Posts Tagged ‘Mike Saunders’

Designing a SMART Customer Experience

Posted on: February 24th, 2014 by admin-kablooey No Comments

The digital world has disrupted our marketing worlds and changed the way business communicates with its customer. Social media has opened the door to two-way conversations, data gives us a better understanding of our market and mobile makes our message more accessible to the general consumer.

Over the past few years we have placed much focus on developing digital channels to make the most of social media, mobile and data collection, however we believe that this focus has swung business to the opposite end of the pendulum. Focusing too much on digital channels and not the consumer themselves.

Digital highlighted a primary shift that consumers wanted business to make. To become more relevant, personal, useful and thoughtful. To design products and experiences that are actually useful and exciting.

SMART-Customer-ExperiencesIn considering this challenge we have found that we need to redesign our customer experiences with these shifts in mind while still considering the person at the end of the experience. To find a balance between the physical and digital experience, to blend the two experiences into one serendipitous occasion that excites and intrigues customers.

SMART Customer Experience” is a framework that TomorrowToday has developed after research into a number of customer experience frameworks. It speaks to the technologies that matter and the need to find the right application in your experience. A simple acronym in SMART – Social, Mobile, Agile, Researched, Transforming. I would like to share three of these these briefly for you to consider in your customer experience design.

Social 

Behind social media lies the consumer insight that customers want to connect with people, brands and business. They want to be able to share in a conversation, to be heard, to listen and add value. This is evident in successful programmes like My Starbucks and Idea Storm where customers can add ideas to a network and watch them come to life as the companies interact with their customers to develop new products together.

When designing an experience that is social we need to focus on the customer need to connect, share and contribute rather than just the platforms available.

Mobile

The power of mobile is evident in how many people own a mobile phone. As wearable tech like The Dash , Google Glass, Pebble watches, Fitbit come onto the market we need to understand the fundamental reason why mobile is so important in our customer experiences.

The power is in context. Mobile devices (any mobile device) helps us create contextual messaging, immersive experiences and accessible information.

In designing SMART Customer Experiences we need to ask ourselves how we can create connections with customers that are more meaningful and that speak to them at the right time, in the right way with the right message.

Transformation

When a customer decides to purchase a product or service they are choosing to adapt their lives to include that product or service. Some adaptions are easy and others are harder. Customer experience designers need to look carefully at how they can help customers change their lifestyles to accommodate their new purchase.

A great example of how this transformation is implemented into a customer experience is found in the book Smart Change  by Art Markman. He describes how  Procter & Gamble helped increase sales of the air refresher Febreze by redesigning a bottle that originally looked like a window cleaner bottle (and cried out to be stored in a cabinet beneath the sink) to one that was rounded and decorative (and could easily be left out on a counter in a visible spot).

Agile and Researched

While Socal, Mobile and Transformation speak to the design of a customer experience, agility looks at how business needs to alter internal processes to respond better to customers. Ultimately becoming a more customer centric organisation. While researched looks at the power of collecting the right data to build quality information about our customers that highlights strong insights that drive our customer experience design.

Need to dive into this in more detail?

Contact us to find out our availability to run a SMART Customer Experience workshop with your product design and marketing team.

Social Media and Recruitment – The connection economy shift

Posted on: August 30th, 2013 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Finding a job has never been a simple process and finding the right person to join your company is like finding a needle in a haystack. Fortunately the rise of social media is making it easier for companies and candidates to court each other. Those candidates that use their online presence to ‘beef up’ their CV are benefiting from companies that have begun screening candidates social profiles before making a hiring decision. Those businesses that are communicating their business values and employment environments are benefiting as they attract higher quality candidates who are keen to join the company.

Social media offers three primary solutions to the recruitment industry.

social media and recruitment1) Headhunting

The first and most obvious shift that social media presented was that people began to profile their professional career online. This is the most prevalent on LinkedIn, which has grown to 2.2 million users in South Africa in 2013. People have taken to the internet to provide the world with a view into their professional careers.

Access to a database of online, up-to-date and well designed CV’s has now made it possible for recruiters to search for candidates online before advertising a job spec and approaching the right candidates directly.

LinkedIn has launched LinkedIn Recruiter to help business make use of the network to find the right candidates for the job. These talent services make up over 50% of the revenue that LinkedIn generates, showing that the social network is providing business with valuable and useful services in this area.

2) Personal Profiling

As people begin to profile their careers online, the competition is getting bigger for job opportunities in the marketplace. Those people with online profiles that impress recruiters and clearly communicate their value as an employee, will be those with the edge on the competition.

Social screening is the process of searching for potential candidates in social websites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter  in order to qualify the candidate for a position. Social screening allows employers to find out information from candidates that is often difficult to discover through the interview process. LinkedIn recently launched new tools to add to your work history that include videos, links and documents for you to create a richer and deeper online presence and professional profile. This is important as recruiters have began rigourous “social screening” processes.  In fact a survey done by Jobvite reported that 90% of employers used social recruiting in 2012.

These discoveries can be both negative and positive.

The positive side of social screening:

  • They get a feel for the personality of the candidate
  • They can verify the qualification of the candidate
  • Creative people often use social platforms to express their creativity
  • Employers can get an idea of the communication skills of the candidate
  • Social Sites like LinkedIn can provide further recommendations for the candidate

The negative side of social screening:

  • Inappropriate photographs can raise warning flags about the personality of the candidate
  • Drug abuse could become apparent
  • Bad mouthing previous employers can show the candidates work ethic
  • Identify poor communication skills
  • The candidate may be sharing confidential business information of previous or current employers

As the competition grows with candidates profiling themselves online and recruiters expecting to socially screen candidates, it is impossible to ignore the value of building your personal profile online.

3) Business Profiling

Finally, business needs to begin the process of profiling themselves online. This is not in the sense of having a website that explains what services you offer and who your board of directors are. Business needs to leverage social media to help candidates explore what it is like to work there, what your core values are and how they can make a difference in the business.

This has become increasingly important with a younger generation who is looking for a company that has a deeper sense of purpose, and a heart for social values. These young people are looking for more than opportunity and salary, they need to know they share the same moral compass and that they can achieve the work-life balance they are searching for.

In addition to the desires of Generation Y, they search for information easily through Google and Social Networks. The important aspect to remember about profiling your business for recruitment is to focus on the networks that have the people you are looking to connect with, and that have the media channels that are the most engaging to communicate your message. Facebook is a great network to connect with people, however YouTube will help you produce video content that is search engine friendly. Twitter is another network that will go a long way to helping you share your business values and lifestyle with your followers. Recently businesses have taken to Instagram, the photo sharing network, to help them allow people a look inside the walls of their business. All of these social media platforms have the potential to attract the talent you are looking for, it is simply a case of shaping your message.

The push and pull of recruiting on social media

It is becoming more evident as social media matures in the business world that there needs to be a two way approach to recruitment. Headhunting and Social Screening help business to find the right people, whilst personal profiling and business profiling help people find the right business.

Retail and Technology

Posted on: August 22nd, 2013 by admin-kablooey No Comments

There is a unique relationship between retail and technology. Retail chains have long been adopting technology as a means to track customers and gather valuable data. Some retailers have also leant on technology to provide more interesting window displays and shopping experiences. There is however a new element to this relationship, consumers and technology. Consumers today are bringing technology into retail outlets and using it in the purchase experience. An experience that we are no longer in control of. Technology’s relationship with our consumer has empowered our consumer in much the same way that it empowered our retailers.

Two new phenomenons in retail have risen to the fore due to the impact of technology being used by consumers.
1) Showrooming
With the rise in availability of products now online, consumers are able to purchase almost anything using an internet connection. Although this is primarily a developed economy concern, right now it is clear that the rise in e-commerce services in developing economies are creating the same purchase patterns.

Showrooming is the behaviour of testing, touching, experiencing a product on the retail floor and deciding to purchase the product online.

