Posts tagged 'advertising'

Facebook not quite “Home” yet on mobile phones

Apparently, Facebook “Home” is not to be, not yet at least.

The Android application launched by Facebook to create an FB overlay on the Home screen of the phone was supposed to be the big bet by FB to control the first touchpoint screen for a smartphone user. But due to poor reviews by initial analysts, Facebook is said to be revamping the FB Home application. The device which was supposed to launch this was HTC One and in US, AT&T was to be the exclusive carrier for this. In UK, operator EE and Orange were planning to launch it. The social network is said to be encouraging the carriers to delay the launch to give the firm more time to create a more palatable user experience.

The battle for the phone user is becoming more intense as time goes by. With smartphones overtaking web users globally, it is of paramount importance for tech firms to own the phone customer and drive more and more smartphone traffic to these firms’ offerings, in order to attract ad revenue and other commerce monetizations.

Without a doubt, Facebook social network application remains one of the top apps on all mobile systems including Apple iOS and Android. But Google, Facebook, wireless carriers and other media are jostling for more and more of user attention on phones as well as real estate on the limited phone screen, which are the next evolution of internet cycle.

Facebook released the following statement on Thursday evening via Engadget: “Following customer feedback, Facebook has decided to focus on adding new customization features to Facebook Home over the coming months. While they are working to make a better Facebook Home experience, they have recommended holding off launching the HTC First in the UK, and so we will shortly be contacting those who registered their interest with us to let them know of this decision. Rest assured, we remain committed to bringing our customers the latest mobile experiences, and we will continue to build on our strong relationship with Facebook so as to offer customers new opportunities in the future.”


HTC First aka “Facebook Phone”  (Photo: Courtesy / HTC)

After extremely disappointing sales of the HTC First, Facebook will reexamine the Facebook Home before expanding its operating system to more phones in more countries.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he would’ve rebuilt Facebook as a mobile exclusive app if he had the chance, so clearly offering a solid mobile experience means a great deal to Facebook. In this regard, the Facebook phone was a brilliant idea and makes a great deal of sense — like Google and Android, a true Facebook phone would allow Zuckerberg & Co. to have complete control over the user experience and ad strategy. The HTC First was the company’s first attempt at such a device — Facebook would focus on software while HTC would focus on hardware — but with the phone failing so soon after its initial release, Facebook will need to take a long look in the mirror. 

Failure of the HTC First may be blamed on Facebook’s decision to make Facebook Home features too accessible to other mobile users on Android and iOS, or maybe Facebook will realize that the Facebook Home features were not that stellar to begin with.

Facebook has fumbled on mobile before, when it launched it’s first mobile site using the mobile browser channel – with poor user feedback on that approach, Facebook later changed course and focused on more cleaner mobile apps, but this was much later in it’s lifecycle; Facebook mobile has a history of bouncing back. The early years of Facebook mobile efforts were limited to working on a common mobile website version of it’s platform addressing multiple platforms like iOS and Android with one approach. It later realized that that approach did not augur well and got into building platform specific Facebook apps, which have been superb hits since.

The last note above take one back to mobile site vs mobile app debate, which continues to simmer in the mobile development world. So far, it seems, the Apps are winning with many firms (eg Financial Times) having switched from a common approach to custom mobile apps for each mobile platform. More on this later in this space.

(with extracts and ideas from International Business Times article dated May 24 by Dave Smith)

May 26th, 2013

HBR Article review “Advertising Analytics 2.0″

(excerpted from Harvard Business Review article on Advertising Analytics dated March 2012)

HBR has an interesting article on Analytics 2.0 which is driving advertisers and brands to fine-tune their effort allocations to the various media mix. Presented below is the crux of the article by the author Wes Nichols, CEO of MarketShare, an Analytics firm in LA, USA.

