The “ambassadorization” of business

Human civilization emerged from tribes – as individuals the early humans would not have survived. The same applies today . No one can survive in a silo, be it a company, an industry, an organization or a department.

Once you realize that, you understand the power of relationships as the foundation of successfully connecting your needs to those of others upon who you are depending. That is why the current mantra in modern marketing is engagement. Every process, every action, every transaction is connected. If you push, someone or something has to move backwards. If you pull, someone or something is moving towards you. Pushing and pulling at the same time creates engagement. When you engage your audience, your partners or your employees, you create a tribe.

ArntEriksen (2) Speed

At the Speed of Change event in Oslo on April 16, 2015 (organized by Salesforce), trendspotter Arnt Eriksen focused on the power of tribes that develop into movements which ultimately could change the world. You could claim that the Arab Spring – using Facebook as it’s vehicle – started as a tribe and ended as a movement. Similary, Apple started building a tribe, a community of followers who wanted to think differently about computing. And ended up changing the world by engaging with them, changing them into devoted followers (tribes) and making them it’s strongest, devoted and forgiving ambassadors.

Artistic         Collage

(Artist: Maja Eriksson)                                   (Artist: Maja Eriksson)

When you have a purpose that can unite your tribe – such as the Arab Spring – and you have the vehicle to engage with each other – such as Facebook or other social channels – you can become successful as a business in the digital age.

“Convert strangers into customers – and nurture them into ambassadors” (Arnt Eriksen)

A new success criteria has emerged – Speed

 “The clock starts ticking as the customer starts clicking” (Jody Sarno, Forrester)

Companies that are able to anticipate their customers’ needs have a clear advantage in our world of rapidly changing customer demands. Speed is of the essence. Companies across the world are looking for ways to understand not just what has happened, but what would happen next so that they can meet the customer without having to cross a divide.

The challenge is how to adopt a framework that provides the platform for speed.  Everything is becoming more and more connected.  Many call this the internet of things, but we could also look at it as simply an opportunity to connect with our customers in a whole new way, an Internet of Customers. In fact, over 75 billion things will become connected by 2020, and this leads to trillions of customer interactions.

Making the data speak

Each interaction represents a data point, a piece of history that can be used to understand what will happen next.  Today, retail companies like Rossignol create a social profile of their customers to offer services like modifications to the equipment to help the skier’s performance, or a training regimen based on his actual use. Hospitals want to track patient behavior – from patient activity levels to blood pressure to help provide a better standard of service and care. And energy companies are collecting data from big machine performance, or seismic activity and weather data to try to get more effective at preventative maintenance of their oil rigs. It’s using the data to predict the future which should be the foundation of the Big Data hype.

Companies want to transform how they sell to a customer, deliver better service, create targeted campaigns, build better products, optimize operations. And business people need the right insights to take action, instantly.

Join Salesforce at our Nordic Speed of Change City Tour in April. We are coming to Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. More information and registration for free at www.salesforce.com/eu/speed

Social – the ultimate acronym (inspired by JP Rangaswami @jobsworth)

Much has happened since we first introduced the acronym. It still applies.

Making Sense of Technology

Did you ever think about the best way to describe what social disruption is all about? To move the discussion away from the channel (not social=Facebook page or social=Twitter account) and to what really matters, I have come up with this:

s = sincere

o = open

c = collaborative

i = interested

a = authentic

l = likeable

There are may excellent examples of organisations, companies and individuals who can subscribe to all of the above. One great example is the Danish TV&Broadband provider YouSee http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDhO43cCErg

Another – from the other side of the world, Toyota:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9falmVgjq6o&feature=g-all-u

But even if you only identify yourself with a subset of these letters, I would still categorize you as “social”. Let me elaborate:

Sincere

If you don’t mean it, don’t post it. Or retweet it. Or spread it. As a company or an individual it must be what you stand for.

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An idea becomes a movement: Why influencers influence

When something is important to you, you naturally feel the urge to communicate. Not just because “sharing is caring” but because more people sharing makes what is important -to you- important to more people. It’s called influencing.

Over the past 4 years, since entering the exciting, demanding but also enlightening world of Twitter, we have seen countless examples of individuals and companies using it as just another way of shouting. They shout about their products, their companies, their personal frustrations, politics, or strong engagements/causes. Be it football or feminism.

S.O.C.I.A.L.

But are they social? The ultimate acronym for being someone who cares (“sharing is “caring”) implies that you are sincere and communicate rather than shout. You communicate by being open and receptive to the person you communicate with. In order to be worth sharing, what you communicate must be triggered by your true motivation to collaborate around the issue. And more importantly, interested in what they need/have to say.