According to the Business Insider consumers are showrooming for the following reasons, in order of preference:

  • Price is better online
  • Planned to buy the product online but wanted to see it first
  • Item was out of stock in-store
  • Would rather have the item shipped to them directly
  • It was not convenient to purchase the product in-store at the time

2) Blended Physical and Digital Experiences In-store

Mobile has disrupted the consumer market in ways we never imagined. The ability to take the internet with us into every single aspect of our lives has meant that consumers have become more savvy shoppers.

Primarily through a mobile smart phone, consumers are researching your products in-store and comparing them with your competition. I have personally tested this process to see how easy it was and ended up buying a book for my kindle from amazon – standing inside a bookstore.

Essentially the impact of mobile has taken showrooming to a new level by incorporating purchase and delivery to a competitor whilst standing in your store.

In the future, consumers will bring more advanced technology in-store that will give them quicker and more convenient access to this power of information.

Retailtechnologytrends.com laid out some interesting ideas about how consumers will use Google Glasses which are due to launch at the end of 2013.

Competitive purchasing – With the right SDK, apps like Amazon, or RedLaser can enable wearers to scan items by pulling them off the shelf and looking at them. The glasses can recognize the barcodes and return search details on comparable prices elsewhere.

Mobile Self Scanning – Google Glass could be used to port to a mobile app for users to scan their groceries as they go through the store, and then they could checkout with Paypal or some other mobile payment solution.

How do we take back control?

The business that seems to be winning with consumers are those that are providing technologies that compliment this purchasing style. The old analogy “if you cant beat them, join them” rings true in these scenarios.

With the example of Google Glass, retail outlets can use the same technology to improve customer loyalty by using information collected about the customer, and that information can then be shown only to the eyes of the store staff in order to best serve the client without the client seeing the information.
John Lewis designed a brand specific mobile app for their customers to use that allows customers to scan products, search for products and purchase – allowing customers to choose the purchasing experience that suits them. The app also provides additional product information that is not always available on the shelf in the store.Other examples are where retail outlets have created complimenting online stores that are mobile friendly and may even come packaged in their own mobile app. These services increase the chance of “showrooming purchases” still being purchased from the store. Utilizing GPS information from the device may even allow retail chains the ability to track the location of the purchase and attribute it to the nearest retail outlet.

When looking at the disruptive change taking place, it is important not to get caught up in the hype and to focus on key trends that will help you design a more robust customer experience.

Here are my three suggestions to win your customer back:

Think Mobile First

The mobile disruption has made it clear that every retail outlet wanting to engage their customers and claim a higher percentage of sales from showrooming, need to ensure that they have a mobile platform that provides the best value to the client – in service and purchasing tools.

Understand the social shift

When thinking about mobile also understand that new technologies in GPS, Augmented Reality and others will make it easier to capture information on purchase behaviour.

Social media coupled with mass usage and mobile distribution has bought people into the purchase experience that you cannot see or influence with the in-store design and atmosphere.

It isa well known revelation that consumers trust their peers more than they trust the company they are buying from. In the social media shift those recommendations are just a few clicks away.

Remember it’s a blended experience

This is vital. I don’t believe that digital or online stores will do away with retail outlets or shopping centres. There is still a large social and consumer benefit to shopping. Instead we need to understand that the shopping experience is more complex thanks to technology. The winners will be those who provide a blended physical and digital experience that surpasses its competitors.

Mobile Marketing and Social Disruption

Posted on: May 16th, 2013 by admin-kablooey No Comments

I am currently in the middle of a simple series exploring mobile and the impacts it has in life, work and society.

When asked to look at the future of mobile I believe that you need at look at three main aspects:

  1. The internet of things
  2. Social Disruption
  3. Infrastructure

In my last post I presented the concept of “The internet of things,” a look into how mobile technology is being use to enable machine to machine communication.

Today I will explore Social Disruption. The impact of social technology on a mobile consumer market and employee base.

Social Disruption

Roughly seven years ago social media thrust our world into a brand new digital dynamic. I believe that this technology helped us break into a new era, out of the information era and into the connection economy.

In the information era data helps us build competitive edge providing better value to our customers with custom solutions to custom problems. Data enables us to act quickly with the right information to meet a customers needs. Many industries have been working hard to make this a reality and this ‘data service’ in many cases has almost become the norm. Ecommerce is a great example of tracking purchases to provide customised future purchasing suggestions. Retail data has been used extensively to take the stock management power away from the supplier and place it firmly in the hands of the retailer. A better understanding of purchase patterns has helped retail outlets stock correctly and branch out into diversified services that help entrench loyalty with the customer. A great example here is how Tesco used the Club Card to become a world leading retailer.

So what happens when everyone in your industry is using data in this way. In South Africa we have seen Discovery, Pick n Pay, Woolworths and many other consumer driven services putting data to very good use to gain an edge on the market. When all the competitors ‘catch up’ where will we find our edge?

In the connection economy, the edge comes from ‘relationship.’ Building a social relationship with customers.

Prioritising relationship

When social media exploded many business jumped in an began to ‘socialise’ with their customise. In other words they set up a facebook page and asked people to become fans, then we tailored beautiful content strategies to speak to our new fanbase. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking content marketing and social media marketing. The principles are correct and they do work in creating a better connection with customers. Couple this with the fact that customers are choosing social mediums to communicate to and about companies, products and services, we can see a definite need to include social media strategy into our communication strategy.

I do believe that ‘social strategy‘ is more than social media strategy. Its the process of looking at our business, our products and services and seeing how we can build a more social experience at every level. Its about leveraging this social disruption to better your customer experience to include a relationship component.

Leveraging Social Disruption in Mobile

So what does this look like in the world of Mobile Marketing.

Social Media ConsumerMobile is personal

There are few objects that people posess that are more personal than a mobile phone. It contains in it the ability to store personal information, share information to personal networks and converse in one on one conversations. The personal nature of these devices means that they become a perfect platform to connect in a personal and social way with our customers.

One of the biggest learnings here at the moment is that all social communication should be mobile device friendly. If its not, you’re not touching the market with the right technology that makes a difference.

Another simple learning is that in certian circumstances you may be able to provide a more personal service by allow your business to be utilised through mobile. A classic example of this is how FNB claimed more customers simply because they offered a mobile banking app as part of their service (I was one of those people who moved banks for this reason.)

Mobile is immediate

Certian conversations require immediate action. Mobile is the device that people use to requets that immediate action.

Utilising apps or mobile sites that can assist customers with immediate queries and concerns is a good medium to divert negative sentiment away from public channels. Utilising apps to provide actual services are one of the most important avenues you should be considering on mobile strategy. Utlising social disruption in the delivery of these services would mean eansuring a personal experience that is sharable and connect the person with a community that they trust.

The immediacy of mobile means that if people are provided the correct socialised channels they may use your products whilst simultaneously sharing them with trusted networks (word of mouth marketing).

Mobile is social

A persons mobile device is a primary source of their socialisation with people. SMS, Whatsapp, BBM, MXit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype and many more tools are used on a daily basis to help people socialise with each other.

This is important to understand because although people hate spam communication, they will be used to social communication.

Key Drivers

One of our key drivers in mobile strategy should be to ustilise social disruption to provide a more personal, sharable and community driven experience for our customers.

 

Originally posted on the blog of Mike Saunders our Technology Keynote Speaker

Can Mobile and Social Strategy Create an Infrastructure for Africa Development

Posted on: September 11th, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Over the past year or so I have been working with a number of companies looking to expand their business into Africa. This is probably one of the most exciting areas of business growth because of the uniques challenges and breadth of work involved. The return, without a doubt, is great for any business who can gain a strong foothold in the next few years.

One of the biggest challenges I have seen has been the lack of infrastructure in Africa to support existing westernised business systems and processes. An example of this is if you would like to distribute in Africa, you will need to build the road to your customer in many cases.

