The We First Blog.

How to use social media internally to build your brand and business

February 16, 2012 Comments

Gagen MacDonald and APCO Worldwide recently launched this fantastic infographic that does a great job of delineating an overlooked aspect of social media engagement – the benefits of internal social media to a company and its employees.

As readers of my blog know, I’m a huge champion of brand definition and purpose because that enables a company to be more meaningful to its customers lives. But too often brands fail to ensure internal alignment around a purpose, core values or mission, which means customers often hear one thing from a brand but experience another from its employees. Gagen MacDonald and APCO Worldwide do a great job of a teasing out where to start and what to focus on internally to avoid this pitfall.

What stuck me about the first section below if how how executive leadership accounts for employees perception of internal communication. At 75%, it is critical to get leadership buy-off on the need for a social media ecosystem within the company itself. It will not position the brand to be social with its customers but set a powerful example for employees to invest in social media training and engagement themselves.

In the next section, it’s critical to note that a company’s employee base – like its customers – is a media-savvy audience that judges the effectiveness of internal social media. That judgment, in turn, affects the ability of a company to attract top talent as potential employees who know only too well that a successful company must also be a social engaged company.


Finally, I have isolated the top five criteria for effective internal social media as defined by employee. What could be more important to a company that the ability to attract and retain top talent, to collaborate and innovate more effectively, and to generate business referrals. Each has a direct bearing on the ROI of social media and the productivity of a company’s workforce.


Armed with such insights, here are the steps you must take to adopt, integrate and proliferate internal social media to build employee satisfaction and your company’s bottom line.

1. Consolidate C-suite internal social media commitment

2. Establish a clear social media protocol/crisis policy

3. Share this policy with all employees across all divisions

4. Provide employees with organic social media training

5. Create a collaborative, cross-division culture that communicates using social media channels

6. Create a coordinated content calendar across different social media platforms

7. Grant employees social engagement permission and reward their participation

8. Integrate traditional, online, social media efforts to ensure a consistent customer experience

For the full infographic, click here. To follow Gagen MacDonald, click here, and APCO Worldwide here. To see all the results of the 3rd Annual Employee Engagement Study here.

What would you say is the major obstacle to internal social media at your company? What would be the greatest benefit?





Pics from the We First Social Branding Seminar

February 13, 2012 Comments

The We First Social Branding Seminar was great fun and a huge success. We had the pleasure of spending two days in the rooftop ballroom with over 140 brands including folks from Coca-Cola, Disney, AOL/HuffPo, and TOMS.

In so doing the sponsors, attendees and We First we able to support over 40 non-profits to be there as a small way to support their incredibly important work that covers everything from cancer research to child literacy to ocean clean up.

We’ll be holding the Seminar again (date to be announced) and if you’re interested in attending, just visit now and enter you details so we can send you the information first. In the meantime, here’s a few pics from the event.

The beachside Marina del Rey Marriott Photo: Debbie Lefever

The great view at sunset. Photo: Debbie Lefever

Our amazing sponsors. Photo: Debbie Lefever

The We First Social Blueprint folders Photo: Debbie Lefever

An amazing collection of people and brands. Photo: Debbie Lefever

Ryan Scott, founder of Causecast on the red carpet. Photo: Debbie Lefever

Sharing an embarrassing story at the Seminar dinner that night. Photo: Debbie Lefever

Answering individual brand questions Photo: Debbie Lefever

The Blueprint that lays out a step-by-step plan for your brand. Photo: Debbie Lefever

Who's having a great time at the seminar (kidding!) Photo: Debbie Lefever

So if you are interested in joining us for the next We First Social Branding Seminar, visit now, enter your email and we’ll send you the preview information first. We’ll post pics from Day 2 soon.



Why the future of your brand will be crowdsourced

February 7, 2012 Comments

Iceland's citizen assembly discussing the country's constitutional reform. Image credit: Everyaware

In a truly dramatic demonstration of the power of citizen activism, Iceland drew up its new constitution using crowdsourcing in late 2011. Following Iceland’s complete economic collapse and bankruptcy due to irresponsible banking practices, the nation was eager to use social media to get its citizens involved in writing their own future. The initiative began with a national forum in which 950 people were randomly selected to spend a day discussing a new constitution. A council then began working to draft a document, but not in secrecy behind closed doors. Instead, its meetings are open to the public and streamed live on its Facebook page. The council posts each new draft clause on its website where the public can comment. The council also has a Twitter account and a YouTube page where it exhibits video interviews with its members. The draft constitution was put up for a national referendum, with no changes allowed from the country’s parliament. It is truly a constitution written by the people for the people.