If and when you respond, what you say and how you interact needs to be what is truly who you are, to be authentic and therefore make a difference.

Finally, social means caring, and by showing that you care, you are likeable and will be a natural choice to follow and engage with. That is how you become an influencer. And that is what social media is all about.

A Twitter list became a movement

Last night I started collecting Danish influencers adding them to a list so that I could follow them all and engage where it makes sense. @tokeroed picked the idea up, made more suggestions and it has now grown into more than 30 Twitterers in Denmark from all geographies, all professions, both companies and consultants and self employed or out of employment. A group of people reaching out to each other to interact, share and care. Check out the list “Danish Influencers” on Twitter to meet these amazing people. I am sure, there will be more.

I cannot wait to see where this will takes us.

Affärshantering i molnet – så tänker vi (post in Swedish)

Hur öppen, flexibel och användbar är din plattform? Hur ofta behöver du uppgradera dina affärssystem, och när det väl händer: är det synkroniserat så att alla är uppe och på samma version på samma tid? Diskuterar ni Cloud teknologi vid fikabordet?

Utvecklas dina lösningar till mobila devices, eller måste du vrida på surfplattan för att få med hela interfacet, eftersom det var byggd för en datorskärm?

Kan du uppdatera dina kundmöten, godkänna fakturor, bygga workflows medan du springer över gatan mitt i Stockhkolms-trafiken? På din mobil?

Det är så man tänker på salesforce.com när man utvecklar lösningar för affärshantering i molnet. Det var Cloud Computing som gjorde det möjligt, men det är vi som får det att hända. Du och jag.

Om man verkligen vill förstå hur allt detta spelar ihop – hur teknologin används för marknad med smarta verktyg byggd i och för social, som säljverktyg och som connected kundservice – då kommer salesforce.com faktisk att bjuda på gratis inspiration. Den 15 oktober på Grand Hotel i Stockholm hålls Customer Company Tour Nordics – en gratisk heldagskonferens (på engelska) med runt 30 utställare och keynote och eftermiddagssessioner där kunder berättar om hur de använder teknologin, hur de skapar nya  verktyg eller bygger egna appar på force.com plattformen, och helt enkelt har mera kul.

Image

Huvudtalare är Erik Hallberg, VD för TeliaSonera International Carrier som bygger sin IT arkitektur på force.com plattformen och använder Salesforce både som internt collaborationsverktyg, i sälj, marknad och kundservice. Och Line Dahle från norska marinförsäkringsbolaget Gard AS – ett 120 år gammalt traditionellt företag som nu jobbar i molnet med kommunikation, intern kollaboration och hantering av ärenden och kundservice. För speciellt i den branschen måste man kunna respondera snabbt när det smäller till på ett skepp någonstans ute i världen.

Dessutom kommer det finnas demo stations, så att man kan testa själv eller få en av salesforce.com’s egna utvecklare visa. Och session som omhandlar allt från hur President Obama vann valet med hjälp av Salesforce och sociala medier till hur stora företag flytter hela sin verksamhet till en mobil, öppen, social plattform för att möta kunden där kunden är.

Du kan registrera dig här – det är gratis.

The ROI of Social Media – or how to convince your boss

Social Media is engagement – if you don’t get it yet, I hope you will very soon. But engagement is very hard to measure, so even if you do get it, your boss might not appreciate the value of your efforts.

That is why you need to create a social media engagement strategy around metrics and value add = ROI. You need to have a conversation.

The traditional way of counting is through “fluffy” things like Facebook Fans/Likes or number of retweets – which I think is just a natural extension of marketing’s best friend: click-through rate on email blasts. It’s hard to leave your comfort zone, even if you are an innovative marketer who really wants to embrace social.

What does it cost you, if you do NOT have a social media engagement strategy?  Here is a link to a free eBook with some good statistics and methods.

At Sweden Social Web Camp (SSWC)) on Tjärö island in August, we tried to look at ROI benefits versus costs. What it boils down to, is tangible, measurable and very convincing:

Source: Salesforce.com

Email marketing on its own is not engagement. And it’s getting harder and harder to use on a large scale.  Let’s talk instead.

Soft and Hard: Facts & Figures

Finally, here is a link to all the slides I presented at SSWC – there are some wonderful charts and hard numbers from salesforce.com’s extensive customer research. You can use them in your own context. Or  take them to your superiors to get at least as much – if not more – budget for your social media engagement as your colleagues in traditional email marketing.

Being social – it’s B2B, it’s B2C, it’s everywhere

There’s really no excuse – go where your customers are and engage: become a customer company. If you do, the benefits will be extensive – increased customer satisfaction, keeping tabs on the competition, marketing your latest product that could go viral, a more productive and efficient mobile sales force. Below are some great examples of Do’s and Don’ts.

To get inspired, I attend the Sweden Social Web Camp on the provincial island of Tjärö every year, to understand what goes on in the creative minds of those dominating the social media scene. It’s worth visiting their website to understand what social means in terms of branding, collaboration, and innovation.

Before I’ll give you my tips on how to create a social media strategy, let’s take a look at your toolbox:

Facebook: On Facebook you can reach consumers of all demographics and it is a powerful and effective tool with all of its 500 million users globally. When your business profile is up and running and Facebook users become fans of your page, they get automatic newsfeeds or other updates from your company. Facebook is also a great multiplier because you will reach the network of your fans and their networks.  But be aware – things can go wrong: One horrific example of a company who messed up with their Facebook Page and didn’t quite understand how to have a functional dialog with their customers is Amy’s Baking Company. But that should not stop you – learn from the mistakes of others:  it’s still crucial to have a proper dialog with your Facebook fans. So take a look at Oreo’s or the Danish TV broadcaster YouSee. They have worked out a perfect strategy for their business and know how to keep their fans pleased. For YouSee, it’s all about trust and transparency – another important element of becoming a customer company.

Do

oreo

 Don’t 

amys

Facebook has ranked the 20 best brands on the social network for 2013. Have a look and be inspired!

Twitter: Twitter can be used in different ways. You can have a dialog with customers and prospect, tweet about product launches and campaign as well as using Twitter in customer service. But if you start to tweet once a day and have built up a follower base you can’t just stop without losing your followers’ interest. There are other traps you also have to stay away from. In 2012 McDonalds asked their followers to share their #MCDStories. For a company with a large amount of both pleased and unpleased customers, this was a fatal idea. To see how brands successfully have used Twitter, take a look at this infographic.

Twitter really is an incredible tool for making announcements or promotions and profiling your heroes. And with tools such as Salesforce for Twitter from the AppExchange, it’s also possible to capture leads directly from Twitter.

YouTube: One of the most effective ways for your message to be shared in social media is by using visual material. It’s one of the most engaging ways to make your content “viral”. YouTube, with nearly 80 percent of the online video market, is an effective tool for businesses who for example want to share product demos, Webinars and training materials. Take a look at Salesforce on YouTube to see how we are using the channel.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking tool to connect with prospects, clients and other professionals both within and outside of your industry. You can create groups which individuals can join to participate in discussions and to connect with other customers. It is a great place to post job listings and corporate news as well as promote events to your most interested users. Take a look at our group: Growth Through Innovation Nordics on LinkedIn.


Build your social media strategy in 8 steps

  1. Choose a community manager – He or she will serve as your point person for all social media and collaboration activities and be the company’s official voice on social media sites.
  2.  Create a steering committee – In addition to the community manager, define other stakeholders in your social media strategy to create a cross-functional steering committee that includes public relations, product management, customer support and marketing.
  3. Define objectives – What do you hope to achieve with your social media campaign? Each tool offers different benefits, so define very specific objectives and then choose the tools that can help you get there.
  4. Decide on success metrics – The true impact of social media can be hard to measure. However, many social media sites offer fairly robust analytics so as part of your plan, decide what metrics are important, set your goals, and determine how to track results.
  5. Set up social media guidelines – Encourage your employees to take part in your social media campaigns. But be sure to set up guidelines that specify the “do’s” and “don’ts” of participating in online communities.
  6. Create easy-to-remember URLs –With most social media tools, you can select a personalized URL which makes it easier for customers and prospects to access your links. So when setting up a Facebook or Twitter account, make sure the URLs are a natural extension of your business Web site. Great examples here from the Nordic countries includes Telia’s Danish Facebook Page or the Swedish startup Buildor.se or adding value like the road help and security company Falck in Denmark.
  7. Be active – Not responding to posted messages has the potential to not just damage your social media programs, but your company as well. So update your content and respond regularly to keep it fresh and to interact with your users.
  8. Be flexible – Review and revise your social media plan regularly to keep up with and make the most out of all the new tools and functionalities that are introduced all the time.

And if you’re still wondering if you even need to be in social media, take a look at this:

Are banks big, impersonal and greedy?

One of the key ingredients to success is to simply listen and engage.

”People expect you to give a damn about them. Not only that, they expect you to prove it. And the only way to prove it is to listen, engage, give them what they want when you can, and, when you can’t, give them an honest answer why.” (Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Thank You Economy”)

This quote by the renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, revolves around how social media has brought back the necessity for and possibility of the “small town shop” mentality.

Conversation and caring is central to business success

It’s the old fashioned approach to customer service: you walk into the butcher shop, and the owner greets you by your name, knows your aversion to pork, and realises the reason for your visit must probably be the big splash barbecue extravaganza next weekend.

What Vaynerchuk really means is that companies are starting to care more. By opening up to customer issues, complaints and different ways of life, they are better suited to provide a heartfelt service that makes sense on a 1:1 level. By caring more these companies will deliver a service that will be sought after. In return they will increase their competitive advantage through the power of word of mouth. Because these days, the customer is armed with the weapon of mass communication that can be used for or against you!

Does your bank really care for you

Let´s take banks as an example. These often very conservative institutions are facing important market changes really evoking a need for rethinking their strategy for business growth.

One of these changes is the mere fact that the confidence towards the banking sector as such is heavily decreasing. According to Ernst & Young (Global Consumer Banking Survey 2012) 59 % of the EU respondents find their confidence in the banks decreasing. 59 % who lack confidence – that´s a huge blow to an industry!

bild1

In Sweden, Länsförsäkringar recently performed a study asking 3,500 customers about their views of the banking today. A major finding was the perception that banks are putting their own interest over the ones of the customer. Only 4 out of 10 respondents felt that their bank knew them and provided advice based on that knowledge. In summary – the banks are still considered to be big, impersonal and greedy.

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You could also look at banks as you would at a guest at your dinner table. For a study last year,  salesforce.com took a closer look at the “personality” of banks together with Psykologilabbet, a psychology practice in the forefront of psychology research. The study was based on the how banks are choosing to describe themselves, but more importantly how they are being perceived by the outside world (via media, blogs, forums etc.)  Psykologilabbet studied banks in the same way they would an individual – ranking them according to some key criteria that in total makes up a strong character (and a pleasant dinner guest) – credibility, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. This study showed that although the Swedish large banks are perceived as relatively credible, they overall score low in traits such as respect, fairness and citizenship.

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All this, combined with the ease of customer taking their business elsewhere should make some of these institutions rethink. The banks paving the way and getting on board with the personalised, value adding approach will have a better shot at winning the race.

In Australia, the Commonwealth Bank, has managed to stick out in the fierce competition through understanding that the relationship with your customers need to be based on getting back to basics – engaging in conversations that bring value to your client. Going back to my butcher example – “I have just the right piece of strip steak for you, and if you like to get it perfect medium rare leave it alone for 9 minutes on one side and 7 on the other”.


Direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A98NFBm8b9U

Commonwealth Bank understands that the client´s financial world really isn´t hapenning inside the bank office: It´s when you are out and about and see a house you´d like to buy, or when drafting your exciting business plan and need to quickly grasp your funding opportunities. The personal, financial conversation you would have with your bank contact therefore needs to get extended to that world – without losing the value factor.

And this is where social comes in

By running the business on a platform allowing for collaboration, the services provided become relevant to every customer. You see a house you like? Take a picture, the bank compiles the information needed, and the loan gets approved while on site.

However you´d like to package your offering, your approach needs to be based on the love for and knowledge of your customer. Same rules of relationship apply whether you are a small shop or a large corporation. So, you need to ask yourself “Do I give a damn?”

The most innovative countries in the world. Come see us.

Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland (and Australia and Canada) had the highest internet penetration/usage per capita in the world back in the early 1990s when it all took off. At the time I was a business analyst and spent a lot of effort trying to understand why.

Finally I know:  it’s because it was social.

It’s human nature to want to engage with others, and if you think about the geography and demographics of the above countries, there are a lot of people who are physically isolated from each other and/or the world. If you have to drive 80 km to the nearest library, it makes sense to search for your information online. If you have to drive 80 km to meet up with your peers after work, it makes sense to engage with them on Facebook or Twitter instead. (Especially right now, when there are extreme temperatures (on either end of the scale) in all of the above countries.)

There are many lists of innovative countries provided by various consulting groups and government and independent research groups. There is never a completely unbiased view; it all depends on the metrics. But it is remarkable that all lists, regardless of the research parameters, list the above countries who were Internet early adopters, in the top tier.

What is the Nordics secret sauce of innovation?

Those who say “it cannot be done” are interrupted by somebody already doing it

Sweden – and most Nordic countries – are not necessarily innovation-friendly in terms of startups. But if you are driven by the passion of your idea, and not just by a narrowminded focus on making profit early on, there is a pool of extremely well educated people, the Born Digital Generation, who take nothing for granted, and who just do it. Take a look at the list below to show just a few remarkable Nordics innovation achievements.

Want to be innovation-inspired?

Here’s my suggestion: join the Born Digital Generation in the Nordics on one of these upcoming social media events (listed below). And feel free to ping me @echristensen42 with more events so that the list can be expanded.

Increasingly, these events are not your standard-shelfware of conferences with speakers pitching their products or showcasing their own brilliance. The Born Digital Generation wants to own the discussion and even decide on the agenda through crowdsourcing – or in this case Friendsourcing. These people already know each other – through social media. The events are just a chance to have some facetime.

         
Iceland Reykjavik Internet Marketing Conference http://www.rimc.is/en/ March 21-22 Great lineup of visionary speakers
Sweden SSMX – Sweden Social Media Exchange www.ssmx.se February 22-24 Unconference – agenda is friendsourced
Sweden SSWC – Sweden Social Web Camp http://www.swedensocialwebcamp.com/ August 15 – 18 Unconference – 450 creative minds on an island.
Norway Webforum http://web-forum.no/ March 14-15 Setting the stage for social in Norway
         

And here’s a reminder – a list of Nordic innovators you may or may not know were… Nordic (thanks to @dortetoft and Thomas Madsen-Mygdal for the comprehensive list):

  • Linux was invented by Linus Torvalds (Finland)
  • C++ was created by Bjarne Stoustrup (Denmark)
  • Microsofts C# (C Sharp) and so also the .Net-platform came from Anders Hejlsberg (Denmark)
  • PHP-scripting was created by Rasmus Lerdorf (Denmark)
  • MySQL was invented by a Finn and a Swede (not sure of their names, can anyone help?)
  • Ruby on Rails – we can thank David Heinemeier Hansson (Denmark)
  • Opera was built in Norway and Iceland (not sure of their names, can anyone help?)
  • Linus Torvalds (Finland) gave us GIT
  • The Danish company Umbraco provides the CMS-system on the Microsoft platform ( Niels Hartvig)
  • Skype was invented by a Dane and a Swede (Janus Friis, Niklas Zennström)
  • Oh, and don’t forget Spotify (Sweden), Angry Birds (Rovio-Finland) and Minecraft (Sweden)

More references:

http://bizzen.blogs.business.dk/2013/01/28/it-ivaerksaetter-norden-gor-det-godt-men-for-smat/

http://www.swedishtradehistory.com/Assignments/From-circular-to-the-internet/

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/communications-market-reports/cmr12/international/icmr-5.07

http://www.globalinnovationindex.org/gii/main/2012rankings.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-03/switzerland-sweden-are-world-s-most-innovative-countries.html

http://www.ideaconnection.com/blog/2012/07/highlighting-the-worlds-most-innovative-countries/

http://www.wired.co.uk/topics/wired-european-startups

Good people to follow if you want to be on top of Nordics innovation (feel free to add to list – ping me):

@annika

@hampusbrynolf

@trulytherese

 

Social will fast forward you from the Stoneage to satellites

Not all of us may want to ride a satellite. But we certainly would not survive for very long in the Stoneage. A year ago, at a conference with the Group CIOs of Europe’s biggest companies, a CIO had the courage to stand up and tell us how his organization made the journey to complete business transformation. How they did it, is not as remarkable as the speed at which it happened: “6 months ago we were in the Stoneage – now we are trying to figure out how to make our satellites move faster”.

The propellant was social. By breaking down the internal boundaries on the new platform, they made the leap from transactions to engagement. Not only internally, but even more so when interacting with customers and business partners. Now you might think the company in question was one of those agile, high techs who are used to all things digital and the Internet of things. It wasn’t – it was a hard core manufacturing company with traditional products and traditional markets. And French.

You raise your arm in the audience and ask the obvious question: But how?

R. “Ray” Wang from the Harvard Business Review has one really good explanation: people-centric values, delivery and communication style, and timing. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/05/how_to_engage_your_customers_a.html)

And salesforce.com Chief Scientist JP Rangaswami explains it with warmth and humour in this recording from Cloudforce Nordics in Stockholm on October 23, 2012:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgE7NbViu38&feature=plcp

Social is about people. Business is about people. Transformation is about people.

By building your journey on what matters to people, you will engage both employees and customers. Running your business will no longer be a series of data transactions; with the help of the many available social tools it will be run by data driven conversations .