I have also noticed that the digital engagement in Africa, especially in mobile is growing stronger and stinger everyday. In February this year I spoke at a conference win Nigeria and received one of the best twitter responses I have ever received. More people followed , engaged in conversation, retweeted and promoted my presentation on twitter than any South African conference I had spoken at. This fascinates me and suggests that a keenness and desire to adopt mobile digital technologies could mean that Africans will be ready for digital distribution way before we think.

So often a market takes time to mature into one ready to purchase online. It takes a consumer time to trust the reliability of a digital product and the company providing it. I believe that Africa will be ready far sooner than its western counterparts.

This has already been explored in mobile banking but could be explored in many other business avenues. I would suggest that anyone entering Africa needs to dig deep into their organisational strategy and rethink their business models to build on a digital business framework. They need to re-imagine their business, services, customers and products in order to really meet new market opportunities in Africa.

Applying the right strategy and product/service with the correct digital infrastructure could mean your business becomes a major part of the economic growth that Africa will experience over the next 20 years.

In our experience mobile has opened the door to real personal engagement with customers, align this with a social strategy and these customers will take your company to the rest of Africa. The key will be ensuring you provide the right value, to the right people, with the right communication and delivery channels.

Such an exciting opportunity awaits any business looking to take this challenge on. I would love to hear any thoughts around the role of digital, social and mobile in Africa. Please comment below.

Can social technology improve employee productivity?

Posted on: August 28th, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review James Manyika, Michael Chui, and Hugo Sarrazin presented some insightful research that identified that some of our best employees are spending  ”28% of their workdays answering, writing, or responding to email. They also spend another 19% of the time trying to track down information (including searching through their own e-mail files) and 14% collaborating with co-workers.”

Social Technology makes your employees more productive

This means that these people are spending 61% of their days emersed in activities that can be improved though the use of social technology. The main benefit is clear social technology can help these people save time on these activities and therefore improve their productivity.

Think about how social technology improved our social lives. Facebook helps people to keep in touch with their friends and family in a more productive way. Instead of waiting for social gatherings people are now able to catch up on social news in the “dead pockets” of the daily routiunes. Waiting for meetings to start, sitting at petrol stations and standing in queues have now become opportunities to socialise, making our social life more productive.

The same is true in business. Socialising collaboration, knowledge management and internal communications will improve productivity by reducing email strain, improving the relevancy of information, personalising the knowledge management experience and allowing collaboration to break past the meeting room and into the mobile space.

Social Technology and Operations

the social entepriseAs we dive more into the strategy in fusing social technology and business together it is becoming abundantly clear that social technology needs to form a part of our business operations. Social media and business tools facilitate communications that should be integral in our operational conversations. The same technology should form part of our customer research activities that inform our product design and innovation operations. Further more, social business technology can have a micro and macro effect on business efficiency.

In his article “The future is podular” Dave Gray suggest that business needs to move towards a ‘podular’ networked business instead of remaining a ‘chain’ driven organisation. This means that the ‘chain of command’ shifts and our current communication styles in business will fail inside a networked culture. I would like to suggest at this juncture that social business is the operational solution to create a communication and accountability structure for a ‘networked/podular’ business. In this case, social business technology is an imperative to successfully achieving the suggested model.

In more “chain and command” driven organisations, the operations can survive without social business technology but will inevitably need to change their process as Generation Y moves in and demands more productive communication systems and more intuitive collaborative structures. Chain and Command organisations (hierarchical) will struggle to remain relevant and agile in the future of business and Generation Y are well aware of this. Over time, our employees, future management and customers will naturally more towards a podular structure, but by then it will be too late to create a competitive advantage.

Email is where knowledge goes to die

Posted on: July 3rd, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

I am no DIY professional, in fact I am the opposite. The other day I found myself tring to rewire a household plug using a kitchen knife as a screwdriver. Half the problem with my DIY skills is that I don’t have the right tools to do the job so I end up ‘making a plan’ to get the job done. In much the same way I have begun to recognise that in business we often are found making a plan with tools that are not right for the job.

Email is a great communication tool, partly because its simple enough to use and partly because everyone uses it. Just because everyone is using it does not mean that it will work for every type of business communication. Email is perfect for communication an idea in a single direction and getting feedback, for handling official conversations and to forward our friends inane humour (please note my sarcasm in the last point)

The challenge is that email is so often used to distribute and store useful information. This is where email fails, it does not have an organisation structure, or search tool flexible and intuitive enough to manage this information correctly.

Have you ever wondered what happened to that link you were sent on email, or to the proposal your agency sent through a few weeks ago? What about the first concept business plan that has changed so many time your entire team is using multiple versions of the wrong document and no one knows where the correct final document is.

Somehow email tends to get lost or in some cases ‘never arrive’ at its intended recipients. This phenomenon has become a way of life. We have come to accept it because we had no alternative, at least we thought we had no alternative.

Social technology, opens up the door to a knowledge management process that is the right tool for the job. Infusing information sources (links, documents, videos, images, podcast, news and any other form of media) with social engagement can help sift out the information that is valuable and turn it into a knowledge base that adds to the growth and bottom line of the firm.

The following needs to happen to a piece of information before it can have a major impact in a business as a solution to a strategic or operational challenge.

  1. Information must be accessible in a central repository that is easy to access and use.
  2. The repository should include information tracking to highlight information that is attracting attention by people in the organisation
  3. Conversation needs to take place around the information. This conversation will challenge the information, apply it hypothetically, add new information to the conversation and finally upgrade the information into a state of knowledge. Knowledge comes about when people organise their thoughts around the information and develop a point of view.
  4. The knowledge impacts decisions in the business.
  5. The experiences we gain from acting in decisions add to our knowledge based and often graduates that knowledge to wisdom in the organisation which can be shared in the conversations in the knowledge management system.

Everybody draws on the knowledge base when making decisions in business. By socializing the knowledge management process above you can build a culture of storing and engaging with information and validating it within the organisation. Validated information rises to the top of the information pool and sparks conversations that lead to knowledge development, impact on business decisions. The results of those decisions are also added back into the system to develop the thinking towards wisdom.

Social opens up the opportunity for you to create a business culture that promotes learning, rewards it and retains it.

Stats about LinkedIn in Africa [infographic]

Posted on: June 11th, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

After the demand for our LinkedIn in South Africa infographics we decided to extend our research into Africa.

Nearly 6 million people are using LinkedIn in Africa. Proving that LinkedIn is becoming a great resource to connect with people in Africa. As international investment into Africa grows we are seeing great potential to connect with Africa’s brightest minds through this professional social network.

If you are not on LinkedIn yet or would like to improve your professional profile we have created a free guide to help you get the most out of your business on LinkedIn.

Below you will find an infographic we did that visually describes the state of LinkedIn usership in Africa

LinkedIn South Africa 2012

Created by DigitLab the digital marketing agency Download the FREE LinkedIn Guide for Business

 

LinkedIn in South Africa 2012 [infographic]

Posted on: June 6th, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Over the last few years the DigitLab team and I have been tracking the growth of LinkedIn in South Africa.In 2011 we saw an 83% growth (600 000 professionals) from this year and in 2012 a 45% increase (500 000 professionals )with a total of 1,6 million people.

Its also interesting to note that the top growth sector are Manufacturing, Agriculture and Medical with growth rates of between 57% and 70%. These stats have shown that LinkedIn in South Africa has become the place to be in order to network with other business professionals. So if you need help getting your online profile organised on LinkedIn take a look at our free Definitive Guide to LinkedIn.

 

LinkedIn South Africa 2012

Created by DigitLab the digital marketing agency Download the FREE LinkedIn Guide for Business

 

Social Media empowers Citizen Journalism

Posted on: May 29th, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

After my last article about the role of social media in journalism I received an email through a friend from a journalism lecturer who shared this TED video with me.

