Many Journeys, Various Fronts But All Works in Progress

People, just like businesses, make choices about how to evolve within their worlds.  Over the past two weeks and this coming week I have had the honour to explore with others their social business journeys. 19 years ago today I started a new journey as I presented my “papers” and immigrated to the United States.  Eight years later I became a citizen.  roman columns holding upIronically, tomorrow I head to the homeland to continue social business discussions.

First up was time in Milan, Italy with Lundquist PR where meetings and retreat with clients and staff, I had the pleasure to have thinking stimulated by others.

Thoughts from Europe:

  • I am thinking the Europeans are further ahead of North Americans in their consideration, integration, measurement and overall business practice of corporate social responsibility. Several times the topic and matters related to social media headed towards business social responsibility and transparency as business is a contributing member of society.
  • Privacy and corporate responsibility came up…and the need for business to be globally responsible on this front so that the larger gains of “public data” can be realized versus minimal gains of “regulated data.”
  • Had a great sidebar conversation with several journalists and ex- journalists …about the future of journalism.
  • The need to overhaul corporate websites from the ground up made for interesting conversations.  Generally, concern was that corporate websites need to be more about the customer and their interaction with the company, as well as about social, mobile and “efficiency of business”.  The legacy web pages and ownerships, as well as the diverse internal corporate stakeholders who have an interest in the corporate website are, in many cases, obstacles to change.
  •  I thought it was really interesting the extent to which many see the social and interactive web as more than a marketing and comms matter but also about efficiency around business process and customer connectivity…the web as a tool for better business and added value. That’s different then the focus we seem to have in North America – and really important.
  • The content discussions went way beyond North American content marketing to encompass all company content, in house news-bureau like set ups and eventually being all video and image.
  • Everyone seems to “want” to do and achieve more internally (with employees) and internal social networks…again with view of being more efficient within their business as well as more connected.  But all still seeing this as a journey.
  • I learned of a CEO who blogs on average several times a day to the company’s employees…and regularly engages in conversations this way with employees.  No ghost writing….or anything else.   Sometimes others suggest topics or ask him to blog about specific company initiatives.
  • We had an interesting discussion about senior company staff and issues around the blurring of private and public lives.   As one person said, company executives’ lives are akin to political leaders- there is no private vs public… It’s all public.

Innovation and Originality for Marketers: And then, I took time to photograph and reflect. I took in an exhibit of the Leonardo Davinci’s Atlantic codex.   The drawings and notes about furnaces, ventilation and temperature, as well as the steps to build a cannon got me thinking about originality — how it happens in stages and with reflection and thought ( as do the steps in innovation and dealing with something new). Originality and innovation are not achieved by merely replicating everything you currently do in one channel in another…marketers take note!

Social Business and Communications:  Then it was my pleasure to join the Counsellor’s Academy of PRSA to chat about social business and communications….I’ll say more about these slides or leave a comment with questions.  Here is the presentation:

Corporate Social Media Business Journeys: Then it was off to moderate sessions at the annual Corporate Social Media Conference in New York.   More journeys with success stories but also just good ole hard working people moving forward in the field of social as part of their business.   A few highlights from that include:

  • Chobani talked about social as an important part of their intimate customer connections (loved it)
  • Mastercard talked about the social web and how it adds to the long standing “priceless” efforts and they are priceless I thought.
  • Hertz CMO and CIO talked about partnership between the two organizations (not directly but by implication as my take away)….social and IT integration was amazing and delivers more
  • Adobe also brought us some great information on the value of not stand alone social efforts but social as an integrated aspect of business and how that generates success.
  • The panel with Whole Foods, ARAMARK, Home Depot and Sprout Social was all about “social infrastructure” and customer engagement.  Different approaches across the board but all working for these companies in different ways.
  • Michael Kors, Johnson & Johnson are each approaching the question of “influencers” and outreach from different perspectives, one marketing the other from a corporate reputation perspective.  However, both have gone and are going through the same “hoops” and  hard work to get it right and maintain intimacy.
  • Shoutlet and Thomson Reuters and I had a great chat about the nascent moves to include social as part of the CRM system.   The hurdles and journey of this one are just beginning.

That’s the Sunday mashup after time away, except to also point out this, from the services page, “training and related new offering coming very soon….watch the  blog”……coming very soon 🙂

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