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To be a social business, start from the inside

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Companies need to look at all the disruptive forces in the business world in a much more holistic way.

 

Over recent years, many organisations have put in place plans for online, social and digital transformation, but struggle to achieve the desired outcomes.

 

They find it difficult because it isn’t just one department or one role that these programmes impact. Digital disruption knows no boundaries.

 

You have to understand today’s disruptive forces in their totality and then bring the entire organisation together to take advantage of them.

 

We spoke with three people at the forefront of disruption to find out how our leaders’ roles are changing and how digital technology will affect both our roles and our businesses.

 

“How can you be an effective leader if you can’t use these powerful new tools to establish relationships with people?” - Charlene Li, Altimeter Group

 

Charlene Li, CEO of Altimeter Group, a company that provides independent research and strategy consulting on disruptive technology trends, believes that while digital and social technologies have revolutionised our relationships, many leaders remain on the sidelines, paralysed by fear and the unknown.

 

“Leaders often feel very uncomfortable about using digital channels and do everything possible to avoid being digital,” says Charlene. “Yet that’s almost like cutting off your right arm. How can you be an effective leader if you can’t use these powerful new tools to establish relationships with people?”

 

She says leaders need to listen at scale, share to shape and engage to transform.

 

“These are all things you do naturally as a leader. You listen, you share to develop relationships and then you engage with people."

 

“In the digital space, you just do these things in a slightly different way. You ‘listen’ with your eyes, not ears. You ‘share’ through digital tools more broadly and frequently than you ever could before, and you ‘engage’ at a very personal level at scale to transform those relationships.”

 

“...social businesses are organisations that have integrated their people, process and technology so that brands can communicate internally.” - Cheryl Burgess, Blue Focus Marketing

 

Cheryl Burgess, CEO and CMO of New Jersey-based Blue Focus Marketing, talks about how we can harness the power of social media-savvy employees to develop our brand and culture in the digital age.

 

“We tend to think of ‘social’ in the traditional ways of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter,” says Cheryl.

 

“However, social businesses are organisations that have integrated their people, process and technology so that brands can communicate internally. Brands cannot communicate externally until they can communicate internally. A social business allows that to happen.”

 

Cheryl explains that organisations with more socially-engaged employees can get better leads, attract more employees and retain their most valued employees.

 

“They also become more authentic. In an era where authenticity is paramount, they will win.”

 

To become a social business, companies must harness the power of the social employee to brand from the inside out.

 

“Start with a pilot programme and don’t force employees to participate,” says Cheryl. “Give them the option and train the employees that opt-in and want to be trained.”

 

“...get super-close and super-relevant to truly understand the needs and wants of your customer base…” - Russell Douglas, D&Co

 

Award-winning digital experience strategist and Director of D&Co, Russell Douglas, focuses on how emerging digital trends are helping us get closer to customers.

 

He says that human-centred design methods are essential to deliver customer-centric experiences.

 

“The first step in creating better connections is to get super-close and super-relevant to truly understand the needs and wants of your customer base so that you can create amazing experiences based on the triggers of engagement.”

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