Posts Tagged ‘social business’

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.


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.


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.


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 in Business: Close the Gap Conference on 20th March

Posted on: March 15th, 2012 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Knowledge Dimension and Social Business Consulting are inviting TomorrowToday readers to attend the Close the Gap Conference, where leadership experts will highlight the social business gap that exists in organisations today.

The principles of social media in business, if applied to resolving business pains, can have a remarkable effect on your company’s profitability and effectiveness.

By being able to access appropriate experts and the applicable information on time, in context, as needed, as well as leveraging the sharing culture of your extended workforce, your company can gain strategic advantage.

Highlighting the social business gaps that exist in organisations today

Join Walter Pike, Keith Coats, Gary Swale, Ray Hayes, Randy Frink and Mike Saunders as they discuss key leadership challenges that occur on the path to closing the gap between traditional ways of working and the new world in which we now operate.

Date: Tuesday 20 March 2012

Time: 08h30 f0r 09h00

Venue: Hilton Sandton Hotel, 138 Rivonia Road, Johannesburg

Please book your place as soon as possible, as spaces are limited. Click here to RSVP.

The speakers

Walter Pike is a marketer, advertising strategist and academic. He consults with brand owners and agencies about marketing and brand building in a social world. He founded The Digital Academy recently to provide the skills needed to operate in a changed world in open enrolment and in-house programs.


Keith Coats is an internationally respected leadership expert, author, speaker and facilitator. He is also the leadership specialist at TomorrowToday. Keith unpacks and discusses the challenges leaders face and how to tackle them.


Gary Swale is a Director of Knowledge Dimension. Gary is a social business and enterprise collaboration expert, both from a leadership as well as a technology perspective. Catch Garyʼs informative discussion around Creating a Social Business.


Ray Hayes has three decades of experience in helping businesses understand and adopt new technologies, achieve measurable results and deliver business value. Ray joins the panel of keynote speakers at the Close the Gap event.


Randy Frink serves has an IBM Worldwide Business Unit Executive for Social Software. As an IBM Social Business pioneer and evangelist he has been in the trenches selling social solutions to clients representing about every industry, customer segment and job function.


Mike Saunders is a Keynote Speaker and Social Media Coach at TomorrowToday, as well as the CEO of DigitLab, a digital marketing and social media agency. His vision for social media in the marketplace is to see organisations effectively using digital media to communicate online – increasing their reach, influence and productivity.

To find out more about the conference, connect with Social Business Consulting at or 084 556 7125


So what business benefit does Twitter offer its users?

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


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 ( 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 ( 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.



My Top Three Social Media Lessons for Business

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

I have been involved in social media for the past few years and enjoy looking at new ways that social media can be adopted in business. I am a bit of a dabbler and over the past few months I have been researching a few ideas and wanted to share the outcomes with you.

1) Real life events are social media’s best friend

We have been running a number of social media campaigns this year for a number of different size companies and brands. In most of these campaigns we are using competitions to create energy around the brand and introduce the brand to new consumers online.

What has been interesting though has been how effective it has been to couple social media platforms alongside real life events. These events are enhanced by a competition or journalism of the event. Almost like the energy that a good MC brings to an event.

We have found that when executed correctly and energetically the company or brand profiles gain in numbers of followers and the level of interaction with fans.

An example of this was when I attended the Social Media World Forum a few months ago. I endeavored to blog throughout the event to tell my readers and the event guests what was taking place at the event and my opinion on it. I also made a point to tweet frequently throughout the 2 day event and became very visible in the twittersphere over the Social Media World Forum.

The end result is shown in the graph below:



An increase in over 100 followers at an event that only had about 300 people attending. On top of this I experienced record traffic to my blog and my twitter following continued to grow substantially over the next week by an additional 100 followers while my new followers started to retweet my content to their communities and followers.

 2) First person communication trumps third person every time

Social media is a conversational environment. Third person communication tends to alienate your fan base and create a bigger gap between them and you. Third person communications also creates an element of pride and either a feeling of being spoken down to or spoken at.

First person conversational type communications does so much towards engaging your audience better:

  • It eliminates heirarchy the engagement
  • It highlights the fan instead of the brand or company
  • It invites a response
  • It breaks down the “brick and mortar” barriers between your customer and the team inside your company

3) Organisations need a “change agent” in order to adopt social media effectively

Jim Collins, in his book “How the Mighty Fall”, writes about how organisations has fly wheels. These are processes and ways of doing things that take time to put in place and sometimes to even see the benefits from the fly wheel. These fly wheels become the way that business makes money, research and designs products, looks after employees and a host of other elements that make large organisations successful.

I believe that Social Technology (the ideal’s and processes of communication that forms the foundation of social media) is the next fly wheel for business. Businesses should be looking at how they can transition their business organisation into a social business. Businesses of the future need to look at what it means to become social in order to gain the right competitive in the future.

Social businesses are not companies that have Facebook addicted staff and where productivity levels are lower than ever before. In fact, a social business is one that understands the economy of the new social internet and how to harness this economy to:

  • improve product development
  • engage generation y employees more effectively
  • market the company to prospective top talent in the marketplace
  • use the power of crowds to sell, buy and create products and services
  • train leadership more effectively
  • create strong business networks
  • protect your company image
  • market your business
  • speak to your customers (CRM)
  • increase sales

Change agents are people dedicated to getting the Social Business Fly Wheel moving in your business. They will highlight the areas for change in your business, implement the strategies and training for those changes to take place, lay the foundations for successful transition into a social business and finally provide guidance, expertise and energy to turn the fly wheel into a profitable venture.