Reading about this process, I could not help but think about how the connectivity unlocked by social media is transforming our world. It is radically altering the major institutions and fundamental paradigms of society. Just a short while ago, it was perceived as a shallow medium through which people could share trivial information. Companies used it as just another one-dimensional vehicle to broadcast self-directed advertising. Then the more savvy corporations recognized the interactive power of social media to engage their customers, and we began to see two-way conversations built around asking the public for their ideas.

Social media proved equally, if not more, disruptive in the political arena. We saw how youthful activists achieved historic change in the Arab Spring revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt, relying on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to spread their message of protest, organize demonstrations, and communicate the reality on the ground with the outside world. Last summer’s rioters in the United Kingdom used smart phones and social media to ignite flash crowds of disenchanted youth and, sadly, opportunistic criminals, as well as to mount peaceful protests and clean up after the rioters. Finally, we see Iceland using social media and crowdsourcing in admirably organized and peaceful ways that radically redefine the meaning of citizen democracy.

It is now undeniable that social media—and the democratizing force it brings with it—will continue to reweave our social and political fabric. Functioning independently of traditional media and the hardened institutions of government and business, we will increasingly see social media bypassing the traditional channel of authority and hierarchy that formerly restricted citizens and customers. The tools of social media are creating new opportunities for social dialogue, and inspiring a reformation in the values of the past. They are also helping to break down the structures and processes of every institution, slowly distributing the powers of governance, justice, representation, innovation, and even production among connected people.

Where will this social media revolution take us? Anything is possible, subject only to the limitations of our imagination. We are currently seeing many interesting new applications of social media and crowdsourcing. For example, there is the growing model of social production that draws on networks of people connected by social media to create new products and services. There is the burgeoning movement of social entrepreneurship whereby people motivated by a common desire to solve a pressing social problem that the corporate world is yet to satisfactorily answer put out an open call for assistance. Anyone with knowledge of the problem and its solution can respond, and in return they receive no compensation other than the personal satisfaction that they helped build a better world.

In the coming years, I am certain we will see social media be used increasingly to redefine the corporate world such as by influencing Boards of Directors, annual shareholder meetings, and the transparency and accountability offered by companies for their products and services. It will likely change how people look for jobs and how they evaluate the companies and CEO’s that they wish to work for. It will, no doubt, infiltrate many more areas of government just as it has in Iceland, impacting how laws are written and voted on in local, state and federal government.

What’s important to keep in mind when we think about the future is that social media enables all parties to have a platform. Given this, we can use this technology poorly to launch a cacophony of voices creating a chaos of competing interests – or we can use it as a tool to unify our voices as thoughtful, compassionate beings seeking to build a better world for all humankind.

Do you believe social media will build a better world? Do you think it has already begun to do so?



Why caring is now the key to your brand’s success

February 6, 2012 0 Comments

No book could be more important or timely than Who Cares Wins by David Jones of Havas.  There is a growing awareness that the business revolution brought about by social media is bringing with it an equally transformation in the …

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Thanks to you the We First Social Branding Seminar is sold out

January 30, 2012 1 Comments

On Wednesday, the first We First Social Branding Seminar begins. Our team has prepared an event that we believe will be truly unique and valuable to the success of the brands that are coming. But that would not have been …

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Why effective branding is about doing, not telling

January 26, 2012 5 Comments

I had the pleasure of speaking at the San Diego Ad Club last week after Dan Burrier, the Chief Innovation Officer at Ogilvy and my former boss on the Motorola account. Not only is Dan a friend and someone I greatly admire, but he said …

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What’s the real value of the We First Social Branding Seminar?

January 23, 2012 0 Comments

We’re now in the final week of registration for the We First Social Branding Seminar and I wanted to share some thoughts as to its real value to your business. There are so many conferences and training events to choose from, …

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How social technology will change your world, literally.

January 18, 2012 0 Comments

I wanted to share this video with you that features David Kirkpatrick, the author of The Facebook Effect, talking about the impact of social tools and technology on the way consumers and citizens around the world are demanding change. He does …

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About Simon Mainwaring

We First training and consulting helps the world’s most innovative brands tell the story of the good work they do in ways that build their reputation, employee productivity, sales and social impact.

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