Wednesday Dec 12, 2012

Rapid Evolution of Society & Technology

Oracle WebCenter Cafe Podcast Center We caught up with Brian Solis on the phone the other day and Christie Flanagan had a chance to chat with him and learn a bit more about him and some of the concepts he'll be addressing in our Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast on Thursday 12/13/12.

«--- Interview with Brian Solis 

Be sure and register for this week's webcast ---»

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Guest post by Brian Solis. Reposted (Borrowed) from his posting of May 24, 2012

Dear [insert business name], what’s your promise?



- Brian Solis

You say you want to get closer to customers, but your actions are different than your words.

You say you want to “surprise and delight” customers, but your product development teams are too busy building against a roadmap without consideration of the 5th P of marketing…people.

Your employees are your number one asset, however the infrastructure of the organization has turned once optimistic and ambitious intrapreneurs into complacent cogs or worse, your greatest detractors.

You question the adoption of disruptive technology by your internal champions yet you’ve not tried to find the value for yourself.

You’re a change agent and you truly wish to bring about change, but you’ve not invested time or resources to answer “why” in your endeavors to become a connected or social business.

If we are to truly change, we must find purpose. We must uncover the essence of our business and the value it delivers to traditional and connected consumers. We must rethink the spirit of today’s embrace and clearly articulate how transformation is going to improve customer and employee experiences and relationships now and over time. Without doing so, any attempts at evolution will be thwarted by reality. In an era of Digital Darwinism, no business is too big to fail or too small to succeed.

These are undisciplined times which require alternative approaches to recognize and pursue new opportunities. But everything begins with acknowledging the 360 view of the world that you see today is actually a filtered view of managed and efficient convenience. Today, many organizations that were once inspired by innovation and engagement have fallen into a process of marketing, operationalizing, managing, and optimizing. That might have worked for the better part of the last century, but for the next 10 years and beyond, new vision, leadership and supporting business models will be written to move businesses from rigid frameworks to adaptive and agile entities.

I believe that today’s executives will undergo a great test; a test of character, vision, intention, and universal leadership. It starts with a simple, but essential question…what is your promise?

Notice, I didn’t ask about your brand promise. Nor did I ask for you to cite your mission and vision statements. This is much more than value propositions or manufactured marketing language designed to hook audiences and stakeholders. I asked for your promise to me as your consumer, stakeholder, and partner. This isn’t about B2B or B2C, but instead, people to people, person to person. It is this promise that will breathe new life into an organization that on the outside, could be misdiagnosed as catatonic by those who are disrupting your markets.

A promise, for example, is meant to inspire. It creates alignment. It serves as the foundation for your vision, mission, and all business strategies and it must come from the top to mean anything. For without it, we cannot genuinely voice what it is we stand for or stand behind. Think for a moment about the definition of community. It’s easy to confuse a workplace or a market where everyone simply shares common characteristics. However, a community in this day and age is much more than belonging to something, it’s about doing something together that makes belonging matter

The next few years will force a divide where companies are separated by intention as measured by actions and words. But, becoming a social business is not enough. Becoming more authentic and transparent doesn’t serve as a mantra for a renaissance. A promise is the ink that inscribes the spirit of the relationship between you and me. A promise serves as the words that influence change from within and change beyond the halls of our business. It is the foundation for a renewed embrace, one that must then find its way to every aspect of the organization. It’s the difference between a social business and an adaptive business. While an adaptive business can also be social, it is the culture of the organization that strives to not just use technology to extend current philosophies or processes into new domains, but instead give rise to a new culture where striving for relevance is among its goals. The tools and networks simply become enablers of a greater mission

You are reading this because you believe in something more than what you’re doing today. While you fight for change within your organization, remember to aim for a higher purpose. Organizations that strive for innovation, imagination, and relevance will outperform those that do not. Part of your job is to lead a missionary push that unites the groundswell with a top down cascade. Change will only happen because you and other internal champions see what others can’t and will do what other won’t. It takes resolve. It takes the ability to translate new opportunities into business value. And, it takes courage.

“This is a very noisy world, so we have to be very clear what we want them to know about us”
-Steve Jobs

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So -- where do you begin to evaluate the kind of experience you are delivering for your customers, partners, and employees? 

Take a look at this White Paper: Creating a Successful and Meaningful Customer Experience on the Web

and then have a cup of coffee while you listen to the sage advice of Guy Kawasaki in a short video below.  



An interview with Guy Kawasaki on Maximizing Social Media Channels 

Monday Dec 10, 2012

This is the End of Business as Usual...

This week, we'll be hosting our last Social Business Thought Leader Series Webcast for 2012. Our featured guest this week will be Brian Solis of Altimeter Group. As we've been going through the preparations for Brian's webcast, it became very clear that an hour's time is barely scraping the surface of the depth of Brian's insights and analysis. Accordingly, in the spirit of sharing Brian's perspective for all of our readers, we'll be featuring guest posts all this week pulled from Brian's larger collection of blog postings on his own website. If you like what you've read here this week, we highly recommend digging deeper into his tome of wisdom.

Guest Post by Brian Solis, Analyst, Altimeter Group as originally featured on his site with the minor change of the video addition at the beginning of the post.



This is the End of Business as Usual and 
the Beginning of a New Era of Relevance
 - Brian Solis, Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group 

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

- Bob Dylan

I’m sure you are wondering why I chose lyrics to open this article. If you skimmed through them, stop here for a moment. Go back through the Dylan’s words and take your time. Carefully read, and feel, what it is he’s saying and savor the moment to connect the meaning of his words to the challenges you face today.

His message is as important and true today as it was when they were first written in 1964. The tide is indeed once again turning. And even though the 60s now live in the history books, right here, right now, Dylan is telling us once again that this is our time to not only sink or swim, but to do something amazing.

