Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Anti-Social Media

Dear brand X...

I've got something to say to you:

Twitter isn't going to fix your bad customer service issues.

Your nice "how can i help you message" to my @customer isn't going to make anyone believe that you really care. And it definitely isn't going to fix your fundamental company wide DNA problem.

In fact it will amplify it.

So before you go into social media spaces, make sure you really mean it. Make sure you are really ready for it. Don't run the risk of turning social media into anti-social media and making my madder than I even was before.

So my advice to you?

Fix your business problem before you pretend to try to fix my customer problem.

Best Regards,

Your customer.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Keeping Culture Alive Or Building A Living Culture

@designthinkers twittered the question: can we keep a culture alive when business, processes, every day reality takes over?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. What does it take to build a great work culture? In my industry, marketing and advertising, creative culture is at the heart of what makes our products and services stand out to clients. Without a creative culture, we fail. So as my bubie used to say, how can we afford not to buy?

We build customer experiences all the time for our clients, but how much thought goes into building experiences for ourselves? From the first interview to the first day on the job...

Building brands and brand experiences starts with us.

It isn't a matter of money, or about other priorities getting in the way.

It's a matter of choices.

Every day, every moment choices.

For me that changes the question from how you keep a culture alive to instead how you need to build a living culture.

It should be how you think and it needs to become part of your DNA, not your business strategy.

Our workplaces are ecosystem and ensuring the health and sustainability of them, should be one of our first and most important priorities.

ps. slideshare presentation to come in the next two weeks - have had an idea of the ROI of building a creative culture and now i really must get to it.

photo credit:

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Whose Brand Are You Anyways?

Thornley Fallis a Canadian PR Agency came out with a new “online communications policy" . The one line that immediately struck me as odd was "your always one of us". While that phrase disturbed me, it is hard to argue their logic. Their policy states:

"You may be active in social media on your own account. That’s good. But please remember that whether you are on your own time or company time, you’re still a member of our team. And the judgment you exercise on your own time reflects on the judgment you exercise at work. There’s only one you – at play and at work."

In fact, research would support this. Our personal and work lives are increasingly becoming completely intertwined in a way that our HR and Social Media policies (if we are progressive enough to even have those) haven't even begun to understand.

On a similar note, there has been some recent controversy around Forrester's new blog guidelines that states that analysts personal blogs on non-Forrester domains must not discuss their area of work expertise. Mathew Ingram's post over at GigaOM has some interesting ideas that suggest that research needs to be social and therefore Forrester's decree moves in the wrong direction.

What i found interesting is that so many of the commenters seemed less concerned with Mathew's social research premise and more concerned over individuals abilities to build their own personal brands. On the opposite end of that, Brandsavant blogger and Forrester client Tom Webster has a great post on why he agrees with Forrester's approach.

Thornley on the other hand doesn't want anything shut down and in fact, allows total freedom with this one little stipulation. He states that he is:

"comfortable encouraging people to post freely if they know that their actions contribute to the achievement of our objectives."

And by objectives he means the four key objectives of their company. I get it. I get that they are trying to be transparent and open. In fact, are trying to take the opposite tact of Forrester but I worry that such a broad policy could be easily taken out of context. Mark Federman wrote a very thoughtful post on this subject that I highly recommend you read (and Joseph Thornley has commented as well)

All in all, I find myself not liking any of the approaches or options laid out and yet I'm not sure I have any meaningful alternative to suggest (gotta love that).

Forrester just shut stuff down. Not liking that.

Having no restrictions seems like a recipe for disaster from a Corporate brand perspective. So don't like that.

Thornly wants me to think about my companies objectives 24/7 and as a friend of mine put it, unless they are paying me 24/7 I'm not thinking about them 24/7. So not liking that.

All that leaves me asking the question, whose brand are we anyways?

What do you think?

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