July 30, 2012
We live in a connected world, a world where we share with our communities an abundance of information every minute of the day, where one click can influence society and one review can change the course of a corporation. We’ve entered an “empowered era of consumerism” in which a business needs to meet their corporate objectives while staying relevant and listening to their customers.
Business has historically focused on creating innovative approaches to providing for our human needs; thus, leading businesses have always been customer-focused. Now, as a result of the prevalence of online social networks, the consumer is in charge. As the saying goes, “the customer is always right,” and today the customer can make or break a brand in a second via a social media post.
Brian Solis, the award-winning author of Engage, principal at Altimeter Group, and creator of The Conversation Prism with our good friends at creative agency JESS3, documented the rise of connected consumerism in his latest book, The End of Business As Usual. Last week I attended an SFAMA event at the Hult International School of Business* where Solis discussed the future of business and how companies can stay relevant. Solis referenced that in today’s world marketers need to address three distinct consumer segments: Traditional (Broadcast), Digital (Online/Mobile) and Connected (Social Networking). It’s no longer just a one-way marketing pitch; brands are now what the consumers say they are.
We’re now marketing to an “audience of audience,” so businesses must engage in a way which triggers social effects. For many businesses, that means finding ways to adapt and be relevant. So, what do businesses need to do to stay relevant?
Solis recommends following 10 steps to become an adaptable business:
- Become the champion: Have a cause. As Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world!”
- Focus: Where you are and where you want to be are two different things. Begin with the end in mind.
- Align your social media with your internal business objectives: Find the gaps and fill them. Create a ‘Social Business Code,’ and follow it online and off.
- Find the roadblocks: Those are the people or projects standing in your way. Then find your stakeholders – those who you should learn from.
- Think like the customer: Bridge the customer gap. Help your internal teams understand who they’re trying to reach. Focus on The Pillars of a Social Business (the six qualities that define engagement): Valued, Efficiency, Trust, Consistency, Relevance, and Control.
- Have a vision, mission, and purpose: Then create a social media foundation that delivers an integrated brand experience. (Is your vision under 140 characters? Does it give you conviction?)
- Develop an integrated strategy: This includes digital experiences and a strategy that empowers employees, defines their characters, and supports engagement. Ensure that every experience is consistent, engaging, and shareable, from one channel to the next.
- Develop a conversation framework: Focus on the 5 I ‘s of Social Marketing: Information, Intelligence, Ideation, Interaction, and Influence.
- Create a process for intelligence and strategy: Technology will not stop evolving…listening is not enough. Take action.
- Design and introduce meaningful and shareable experiences: This applies to each part of your strategy through content, community, and engagement programs. (Example: Infographics are not a social strategy – they tell a story, but you still need to engage a user – you must follow-up!)
So, is your business adaptable? If not, what changes can you make?
Remember: “You are the catalyst for change, transformation, and the architect of relevance.” – Brian Solis, The End of Business As Usual
August 6th, 2012: Update: Congratulations to the winners @tanyasalcido @terrinakamura @SamMillerIP of our RT2Win #TCSchwag Contest! Tweet/DM @SFSam22 to receive your books 😉
Want to win a copy of Brian Solis’ latest book: The End of Business As Usual? Follow @TechCocktail and share this post with the hashtags #endofbusiness #TCSchwag.
Our RT2Win contest will run through Sunday August 5th, 2012. Three winners will be randomly selected and announced on Monday August 6th, 2012, via our Twitter Account: @TechCocktail.
*Are you ready to change the world? Check out the Hult Global Case Challenge, a $1 million business case challenge for students worldwide focused on providing business solutions to the world’s education, energy, and housing challenges.
**Read an excerpt of The End of Business As Usual in our Book Preview: The End of Business As Usual By Brian Solis
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