CES 2013: Three magic inventions enable new brand power

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Some day, I have to be at CES, just to say I have been there, I assume. But time is money and the more projects you are juggling on a daily business, the less time there is for events. And the questions is if it all worth the traveling. So, the CES 2013 passed without me but the three main web connected inventions that caught my attention, shall be summarized briefly in this post.

Magic Cars
At different events in 2012 you could hear many speakers talking of the car becoming the most expensive but also most connected mobile device in our lives in the future. CES speakers were following kind of the same lines. When Will Smith was handling many issues while driving his car in iRobot, it seemed all too far away for us those days. Now, just some years have passed and AUDI is already showing the first prototype that allows drivers to travel via autopilot with the option to check emails and social channels when driving under 30 miles per hour. More and more, the car is emerging towards a connected multimedia vehicle which also offers new advertising and marketing approaches through mobile and navigation systems that bridge new opportunities for brand integration. This Beet.TV interview with Rob Norman, Global Chief Digital Officer at GroupM, tells us how…

Magic Glass & Augmented Reality
When we have written about the Google Glass and the short film “Sight”, the vision of integrated and intelligent augmented reality technology seemed even further away from reality. At CES, another company called Innovega showed their version of augmented-reality eyewear. They previewed their invention of a wearable transparent heads-up display, enabled by iOptik contact lens technology, which delivers mega-pixel content with a panoramic field-of-view. An unbelievable “enjoyment of immersive personal media”? Well, the video shows us in two parts Innovega’s glasses why the approval of the FDA would be welcomed soon. And then I can see a future, where we will have the latest content and ads from our brand right in front of our eyes…

Magic Audio
Do you still think, TV commercials are one-way communication? You might think again. Audible Magic, an audio fingerprinting and recognition technology company, will be able to detect content and then react on a second screen. The company will partner with three advertising companies (Accelerated Media, DG Mediamind and Cheshire Duo) to create interactive commercials. Those ads shall trigger users by detecting relevant content and then send “relevant” brand content to the viewer. Imagine you are watching a new James Bond film on TV with all their great commercials around “Skyfall”, Audible Magic’s technology recognizes the content and sends you a coupon or a video commercial on a second screen with a nice discount offer.

Audible Magic

Although I have listened to Ford’s Community with similar visions where via GPS billboard content shall sync with a smartphone app to be remembered while passing those billboards, it still sounds quite far away.

But the other innovations have shown that the future is just around the corner sometimes. Maybe I need to go to CES 2013 next year to find some more brand power options. You never know…

Outlook: Five new job titles for the future of web strategy

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Credits: Pixelio

Credits: Pixelio

Some days ago, I wrote on our German blog about those annual reviews all of us bloggers create at the end or beginning of the year. Do those reviews make any sense at all? And if so, how much new input do they offer in our days of information overload? Especially, when there are no opportunities to escape the news and updates flow of the day. And finally, what is the value of one single and unique opinion in a blog review? Will it offer any sustainable essence? Well, after reading this post, you may decide…

Most professors might answer in a diplomatic manner: “There is always two sides of the coin!” Smart bloggers love to look into the future and prefer outlooks to reviews. However, those always rely on findings and insights which bring them to life in the end.

So, I have dared to head for an outlook in 2015, into the future of web strategy. As many managers are not quite familiar with the term “web strategy”, let me define it our way. In 2012, we have often realized that there is quite some misunderstanding what web strategy really means:

“Web Strategy translates the organisational targets and values in roadmaps for the top management and their teams in terms of all generated and doable business processes via the Web. Web Strategy creates a picture of the future of client communication which connects the networking trends of the Internet and the tools of modern web development with the individual business tactics of a cooperation in order to develop a superior company vision. ©The Strategy Web GmbH 2012″

Bearing this in mind, I have written a blog post that defines a futuristic view on some new job titles. It shall illustrate which old job roles might become critical as well as which new challenges arise in companies when changing or restructuring organisational frameworks in companies. So, let me define some new job roles that clever managers should be thinking about. Each top management should be thinking carefully whether or not they will need one of these job roles in their company. I am quite sure that these job roles will become important in the future on web strategy.

