Sunday, March 09, 2008

sxsw: 3.9.08 Social Strategies for Revolutionaries

Sxsw: 3.9.08 Session on Social Strategies

Bottom line words: groundswell, revolution, business use of social media, social networking, culture change

Charlene Li
Charlene is Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Charlene primarily contributes to Forrester's offerings for the Interactive Marketing professional. She is one of the driving forces behind Forrester's Social Computing and Web 2.0 research, and examines how companies can use technologies like blogs, social networking, RSS, tagging, and widgets for marketing purposes. During her eight years at Forrester, Charlene has also led the marketing and media research team, and ran the San Francisco office.

Li will publish a book next month with Harvard Press called Groundswell: Winning In A World Transformed By Social Technologies.

She says that businesses are having trouble with the social networking concept because it can affect the bottom line – such as digg posting the code to break DVD codes. Jericho was put back on the air after an online talk show host wanted it back on the air.

With the groundswell – a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.

We know that it's essential for a company to be involved in social technologies -- but executives are too afraid to start. It is important to develop the strategic frameworks that will appeal to the logical, analytical side of executives, while tapping into the revolutionary spirit needed to create a groundswell of support for strategy.

Based on Li’s book, the role of the revolutionary --the key person inside an organization who leads the transformation – is key. She is interested in the employee’s ability to channel the tradition of radicalism into a force that can transform a company. She thinks these companies want to embrace this concept but just needs help.

Process – is called POST process. P is for people – the people you are trying to reach, the customer. O is for objectives where you decide what you want to accomplish. S is for strategy for how relationships with customers will change. T is for technology – select this last.

Social activities – what do we think of? The ladder of participation includes those who read blogs; then those who join social networks like bookmarking; then the critics who comment and are actively engaged. What is a spectator vs a creator? 48 percent of adults are spectators and about 25 percent are creators. You can go to to find more stats on this. Age is a major driver of spectators – they may begin to try their hand and participate.

Objectives – with a groundswell you listen differently than focus groups. Traditional marketing is like shouting and it will change with groundwell.

Research is listening; marketing is talking; sales is energizing; support is supporting; and development is embracing.
Talking objective being led by companies’ revolutionaries use blendtree where it talks with viral videos [more research needed to understand this!].

Dan Block of Ernest and Young is head of recruitment uses Facebook to reach college audience in a different way – he writes back to students about what they need to know about his company. More about a relationship than marketing your brand.
Best Buy Gary Koelling and Steve Bendt – reaches employees and created a support system and a voice. Enable customers to even support customers.

Josh Bancroft at intel said I could start an internal Wikipedia for intel. He asked the CEO and got back to him and said do it – he said I already am and showed him what it was.

The platform at led by Steve Fisher – got a new tool to take user comments, the groundswell, and everyone did not like it. So what could he do to make it better – they made changes to improve the site.

Lionell Menchaca at Dell he was in charge of products at first. So how did he become a revolutionary there? He knew everyone after a very long time at the company – he started a customer service team to change the attitude and began a blog in 2006 and people thought it was terrible. Michael Dell said keep at this and keep talking and this eventually changed the blog and the conversation changed. A notebook caught on fire and the direct2dell blog covered this, and many inside were fearful for business. Actually this was a turning point for Dell. Person by person the company was transformed. Dell created ideastorm and got ideas for starting new products. The investor relations team even has a blog now called dellshares.

How can companies find and support their revolutionaries? Find the people most passionate about developing relationships. You need to educate your executives even if it is Facebook and how they meet real business objectives; put someone important in charge; define the box with policies and process; and make it safe[r] to fail.

Final words:
Making revolution stick will require framework and process
start small but think big
make social strategy the responsibility of every single employee
be patient – cultural change takes time
She says this is about relationships and it is never perfect, never comfortable – so feeling a tad queasy about your social networking is normal.