The video is a great description of a new layer of journalism that social media has empowered. A form of journalism that places the knowledge of the crowd into the hands of responsible reporters.

This is a great example of how people can use technology in a small way to make a big difference. If enough people were to capture, record and share the happenings of a controversial event then it would be possible to bring accountability into the situation again.

Another example of how transparent our world is becoming and how shared information can be filtered through social networks to generate information from events that have already passed.

The question that sits in the back of my mind is “could a skilled social media journalist be digging deep into the social media archives of your business?”

Social Media empowers Citizen Journalism originally posted on Mike Saunders – Keynote Speaker and Social Media Coach



Why social media and radio are best friends

Posted on: May 2nd, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Birds of a feather flock together. The old saying rings very true when it comes to media channels that drive social interaction instead of one way broadcasting. Media channels that have a ‘live’ mechanism to them are inherently channels that can entice and engage its fans/viewers/listeners in a very personal and social manner.

I would agree with the sentiment that radio is social. Let me rephrase this, good radio is social. It uses talk shows, open’s the lines up for conversations with listeners and is a great medium to connect with people in a personal manner.

Social media does the same, arguably with a bit more longevity to the conversations taking place. Through online conversations, that are the catalyst for opening up engagement with followers, social media touches its followers in a very unique and personal fashion.

Social media and radio are two peas in a pod. Social, engaging and exciting.

In my experience, when two social people get together the party just gets bigger and better. The same is true with campaigns, shows and conversations that utilize both radio and social media platforms to meet people.

How to best optimise radio and social media

DJ Fresh on 5FM

DJ Fresh on 5FM

  • Use the live nature of radio to build fanfare
  • Everyone likes a bit of fanfare. It excites us and makes us interested in getting involved in something. The problem is that it normally dies down quickly.

Radio is a great medium to create fanfare for its listeners. I would suggest coupling your radio campaign with social media based calls to action (tweet us, message us on Facebook, etc) in order to introduce your platform to listeners of radio. Once these people get caught up in the excitement they may join your social media channels in order to ‘get involved.’ Opening up the opportunity for you to keep your fans involved in your brand over a longer engagement period than your radio campaign (assuming your content and engagement is useful, interesting and inline with your radio campaign objectives).

Building better brand engagement

In the book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” the Heath brothers explain how the human brain works in remembering and idea.

Your brain hosts a truly staggering number of loops. The more hooks an idea has,the better it will cling to memory. Your childhood home has a gazillion hooks in your brain. Your credit card number has one, if it’s lucky.

Using radio and social media will allow you to build deeper brand engagement and more hooks in your customers mind. I think the biggest challenge would be to build a creative campaign that leveraged the live nature of radio and then extended it to a deeper social media engagement that allowed willing customers to spend a lot of time entrenched in the campaign.

Why social media and radio are best friends original posted on our Keynote Speaker - Mike Saunders blog

Lessons from a 30min conversation with Wikipedia Founder

Posted on: April 9th, 2012 by admin-kablooey 1 Comment

Last night I arrived in Lagos to present a session on social media strategy. I was met at the airport by the a very professional and very friendly man who guided me into that parking lot outside. The parking lot reminded me a lot of the back alley of a night club, and there by an unmarked white van with tinted windows we stopped. I realized this van was my transport to the hotel and a kind gentleman opened the door.

To my dismay, sitting in the van, catching up on email, sat Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.

Who would have thought I would have the incredible opportunity to meet Jimmy sitting in a parking lot in Lagos.

Anyway, I seized the opportunity the chat to Jimmy about his experiences with Wikipedia and was able to draw out a few gems for those who read this blog.

Behind every success is a failure where alot of learning took place

I experienced this in my own life and it was nice to hear Jimmy talk about the same experience. Jimmy started a project similar to Wikipedia before starting the popular encyclopedia. It was there that he learnt how to succeed with the project by learning from the mistakes he made.

My advice to anyone looking to start something big would be to keep going no matter how much you learn (fail). It can only get better from here.

It’s all about community

Jimmy chatted about the idea that Wikipedia succeeded because of the investment into building community. The technology is only the vehicle to manage and encourage the community.

This is a an understanding that I have come to believe is fundamental to the success of any online campaign, software, project or business. Understand you consumer, the people working with you, the people supporting you and you can achieve incredible progress as you build your business.

Humility is by far the best character trait a man can possess

Jimmy spent most of his time telling me about the fantastic people who make up Wikipedia. He was not at all focused on his role in making Wikipedia successful. He only wanted to share this great idea by telling me what others had done to make this possible. His humility was refreshing and increased my respect of him ten fold.

His demeanor reminded me of a blog post I wrote last year some time about the leadership value of humility. It was great to see this wonderful trait in action again.

The vision never changes

I asked Jimmy about the vision for Wikipedia. I asked what had changed and what are his new dreams now that Wikipedia had grown to become such a well renowned project.

He quickly took me back to the core vision statement which he said has never changed – “to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet in their own language.”

Over time Wikipedia has grown tremendously but it has never wavered off it’s primary vision. This is a great example of leadership, vision and resolve to see the vision through.

Well in my 30min conversation that was all I could get out of Jimmy. I hope you learnt something, I certainly did.

Lessons from a 30min conversation with Wikipedia Founder originally posted on Mike Saunders – Keynote Speaker and Social Media Coach



The best social media policy is based on values – not rules

Posted on: March 20th, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

I have been meaning to write about developing a social media policy for some time now. This is something that I believe can make or break your internal and external social media campaigns. A good social media policy does not restrict people from social media but rather equips them to use social media in the most beneficial manner.

When looking at your social media policy it is a good idea to understand how people are already engaging with you. How your customers are talking to you or about you, and how your employees are doing the same. Do your best to get a clear picture of the technology your employees and customers are comfortable using.

I would then suggest you look at what you would like to see happening with you company and social media. Then take a hard look at what needs to be allowed for, encouraged or discouraged. Don’t simply create a “rule list” of do’s or dont’s. This would be very ineffective because you will simply look as though you are trying to control something you don’t have control of.

One of the best social media policies was written by IBM. It’s great because it empowers people to share company values. A value based policy will always go further than a rules based policy. Staff at IBM have hundreds of blogs and in 2005 IBM released this guideline for bloggers:

  1. Speak in the first person.
  2. Respect copyright and fair use laws.
  3. Safeguard confidential and proprietary information.
  4. Protect company clients, business partners and suppliers.
  5. Respect your audience and your coworkers.
  6. Add value.
  7. Don’t pick fights.
  8. Be the first to respond to your own mistakes.
  9. Adopt a warm, open and approachable tone.

This is a good foundation to start from in your own organisation. I hope you enjoy empowering your employees inside the social media space for your organisation.

If you would like someone to help you develop and write a social media policy please feel free to touch base with me so that we can discuss this further.

The best social media policy is based on values – not rules originally posted on Mike Saunders – Keynote Speaker and Social Media Coach



Top 20 Websites in South Africa 2012

Posted on: March 13th, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Over the last few years I have been tracking the Top 20 most popular websites in South Africa. Comparing 2010 and 2011 results revealed that social media was definitely growing as a high priority for South Africans.

In this analysis there are some interesting and valuable pieces of information we can observe.

LinkedIn beats Twitter

LinkedIn has taken the third place as the most popular social network in South Africa. I have seen this coming for some time as more and more professionals have been taking to LinkedIn to improve their networking skills. My personal LinkedIn profile currently connects me to more people than my Facebook profile.

The rise of LinkedIn makes it clearly evident that business to business marketing become a priority through social networking. In addition, this places LinkedIn firmly in the South African recruitment industry as a network with a powerful database of industry professionals across South Africa.

First National Bank comes out on top

Banking has always been a popular activity for South Africans online. In 2010 we saw Standard Bank as the bank of choice but over the last few years FNB has comfortably claimed the first position a the online bank of choice.