And don’t be surprised when I give those job roles kind of a hierarchy. The formula behind it is quite simple…Knowledge x Data x Content x Culture x Clients = Company Success

a.) Corporate Knowledge Officer
The main challenge for any HR department is to tie the pearls of the corporate value chain long-term. These employees are the knowledge of the company, the pillars of productivity. If one of those pillars leaves the company behind, the person takes the knowledge with them, and often all of their knowledge gets lost. But what if employees understand that the feeding hand of a company offers less pension protection by 2025? What if by 2020, Millennials, the generation that will make up almost 50% of the global workforce, will deny the traditional workplace mentality and start making their knowldge available more on a project basis? What if knowledge workers stop working for one company but prefer to share their knowldge in a “buy-my-brain” mode?

Leaders who believe in Social Business, those who want to secure knowledge and make it “always-on” available shall consider the position of a Corporate Knowledge Officer. They are game changers for analysts, market researchers and leading consulting corporations.

b.) Corporate Data Scientist
The world speaks Big Data. Buzzword or biz value? There were not many words you could hear in 2012 at web events, where “web stategy” still often is a foreign word. Why Big Data rules? Well, just look at how much data is being generated in 60-Minuten on the web, or how fast reactions and conversations evolve. That’s why data is becoming a challenge for the whole value chain of the company. However, which business is able to accomplish a job role which is said to become one of the sexiest in the future according to Harvard Business Review? Where is this person located in the excel sheets of businesses that unites the capabilities of a logician, explorer and mathematician in one person? There are not many avalaible yet. Corporate Data Scientists are those brains who know how to turn the process of 0 and 1 upside down in order to draw some conclusions for new content and values.

Leaders that don’t want to stop at data mining or business intelligence processes should figure out the value of the Corporate Data Scientist. They are challengers for PR and marketing decision makers who need to prove their credibility by showing facts to their CEOs.

c.) Corporate Content Officer
Content forms data. The problem? Content is the weakest production department of companies. In most cases PR experts or publishing houses have taken over the content production. Although most media companies are struggling themselves with unique content generation. But who is meant to do the content research? Who is able to write and schedule stories? Who can prioritize, aggregate and curate content? And where will companies find the publishing expertise to become a media company? If content marketing is the future, who will pioneer on the path from PR and marketing to the journalistic hybrid of corporate publishing and community management in the company?

Leaders who see conversations as an opportunity and understand the sense of integrated communities in websites will evaluate the position of Corporate Content Officers. They are the media coaches and editors-in-chief of businesses who bring all company departments to produce content for their special business area.

d.) Chief Culture Officer
The modern development in content and data generation as well as a new understatement for knowledge management is walking on the stage of change management. A stage that Grant McCracken featured in his book. Employees need to find the deeper sense in the evolution of new platforms in business processes. Employees need to understand the complete benefit of tools and tactics before they will be forced to make use of them. Especially, for those employees who do not like email communication but shall start working with communication streams and updates all of a sudden. Stream-Working is a culture of openness and transparency which is not everybody’s friend. And sometimes the best lighthouses might not embrace those changes.

Leaders who know about the challenges of working with multiple project platforms will appreciate the additional benefit of a Chief Culture Officer. This job role will be the prolonged arm of the management team, the “personified culture geek” and at the same time working very close with the HR team.

e.) Chief Customer Officer
Customer change the rules of the game via open communication, praise and critic. What was top-down is now bottom-up. Customers are kings. A sentence that made people cry some years ago. Today, the 3R’s of the social customer -Rating, Review, Recommendation- make managers and leaders start crying. They let whole revenue streams start shaking at times. Those managers who get their experience from digital conversations with customers, who appreciate when data becomes content, and who create a culture of cooperation and collaboration, then you live and breathe the values of empathy that customers are longing for. Then companies create the right fascination for brands, products and their own company.

Leaders who accept the community of customers as the ecosystem of perception, and who believe in brand advocates, critics and moaners as equal process partners will think about integrating a Chief Customer Officer as an institution that is meant to drive business growth. They will be game changers for sales people and customer service employees.