This is your time. This is our time. But, these times are different and what comes next is difficult to grasp. How people communicate. How people learn and share. How people make decisions. Everything is different now. Think about this…you’re reading this article because it was sent to you via email. Yet more people spend their online time in social networks than they do in email. Duh. According to Nielsen, of the total time spent online 22.5% are connecting and communicating in social networks. To put that in perspective, the time spent in the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube is greater than online gaming at 9.8%, email at 7.6% and search at 4%.

Imagine for a moment if you and I were connected to one another in Facebook, which just so happens to be the largest social network in the world. How big? Well, Facebook is the size today of the entire Internet in 2004. There are over 1 billion people friending, Liking, commenting, sharing, and engaging in Facebook…that’s roughly 12% of the world’s population.

Twitter has over 200 million users.

Ever hear of tumblr? More time is spent on this popular microblogging community than Twitter.

The point is that the landscape for communication and all that’s affected by human interaction is profoundly different than how you and I learned, shared or talked to one another yesterday. This transformation is only becoming more pervasive and, it’s not going back.

Survival of the Fitting

But social media is just one of the channels we can use to reach people. I must be honest. I’m as much a part of tomorrow as I am of yesteryear. It’s why I spend all of my time researching the evolution of media and its impact on business and culture. Because of you, I share everything I learn in newsletters, emails, blogs, Youtube videos, and also traditional books. I’m dedicated to helping everyone not only understand, but grasp the change that’s before you.

Technologies such as social, mobile, virtual, augmented, et al compel us adapt our story and value proposition and extend our reach to be part of communities we don’t realize exist.

The people who will keep you in business or running tomorrow are the very people you’re not reaching today. Before you continue to read on, allow me to clarify my point of view. My inspiration for writing this is to help you augment, not necessarily replace, the programs you’re running today. We must still reach those whom matter to us in the ways they prefer to be engaged. To reach what I call the connected consumer of Geneeration-C we must too reach them in the ways they wish to be engaged. And in all of my work, how they connect, talk to one another, influence others, and make decisions are not at all like the traditional consumers of the past. Nor are they merely the kids…the Millennial.

Connected consumers are representative across every age group and demographic.

As you can see, use of social networks, media sharing sites, microblogs, blogs, etc. equally span across Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. The DNA of connected customers is indiscriminant of age or any other demographic for that matter. This is more about psychographics, the linkage of people through common interests (than it is their age, gender, education, nationality or level of income. Once someone is introduced to the marvels of connectedness, the sensation becomes a contagion. It touches and affects everyone. And, that’s why this isn’t going anywhere but normalcy.

Social networking isn’t just about telling people what you’re doing. Nor is it just about generic, meaningless conversation. Today’s connected consumer is incredibly influential. They’re connected to hundreds and even thousands of other like-minded people. What they experiences, what they support, it’s shared throughout these networks and as information travels, it shapes and steers impressions, decisions, and experiences of others.

For example, if we revisit the Nielsen research, we get an idea of just how big this is becoming. 75% spend heavily on music. How does that translate to the arts? I’d imagine the number is equally impressive. If 53% follow their favorite brand or organization, imagine what’s possible. Just like this email list that connects us, connections in social networks are powerful. The difference is however, that people spend more time in social networks than they do in email.

Everything begins with an understanding of the “5 W’s and H.E.” – Who, What, When, Where, How, and to What Extent? The data that comes back tells you which networks are important to the people you’re trying to reach, how they connect, what they share, what they value, and how to connect with them.

From there, your next steps are to create a community strategy that extends your mission, vision, and value and it align it with the interests, behavior, and values of those you wish to reach and galvanize.

To help, I’ve prepared an action list for you, otherwise known as the 10 Steps Toward New Relevance:

1. Answer why you should engage in social networks and why anyone would want to engage with you

2. Observe what brings them together and define how you can add value to the conversation

3. Identify the influential voices that matter to your world, recognize what’s important to them, and find a way to start a dialogue that can foster a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship

4. Study the best practices of not just organizations like yours, but also those who are successfully reaching the type of people you’re trying to reach – it’s benching marking against competitors and benchmarking against undefined opportunities

5. Translate all you’ve learned into a convincing presentation written to demonstrate tangible opportunity to your executive board, make the case through numbers, trends, data, insights – understanding they have no idea what’s going on out there and you are both the scout and the navigator (start with a recommended pilot so everyone can learn together)

6. Listen to what they’re saying and develop a process to learn from activity and adapt to interests and steer engagement based on insights

7. Recognize how they use social media and innovate based on what you observe to captivate their attention

8. Align your objectives with their objectives. If you’re unsure of what they’re looking for…ask

9. Invest in the development of content, engagement

10. Build a community, invest in values, spark meaningful dialogue, and offer tangible value…the kind of value they can’t get anywhere else. Take advantage of the medium and the opportunity!

The reality is that we live and compete in a perpetual era of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than our ability to adapt. This is why it’s our time to alter our course. We must connect with those who are defining the future of engagement, commerce, business, and how the arts are appreciated and supported.

Even though it is the end of business as usual, it is the beginning of a new age of opportunity. The consumer revolution is already underway, and the question is: How do you better understand the role you play in this production as a connected or social consumer as well as business professional?

Again, this is your time to define a new era of engagement and relevance.

Originally written for The National Arts Marketing Project

Connect with Brian via: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

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Note from Michael: If you really like this post above - check out Brian's TEDTalk and his thought process for preparing it in this post:

http://www.briansolis.com/2012/10/tedtalk-reinventing-consumer-capitalism-screw-business-as-usual/



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