FNB offers its online clients first rate online banking (although every bank has a pretty decent Internet banking service) and the big plus (which caused me to change my banking to FNB) was the iPhone app and easy connection to PayPal. FNB has done a fantastic job at identifying the needs of South Africans and offering services that appeal to them. Congratulations FNB!

To all those who are interested here is the complete list of the Top 20 websites in South Africa in 2012:

  1. Google South Africa
  2. Facebook
  3. Google
  4. YouTube
  5. Yahoo
  6. Gumtree
  7. Wikipedia
  8. LinkedIn
  9. News24
  10. Bid or Buy
  11. Twitter
  12. First National Bank
  13. Blogspot
  14. StandardBank South Africa
  15. ABSA
  16. Windows Live
  17. Amazon
  18. Independent Online
  19. WordPress.com
  20. Microsoft Corporation

Top 20 Websites in South Africa 2012 originally posted on Mike Saunders – Keynote Speaker and Social Media Coach



How social media is changing the role of journalism

Posted on: March 6th, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

In their latest book Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, these two men explore the new role of journalism that has been created due to the way that people aggregate news today.

Social media has opened up a world where peers and colleagues decide what news is valuable and important. Articles that are shared most by your friends on Facebook show up in your Facebook news feed and Google+ highlights search content in Google that has been shared by your Google circles. Most social networks use this algorithm to highlight news. The higher the ‘share’ volume the more popular the article and the more exposure it gets on the networks. The problem is that these articles may be popular but they are not necessarily providing verified facts about the news subject.

20120229-181916.jpgTwitter has gone a long way with their new Twitter iPhone app by identifying trends in the most tweeted keywords and then linking that trend (or news item) to a reputable news source like CNN or BBC. This bridges the gap by highlighting the most ‘shared’ content on twitter and providing the best, most reputable source of news available. Two thumbs up to Twitter.

Aside from the steps Twitter has taken, most networks have become aggregators of popular content instead of good, reliable and verified journalistic content. This presents two scenarios that need to be addressed:

1) News readers need to learn how to apply journalist type skills in reading content online in order to make a judgement on its validity. The book discusses these techniques in more detail and is well worth the read.

2) The role of journalists must change because news readers are no longer need ‘gate-keepers’ of new content. Our social networks have become those gate-keepers for us.

The new roles that are suggested by Bill and Tom are:

“Authenticator”–The press will do more authentication of reported facts and will gather evidence in more transparent ways. In the information age, news consumers want to know not only the evidence in a report but also the process of uncovering it.
“Sense maker” – With updated news available all the time, even the slightest change in a situation can command a headline. This promotes a fragmented understanding of the world. Journalists can transcend “incremental” coverage by connecting threads in multiple reports to produce broader coverage that makes sense of the news.
“Investigator”–The news media traditionally have served as a public watch dog, alert to possible government malfeasance. Some reporters, editors and producers will play this role more vigorously, while others will avoid such verification-based journalism.
“Witness bearer” – The presence of the press at public meetings is a pillar of democracy. It shows elected officials that they are doing public business in full view. New ways of covering local government may involve partnerships between news media and part-time correspondents with no formal journalism training.
“Empowerer” – More journalists will empower their audience by providing self- service tools for learning about any subject. Journalists offering stories online now can choose among many reporting assists, like links to related data.
“Smartaggregator”–Collating online content allows news organizations to purvey information about the best websites and to offer unique news-filtering services.
“Forum organizer” – News outlets now have opportunities to distinguish themselves by producing fact-based discussions of public issues and presenting a diversity of opinions.
“Role model” – More professional journalists will become role models for citizens 
enlisted by the news media, part time, to extend their coverage base.

I would recommend reading the book if this topic interests you, especially if you are a news publisher looking to socially reinvent your business model to survive the social media revolution

How social media is changing the role of journalism originally posted on Mike Saunders – Keynote Speaker and Social Media Coach



Three reasons to get into Google+

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Google+ is taking the world by storm and just may become the social network with enough clout to give Facebook a run for its money. After joining Google+ a few months ago (you can see my profile here) I have had various conversations with social media peers and everyone seems to have differing views on whether Google+ is worth investing your marketing time in. This has caused me to do a fair amount of research and to once again present my own view point. There are three reasons why you should be seriously looking at creating a Google+ Profile

SEO Benefit

This is by far the main benefit. SEOMoz, a respected international search engine optimisation firm have run multiple tests and have found that companies with Google+ profiles are being prioritised inn search engines based on their social connection with the searcher. This means that your company can getter better search engine exposure simply by creating a good Google+ page. SEOMoz created a great video to explain this in more detail if you would like to know more.

Google+ is full of influencers


A big part of social media marketing is building relationships with key influencers in your marketplace who have the Internet savvy to take your brand to his or her networks (and hopefully viral). Google+ is full of (over 100 million) people who are early adopters of social media technology and who have extensive networks, followers and fans. Due to the fact that Google+ is not too saturated with many people yet it provides a great opportunity to find those key influencers who can take your message to their networks on other popular platforms as well.

It’s always good to be the first

Getting into something first always presents an opportunity to capture a marketplace before your competitors. Providing an excellent competitive advantage. We would recommend getting into Google+ early in order to build good, engaging and trusted networks for your industry before your competition

Does a CEO need to blog?

Posted on: November 30th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 4 Comments

If you were to take one look at the world today, it would be obvious that social media has become a very important communication tool. Ask yourself this question “can a CEO remain relevant if they are not versed in this new communication style the world has adopted?”

More and more social media is changing our consumers and our employees. This change is frightening at times, we recently discovered that younger generations have a total disregard for email communication and prefer to communicate in social and business contexts through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Even older generations are warming to social media communication with 128 000 new CEO’s joining LinkedIn in South Africa alone.

In general there seems to be a mixed opinion about a CEO having a blog. Some believe it to be something they should only engage in once they have the time to manage it correctly (which may never happen) and others seem uninterested. There is a small group of blogging CEO’s who are embracing this new communication style and using it very effectively to engage with employees and customers.

Think of a blog as a place to drive company vision, address general concerns, highlight great stories about customers and to educate your employees on matters that concern your business.

Zappo’s CEO’s have also used their blog to update employees on the progress of specific projects and achievements. I would like to suggest taking a look at the CEO & COO blog for Zappo’s to see how they have successfully used it to promote and communicate the vision of the business and deal with employee concerns about business changes – especially after the Amazon buy out. This is a great example of effectively using a blog as a business leader.

Blogs can also be used to improve your personal profile by blogging on specialized topics. As a CEO of a social media agency, I use my blog to promote the internet marketing industry I work in and recently Keith Coats used the TomorrowToday’s New World of Work blog to share his directive as a “story telling” CEO. Keith’s article was key to communicating his leadership style to the TomorrowToday team as he took the reigns as CEO.

So if you are planning to start a blog as the CEO of your organisation here are a few tips:

Use you blog to lead by example

Share examples of the type of leadership and work ethic you believe makes your organisation better. Highlight great customer experiences and new product breakthroughs. Don’t be shy to give credit where it is due.

Use your blog to educate and motivate

You can’t educate and motivate each person in your organisation personally but a blog does allow you an increased chance for your employees to hear your vision straight from you. You are also able to share insight into your motivations and by passing these on they usually inspire and motivate others.

Keep your blog personal and authentic

Don’t get your PA to write this for you. It’s value is that its from you. If you are not a strong writer then write the “essence” of the article and a basic structure and let someone edit it for you.

CEO Blogging

Reply to your comments

Replying to comments this will show people you care about your readers and that the opinion you share on your blog is actually yours.

 

To find out more about how to harness social technology in you business please take a look at our presentation “Social Reinvention

20120229-183015.jpg

So what business benefit does Twitter offer its users?

Posted on: November 2nd, 2011 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Twit!