Never before have I spoken about and discussed so much about new job definitions and job roles in my life like in 2012. On congresses as a moderator, on B2B events as speaker, or as a rebellious start-up panelist.

Will one or some of these job roles become reality? You decide…

Social Business still far away for companies? B2B Execs see Social Media reputation as a corporate blind spot

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Is Social Media really so far behind in the mindset of executives, especially in B2B? Well, according to the Zeno’s Digital Readiness Survey conducted by Harris Interactive it is. The poll asked 300 U.S. corporate executives of various industries and titles of VP or higher, including C-suite executives (primarily B2B) with annual revenues of at least $1 billion. The study comes to a conclusion that surprises us: Many executives fail to consider Social Media reputation when making business decisions. Over one-third of executives (36%) stated that the CEO of their company does not care or cares little about the company’s reputation in Social Media.

Although many companies out there like us advice the leading management how to work with Social Media and how to turn the company into a Social Business, the findings show that still 10% of organizations do not take any action at all to engage with audiences online to address a damaging article or Social Media post. And when it claims that managers would at least take some action to respond to an online crisis, it tells me that Social Media is still not a hotspot for companies and brands.

The main findings of the survey…
– B2B executives (43%) say their CEO largely ignores their company’s online reputation (B2C only 30%) when making business-decisions.
– B2B executives are slower in response. Only 45% of business executives see their company can respond to a negative online post within 24 hours (B2C 63%)
– B2B executives are twice as likely (13%) to say that their firm would not engage an audience online at all to defend their reputation (B2C 6%)
– Executives in larger firms (10,000 employees+) are more likely to say their CEO always or sometimes considers their company’s Social Media reputation versus those in smaller companies (71% versus 55%).  
– Executives in smaller firms ignore Social Media reputation when considered business decision-making more than larger firms (45% versus 29%)

“Given the explosive growth of today’s digital platforms, the Zeno Digital Readiness Survey shows a much larger percentage of companies than one would expect turning a blind eye to valuable customer views and insights. (…) These businesses, regardless of sector, risk serious reputational damage, as well as miss out on important stakeholder feedback, when they ignore social media conversations about their companies and their industries.” Mark Shadle, Managing Director, Zeno Corporate Practise

Spot On!
The study claims that Social Media is a “corporate reputation blind spot,” especially for B2B companies. From our work in 2012 we can only agree with these findings. Although this is surprising when considering that Social Media accounts for almost 25% of people’s time spent online, and that consumers allow companies and brands a response time of 60 minutes for customer service. Companies that don’t want to ignore their online reputation, meaning their business community from clients to partners to employees, should think about the 5Cs of Social Business and how to turn their companies around in order not to put their business reputation at risk.

ZENO GROUP DIGITAL READINESS SURVEY

Social Media & Customer Service? Companies have got 60 minutes max. to react

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Many companies and brands are asking themselves (and us): “How fast do we have to give some feedback or answer when somebody is pinging us on Facebook, Twitter and the likes?” Or: Do we have to give some feedback on the weekends? And the answers we have heard were quite astonishing. Many managers in companies still think they have got a day or two to reply to their customers – whether they are speaking with them on email or on one of their realtime streams. Many test we have done so far, have shown us that most companies don’t react at all, some not on weekends, and some after one or two days. Be sure, if you offer your clients a realtime channel, they will use it – and they don’t care if the problem comes up on a weekend or not.

In a recent research by Convince and Convert we can find some clean answer now: 42% of the respondents expect an answer in the first 60 minutes! What comes even worse for companies: 57% want the some reaction time no matter what time of day it is or whether it is a Saturday or Sunday. In total, 67% expect some response by companies in the someday.

Still, many companies don’t have the right resources to satisfy their customers Social Media expectations. And there are many reasons for it: not enough resources, lack in modern process management or lack in technical establishment. Some companies started mentioning their opening hours in the info or biography fields which kind of makes sense and becomes a state-of-the-art workaround for the interim period until companies understand what a full-fledged social business with proper community management means. And this definitely goes away from the “9-to-5″ workplace we know from our fathers.

