Some will wait until they get pulled in by the market dynamics while others will be the ones leading those dynamics. The difference between the two will be the difference between leading and following change.
What Kind of Changes?
The power of open, connected and distributed communications cuts across every market, every business discipline and every kind of business, large and small. The power represents a wave of change unexpected, unforeseen and with no historical reference from which to look back on as examples of what to prepare for. The only way to prepare for this kind of change is to create it before your competition does. By the way the competition is the consumer as well as other businesses vying for your customers attention.
Changing Business Models
A Techcrunch article titled: How Facebook And Twitter Are Changing Business Models, Shaping Brand Identity highlights some of the changes for businesses fueled by social. The article summarizes a recent conference titled Smash Summit.
- Don’t fondle the hammer (don’t focus on the specific tools, think about your broader marketing agenda)
- Live the 80% rule (get your company ready for social media, that’s “80% of success”)
- Customers don’t care what department you’re in
- Real time is not fast enough.
Others presented and there were several shared threads from all of them including:
- Expansion: These companies are increasing the number of employees dedicated to social media.
- Identity: Within corporations, social media is also breaking out of its silo. Companies may be building out specialized teams for social media, but many are also encouraging other employees to use social CRM tools and to become active external agents. For the last few years we’ve been focused on how companies should push out their content and interact with the market, the less apparent power of social media is how it will disrupt the mechanics of business. Eliason says that it has the potential to completely restructure companies, flatten organizations, and democratize the workplace.
- Stay Focused On Your Business Objectives: This is related to Owyang’s first (oddly phrased) rule, “don’t fondle the hammer.” The executives warned that companies shouldn’t be caught up in specific platforms or rough metrics. Everything should be done in the context of your businesses’ objectives and broader strategy.
- Facebook, It’s Complicated: The companies were all grateful for the platform, but they also highlighted some serious concerns.
These observations are akin to the calm before the storm of changes on the horizon. The observations make relevant points but a Tsunami of changes may force organizations to accelerate their thinking beyond obvious issues and begin to think about doing and experiencing uncommon things.
In order to think about and experience uncommon things you have to understand the things you do currently do not see. In order to see beyond what you think you already know you have to gain new knowledge that enables you to see beyond the obvious. In order to create uncommon things you have to think about uncommon things.
Social media are communications. Are communication uncommon? No, not until the means, methods and influence of communications begins to create uncommon changes. Social technology has and will continue to create uncommon change because of its reach, richness, power and influence on the human network. If you don’t understand the pending implications of the last sentence well it is because you can’t see what you don’t understand.
See the video below for others perspectives on changes being fueled by this thing we call social media.