One of my favorites agencies of all time, albeit nether advertising nor marketing – Edelman.
Anyone can learn about Edelman and its best practices without being a client like How to Become a Social Business. The information shared is timely, intriguing and forward thinking. I like reading their posts here and slides here.
What I’ve learned:
+ History; no need to dwell, but it can explain a lot.
+ Openness; an open culture is core to innovation. Unfortunately I think a lot of businesses miss the boat when it comes to having and maintaining an awesome culture. It’s kind of like traveling: if you’ve never done it, you probably don’t miss it. But, the second you start traveling, you realize that exploration is necessary for personal growth. Companies missing a stimulating culture probably aren’t cognizant of forgone value (happy employees are more creative, harder, smarter workers) and won’t realize what they’re missing without a new force to shine light on it and counteract the inertia of the present.
What’s Edelman doing today?
“Every Company is a Media Company in the digital world. The shift in communications provides new opportunities and responsibilities for all organizations. Being a modern, engaged, open “media company” means being a social, networked, nimble business, building community, putting audiences at the heart of your communications. It means producing and distributing relevant content and using it to build relationships as an asset. Done well, communications is no longer a cost, but generates revenue”
I’d agree with that a lot of companies should act like media companies and broadcasting content. However, there are there are a handful of significant industries that are slower to embrace social business practices. According to MIT Sloan Management Review’s white paper; Social Business: What are companies really doing? – the majority of those surveyed from financial, manufacturing, energy and utility sectors didn’t report that a social tools are important today. On the contrary, half of all respondents from each of these industries agreed that social tools will be relevant in the next three years. What do these respondents expect to change in the next three years – perhaps increased adoption (but then will companies be adopting it for competitive reasons versus the right reasons)? Maybe they think social tools will be refined into a usable form in three years?
I wonder about the healthcare industry – an industry undoubtedly under the spotlight at the moment. This sector wasn’t listed as one of the top three least interested in social tools despite the myriad of laws governing privacy for patients and disclosure for drug companies. Based on Healthcare Finance News article: Social Media Becomes a Business Intelligence Strategy, it appears that consumer demand required the industry’s adoption of open communication through social means:
“According to a recent report by the Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US regarding the use of social media in healthcare, one-third of consumers use sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and online forums to find health-related information, track symptoms, and broadcast how they feel about doctors, drugs, treatments, medical devices and health plans.”
What what forces will guide the adoption of social business practices among the financial, manufacturing, energy and utility industries?
For the private financial, manufacturing and energy sectors I think globalization and the need for a competitive advantage will drive adoption. For public (& semi-public) utilities, I expect adoption to be much slower as competition is regulated and demand relatively consistent.