Spot On!
The main challenge for companies and brands is to find out what the deeper demand of the status update, the comment, the review or a rating is. Remember the 3R’s? In the end, what we have learned years ago, is that people want to have the feeling someone is taking care of them immediately. This does not essentially say that companies or brands have to supply the best possible answer or solution. Many managers have still not understood the fine difference between these topics.
What we would like to know is: Do 60 minutes feedback time make sense? Should we try to be more patient as users? Is a quick feedback really that important if our lives are not depending on it? You give the answer…

dmexco 2012 – Flashback in Tweets & Quotes

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dmexco 2012 is over – the pure numbers show the trend of the digital marketing show…

Visitors: 22.200 – increase by 15% compared to 2011
Exhibitors: 578 – means over 135 exhibitors more than 2011
International attendance: 25% of visitors and 20% of exhibitors

The findings…
The challenges for marketers are increasing. They have to face the explosion of data and how to make use of it in the future. They have to find clever data experts and technical specialists in order to cope with the evolution of adtechnology – or to find the right agency to manage the data for them. They have to evaluate the balanced strategy between going to market with long-term “content strategy” (community, monitoring, pull) and the short-term “campaign” (banner, SEO, push) approach – whether in local commerce, mobile or social. They have to, have to, have to… Well, I could continue this list of tweets.

The keynotes…
However, it is better to share the tweets refering to the most tweeted keynotes from some international speakers that we had in the conference program.

Data & Privacy
1. “Privacy is a responsibility for EVERYONE in the industry.” (Tweet by Randall Rothenberg) – Watch CEO Media Talk

Connecting with Consumers
2. “Excellent and very inspiring keynote by @DavidSable at this years #dmexco” (Tweet by Christina) – Watch Keynote D. Sable

Limitations of Mobile
3. “@kithughes thx for an inspiring mobile commerce keynote @dmexco today! loved the presentation design!” (Tweet by Miriam Wobo) – Watch Kitt Hughes

Collaboration & Future
4. “Getting your team to work as a collective is the most important thing for a marketer says Nick Brien of McCann” (Tweet by Simon Morris) – Watch Nick Brien

5. Digital Brand Management
“Last talk today: “Users love brands not banners” – (Tweet by Alexandra Samoleit) – Watch Neal Mohan

…and in case someone might ask why I am still smiling. Just read this tweet and you know why… THX so much, Timo!

In my third year as a co-moderator, it was a great special pleasure to have the honour to moderate
the Women Leadership Panel with Colleen DeCourcy (Socialistic), Sarah Wood (Unruly) and Stephanie Fierman (Mediacom). Thank you ladies, you were smart and terrific!

Also, challenging the panel with the CEOs Jack Klues (Vivaki), Randall Rothenburg (IAB) and Nick Emery (Mindshare Worldwide) on the relevance of big data for the media and marketing business. Learnings? Restrict them to 5 minute intros and expect them to take 10. Allow for 140 character answer and get blog posts. Thank you gentlemen, you were brilliant in big data digging!

Looking forward to the next dmexco in Cologne, September, 18. and 19, 2013 – CU there!

Be grateful B2Bs! Communities are the guestbooks of the future…

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© Mat Hayward – Fotolia.com

When I started in the B2B industry 16 years ago, my boss was always saying that he wished for some business reference we could get from our clients, that we could post in our magazines (yes, we were print those days), and that we could leverage for our marketing and sales collatoral.

Those references and quotes would help us raise awareness. It would define and differentiate customer confidence. It would foster our sales funnel. And it would be the key to convert our sales opportunities much faster.

In other industries like hotels or restaurants, there was always a guestbook. People could tell the owners and managers what they liked, why they liked it and what made the location appear different from the competitors. In a B2B world, this was not possible. And there were reasons for it…

Who wanted to ruin the company’s tough won conditions of purchase?
Who would risk annoying their bosses for deeper supplier engagement?
Who said openly how highly rated the quality of a supplier’s communication effort was?
Who started positive questions and conversations by themselves without having a need to?
Who rates, reviews and recommends a B2B solution or a product without a need?

