The advent of the social business marketplace represents a startling opportunity for CEOs, both in turns of the upside for their corporations and shareholders, and for the positive impact that brands can have on their customer community and the world at large. But to get there CEOs must make several critical changes that are each very challenging in their own right. These challenges include new ways of thinking at the board level, new organizational structures, a new approach to customer service and new demands placed on all employees, including their supply chain. In execution, there are several changes a CEO must oversee. Here are a few of them:
1. CEOs must embrace the role of serving as the public face of the company to their customer community and the marketplace at large.
2. They must reposition their brand as the chief celebrant of their customer community, rather than its celebrity.
3. They must shift the emphasis from a broadcast and self-focus mentality to one of listening and community service.
4. They must shift their focus from short term profits to meet analyst projections to long-term investments in customer relationships.
5. They must empower their customer community to become co-authors for the brand’s narrative in their marketing and communications.
6. They must clearly define the brand’s core values and align their communications around those in order to attract a like-minded community of brand advocates.
7. They must encourage a culture of risk, rather than guaranteed return, in order to continue to evolve and prosper in a fast-changing marketplace.
8. They must overcome the inertia that any institution brings and replace it with a fascination with emerging technology.
9. They must expand the focus of their business strategies and marketing to build social capital as well as financial capital.
10. They must understand and recognize the metrics specific to the social business marketplace and reframe how they measure Return on Investment (ROI).
Only when CEOs make these adjustments can they hope to not only inspire a community of loyal customers, but also serve as a leader brand within their category and for the community at large. Such changes are not easy to institute, but are absolutely critical.
We First lays on the specific steps a brand can take to shift from the outdates dynamics of push marketing and a broadcast mentality, to pull marketing and a listening posture that ensures that social media works for a brand rather than against it. To order your copy of We First, click here and start building the company you want for your shareholders, customers and your community today.
To everyone who bought a copy of the book, who tweeted or retweeted the book’s message, who shared the launch film, who passed on the TEDxSF talk, or who posted an Amazon review, the successful launch would not have been possible without you.
We First is an idea that no one can own and that exists in the collective, and the community launch was a powerful demonstration of a community working together.
Most importantly, the launch has helped raise the awareness of this conversation in the minds of consumers and business leaders so we can work towards scaling social change.
This work has just begun, but with so many leading brands setting an inspiring example, and so many consumers deeply engaged, there is great hope for the future.
Thanks to everyone that helped make the start of this journey so promising. You have our commitment to keep working together to build a better world.
There is perhaps no group that stands to benefit more from the pervasiveness of social media than non-profits. This is because social media enables non-profits to distribute their message more easily and amplify awareness of the worthy causes they support.
It goes further than that. The social business marketplace is effectively forcing brands to engage with consumers on the basis of something that is meaningful to them. More often than not, this takes the form of some core value that finds expression in a non-profit cause. As such brands are demonstrating an increased commitment towards social responsibility which can often takes the form of a partnership with non-profits.
The onus then falls upon non-profits to be as savvy as their for profit partners by becoming more effective story tellers and community-builders using social media. For that to happen, non-profits must take several critical steps.
1. Non-profits must become deeply engaged in the ways that their donor communities are using social technology. This obviously will involve Facebook and Twitter but also new photo sharing platforms such as Path or location based services like Foursquare, among others.
2. Non-profits must reframe their roles as marketers rather than missionaries (to paraphrase the powerful message delivered by Melinda Gates at the 2010 TEDxChange). For this to happen, each non-profit must clearly define their own brand story within their cause category.
3. Non-profits must be able to re-frame their positioning in terms of the needs of a potential brand partner. This means the non-profit must be able to clearly explain to the brand the benefits they will enjoy and community they will reach by partnering with the non-profit.
4. Like for-profit marketers, non-profits must also become more singular and consistent in their messaging. In addition, to shore up donor confidence, they must engage social technology to provide transparency and accountability for how and where donor dollars are spent (charity: water is as a great example of this).
5. Finally, non-profits must become more engaged and creative in the ways in which they message to their community. Ease of engagement does not absolve any entity, including non-profits, of the responsibility of keeping that audience connected and engaged. This means non-profits need to become more creative in how they capture people’s attention and raise critical fundraising dollars using social media.
One of the intentions behind writing We First was to offer non-profits insights into how to use social media to build their community, funds and positive impact. By aligning themselves with like-minded for-profits brands and becoming more effective marketers themselves, non-profits can scale their important positive impact they have on our world.
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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.