So there you have it, my top three social media lessons for business so far in 2011. If you would like to discuss these in more detail please feel free to comment below.

I also have a coaching program to help equip change agents and a few presentations that speak into Social Media for Business that you could use at you next conference if you would like to start this discussion in your company.

Social business challenges hierarchy business model

Posted on: May 25th, 2011 by admin-kablooey No Comments

Almost every business older than ten years runs on a hierarchical structure. This structure has equipped businesses for ages, making sure they are accountable, profitable and running smoothly.

This hierarchical structure is under attack when looking at social business. To refresh your memory, social business is the process of taking all that is good in social media technology and using it to better your business. Social media technology can help organisations improve collaboration, increase employee engagement, break down silo’s and create a friendlier environment for generation y.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Why social business challenges a hierarchy structure is that it removes it completely. There is no hierarchy in social media. A person is a person with a profile, an idea is as good as it is (not where it comes from) and respect is earned from what you put in not what title you hold.

John Kotter recently presented an idea on HBR that suggests business may need to take on a network structure in the future. I believe that this network structure would be a great asset to the business looking to social business practices. The set of this article is an excerpt from John’s article:

“But 20th-century, capital “H” Hierarchy (a sort of hardware) and the managerial processes that run on it (a sort of software) do not handle transformation well. And in a world with an ever-increasing rate of change, it is impossible to thrive without timely transformations. The data, case studies, and personal anecdotes to this effect abound.

The challenge is that, at both a philosophical and a practical level, the Hierarchy (with its management processes) opposes change. It strives to eliminate anomaly, standardize processes, solve short-term problems, and achieve stopwatch efficiency within its current mode of operating.

In a sense, the crowning accomplishment of the Hierarchy and its management processes is the enterprise on autopilot, everyone ideally situated as a cog whirring on a steady, unthinking and predictable machine. Thus, the Hierarchy ignores new opportunities that require transformation because these don’t align with its core purpose of maintenance and optimization. A market opportunity for tablet computers, for example, is more of a distraction than an opportunity to the hierarchy of a giant PC manufacturer focusing on this quarter’s earnings targets.

That is not to say that small- and medium-sized change are impossible in the Hierarchy. In fact, many critics point to change management processes, Kaizen initiatives, and the like as evidence that the Hierarchy can do change. But I am referring to something far bigger: large-scale organizational change, such as a company redesigning its entire business model, or accomplishing its most important strategic objectives of the decade, or changing its portfolio of product offerings. And there is no evidence to suggest that the Hierarchy allows for such changes, let alone that it effectively facilitates them.

All of this has led me to believe that the successful organization of the future will have two organizational structures: a Hierarchy, and a more teaming, egalitarian, and adaptive Network. Both are designed and purposive. While the Hierarchy is as important as it has always been for optimizing work, the Network is where big change happens. It allows a company to more easily spot big opportunities and then change itself to grab them.”

Social Business Shifts in Recruitment

Posted on: May 11th, 2011 by admin-kablooey 1 Comment


As the Internet makes a bigger impact on the recruitment industry we are starting to see recruitment agencies enter into a second state of disruption in South Africa.

The first state of disruption that the recruitment industry experienced due to the internet lead to the creation of Job’s Boards and career websites like Career Junction. Some campaniles struggled, and still struggle, to make this transition in business as their industry started to take on a very digital approach.

The second state of disruption facing the recruitment industry comes in the form of social technology. Recruitment agencies now find themselves in a stage of their digital evolution that forces them to harness social media websites and online head-hunting strategies to find new candidates.

I believe that the biggest shift between these two states is the role that digital technology plays in each stage.

Social Business in Recruitment

Finding and Processing Applicants

In the first state digital technology allowed recruitment agencies to manage their influx of applications for jobs they had on the market. A strong digital presence would also have increased the number of applications for each job. This data was then processed and matched to the job specification criteria. Once the match was made consultants often took the candidate into the interview stages of the recruitment process.

The biggest challenge in this state was the management of MORE. Job boards and the likes, created huge volumes of online applications and instead of more quality, the truth was was that the value often stopped at quantity of candidates. The second state of disruption offers agencies the opportunity to take the recruitment process further.

Head-hunting and Career Management

Social media channels have opened up the landscape for websites like Linkedin to operate. In South Africa, Linkedin users has almost doubled between 2010 and 2011. Currently sitting of just over 1 million South African users Linkedin seems poised to make a huge impact on the South African Recruitment Industry.

Social media website allow companies, agencies and entrepreneurs to head-hunt people online to find the right candidate. Today’s candidate are using websites link Linkedin to manage their business networking, personal branding and career planning. They understand by putting their best step forward (creating great online CV’s, collecting recommendations and networking with new potential business connections) they can set the stage for companies to approach them instead of the other way around. In other words social media, if used correctly by the candidate, could create a more powerful negotiation tool.

The Up’s and Down’s

The plus side for companies and recruitment agencies is that they can research potential candidates from a pool of high quality candidates.

The downside for recruitment agencies, and one of the most important disruptions to address, is that these resources are available directly to your clients. In South Africa I have already started to hear of big business investing into social media websites to improves recruitment practices. In other words, if not dealt with carefully, this new disruption in the recruitment industry could start taking money out of the recruitment industry.

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