Today, people do that. In the B2B space maybe less than in the B2C world. But they do. And a reference in a B2B business has more value, more credibility and more sales power than when somebody likes a chocolate bar or some pair of sports-shoes – especially when not done on a social network but a corporate community.

But there are challenges coming along with this modern B2B reference development…

Companies and brands need to listen and monitor what their community is saying, and where they mention them. They need to categorize the value of a “Like” versus the impact of a comment on a corporate blog. They need to define ways for measurement criteria. And they have to know when and where to store a comment – whether positive or negative.

Positive comments are a blessing. But what if the comment disappears on Twitter after some weeks? What if the Facebook comment losses attention as of permanent posting in a company’s timeline? What value has the “Like” in general, if people don’t value Facebook as a B2B platform? Anf what if your company has a high Klout score but your clients have no clue what the impct of Klout score has for B2B?

Negative comments are an opportunity. Why not take the chance to answer to someone who was disatisfied with the solution or product? Assuming there are other clients experiencing the same problems, challenges, or undeliverables, B2Bs better respond. Is there a better chance to learn in order to get more references? Being “open” is authentic, is valuable, is generating more conversations.

Companies and brands should be grateful. Today, we have platforms where we can get references: corporate communities, forums, blogs, social network accounts and so on. But we need to make sure, we create Social Media guestbooks which display and keep the reference, the business people that have shared them, those that have retweeted, repinned or “re-used” them. Or why did we create and display case studies on our B2B websites for years?

Hey, when did B2B companies or brands have FANS? Just look at the community sites of IBM, Caterpillar, AMEX, Philips, Palladium, SAP and you will understand the importance of Social Media guestbooks.

I am asking myself the question, why are companies giving their hottest assets in the hands of Facebook, Twitter and the likes. And why they are not just changing their mindset. Answers welcome…!

Why employers should rethink their attitude towards Social Media…

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Many interesting infos have we seen concerning how companies and employers are seeing and opening up their minds about Social Media usage in their offices.

PayScale now comes up with an interesting collection of data based on how employers have adapted Social Media usage for their employees. Some key findings are in the following infographic which makes clear that companies are still in a control mode and have their difficulties becoming “The Social Enterprise”.

– Just a bit more than half of the companies (53%) have a formal social media policy.
– Still 42% of companies don’t allow any forms of Social Media activity at work.
– The smaller the company the more likely the company has a Social Media policy in place.
– With 65% the retail industry is the most evolved industry sector, followed by manufacturing and biz support.
– Energy companies are least likely to use Social Media versus media companies that do encourage their employees.

Spot On!
The infographic shows that there is some kind of ambiguity in the adoption of Social Media inside companies. Although most companies see value in employer branding, in recruiting people through Social Media platforms (80% according to LinkedIn) as well as for external communication like promotions, marketing and PR, many companies still don’t want to go the final mile in transforming their company into a “Social Business”. So, why are they banning the use of these platforms, if they see ROI for their employees in working with it? Isn’t the open and transparent use of Social Media in business more important for the future than it has ever been? For marketing and HR ok, for the rest of the employees not?

Just think about the fact that two out of five Gen Y workers rate Social Media above a higher salary (well, they don’t have kids and family liabilities…). When 56% don’t want a company than bans Social Media companies should rethink their HR strategy and see the value in a Community Centric Strategy

B2B Study: 69% ignore their customers’ social web feedback

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It sounds a bit incredible, but it is still plain reality. The majority of B2B companies still ignore their clients on the social web. Most companies are not listening to their voices in Social Media to draw their conclusion out of their public feedback.

69% of B2B companies don’t give feedback to their customers input in Social Media. The missing process is the challenge for them which they cannot manage. This is the outcome of a recent study by Satmetrix.

Satmetrix is the company which is responsible for the NetPromoter score. This score measures customer satisfaction based on how likely customers are to recommend a business. Being a measurement of advocates and detractors, it might as well be seen as a mirror of business success.

The risk of ignoring still seems to be not interesting for companies if we see the latest results from this study…

– 75% of B2B companies do not measure or quantify Social Media
– 60% of B2B companies do not have an integrated social media strategy
– 56% of B2B companies who measure Social Media just count the comments and followers
– 51% of B2B companies don’t have Social Media tracking at all
– Just 4% of companies who measure social media have any form of sentiment analysis

The survey data is based on 1.180 responses from businesses around the globe, who are all part of the NetPromoter.com community.

Some months ago, Google described in a B2B study how business decision makers are making up their mind for a purchase decision. The web is the first resource when B2B decision makers are on their way to evaluate which product or solution they might buy for their company. And although studies like the one of the Aberdeen Group state that B2B companies can generate more leads when using Social Media, many companies still don’t see the link and the opportunities coming with it.

Spot On!
Somehow Social Media in B2B is not rocket-science. Somehow the challenge is to align competition, commitment, content, context and collaboration -the 5C’s of Social Bsuiness- in order to offer customers the chance to identity with the company. In our eyes, this is the only way to differentiate from your competitors. Let us know if you have good examples how companies are using Social Media in the B2B world. Looking forward to your feedback. Or if you interact as a B2B company successful on the social web, let us know and we might highlight your case in a post. Reach out to us!

How to become “The Social Enterprise”…

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The mighty loss in productivity often moves ROI and positive arguments in the shade when the conversation comes to social business discussions. Especially, social networking sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and the likes let managers get nervous if their employees are still working today for eight hours, or not. Or whether it is better to cut the line to social networks.

In times where almost every second employee calls a smartphone or tablet their property, all the discussion around baning social networks seem to be making less and less sense. Training and encouraging employees to benefit from social networking sounds even more appropriate. Just bear in mind how much knowledge the company could generate out of it, if the knowledge learning process is aligned to the use of social networks.

If employers see the benefit of a social business through connected workers, the digital access to the company expands and conversations around the company as well as rpducts and the brand will increase. It fosters and harnesses the ability to create leadership in different ways. Content, context and collaboration will rise. Managers just need to offer identification for consumers, differentiate from competition, and redefine commitment for employees and partners anew. Just like the Community Centric Strategy teaches them…

Gist also offers some nice recommendations how to become “The Social Enterprise” in an infographic…

Study: IBM defines four categories for digital identities

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In a recent study called Beyond digital, IBM analyzed the digital behavior of 3,800 respondents in six countries (China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States).

The study explains how the digital industry changes with the evolution of the so-called “The Connected Consumer” how Saul Berman, author of the study, calls us today. Us? Well, everybody who engages online provides custom experiences, and thus the term was created. It makes clear that 78% identify themselves as digital device adopters – more than half of those read newspapers online.

Companies need to become a clearer picture of their consumers. These identify themselves as either Early Adopters 12%; Late Adopters 32%; Mainstream Consumers 35%, or Stragglers 21%. Over half of the “mainstream consumers” show a range of digital consumption behaviors. They check news onion. They watch video online. They access mobile services. They participate in social networking, or visit user-generated content sites.


IBM took a new approach to identifying the respondents in four different categories – although in my eyes categories will be difficult to hold as user cross category borders permanently these days. One of the reasons why I have created the Community Centric Strategy which I launched at the last IBM Social Business event IN Germany.

Still, the four digital personalities IBM found have more to do with their degrees of access to technology and content. Older target-group definitions like age come in second line.

The biggest group is the Efficiency Experts. They make up 41% of tech users, the largest portion of connected consumers.

The other three categories are…
Content Kings (9%) – dedicated gamers, newshounds, movie buffs, music lovers and TV fans.
Social Butterflies (15%) – have consistent access to networks, but engage with friends and family, rather than media-supplied content.
Connected Maestros (35%) – using mobile devices and Smartphone applications to access games, music, and video or to check news, weather, sports, etc.

“These respondents use digital devices and services to simplify day-to-day activities. Efficiency experts send emails rather than letters, use Facebook to communicate with others, access the Internet via mobile phones, and shop online.”

Spot On!
Companies should take a close look at the Connected Maestros as they are providing tailored customer experiences. They require brands to build insightful profiles and continually update them as consumers evolve their digital content consumption behaviors. They are eager to get to know more about brands, companies and products. Assuming they are more likely to get engaged with brands, or to become brandvangelists.

Would you agree…? Where do you see yourself?

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