A few years ago this word would have described someone slightly lower on the food chain who annoys us. Today it has evolved into a term of endearment for those people using Twitter to communicate. Yes, it’s true. These people sitting on Twitter all day long are Twits, or Twerps or Tweeps.  Tweeps have found that by using Twitter, they enhance their social life and their ability to learn. They use Twitter as a place to find out and share news, thoughts, insight and opinion about anything they want at any given time.

Twitter is defined as an information network with a social slant. The well-known micro-blogging website started out with the aim to create a portal of the latest information on any topic – an information stream of the latest and current news.

Twitter in BusinessEvan Williams (Wikipedia) puts it best –  “What we have to do is deliver to people the best and freshest most relevant information possible. We think of Twitter as it’s not a social network, but it’s an information network. It tells people what they care about as it is happening in the world.”

The term micro-blogging means to share information in short bite-size pieces. In Twitter, these bite-size pieces are 140 characters and often contain links to the more in-depth article posted on a blog somewhere on the internet. These short bite-size pieces of information are known as tweets. Tweets are the voice of people, or tweep’s, on twitter.

Twitter in South Africa is growing rapidly as we have seen the website move from the seventh most visited website in South Africa in 2010, to sixth position in 2011. This growth shows an increased usage of the network. On a personal note, I have also been noticing an increase in South African users. Currently I have about 6100 followers (twitter.com/mikeasaunders) and 60.2% of them are South African users. I also find that the South African users are the most engaging with each other. Maybe that just because South Africans are fairly patriotic and like to stick together.

That brings me to the next question: What is a follower?

In Twitter you can follow anyone you feel like. Following someone means that you will see what they tweet when you login to your Twitter account. This is different to Facebook. In Facebook you need to request a friendship and that person must accept your friend request before you can see their updates.

On Twitter you follow anyone who adds value to your life by tweeting ‘the good stuff’! You can even follow celebrities if you care about what they are doing on Tuesday afternoon at 1:43pm. I prefer to follow business experts, leadership experts, social media guru’s, marketing mavens and anyone else that can help me grow as an individual.

Acquiring a mass of followers amplifies your voice in the twittersphere and increases your chances of acquiring new followers because your current followers will retweet (echo) your tweets to their followers. Of course your followers will only retweet  the really good stuff. So if you want to build a following, make sure your tweets add value to people’s lives and you should be well on your way to building a great following.

So what business benefit does Twitter offer its users? I would suggest that there are three primary benefits that can be gleaned from Twitter.

    • As a promotional tool
    • As a networking tool
    • As a research tool.

A promotional tool

Looking at Twitter with a business mindset shows us that Twitter becomes a promotional tool. A way to promote the way we think, what and who we find interesting, our blog and our services. The offline equivalent to this would be writing an article for a newspaper or magazine. People who buy the magazine are promoted to through your article.

In the same way, your followers on Twitter are the equivalent of magazine subscribers. Posting tweets then allows you to profile yourself as a professional in your industry by posting original articles, links to interesting websites/articles, service offerings and anything else you may choose.

A networking tool

People on Twitter are very open to networking, especially with people who they respect. Respect on Twitter is primarily attributed to people who produce good quality tweets.

In my personal experience, I have found this to be one of the most valuable aspects of Twitter.  I use Twitter to promote my blog by posting links to articles that I’ve written. In addition I also tweet links to other articles on social media and internet marketing. This creates a useful Twitter profile (www.twitter.com/mikeasaunders) that people interested in internet marketing and social media can follow.

The people following me are interested in social media and internet marketing, meaning that the potential is high that I may have followers that would be interested in hiring me. What I’ve done is create a Twitter account that will attract potential clients as well as industry peers, competitors and business partners.

When people retweet my content, it often opens up an opportunity for conversation and insight otherwise unavailable to me. I always use the opportunity to connect with these people because their interest in my content on Twitter shows a common interest. This often ends up in a physical meetings over coffee if the Twitter conversation proves valuable to both parties.

So, by producing engaging blog content that I promote on Twitter, I find people who are interested in the industry that I operate in. When these people engage with my content (retweeting or replying to tweets), I use the opportunity to engage them further and get to know them better.

A research tool

Twitter search has become a very popular tool to search for specific topics inside Twitter. These search results are continually updated with the latest tweets which means that you can literally find out what someone is saying about you, your company, a competitor or a world event this very minute.

Looking to find out more about Social Media? Why not look into inviting Mike Saunders to your next conference  to present Social Media and it’s uses with in the business context.

The need for Social Reinvention

Posted on: October 27th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 4 Comments

When you drop a mentos mint into a bottle of Diet Coke the rough edges of the Mentos are filled with Diet Coke and a chemical reaction takes place producing CO2 . The CO2 causes the Diet Coke to fizz more than usual and the liquid is forced through the funnel shape at the top of the bottle. The funnel then creates additional pressure and the liquid explodes out of the spout of the Diet Coke bottle.

The end result? A huge mess!!

Social ReinventionThe interesting thing is that two scientists/entertainers have found a way to harness the power of Diet Coke and Mentos to create a Rocket Car powered only by Diet Coke and Mentos.

Granted the car only went 222 feet but this is still a remarkable transition from a ‘mess’ to a form of ‘transportation’.

I want to use this illustration to draw a parallel between social media and business.

Think about replacing the Mentos with social media and the Diet Coke is the industry that you operate in.

Social media has already been ‘dropped’ into your industry. This has created cases for concern as well as opportunities that never existed before.

It seems that some businesses that adopt social media seem to end in a mess. We think about examples like Nestle’s PR nightmare, GAP’s rebranding and Woolworths decision to remove Christian magazines from their shelves. These business adopted the use of social media without a clear understanding of how social media and more specifically the new business communication shift affects their industry and consumers.

These businesses have learnt the hard way that social media represents a communication shift that expects their business practices to involve the customer more, take the customer seriously and respond to external customer pressure with a clear and direct message. In essence these businesses are learning to deal with a new and more transparent communication style that holds business accountable to the customer by the customer.

There are plenty of examples out their where businesses have leveraged the power of social media to affect good change in their industry and win the vote of the customer.

Pepsi successfully leveraged social media to it’s advantage during the 2010 World Cup, and South Africa were branded a vibrant, joyous and courful nation as it’s visitors kicked up a social media storm about the #vuvuzela! Pepsi’s example was more calculated and strategic than the South Africa example but the positive impact was felt around the world. In these cases, social media and business were able to combine it’s forces and build a rocket car of success.

However, social media success is going beyond marketing to consumers and is starting to show more value in new industries. In each industry, social media technology open up the opportunity to create new competitive advantages and change the way that the industry operates.

A few new competitive advantages that have been sighted by at TomorrowToday are:

1) Social Media allows recruitment industries to actively headhunt new talent. The new competitive advantage will be for agencies to harness social media to allow them to find and approach hot new talent. This is a sharp comparison to the current competitive advantage of building databases through the internet and other technologies of a wide variety of talent.

2) coupled with the recruitment industry shift, career management is changing. The new competitive advantage will be to have a current and active social media presence that promotes your value as an employee. This type of personal branding will become imperative for career management as agencies shift towards their new competitive advantage.

3) project management will experience shifts towards harnessing crowd sourcing technologies both internally and externally to solve problems, manage projects, get things done and manage people.

4) training and leadership development will shift towards online systems that bring social interaction into the online learning environment. People will be able to engage each other in conversation, both in their own time and in real time engagements. They will be able to argue their stand points and grapple with the subject content they are learning. This type of social interaction always helps people come to grips with their learning in a more tangible manner. Social learning platforms can also adopt standard social technology practices that pay toward peoples personal brand and ego. Using ramification techniques will help to create a competitive environment online which works well to increase participation and improve results.

At TomorrowToday we believe that social reinvention is an important part of future-proofing your business. It has become an imperative that business executive and department heads start to seriously consider the impact that social media and digital technology will have on their business.

If you would like to raise this topic at your next conference please contact us to book Mike Saunders and his presentation Social Reinvention.

