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Time to Trade Up to A Social Business Strategy

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by John Bell, Global Managing Director, Social@Ogilvy.

The following is a plan describing a simple and practical way for business leaders to think about gaining the benefits of social behaviors (and the technologies supporting those behaviors).

In many ways the promise of a ‘social business’ is to get us back to what we care about — people working together to create something of greater value than they could have if they had remained unconnected and apart.

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Time to Trade Up to A Social Business Strategy

  1. 1. Time to TradeUp to A SocialBusiness Strategy John Bell Global Managing Director December 2012
  2. 2. 2 TIME TO TRADE UP TO A SOCIAL BUSINESS STRATEGY BY JOHN BELL DECEMBER 2012 Table of Contents It’s About Technology and Behaviors 3 The Business Leader’s Core Responsibility 4 Integrated Acrossthe Enterprise 5 Building Shared Belief 7 The Components of a Social Business Strategy 8 Where to Start 9 Social Business: Projects Tools 10 About Social@Ogilvy 11
  3. 3. 3 TIME TO TRADE UP TO A SOCIAL BUSINESS STRATEGY BY JOHN BELL DECEMBER 2012It’s About Technologyand BehaviorsC oca-Cola has acquired more than 50 Lithium and LinkedIn are all about expanding million fans on their global Facebook and enabling new behaviors. People have page – effectively connecting with five always shared word of mouth. They havetimes as many consumers as the weekly always found different ways to collaborateviewership of American Idol. Innocentive is and create greater value for themselves andin their 11th year of crowdsourcing innovation their organizations. These new platforms andfrom 250,000 scientists, engineers, and technologies add scale and impact beyondproblem-solvers from over 200 countries. what we could have ever expected based uponThey have solved sticky business problems previous pre-social network behaviors.for over 100 companies and organizations byasking their worldwide collaboration network As Ben Edwards, Global Vice President offor answers1. While the costs of recruitment Digital Marketing at IBM, said in my recenthave gone up steadily over the past decade, interview with him, “Social networks allow58 percent of companies found valuable new people to associate based on who theystaff via social networks in 2010, and overall want to associate with – a shared interest,company investment in social network-based desire, passion, belief – those are the humanrecruiting is the top recruitment investment behaviors and this is all about the humans.for companies this year 2. It’s not about the process and it’s not about the technology. So, take that thought andCompanies are finding value in social media. ask yourself how that is going to change theFord, IBM, Nestlé and American Express company. It’s going to have a profound effect.”are all moving from the experimental phaseof social media adoption to integrating We can now ask our family, friends and socialtechniques and technologies across business connections about products, services and thedisciplines. They are no longer asking brands behind them all throughout the buyerthemselves “if” they should engage in social journey – from discovery all the way throughmedia but “how” and “where else” they should purchase and experience. We seek expertsapply it within their business. via Google searches on topics we could never get answers for before. We find collaboratorsThe conviction that social media is more and new ways of doing things by tapping intothan a passing fad, doomed to top out like an communities of interest across the social Web.overvalued stock price, is born from a belief These new behaviors are not going away, andthat people’s behavior has changed. Social they provide opportunity and risk to almostmedia technologies like Chatter, Facebook, every business on earth.1 HBR “Are You Solving the Right Problem” 2012 Social Recruiting Survey Jobvite 2011
  4. 4. 4 TIME TO TRADE UP TO A SOCIAL BUSINESS STRATEGY BY JOHN BELL DECEMBER 2012The Business Leader’sCore ResponsibilityI n November 2010, Jon Iwata, Senior Vice Look deeper in an organization at the President, Marketing and Communications leadership across major functions – IT, at IBM, held a private Social Business marketing, customer service, productSummit for 63 C-suite executives from global development, legal affairs, public affairs.brands. He spelled out for participants just Chances are many of these men and womenhow seriously IBM was taking the impact of are all over the map in terms of their levelall things “social” on their business. During of belief in the relevance for social mediathese sessions, which featured seasoned to the business. Often the marketing orbusiness leaders revealing how they were communications leads are early believers,wrestling with transforming marcom cultures as the idea of connecting to consumers orand innovation cycles, Jon Iwata framed up influencers via Twitter or Facebook anda simple axiom for leaders in business. In its driving more interactions and time spent withsimplicity it unequivocally established why the brand is intuitively valuable. Customereveryone in the room that day must take social service soon gets wise to the expansion ofmedia seriously and why they, as leaders, their mission to intercept customer complaintsneeded to be the ones to act. across social networks. Hopefully, HR has overhauled their recruiting practices toEssentially, the primary job of the business take advantage