Face-to-face Customer Service Still Matters

I recently wrote about the dangers of disparity between the customer experience in the social media channel and the customer experience in the traditional channel … and the importance of INTEGRATING your brand messages across all channels.

We also need to make sure that we integrate our brand messages across platforms – both face-to-face and online.

Real-life example:  I have been involved with my bank for years – I’m an Advocate, and I go to this bank all the time.  This week after visiting my bank in their physical location, I walked out realizing that more often than not, I leave their “store” not feeling good.

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Where Have All The Leaders Gone?

Anecdotal evidence is dangerous. But current events (micro and macro level) beg the question: Just when we need it the most, where has real leadership gone?

Significant global unrest appears perpetual. Economic crisis inhibits dialogue around everything from national initiatives to local education. Infrastructures that facilitate so much of what is deemed essential seem stretched beyond reasonable limits.

Yet, those seated in the centers of power – political, social, private enterprise, all – seem impotent when it comes to effecting positive change.

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Social Media ROI: ROI Doesn’t Stand for Return on Ignorance

My good friend Olivier Blanchard recently released his new book, Social Media ROI, Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. As he was nearing its completion, he asked if I would write the foreword and to be honest, I was flattered. I agreed to do so under one condition, that I get the opportunity to share the foreword with you here. Long story short, here we are. The book is extremely helpful and carries the endorsements of those I also respect including Chris Brogan, Jay Baer, Geoff Livingston, and Kyle Lacy.

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Q&A: How to drive measurable ROI from social media NOW

Courtney Velasquez, Social Fabric Community Director, interviewed John Andrews, Collective Bias (CB) Founder/CEO, and Ted Rubin and Dave Henry of the CB Board of Advisors to understand how brands and retailers can measure social media ROI, engage in shopper listening and receive shopper feedback. Originally posted at CollectiveBias.com

1. How can brands drive measurable ROI from social media now?

John: This is such an important question! ROI is usually addressed from a longer-term perspective, and with the immediacy of social media interactions (and exponential growth and adoption), we really do need to see measurable ROI in the shorter term.

Ted: Social media is so popular and effective as a marketing tool because it focuses on the customer experience instead of just throwing an advertisement at them and hoping the impression will stick. The key, then, to driving measurable ROI is in customers’ shopping experience. JUST by listening to what shoppers want, you can improve their shopping experience (e.g. in-stock position, proper assortment, promotion placement, etc.) and grow your sales by a measurable effect immediately. Be a socially-focused organization.

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The Business Case for Social Media: Straight Talk to the CFO

“If you doubt that social media is effective or delivers ROI, count the business owners who have flown to Social Slam 2011, in Knoxville, Tennessee, at our own expense. We own marketing/PR firms and generally bill by the hour. What’s the cost of a firm’s time? What’s the value of engaging on a panel of social media practitioners? Is there a business case? We are your proof.”  – Anne Deeter Gallaher

“Strategy is all about how to deploy scarce resources.”  – Dale Evans, CFO, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company

CFOs are thinking about how to create shareholder value: tell them how social media will help with better communication, investor relations, wiser investments, better returns, more referrals, more press, and stronger communities.

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Social Media Strategy: What doesn’t work

You know what doesn’t work for a social media strategy? Not being social. It might sound like common sense, but all too often, being social is overlooked in a social media strategy.  It’s not enough to just start accounts with all the most popular social media tools and community sites, even when you include professionally-designed graphics and a big bold display of your logo and a few text lines about your brilliant mission.  First and foremost, you absolutely must BE SOCIAL!

When you are not being social, even if you think there is no message, you ARE sending a message to your consumers and potential consumers –  and it is not a message you want to have associated with your brand.  That message is… we don’t want to socialize.

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Social Business and The Age of Infrastructure

It’s inevitable that in many discussions of social media and social business development, someone will ask:

What’s the next big thing? What happens now?

The next big thing isn’t big at all. Well, at least in terms of flashiness or bombastic, noisy fanfare. It’s not even likely to be sexy.

If you care about where social is going next, it’s time to get your sleeves rolled up and dig in. Because the era we’re approaching is in the merging of social at a superficial level, and social at a foundational and organizational level. And that’s going to get messy.

There is and always be a bleeding edge for things, and people that somehow manage to make their livings and livelihoods from predicting what that edge will look and feel like. But there’s precious little room on the brink, and when it comes to building something sustainable that applies to your existing business, there is much work to be done.

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Return on Relationship: The New Measure of Success

Social media is quickly becoming a way of life… and a way of business as more and more companies are realizing they need to integrate social media into their marketing strategies.  We can’t, however, expect to do “business as usual” and succeed in building an eager audience around our brands.

If you want to continue to reach your market in this social media age, the marketing focus needs to be on building relationships, and metrics need to expand beyond ROI (Return on Investment) to include ROR: Return on Relationship.

Most measurements and empowerment stats that are used with regard to relationships (i.e. number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, retweets, site visits, video views, positive ratings and vibrant communities) are not financial assets, but that doesn’t mean they are worthless.  Instead, these are leading indicators that a brand is doing something that is creating value that will be with you for the long term and will drive ROI if developed and used effectively.

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Neuroscience fiction

Feeling a bit end-of-winter fuzzy? Awash with Wednesday ennui? Fed up with days filled with frustration, procrastination and possibilities that never quite manifest?

Then read this.

Your brain is built of cells called neurons and glia—hundreds of billions of them. Each one of these cells is as complicated as a city. Each cell contains the entire human genome and traffics billions of molecules in intricate economies. Each cell sends electrical pulses to other cells, up to hundreds of times per second. If you represented each of these trillions and trillions of pulses in your brain by a single photon of light, the sum total would be blinding.

The cells are connected to one another in a network of such staggering complexity that it bankrupts human language and necessitates new kinds of mathematics. A typical neuron makes about 10,000 connections to neighboring neurons, which means that there are more connections in a few cubic centimeters of brain tissue than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

The three pound organ in your skull—with its pink consistency of jello—is an alien kind of computational material. It is composed of miniaturized, self-configuring parts, and it vastly outstrips anything we’ve dreamt of building. So if you ever feel lazy or dull, take heart: you’re the busiest, brightest thing on the planet.

Now tell me you don’t feel a little more, well, special? It is from Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, the new book by neuroscientist David Eagleman, who delivered a fantastic lecture at the Southbank Centre this week and who is indisputably the Brian Cox of the brain (with added humour and a better haircut). Here he is talking about possibilianism at PopTech last year (possibly).

I – like anyone who has suffered from mental health issues, delusions and addictions (which is pretty much all of us, to differing degrees) – have had to engage at close quarters with the alien machinery inside my skull. The past decade has been a battle, sometimes a distinctly bloody one, to mediate the fractious rivals inside this soggy pink parliament and channel its hungry, impulsive power into moderate and productive pathways. With each small, slow success I have moved a little further from fear to fascination, until now, with the help of people like Eagleman, I am in an almost obsessive state of grateful, curious wonder about how I act out ‘I’ every day.

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The Twisted Reality of Influence Scoring

What compels us to believe in something even when we know deep down it is inherently flawed? What emotional need does it fulfill in us that we are willing to set aside our reason and embrace a vision of who we are that is not true or, at the very least, is a murky reflection of real life.

The current drive to measure influence reminds me very much of Plato’s Theory of Forms from The Republic in which he uses the “Allegory of The Cave”. Through “The Cave”  Plato theorizes the world we believe to be real is in fact illusion. Rather than subjecting you to Plato’s actual works (although I thoroughly encourage it on your own time), I will draw from that information wonder Wikipedia to help provide an understanding of the Allegory of the Cave

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