What Social Learning will add to your Online Training Programme

Posted on: October 12th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 1 Comment

I spent the day yesterday with one of South Africa’s favourite brands. We were looking into the implementation strategy of a new Social Learning platform that would add an entirely new dynamic to their training and development programme. What was very interesting to see was the way that the delegates immediately saw the benefits of Social Learning.

Social Learning becomes a useful tool in less rigid learning environments where discussion and culture shifting is necessary to complete the learning cycle. I have found three primary benefits to a Social Learning platform that will add depth to your Online Training Programme.

Social Learning improves IP Retention

I have found that social learning programmes have great benefit when they engage consultants to take part in the conversations online. The consultants role become sharing new ideas and engaging delegates in conversation. These conversations become valuable, documented engagements that IP (Intellectual Property) is presented and challenged.

In normal consulting environments the consultants shares their IP with a few people in the organisation and the IP struggles to sift through the organisation. This is simply because we do not have the infrastructures in place to disseminate the conversations in the consultation to the greater audience within the organisation.

Social Learning engagements are different because they are stored in the platform and the engagements are organised into Forum Discussions, Blog posts and Conversation threads.

Over a few months and years this collective IP could become one of your most valuable learning assets you own.

Social Learning allows learners to go deeper

As you can imagine the depth of the collective IP held within a Social Learning platform is immense. This IP is available to any participant who takes part in the programme and allows them to go deeper into topics. Often our personal interactions in training and teaching are limited due to time.

People who wish to take topics learnt in presentations, workshops and mentoring sessions further can do so by researching the collective IP that resides within the system.

This puts additional information in the hands of your top learners who want to improve their learning experience and are willing to take responsibility for their personal development.

Social Learning is more productive

We all have “pockets of time.” These are the moments that we use to check Facebook, read an article, update Twitter or Linkedin and often these pockets are lost in our quest to be more productive. As workplaces sift to a more flexi-time approach these “pockets of time” have potential to get longer as people fit work and personal engagements alongside another.

Social Learning allows people to fit the learning and engagements in when it suits them. Morning people can interact in the morning and evening people in the evening. This means that it is not always necessary to get people in a room to encourage and facilitate learning. A huge benefit, especially in the development of leaders inside your organisation.

 

 

Linkedin in South Africa has grown by 83%

Posted on: September 14th, 2011 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Over the past few months I havebeen looking extensively at the topic of Social Reinvention. This is the process of reinventing our business to incorporate social media and social technology. I have come to believe that this is imperative for business to adopt in order to claim a competitive advantage in the future.

Whilst doing this research I created this infographic to show the impact if Linkedin in South Africa. I think it shows very clearly that business people and organisations need to start networking this very popular business social network.



Linkedin in South Africa
Infographic created by DigitLab the social media agency

A powerful example of how technology is changing the retail industry

Posted on: July 13th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 2 Comments

I love it when clever people come up with simple ideas that change the way the world works. This example we will look at today is a subway advertisement that turned a South Korean subway into a supermarket.

The execucution is so simple. Life size banners that display supermarket brands with QR codes on each item. Scan the item and get them delivered to your door by the end of the day. The idea was sparked by the need to create more sales without opening more stores. After extensive research into the market Tesco was able to see the opportunity to utilise smart phone technology to increase its online sales potential.

The consumer will take to this idea because the technology is so simple (in virtualsupermarketsubwaySouth Korea at least) for them to use. The concept works becuase it relies on redundant QR code technology to execute it.It also works because it make an intangible internet experience tangible through the physical advert.

This example from Tesco paints a clear picture of the shifts that retailers are going to face in the future:

  1. The retail industry can expect powerful competition from online sales channels. Especially if these channels are connecting with consumers in such tangible ways, like in subways while I wait for my train.
  2. Brands are still important to consumers. Make sure you make those brands visible to the consumer. Note that there are still a number of juices to choose from displayed on the “shelf”.
  3. Convenience is king! Make sure this new buying method fits into my life and don’t let me down. The delevery to my home is important because if I have to fetch the product then I may as well shop at you store – or somebody elses!
  4. Shelf space is a concept that does not have to stay in stores or on a website.

What on earth is Social Business?

Posted on: March 16th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 3 Comments

We have heard of social media? So what on earth is Social Business?

Social Media is a media platform that provides people a place to connect with each other using social technology. Social business is the same concept but just inside your business.

Social Business helps employees connect with each otherAllowing people to connect online through an internal social network allows employees to connect each other in a more productive and efficient environment. We have recently installed a social business system at TomorrowToday in order to better manage our virtual office environment. The results have been great in respect to the team building relationships across geographic boundaries, introducing new team members and collaborating on team projects.

So why do we need to start an internal business social network?

I have been doing extensive research into the use of social technology inside businesses (as part of our research into the new consumer “Consumer 2.0“) and have found that this is fast becoming an imperative communication vehicle. I will explore this further in upcoming blog posts.

Social Business uses social technology to get the best of the best from social media. In other words we can use social business to:

  • Collaborate more effectively and efficiently
  • Communicate instantly with instant messaging
  • Cut down meeting time by taking our meetings online
  • Motivate and shift culture through company blogs
  • Reduce costs on computer upgrades by using online software

To get an idea of what we mean by the benefits of Social Business take a look at this video that promotes the Social Business Technology through  program developed by IBM called Lotus Connections

Great customer service will help you avoid this social media disaster

Posted on: February 2nd, 2011 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Dave Carroll wrote the infamous ‘united breaks guitars’ YouTube hit. The video received several million views and started a huge uproar against the customer service at United Airlines. This video single handedly created one of the online world’s biggest customer service headaches.

United were applauded with how they handled the situation. They approached Dave directly and dealt with his issue, even changing a few internal policies to ensure this never happened again. David later added a video to the popular video sharing website that thanks United Airlines for the way they responded.

So all is well that ends well?

Not so in this example. The biggest problem here is what took place before the YouTube hit. Dave Carroll received months of bad customer service that resulted in Carroll turning to YouTube to vent his frustrations.

The video may have never existed if United had they right customer service processes in place.

The common denominator with this case study was that employees within United were not empowered to make customer service decisions. Instead they had to follow a very rigid set of guidelines that kept them from actually solving the clients problem.

I would advise all companies who are getting into social media to ensure that they are ready to look at their organisation on a whole. Make sure that as you enter the transparent world of Social Media that you are ready to be transparent and open to the public. Social media is a fantastic tool to engage with people and this is good news. However the best way to ensure that your social media experience is a good one is to ensure that you customer experience and product quality are great.

Better to avoid the “brand destroying YouTube video” than to have a great social media response plan take action. So far David’s video has been viewed 9, 896, 546 times!

How social media sold me a seafood platter

Posted on: January 26th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 3 Comments

Last week we looked into the importance of using clear communication when selling through social media channels. Today I wanted to share an experience that ended very well for me (the buyer) and the seller.

I am busy doing some work on a wednesday morning last week when an email pops into my inbox from a friend:

Hi Guys

Check this out. I just got a voucher for a R500 seafood platter for R99.

http://www.twangoo.co.za/invite/b74a5ebf

Selling Sefood with Social MediaNormally I would mark this as spam but considering the source of the email I decided to follow the link. To my surprise I had stumbled into a “crowdsourcing” sales exercise. These sales exercises work on the premise that if enough buyers club together they can  sell a product for cheaper due to the economies of scale that start to take place.

I decided to treat my mother to a seafood dish, considering that my wife would rather die than be subjected to the smell of fish all night. I paid for the special on my credit card and then started to spread the word. You see the special is only “unlocked” once the total number of units had been sold. In this case the resturant needed to sell 100 platters before they could “unlock” the special. I was still hearing my friends talk about the special I posted to facebook and twitter for days afterwards.

