I was disappointed not to make it over to New York for Stowe Boyd’s Social Business Edge conference yesterday, due to the ashpocalypse. When it became clear travel was impossible, I agreed with Stowe to record a video of my talk instead, which is embedded below (21mins) minus a couple of late night editing mistakes from the original that was shown yesterday.
I really enjoyed the livestream of the event, which I was supposed to co-host with Stowe. The other speakers were funny, informative and engaging – even the other victims of travel problems who provided videos.
The focus of my talk was the idea that hanging shiny social media baubles on the cold, hard external walls of a corporate organisation runs the risk of creating a false brand promise unless this work has strong internal underpinnings in the form of social business structures that can do something about the noise, insights and feedback that outbound communications generate.
Key to achieving this is building bridges between the inside and outside worlds, and recognising that we are all (corporate, as well as human beings) products of our networks, ecosystems and connections. I touched on Christakis’ work on contagion and the influence of social networks and emphasised what an opportunity this embodies for brands with a strong value proposition, such as the poster child of modern customer service Zappos, and how this also creates a building-block, API-style opportunity for others to build on your products or services to create even more value.
Social business strategy and infrastructure have a key role to play in this process, and can help shift the balance towards people over process. It is also time, I think, to put into practice all the wonderful learning we have gathered over recent years about how people work, what motivates and influences them, rather than continue with the huge waste of talent and energy caused by existing hierarchical bureaucracies. Finally, I offered some thoughts on necessary precursors for social business design work in organisations, and shared my colleague Caroline Dangson’s recent observations on what to look for in an internal champion.