of worldwide professionalleader is to manage risk to the business while networking via LinkedIn and Facebook. Butsimultaneously reaping as much reward what about legal, product development,as deemed appropriate for that business. and IT? And what if these leaders cannotIn between risk and reward lies value. The agree on the value that social brings to thebusiness leader’s job is to deliver maximum business? Most businesses may have pocketsvalue to the business. The evidence that social of innovation within certain disciplines but lackmedia can produce both risk and value for the power of a singular focus that aligns allorganizations is incontrovertible. We can argue business leaders to a common strategy and aabout degrees and there may always be an common way of measuring business impact.exception for a particular business, but, by andlarge, companies can both benefit and be hurt For this reason, it may actually fall to the CEOby new behaviors in social media. Recognizing to sponsor a process to define how socialthis, the business leader must step in to lead media behaviors and technologies mostthe way to the right procedures, strategy and impact the collective business. He or she maybusiness alignment to get the best value this need to be the one to drive prioritization andworldwide shift can bring their business. alignment. A social business strategy is the best way to articulate and share that common view.
  5. 5. 5 TIME TO TRADE UP TO A SOCIAL BUSINESS STRATEGY BY JOHN BELL DECEMBER 2012Integrated Acrossthe EnterpriseSocial media-based practices and technologies candeliver value in four major areas of business:Create customer value Build brand and reputation valueWe can create greater value for the customerand conversely make that customer more By communicating and behaving more openlyvaluable to the business by using social and transparently we can earn a strongermedia to deliver products and services reputation with customers and influencers.where and when our customers want them. Co-creating with stakeholders deepens theirWe can involve customers in the business investment on our business and the value ofand give them more reasons to behave the brand.loyally via co-creation where they have a sayand investment in products, services and EXAMPLE: DuPont launched the Foodbusiness practices. By adding more utility to Security blog as part of a company-wideexisting products and services through social effort to lead in a global discussion to solveor digital enhancements, we can deliver more some of the world’s big, enduring problems.value or even design new, valuable products They effectively reached “higher” to establishand services. meaning for the DuPont brand as a solution provider for big issues.EXAMPLE: Deutsche Bahn, the German railsystem, launched a new train ticket only foryoung people, selling over 145,000 of themvia Facebook. They brought a valuable newproduct to the place where their customerswanted to find it.
  6. 6. 6 TIME TO TRADE UP TO A SOCIAL BUSINESS STRATEGY BY JOHN BELL DECEMBER 2012Expand operations and Strengthen Workforceinnovation excellence and CultureOrganizations struggle with sources for New, scalable collaboration and knowledge-profitable innovation. By crowdsourcing sharing platforms like Chatter and Yammerideas and mining social data for insights, can lower the costs of collaboratingbusinesses can source new ideas that and enable it at a worldwide scale.may inherently be more relevant to their Internal communications fueled by socialcustomers. The true promise of combining technologies can demonstrate a valuablemarketing practices around ‘owned, earned openness to employees and increase joband paid’ media is to derive a compound satisfaction. Social media platforms willeffect that makes all marketing more provide a scalable and measureable way toefficient (bigger or equal impact for lower truly enable employees as qualified externalcost). advocates for the brand.EXAMPLE: During the Deepwater Horizon EXAMPLE: Ford is actively promotingcrisis in the Gulf of Mexico, BP openly employees to share their experience and lovesolicited ideas from experts and the public of the “blue oval” with their friends, family– putting in place almost 30 crowdsourced and social connections by offering badgesideas to solve the spill and/or its effects. that identify them as employees (retirees, too) via Facebook and other channels.In almost all of these four broad areas, two regards to using social media in customeror more business disciplines must come relationships, marketing, public relations andtogether to really get significant value from customer service must collaborate to avoida social-based program. Deutsche Bahn confusing customers by talking with them inneeded marketing, communications, customer contradictory ways across social platforms.service, legal and operations to work togetherto bring a new ticket to market via Facebook. Ray Day, Vice President of CommunicationsAs DuPont sources experts within their staff for the Ford Motor Company, summed this upto create content and engage in conversations in a recent interview, “Social media done wellonline around food security, they need the is operationalized, instituted throughout thecooperation of HR and various business business. And I can say at Ford, led by our CEOmanagers to support the practice. – he has brought together the communications team, the marketing team and IT team andThe use of social media cannot be relegated said ‘become the zealots, the advocates withinto one discipline such as marketing. Even in Ford and drive it through our whole business.”
  7. 7. 7 TIME TO TRADE UP TO A SOCIAL BUSINESS STRATEGY BY JOHN BELL DECEMBER 2012BuildingShared BeliefW hile IBM may be able to champion ƒƒ Closer listening to customers will help the use of social media across the us understand their needs and behaviors business without hesitation, many betterbusinesses struggle with the mix of attitudesin middle management towards what is ƒƒ Earning people’s attention and advocacyseen as anywhere from a “frothy” fad to a (and their business) will increase the valuerevolutionary change. Trying to build belief of our customers and our businessthat social media will change business may notbe necessary. After all, “social media” means ƒƒ A new set of influencers may impact ourso much to so many. While it certainly fueled business in significant ways and we hadpublic protests to overthrow governments best know who they are and how to engageduring the Arab Spring, helped reconnect productivelyJapanese people thrown apart during the 2011tsunami and grew the Zappos ecommerce ƒƒ The customer journey is complex andbusiness, it also drives countless trivial requires all the data – including social dataconversations online that were of questionable – and understanding of human behaviors tovalue to even those doing the talking. On top affectof it all, many people feel that ‘social media’as a topic has garnered an outsized attention ƒƒ Marketing agility increasingly hits thefor what it truly can deliver. The recent stock bottom line as crisis and issues rapidlyprice “recalibrations” for Zynga, Groupon accelerate across the social Weband, even, Facebook seem to play into thedoubters positions. We need to take the long ƒƒ Social tools can improve how we produceview. People’s behaviors are fundamentally value and innovation from collaboration withchanging. No one platform – not even employees, partners and customersFacebook – is a bellwether of this shift. ƒƒ Driving up customer satisfaction andWe don’t need to build belief in social media intervening earlier when problems ariseto lead business towards a productive and can improve reputation and the bottom lineprofitable social business strategy. We simplyneed to build belief around some enduring All of these are made newly possible throughfundamentals: social practices and technologies. Each builds on established sources of value for companies. Leaders can create alignment internally by building belief in these core fundamentals. Belief in social media as a means will follow.
  8. 8. 8 TIME TO TRADE UP TO A SOCIAL BUSINESS STRATEGY BY JOHN BELL DECEMBER 2012The Components ofa Social Business StrategyT he promise of a social business strategy A social business strategy ought to have 4 key is aligning an organization around what components: it will and won’t do to get the mostvalue to its business via social practices and 1 A Social Business Value Audit – a simpletechnology. It follows a thoughtful process for SWOT analysis in each part of a businessanalyzing needs and options and then creates done against the “4 Values” will ultimatelya path that is valuable and do-able. inventory all of the areas of the business where social can have a material impact.IBM developed a social business strategy thatessentially said, ‘by enabling IBM experts 2 A Social Business Strategy – this is thewith a strong social presence we can build output of a strategic planning process thatand maintain direct, digital relationships with ultimately focuses attention in the top areascustomers and influencers that have a clear of the business where social can deliver theand positive impact on our business.’ With this most value. We want to distill our ambitiontype of clarity, different disciplines can work down to a manageable strategy.together to deliver on this strategy. Marketingcan work to build the digital eminence and 3 Project Priorities – a list with definition ofvisibility of the experts. HR can work on distinct, actionable and measurable projectsgovernance, guidelines and training. IT can that can deliver on the strategy. This wouldwork on platforms to support experts, and so include the role and contribution of differentforth. business units and/or disciplines. A simple framework for putting strategy into actionMany brands can see the value of a social includes 3 key project areas around People,media strategy, especially after a few years Systems and Platforms Data.of unconnected experiments in social mediamarketing and communications. But generally 4 Operational Leadership Council – who willa social media strategy focuses solely on be accountable and responsible for themarketing, communications and/or customer strategy and its execution. Because socialservice. At best, this covers two of the four defies traditional organizational structures,business values: creating customer value and it is often necessary to establish a “centerbuilding brand and reputation value. Very little for excellence” or a working group withattention is paid in terms of creating pro-active clear responsibilities to apply the strategystrategy to increase operating and innovation and report outcomes.excellence or strengthening workforce andculture.
  9. 9. 9 TIME TO TRADE UP TO A SOCIAL BUSINESS STRATEGY BY JOHN BELL DECEMBER 2012Where to StartE very organization is different, and making 2 Form the operational leadership council standard recommendations that apply first – While operational leadership is to most businesses is where most white there primarily to execute the strategy,papers like this one breakdown. The hardest they can often be a great group topart of developing the social business strategy assemble to build consensus and be theand then putting it into action is aligning it to “owners” of the audit or even the strategy.the particular circumstances of a company.Business models, organizational structure, 3 Build an operational plan for one part ofculture, and even politics of influence and the business – If tackling a comprehensivedecision-making all factor in. social business strategy is too large a project, identify one area of the businessThat being said, there are four practical – often marketing and communications orplaces for a business leader to start – all of customer service – and create a strategywhich presume an organization well into the for aligning activity to measureableexperimentation and even the integration business value and how to scale thatphases of social media adoption. You have operation. Playbooks for social mediaalready been using Facebook to engage marketing and communications oftencustomers, Twitter to share news, and you serve this purpose.may even have a sophisticated communitymanagement model. A social business 4 Find an early success story – The ambitionstrategy can also be created when there has for social business can get pretty grand.been no previous activity in social. More likely One trick is to keep it simple and find ait is the next phase of social media use that defining project where you can succeedbuilds on initial experience. What’s right for and create a “bright spot” of things doneyour organization will be up to you. right. Often a big multinational company simply needs to look at what has already1 Start at the beginning with the audit – been done to find that bright spot. Identify the key stakeholders across disciplines and business units and do a “pretty good” assessment of the real opportunities mapped to measureable business value.
  10. 10. 10 TIME TO TRADE UP TO A SOCIAL BUSINESS STRATEGY BY JOHN BELL DECEMBER 2012Social Business:Projects ToolsProjects ToolsPEOPLEExpand the capabilities Organize groups for Situational Training for Organizationalof workforce and fast and successful Social Digital Modelingleadership adoptionDATAConvert social data Intelligenceinto valuable, usable DashboardsintelligenceSYSTEMSManage the social Define winning, Governance Guidelines Social Digitalbrand consistent procedures Playbooks for socialStandardize model of Create Customer/ Measurementeffectiveness Advocate Relationship Frameworks SystemsPLATFORMSDeploy common tools Integrate new Social Tools Social Mediaacross the business collaboration platforms Management PlatformsAdopt external social Social Brandplatforms that serve Architecturebest
  11. 11. About Social@OgilvyS ocial@Ogilvy is the largest social media marketing communications network in the world. Named 2011 Global Digital/Social Consultancy of the Year by The Holmes Report, the practiceleverages social media expertise across all Ogilvy Mather disciplines,offering an extensive list of services within the foundational businesssolutions – Listening and Analytics; Social Business Solutions; SocialMedia Marketing and Communications; Social Shopping; Social CRM;Social Care; and Conversation Impact.For more information, visit and connect withus at,,
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by John Bell, Global Managing Director, Social@Ogilvy. The following is a plan describing a simple and practical way for business leaders to think about gaining the benefits of social behaviors (and the technologies supporting those behaviors). In many ways the promise of a ‘social business’ is to get us back to what we care about — people working together to create something of greater value than they could have if they had remained unconnected and apart.


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