Until now, the advertisers are measuring ROI using swim lane tactics, which means that media spend on one channel is measured for ROI independently – it has to do with revenue attribution due to direct impact of that media channel advertising. In reality, the media is more complex, the various media have impact on each other which causes complex mixed media effect on consumer purchase decisions. Eg a TV spot on a Toyota Camry car may lead a user to dish out her smartphone to google search the Camry. The Google search shows a sponsored ad by a nearby Toyota dealer as well as it may lead the user to a sponsored YouTube video ad which plays the motion picture of the car ad. The user is thinking about Camry but purchase decision is still forthcoming. Later when the same person is driving down the highway, she notices the billboard advertising the Camry.  She remembers the sponsored dealer ad and decides to drive by that dealer. This concludes in a purchase decision to buy the Camry.

In the above scenario, each media channel has an impact on each other and it is hard to attribute revenue to one or more media channels directly. As a result, firms do not know how much to spend on various media channels and how these channels cross-impact each other.

Such analysis of one data campaign revealed that swim-lane measurement grossly underestimated the revenues attributable to social-media marketing and display advertising while overestimating PR and paid-search revenue. For firms like Ford, which have a $1 billion advertising budget each year, such analysis is crucial to derive maximum bang for the advertising dollars.

Statistical models that reveal the effect of advertising on consumer behavior and business results must account for hundreds of variables related to market conditions, marketing actions, and competitive activities. A software analytics engine uses those models to attribute each variable’s effect accurately, to optimize the marketing mix, and to guide spending allocation. Data on consumer response and business outcomes feed back into the engine, allowing marketers to fine-tune their cross-media spending in real time.

Analytics 2.0 requires that advertisers assign an elasticity factor between each impacting media – eg Paid search will have an elasticity factor due to TV ad spot and also from other media channels. So each media format is assigned an elasticity factor from every other factor that is likely to impact it, this is referred to as Assist factor. Such factors can include non-media factors like weather, competitive advertising, unemployment rates and like. This leads to a complex cross-dependency scenario across a wide gamut of factors. From here, the advertiser has to assign revenue attribution to each media factor followed by optimization and finally budget allocation. Optimization involves war gaming various scenarios across the factors in question to arrive at optimum marketing conclusions. Finally, this leads to re-balancing budget allocation to achieve the maximum efficiency marketing scenarios.

Factors -> Attribution -> Optimization -> Allocation-> Consumer Response -> Business Outcomes  …….. -> Attribution again

The Business Outcomes influence the Attribution in real time so it is a constant feedback loop.

HBR gives the case study of Electronic Arts (EA) which used the above cycle of Attribution, Optimization and Allocation to increase it’s ad spend efficiency dramatically for the launch of it’s new Battlefield 3 online game. It seems that EA was placing heavy emphasis on TV spot ads for its game launches but these were having only a marginal impact on the success of games sales. An Analytics study led EA to shift advertising dollars to online and paid search, and the game launch revenues improved remarkably for EA.

For the full HBR arcticle, click here.

May 20th, 2013

Child, Brand Marketers & role of Digital Media in Kid’s Marketing

Few days back, I came across “Pitch,” a marketing magazine with the cover story titled “Child is the  father of Brands.” It had interviews of 20 odd marketers, brand experts, marketers, creative brains, media owners and media planners on how kids are redefining the marketing.

Here, I am summarizing the same along with my views on how digital media is playing a key role in connecting with
this young audience. Indian consumer era has just started and thus new age marketers have started creating their own rules to connect with the young generation in turn influencing their parents and guardians in their purchase decisions.

Digital and social media is playing a major role these days for marketers in influencing today’s generation which
is called the ‘Screenagers’. They live on a television screen, console screen or a tablet screen. Within the digital space, while gaming remains the No.1 activity for a 4-10 year-olds, as you move up the age ladder, social media begins to take precedence over gaming. E.g. Dairy company, Amul has been using the digital space for its range of ice-creams and for Amul PRO, the recently launched malt based milk additive for kids in the age-group of 2-15 years. While  it’s Facebook page has close to 500,000 likes, the brand’s websites are also buzzing with activity.

77% kids like funny ads while 60% like ads with their favourite celebrities. In line with this, marketers are vying for tie-ups with animation movies and films targeted at children to leverage the noise created by these Hollywood films prior to their release in the country and cash in on their popularity and exposure. The English animation flick Ice Age-4, for example had associations with seven different brands: MTR, McDonald’s, MCD, Crax Corn Rings, Perfetti Alpenliebe, LG Electrnoics 3D TV and The Mobile Store. For Perfetti, the partnership out  with Fox Studios for its marketing campaign was aimed at bringing alive the ‘irresistibility’ positioning of Alpenliebe etc.

Successful brands will go where the kids are – Touch Screens. Adam Shlachter, Managing Partner, Practice Lead, Digital at MEC (a division of GroupM) call children born in last 3-5 years as ‘Gen-S’ or “Generation Screen.” He says, Gen S will never know a world without screens, without being connected, without touch and swipe, or gesture control, or without cameras to capture, interact, share and connect with others instantly. We have all witnessed toddlers navigating a smartphone or iPad better than we can. Thus, marketers, brands, retailers and publishers need to stay relevant to the audience that expects to transact nearly everything on a touch screen. This means, it has become critical for brands to create and redesign sites to render appropriately and dynamically for different screens and operating systems.

Today, 45% of Fortune 500 companies do not have mobile-optimised websites according to a recent study by Interactive Advertising Bureau. But, now it is slowly happening. A number of apps are being created by companies worldwide to engage Gen S in many innovative ways. Examples include learning and literacy apps from education companies like Scholastic or Penguin books etc.

Now that digital media has emerged from it’s infancy, reaching kids has gotten harder. About 48% of consumers
between the age of 8 and 12 spend two hours online every day, according to eMarketer, while 24% of teens between 13
and 17 spend more than 15 hours online each week and also watch TV regularly.

I would like to conclude here by showing some statistics on How much would parents consider a child’s involvement in a product purchase:

Definitely Consider May Consider Would not Consider
Computers 20% 49% 31%
Internet Service Provider 21% 45% 35%
Car 17% 46% 37%
Mobile Phone 11% 37% 48%
Hair Oil 17% 43% 41%
Savings Plan for Children 12% 46% 42%
Motor Bike 14% 47% 39%
Shampoo 16% 44% 40%

(Data Source: Cartoon Network New Generations India study 2011)


October 1st, 2012

Drivers & Barriers to Mobile Marketing in India

Last week, I attended Mobile Marketing Association’s first forum in India. It was a two day event and comprised of  two back to back workshops on Mobile Marketing and Advertising on first day and main conference on second day. Great set of speakers from across the world and their wow case studies thrilled the audience making one and all feel if anything is there that cannot be mobilised.

Paul Berney, CMO of MMA conducted a hands on exercise with audience on creation of a campaign for promoting a Sedan to 25-34 age group white collar professional who owns a small car now. Teams of 5-6 people were formed and made to present their ideas. Excellent ideas came up from all perspectives – agency, marketers, advertisers, researchers etc.

Paul also conducted another exercise on what audience think are the drivers and barriers to Mobile Advertising from India perspective. Quite a long list was created for the same. I would like to share a few of the important ones below:

Driver of Mobile in India for brands:

Reach and target
Real Time
Engagement and Interactivity in terms of UI, videos etc.
New Media
Innovative features
Highest penetration in youth
Access to data
Revenue generation
Time spent
Always on

Barriers to mobile for brands in India:

Privacy issues
Stringent TRAI regulations
M-Commerce feasibility
Cost of smart phones
Fragmentation of devices and demographics both
Knowledge/ education on phone features usability
Low measurability
Not a solo medium but the last to be adopted for media campaigns
Lack of access to relevant user data
Screen size

September 27th, 2012

Facebook a new competitor for Google & inMobi in mobile advertising? But, can it compete???

Before I jump on the post on above topic, I will first give an example of where I got the idea of putting this post up here.

Last week, I happen to interact with Viren Bhandari of Inflavo of Poland who is planning to enter Indian market space with solutions like f-commerce, re-commerce and m-commerce. I told him that f-commerce is still not available in India as most companies who are trying to run facebook commerce are directing users to another site of theirs, for payments. To this, he said that when their clients take f-commerce solution, they automatically get option of directly loading their to be sold products from mobile to their f-commerce sites, which I feel is a great option. I am looking forward to his entry and his offering of these solutions in Indian market, which I feel many would like. This is far more than entrepreneurs, picturing an object, loading it to their sites on their pc, and then posting them to facebook.

With consumers increasingly using their mobile phones to access Facebook, the social media giant is reportedly readying its first mobile advertising initiative.

Many consider the combination of mobile and social media to be the Holy Grail of digital advertising. The news that Facebook will launch a mobile advertising strategy brings mobile, social media pairing much more into focus and follows closely on the heels of Twitter’s introduction of ads for its mobile apps.

Facebook is looking for ways to monetize its huge base of users. Advertising is probably the best option because many of the people who use mobile social networks fall into younger age demographics and are comfortable with accessing content on a free basis and generally are quite difficult to reach through more traditional advertising channels.

Facebook could certainly be a strong player in mobile advertising and has the potential to make significant revenues from mobile advertising.

Taking on Google and InMobi of Indian origin
Given the significant size of Facebook’s user base – with numbers of 800 million users and 350 million mobile users – an advertising play makes sense for the company.

Reports began surfacing this week that the social network giant will introduce a mobile advertising play by the end of March. This will put it into competition with Google and InMobi – the leaders in the space – although there may be enough room for all as growth continues at a brisk pace. This is a space that will be able to support multiple payers for the next few years ahead.

Another mobile advertising option also makes an already complex ecosystem even more so from a marketer’s point of view. There are already lots of players offering different solutions and this causes complexity for advertisers.

EMarketer estimates Facebook will earn $3.8 billion worldwide this year in advertising revenue, up 104 percent from $1.86 billion in 2010. However, Facebook’s ad revenues have been hampered by marketers belief that the ads are not effective at driving clicks and that they can engage consumers on Facebook without the need to pay for advertising. A mobile advertising play could help Facebook drive further growth from advertising.

In-app advertising
The benefit to advertisers in using Facebook could come from the substantial information the social network has on its users, which could be used to help advertisers target potential customers. The big advantage of Facebook is that it could provide one of the missing pieces of mobile advertising which is targeting. Mobile advertising has struggled to become a major platform because of the issue of relevancy. Facebook has very detailed information on it users that could help advertisers reach their desired audiences – this would be a major advantage.

However, Facebook would need to tread carefully with how it approaches the use of customer data because privacy advocates and regulators are keeping a watchful eye on mobile’s data collection practices.

In-app advertising is one potential area of opportunity for Facebook.

Facebook recently revamped its app for Android to make it quicker and easier to use as it looks to attract more developers. Thus, Facebook is in quite a strong position to become a strong distribution channel for mobile apps & this would offer a chance to do in-app advertising.

December 17th, 2011

Indian e-commerce – nuances and challenges

Everybody and their grandma in India now knows that Indian e-commerce market is set to explode – it is expected to go from current 7 billion dollar (of which 6 billion is online travel alone) to 40 billion by 2015 – ie in 3-4 years.

In view of this, dozens of new ecommerce startups have launched in India and some of them are increasing market share at a breakneck speed. Some of these include Flipkart, Snapdeal,,,, and several others from large brands as well as startups.

But Indian ecommerce is not like that in the West – where online credit card payment and cheap shipping are the order of the day. India has presented these online commerce vendors with its own unique challenges – eg. :

  • COD : customers are reticent to use credit cards online. COD or Cash on Delivery is the preferred method for payment for most online sales.
  • Free Shipping : Indian online customers do not want to pay for shipping – as a result, Indian ecommerce vendors have to bite the bullet on shipping as well.
  • Categories for online shopping : Indian customers so far are mostly interested in online travel purchases – but when it comes to other products like toys, baby products, household items, books, music CDs and such, physical stores still take more than 99% of the customer pie. Of course, now electronics, books and apparel are some products gaining traction in online sales.
  • Where are the profits ? : Of course, it is well known that most India ecommerce startups are taking a loss on online sales – just to grow market share. One expects a market shakeout on this sooner or later and only the strongest (and well funded) ones will survive this fight to the top. We feel that the shakeout will begin to happen over the course of next year with several pulling the plug on their ventures or being bought out by other stronger ones.

Above list highlights some major challenges for the Indian ecommerce players. Enter Indian Jugaad – or Indian version of “make it work somehow“. New services like Gharpay and have been launched to tackle the COD cash collection challenges, as well as product delivery in some cases. These services are building networks of collection agents in various circles or cities and provide Cash on delivery collection services as well as product delivery for the major vendors like, Myntra and Flipkart. Within months of launch, these services have signed  up many leading online vendors as customers.

Well – one has to admit – when it comes to India, it is all about “Jugaad Karo“. In India, if there is a problem, there is always a “Jugaad solution” lurking somewhere – it is upto creative entrepreneurs to find such gaps and exploit them to make new ventures.

December 14th, 2011

The Indian Web and Mobile Markets by the numbers

(excerpted from GigaOm Pro article at

Katie Fehrenbacher with Gigaom is traveling with Geeks on a Plane in India. She writes following stats provided by Google CEO Rajan Anandan to the Geeks on a Plane group :

Rajan Anandan on Indian internet scene : “We’re probably in 1996 in the U.S. in terms of the Internet market in India.”

Here’s the stats from Anandan’s deck. India has:

  • 1.2 billion people
  • The 9th largest economy in the world, with $1.7 trillion GDP
  • 600 million people below the age of 25
  • 22 languages
  • 250 million in the consuming class — these are the folks that buy e-commerce
  • 900 million mobile accounts, with 600 million unique mobile subscribers (many people have more than one account)
  • 30 million PCs — it’ll be a mobile broadband world
  • Average revenue per user (ARPU) is $3
  • 100 million Internet users, and 120 million Internet users by the end of 2011
  • By 2015 there will be 300 million to 400 million Internet users
  • 37 percent of Internet users access the web from home, 27 percent from an Internet cafe, 22 percent from an office, 3 percent from school
  • There are 50 million mobile data subscribers
  • 5 million access Internet only on the phone
  • In 2010/2011 e-commerce emerged as a $7 billion market, with $6 billion of that going to online travel
  • By 2015 the e-commerce market is expected to be $40 billion
  • 67 percent of e-commerce customers by electronics and cell phones. 18 percent buy apparel.
  • 15 million 3G mobile subscribers
  • Broadband is 250 kbps to 500 kpbs fixed line
  • The use of smart phones will grow 52 percent CAGR
  • There are 37 million Facebook users
  • Google Plus use is bigger than Twitter use
  • 23 million unique users on YouTube India
  • There will be $1.3 trillion in online ad spend in 2011
  • The English Internet will not scale beyond 200 million, says Anandan
  • 159 million read Hindi newspapers and 31 million read English newspapers
  • There will be a massive tsunami toward vernacular content on the web, says Anandan
  • 70 percent of non-travel e-commerce is “cash on delivery” (no online payments, buyers pay cash when goods are delivered)
  • This cash on delivery market has a 30 percent return rate
  • Web 1.0 and 2.0 are happening at the same time in India, says Anandan.

Some Internet sites that have found success in India:

Thanks to Gigaom for the above post.

December 14th, 2011

Interactivity in ads, increases brand recall

Last year, MD of one of the top media houses in India with 10+ magazines and newspapers asked me if I knew any app that could help them convert all their offline or even digital content into iPad compatible content. Today, we can see most print or digital media companies like Time of India, WSJ, NDTV etc. having their own iPad apps and boasting of millions of readers across the globe.

They have been successful in converting their content to various platforms but in India, interactivity in ads is still missing to a great extent and thus not many readers on tablets or mobile phones remember seeing an ad leave alone seeing an ad of a particular brand.

These benefits carry over to the magazines themselves, according to new findings from a research outfit Affinity’s VISTA Digital service, which tracks consumption of digital magazines on iPads and other mobile devices.

Affinity measured reader response to a variety of interactive digital ad formats on mobile devices, including sponsored videos, photo galleries and 3D product views.

Among readers who tapped on the screen to interact with sponsored videos, 88% said they enjoyed the experience, 87% said it enhanced the magazine reading experience, 88% said they learned more about the product, and 89% now view the brand as innovative as a result.

For photo galleries, 92% said they enjoyed the experience, and for 3D views, 93% said the same. Ninety-two percent said it enhanced their magazine experience, 91% said they learned more about the product, and 92% said they viewed the brand as innovative as a result.

Last week, another company released survey data suggesting that digital magazine advertising on tablets is more effective at engaging consumers than e-readers, with 55% of consumers who read magazines on tablet devices saying they “noted” a magazine ad displayed on their devices, compared to just 41% for e-readers.

August 20th, 2011

Tablet Ads Beat E-reader Ads

Magazine ads viewed on tablet computers are more effective than magazine ads viewed on e-readers in garnering consumer attention and engagement, according to data collected by Starch Advertising Research from May-July 2011. Starch data reveals that, on average, 55% of consumers who read a magazine on a tablet “noted,” meaning they saw or read a magazine ad on their device.

In comparison, 41% of e-reader magazine app users noted an ad. This means tablet readers are 34% more likely to note a magazine ad. To put these findings in perspective, the average noting score for all hard copy magazine ads Starch measured in 2010 was 53%.

Tablet Magazine Ads Drive Engagement

Data shows that magazine advertising on tablets also appears to more strongly drive engagement, compared with e-readers, among consumers who read/saw an ad. For instance, of consumers who noted a magazine ad on a tablet, 26% had a more favorable opinion of the advertiser after viewing the ad (37% more than the 19% for e-reader ads) and 21% of tablet ad noters looked for information about the product or service after viewing the ad (40% more than the 15% of e-reader ad noters).

And while an equal percentage (22%) of ad noters on both tablets and e-readers said that a magazine ad drove them to consider purchasing the product/service, the tablet was still more effective since analysis shows that more consumers noted an ad on a tablet in the first place.

( Source: marketingcharts )

August 9th, 2011

Open Leadership – Empowering Employees and Customers : Expert Advice from Charlene Li (Altimeter Group)

Attended a webinar by Charlene Li of Altimeter Group. Charlene is one of world’s foremost experts on Social Media and Opening up Corporate environments to discussion, feedback and engagement.

Charlene Li is Founder of Altimeter Group and a former Researcher from Forrester Research. She has authored two of the leading books in Social space – Groundswell and Open Leadership.

Here are Charlene’s thoughts on Open Leadership, Social Media and Employee Empowerment :

The Dell case study is the subject of lot of Social Media books. A Dell laptop caught fire in a Japanese fire many years back and a video of it circulates till date on YouTube and other media portals. Dell, at the time, was not equipped to respond to the PR nightmare that followed. After that Dell engaged in extensive introspection and created a powerful Social empowerment strategy for it’s employees.

Charlene talks about three key aspects to developing an Open Leadership enviroment : Strategy, Leadership and Preparedness.

Strategy :

Today’s leaders need to “Learn” about what is happening in employee circles and customer spheres. This requires “Dialog”. Best Buy has created twelpforce – a twitter support group about 2500 strong to provide support to customers.

The Social Strategy involves an Engagement Pyramid :

The Engagement Pyramid indicates various levels of Open Leadership possible in a firm.

DellOutlet drives sales with Dialog on twitter – this channel is used to announce promotions. Web announcements and brochures are other ways to promote new products but they do not engender any user feedback whereas the same promotions on twitter drive user feedback and sharing. Similarly, Kohl’s retail chain encourages its customers to share their purchase experiences on its user portal.

This is all about enabling Dialog.

The next idea is “Integrate” support in your business. One firm has 85% of its employees engaged in customer support forums. This leads to good customer satisfaction. Starbucks invites ideas on Almost 100 customer ideas from this portal have been implemented.

Leadership :

This means that top leadership needs to have the confidence and humility to give up Control and empower it’s people. This also requires authenticity and transparency. Sunguard CEO said that it would be arrogant for a CEO to think that he or she can make better decisions than the thousands of people below him/her. Sunguard CEO implemented Yammer in his firm – the intranet equivalent of twitter.

Premier Farnell (a manufacturing firm) runs the “OurTube” portal for its employees and engineers – this portal allows the engineers to share ideas and best practices. – the premier online CRM firm, uses its own Chatter platform for internal communication and sharing.

Preparedness :

The question is how to get started on the path of Open Leadership. Charlene lays out a five step process :

#1 Align Social with key strategy goals for current and next year

Take some risks with Social technology if you have to

#2 Create a culture of sharing

Exercise sharing muscles. Often times, CEO and other leaders must lead by example by sharing themselves. Eg Edelman CEO blogs every single week since 2004.

How to encourage sharing :

  • Give sharing a purpose eg. goal, project or event
  • Build trust : Limit people you share with, at least initially
  • Use video : eg one can use cellphone to record yourself and put it out there

Send it out by email for sharing – email works also – in addition to social networks.

#3 Discipline is needed to succeed

Formalize the Open Leadership process – without definition, people do not know the boundaries and may not be comfortable with this media. rules of atticate, rules of behavior, rules of culture.

#4 Ask the right questions about value

Some orgs use brand metrics or net promoter score – but these are tough and laborious to measure. Whereas social technology is infinitely measurable – metrics is not the key, but relationships are.

#5 Prepare for failure

No relationships are perfect. Google’s mantra is – “Fail fast, Fail Smart“.

It’s about RELATIONSHIPs at the end of day – relationships with customers, relationships with employees and relationships with partners.

Baby boomers – some are active on Social Media even though common perception is that they don’t get it. Millennials – they are new in orgs and hence least secure to brand as Empowered employees.

For a firm, the best people to put out there acting as ambassadors are – folks who are passionate about this stuff – these are often baby boomers.

Q & A :

How do management set personal and professional boundaries for Social empowerment ? depends on what relationships a firm wants – that will determine the boundaries.

Another question is to check “Readiness” of firms for Open Leadership. How ready is it to engage ? many departments like legal, investor relations, marketing and others need to provide the clearance for this.

Why does Apple succeed in spite of being so closed ? Charlene mentioned that although Apple is a very closed organization and is keep its operations and new products very secret, but they still succeed due to their fantastic product quality. But another way to look at it is that Apple has so many passionate fans that act as their ambassadors and advocates. That said, Apple has it’s share of problems etc the Antenna issue in the iPhone 4 caused so much PR problems for Apple.

Open Strategy must focus on RELATIONSHIPs and not on tech platform eg Facebook or twitter or email etc

Companies try to start with content creation – blogs, youtube (90% push, 10% feedback) before they go onto other steps in Openness.

Sometimes firms find that people are not participating in an Open environment – this is a training and prority issue. Charlene says that leaders have to look for passionate staff who thrive on feedback.

Why Openness can fail : often times when it is not structured. Business requires context and structure to be successful

Which departments use Social Tech ? 40% of it is in Marketing dept. Increasingly, Corporate Communication and HR depts are using it. As well, HR, Investor Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility depts are beginning to use it.

Cultural nuances ? Charlene found that cultural nuances effect Social and Open in different countries. Eg in Korea and Brazil – producing content is twice as popular than in USA – people want to create content as there is little of it so far.

China – people are transparent about their salaries, not so in USA. Different cultures share different things but the point is that they do share.

Eventually, Social Technology will be like air – anywhere and everywhere.

Over time : When one locks into grocery store, they will know who I am and what I typically want

If consumers are adopting Social technology, companies need to be there too.

You HAVE TO GO where your customers are, firms cannot just focus on their websites etc.

What about privacy issues ? Charlene said that there is clear distinction between PRIVACY and PERMISSION. But, society’s norms change quickly about privacy. Eg Caller id was resisted by people before as it was considered invasive of privacy. But now it is mandatory before people answer calls.

One has to constantly test where the public boundary is for privacy.

- What about failures when trying out Openness ? Charlene’s book has one complete chapter on Failure of Openness.

Most CEOs feel their stomach churning when they enter this arena. It takes some time and experimentation for management to develop a comfort zone with Open Leadership.

If one is in job market today, potential candidates are demanding open firms. On the flip side, some people want more structure around Openness. It is the Younger generation that has a preference to continue to be social.

How about loss of employee productivity using social networks ? Charlene says this is a management problem and not a productivity problem. If a firm blocks people from using social media, people do it anyway on their phones and take long breaks.

Learning about Open Leadership is the MOST IMPORTANT OBJECTIVE as all firms today want to become people-oriented.

Focus Groups and Surveys are hard to do and get responses. It is much easier to search Social Networks and one knows the participants’ profiles and biases.

June 16th, 2011

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