Once the special was unlocked I phoned the resturant to make a booking. I told the person on the phone that I wanted to make a booking and that I had one of “these R99 vouchers” (I was half expecting another Global Wrapps saga). She simply laughed and asked which day I would like to book for. The curiosity in me decided to find out why she laughed and she replied that she had been inundated with request for bookings due to this special.

Why does this work?

The resturant did not use their facebook page or twitter profile to promote a special but rather posted a great special (great products do well online) onto a website called Twangoo (recently bought by Groupon). Thanks to a great advertising ethos from Twangoo the word got out fast and within a few days the resturant had sold 103 seafood platters.

I love this type of sales approach inside social media. It appeals to the Aspirers, Communicators and Influencers on the internet and communicates its message using technologies in a way that each digital lifestyle can appreciate.

TomorrowToday SA – why we M&A’d our blog?

Posted on: December 13th, 2010 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Some readers may have noticed, that on 2 December 2010, TomorrowToday’s Blog housed at connectioneconomy.com was ‘Merged and Acquired’ by the tomorrowtoday.co.za domain? From a user perspective nothing has changed outside of look, feel and url. The content is still generated by the same people, with the same focus, aimed at the same audience – you (and a fair number of other people slightly different from you)

For those that are interested, this was our thinking….

  • The history of the the TomorrowToday blog dates back to a time when we didn’t have the knowhow, the resources or the money to integrate our website and our blog into one space. Of course that seemed like the smartest thing to do at the time. Unable to do the smartest thing, we did the next best thing, which in fact was the only thing we knew how to do and afford. So two different sites (URL’s) were born. If you wanted to know about TomorrowToday you went to one place, if you wanted to read blog posts you went to another.
  • As many of you know, especially with regards to the internet, things get a life of their own. Our blog swamped our web site in terms of visits and we ended up spending more and more time on the blog and less and less time on the website. From a business perspective this is not the smartest thing to do. Blogs attract people who like your content primarily and then decide on your business. Websites attract people who are interested in your business, and need to decide around your content. I’m not suggesting one is more important that the other, just that they both play a key but different role. They both need focus and time.
  • During this time period, we opened an office in the UK. This required another domain (needed to build a context specific website – think local, act global and all that). But it didn’t stop there. After a few years, the UK team decided they needed a context specific blog to focus on UK and European specific posts and interests. Another domain.
  • Add to those 4 domains, one last domain that goes right back to our begining, and you’re able to find TomorrowToday through 5 different domains. Many of them housing different information, and none of them giving a comprehensive collated image of who we are.
  • If I’ve still got your attention, then I’m fairly certain I’ve made the case for why we’ve pulled it all under one domain? On every level it’s a no-brainer.
  • Here’s another interesting business lesson. The energy and impetus to make this change didn’t come from anyone inside of TomorrowToday. It came from a brand new person to the business. It took an ‘outsider’ to come in and ask the necessary questions and to shake up the spaces that needed shaking. He had nothing invested, no baggage, and nothing to lose. He encountered resistance and all the case study items you’d expect to find in any change process.

So a quick URL update then:

P.S. All old links from posts on the connectioneconomy.com domain will automatically forward you to the correct and corresponding page on the tomorrowtoday.co.za domain

If you have any questions please let me have them – Barrie

What’s your digital lifestyle?

Posted on: December 1st, 2010 by admin-kablooey 6 Comments

I am a firm believer that every person hasa certian level of digital integration in their lifestyle. The is something in almost all of us that uses the digital landscape in someway or another. This is what excites me about digital media – its different for everyone.

Each person experiences the digital landscape in their own way, from their own vantage point and with their own personal agenda. This is the Consumer 2.0 I have spoken about before. I go into this in more detail in our presentation but I wanted to share a bit of insight into a study by TNS Surveys which outlines six digital lifestyles. These are:

INFLUENCERS

The internet is an integral part of my life. I’m young and a big mobile Internet user and generally access everywhere, all of the time. I’m a blogger, a passionate social networker with many social network friends. I’m also a big online shopper, even via my mobile. I want to make sure as many people as possible hear my online voice.

COMMUNICATORS

I just love talking and expressing myself, whether that’s face to face, on a fixed line, mobile or on social networking sites, instant messaging or just emailing people. I really want to express myself in the online world in the way that I can’t in the offline one. I tend to be a smart phone user and I’m connecting online from my mobile, at home, at work or at college.

KNOWLEDGE-SEEKERS

I use the internet to gain knowledge, information and to educate myself about the world. I’m not very interested in social networking but I do want to hear from like-minded people especially to help me make purchase decisions. I’m very interested in the latest thing.

NETWORKERS

The internet is important for me to establish and maintain relationships. I have a busy life whether it’s my profession or managing the home. I use things like social networking to keep in touch with people I wouldn’t have time to otherwise. I’m a big home internet home user and I’m very open to talking to brands and looking for promotions. That said I’m not really the kind of person to voice my opinions online.

ASPIRERS

I’m looking to create a personal space online. I’m very new to the Internet and I’m accessing via mobile and internet cafes but mostly from home. I’m not doing a great deal at the moment online but I’m desperate to do more of everything, especially from a mobile device.

FUNCTIONALS

The internet is a functional tool, I don’t want to express myself online. I like emailing, checking the news, sport & weather but also online shopping. I’m really not interested in anything new (like social networking )and I am worried about data privacy and security. I am older and have been using the internet for a long time.

Which one are you?

I would love to hear your comments on which digital lifestyle most described you. Feel free to comment. Thank you

Is your company website your best business to business marketing tool?

Posted on: November 24th, 2010 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Business to Business need lead generation focused websites

Business leaders, in a recent study, cited company websites as the main source of information when looking at a business to business purchase. Company websites were used more than trade magazines, search engines and social media.

The business decision makers are telling us the story that with big purchases they are definitely interested in browsing through a website to find out more about the product they are looking at purchasing. In business to business environments a company website has great potential to add to the sales leads and referrals for your sales team by ensuring that it utilises a strong lead generation strategy.

Interestingly enough, although the decision makers use company websites the most to gather information the decision maker is mainly influenced by word of mouth and social media channels. (more…)

Can losing control online actually benefit your business?

Posted on: November 17th, 2010 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Social media guru’s the world over will tell you that if you want to get into social media do your best not to own your content. This is a difficult concept to understand. Control is all we know. How can something benefit me if I don’t make sure it does?

Well this video from TED shows us just how Greenpeace fought the control battle and lost. They lost the control battle but won the battle that really mattered – SAVING THE WHALES!! (more…)

What the Chilean miners’ rescue tells us about online media consumption

Posted on: October 20th, 2010 by admin-kablooey 4 Comments

Wednesday October 13th, most of the world were watching with baited breath as the rescue mission started for thirty three Chilean miners trapped about 700 meters below the ground. All thirty three men are doing well and it seems that their only cause for concern would be dealing with the new found fame.

The media is always a good reflection of how an event captures the heart of people and this was no different. In fact this event caused a few social media records to break as people watched, followed and tweeted their support for the famous miners.

Chilean Rescue almost as popular as the Obama Election

Shortly after rescue operations announced they would start the rescue the next day (5pm on Tuesday the 12th October) traffic to online news websites surged to record the 5th largest spike in global news traffic since 2005.

online media consumption

Chilean miner rescue creates 5th largest global news traffic spike

One of the largest success factors to the increase in online media consumption has been the new technologies in streaming video of the event to online viewers. Essentially allowing CNN to broadcast 4.6 million live streams of the event. In addition this translated into 82.5 million page views on the website.

What was the social media impact?

(more…)

PODCAST – Mike Saunders on Social Media trends and shifts

Posted on: June 14th, 2010 by admin-kablooey No Comments

We’ve just added a new PodCast to the TomorrowToday feed.

Mike Saunders (a social media expert) is thinking about the next wave of social media and the next evolution of the Internet. We talked to him about how important research is in connecting to your market.

If you’d like to listen to this audio track please click on the following: