and experiences. Share  Ning and Groupsite – good for both private and discuss them internally. and open communities separated from user’s  Create a company policy for social media, private lives. blogs and other Web 2.0 tools. Be specific on  Yammer – effective for internal Twitter-style what can be shared with audiences inside and communication. outside the company, and what can’t. Explain  SlideShare and Scribd – sharing of documents why that is. (PowerPoint, PDF and Word) and good for  If you haven’t already, then decide on many branding activities. everybody’s role in communication (top  Delicious – a social bookmarking site and management, middle management, good for driving traffic to your hubs. employees).  Digg – a social news site good for sharing of  Create a center of excellence, which unique news and driving traffic to your hubs. employees and leaders can turn to and get help fast. How to choose Web 2.0 channels  Review your communications to ensure that you have an integrated approach.  Survey your company and the outside world to gain knowledge of which channels your key stakeholders best can be reached in for each important issue.  Decide if and how your company should engage online in Web 2.0 conversations as a part of your communication strategy.  Allocate the required resources to execute your strategy.  Set targets, get going, measure and follow up. How do your audiences want to engage with you? Picture credit: jwynia via Flickr. Web 2.0 channels There is no difference in choosing Web 2.0 The following is a selection of Web 2.0 channels channels from choosing other channels. The key is with emphasis on presenting different to know your different audience’s specific possibilities: preferences and level of trust concerning each  Blogs and other web 2.0 tools at your issue that you want to engage in and communicate company website – good for dialogue with about. Are your stakeholders interested in the customers and other stakeholders. subjects that are important to you? Who are their © Line-of-Sight 2010 Page 8 of 10
  9. 9. trusted sources? Which channels do they normally on this in the next bullet. Much of what use? Which channels can they be reached in? How applies to branding on Facebook also applies do they want to be treated? How can you respect to branding on other social media platforms. their values and need for privacy? Use other platforms than Facebook if there is a need to separate activities from people’s What to do with web 2.0 channels private lives.  Promotions – have quizzes, product related Social media will most likely fit in your polls and competitions on your website or on communication and branding strategy and be a social media platform like Facebook, useful in several ways. Here are some examples of YouTube or Twitter with the objective of what they can be used for: generating leads and/or raising awareness. In many cases special discounts for fans or  Customer feedback – invite customers to friends can be used to drive traffic to a submit ideas and suggestions about your corporate Facebook page or to other sites. products and services on your website or in  Internal communications – if you are a social media – e.g. an open Ning-community. company relying on intranet communication Discuss their input with them and find out as an important channel, it is likely that you what is important. Implement the best ideas. need to build Web 2.0 capabilities into your If you are in business-to-business, use private company intranet, if you haven’t already communities where customers participate by done. If you can’t, then for some not so heavy invitation. The objective should be to improve regulated companies the solution can be to your relations to customers and gain market build a closed companywide social network on insight. Groupsite or to use Yammer internal for fast  Customer service and support – help Twitter-like exchange of ideas and links – or customers on a social media platform like use both – to give your employees the Twitter or Groupsite. Embed the service on possibility of having online conversations and your website to improve visibility and reach. sharing information. Consider to supplement with a wiki with tips and tricks about your products and the With very few exceptions there is no single web environment surrounding them. The objective 2.0 channel that can be used for all your online should be to raise awareness of your products communication needs. Most companies and and to show that you are concerned with organisations need to create different online solving customer’s individual problems. presences that are linked together and drives  Branding on Facebook – create an traffic to their main hubs. This cannot be achieved opportunity for potential customers to show without investing the resources needed. Hence in their individual interests or promote the coming years many companies will experience themselves by engaging with pages or groups that their web 2.0 communications will account on Facebook in areas, which are surrounding for an ever raising share of their total your products. The objective should be one or communication and marketing budget. more of the following: Earn trust, create relations, raise awareness, show the For most companies the corporate website should competences of your company, engage in or be the main hub online. In many cases it will build create a cause that products from your trust and strengthen the brand, if a company company can contribute to, or add value to aggregates conversations from all web 2.0 communities were customers use your channels on its homepage. products – this could be an element in your CSR strategy. We all know of companies with Remember that social media and other Web 2.0 corporate pages on Facebook, and a corporate tools enhance the need that already existed for an page can be a valuable element in some open and value based approach in branding strategies, but the truth is that communications. Therefore you’ll be better off if people relatively seldom wants to be fan of a you can create an emotional case for achieving brand. If a corporate page is important to your communication goals, not just an analytical your strategy, you need to give people a case. reason to join the conversation at your site and connect it with their personal lives. More © Line-of-Sight 2010 Page 9 of 10
  10. 10. Version 1.1. Published on 18 April 2010. Your comments, suggestions and feedback on this white paper will be appreciated. Contact Line-of-Sight Jens Juels Gade 51 DK-2100 Copenhagen Denmark +45 40 41 35 10 About Line-of-Sight Line-of-Sight is a communications agency. We develop communication strategies, plans and concepts. We work out creative ideas and proposals. We help our clients with press and stakeholder relations, internal communication and Internet and intranet communication. By this, we are helping companies and organisations to ensure value in the huge resources spent every day on communications. We strengthen our competencies in these fields through our network of ten highly specialised communications companies. Our strength is broadly based consultancy services cutting across channels and disciplines. We string all elements together and help prioritizing, timing and channelling what is to be communicated. The end-goal is to create a link – a line-of-sight – between the objectives of a business or organisation and those of relevant internal or external stakeholders. We deliver concrete communications solutions, which, for example, can be videos, texts, homepages or design. We consult, measure and teach. All rights reserved. © Line-of-Sight 2010 Page 10 of 10