360DigitalInfluence

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Oct 18

Truths in Social Media – What Brands Are Learning

Pivot logoAt the Pivot Conference #pivotcon these past two days in New York, there has been a great spirit of sharing and learning among social media stakeholders at major brands like Unilever, Gap, American Express, IBM, Bloomberg to name a few, their agencies and the ecosystem of technologies that serve as the backbone and analytics of this discipline. Knowing Pivot is very focused on consumer-facing brands, I was delighted to hear a few good examples from b to b technology companies and technology PR professionals too.

A few themes at the conference have stood out, such as:

  1. It’s about relationships, not megaphones
  2. Authenticity is required, and
  3. Transparency.

Conference speaker Charlene Li of Altimeter Group acknowledged what most in the audience were thinking, that these themes are words that are increasingly thrown about, but she was focused on drilling into what do they really mean in the realm of social media.

Her message: That being online representing your brand, say on Twitter, and responding to consumer concerns is simply not enough anymore. Charlene contends that individuals want brands to know and understand them. That It’s not about technology, its about relationships.

So here is how Charlene suggests brands can prepare to do more than simply respond in social media:

  1. Create a culture of sharing. (Which is difficult when we are conditioned to be secretive in many corporate cultures)
  2. Have the discipline needed to succeed. (For example, create different flow charts for positive and negative comments, thinking through ahead of time various scenarios. Response should not be an ad-hoc process that can walk out the door with an employee)
  3. Prioritize disruptions that matter. (Focus on user experience; your business model; your ecosystem value. What can you do in social to change the flow of value?)
  4. Prepare for failure. (Fail fast, fail smart. Define ahead of time what kind of failures are acceptable, and what the consequences will be)

There has been a great spirit of learning and humility here, acknowledging that nobody has all the answers and that to be successful in social, you need to be prepared to develop sound social strategy, but also amass the drive to champion its adoption and best practices throughout your organization. And I guess that is the point. Your company culture needs to embrace the inherent openness of social in order to be successful in social. How else can a brand be authentic? (Yes, that word again).

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide