2013: Measuring The Intangibles of Social Media

by Jay Deragon on 12/27/2012

selling intangibles

We’ve been programmed to produce results. Most business leaders chase the achievement of a result through the emphasis of tangible goals…increase sales by X% or decrease cost by X%. With all the emphasis on tangible results business has forgotten the intangibles are what create the results.

The media loves results. Results, good and bad, are used to craft stories that get mass attention. Mass attention drives traffic, ratings and advertising revenue. Corporations and institutions have learned to feed the media with the aim of influencing their results. The influence of media can be used to reach more people. The more people reached increases the odds of a transaction. The process has been followed for hundreds of years.

Then the media and the results of media changed due to this intangible thing called social media.

Today’s consumers expect more from corporations and institutions in the way of value and quality communications. Consumers have been empowered to conjugate, collaborate, co-create and contribute media to the national dialog about anything, anyone and everything. Suppliers are wrestling to both use and understand this new two way communications channel called social media.   Stuck in the mindset of managing tangible things brands are now trying to measure the results of social media’s intangible evidence of value.

The intangible results that social media can achieve are the cause of an effect (result) rather than the effect itself. These include:

  • A positive or negative emotional reaction from brand communications
  • The acknowledgement of being heard
  • The feeling of not being just a dollar sign to a brand, rather than a valuable person.
  • The feeling that the brand is trustworthy, transparent and open to dialogue from consumers.
  • The sense of recognition for contributing to the value of a brand
  • The ability to influence others who share similar sentiments about anything, everything and anyone
  • The connectivity people feel from human, rather than institutional, communications

These are just a few of the intangible elements being emphasized in the Social Era. These elements are causing a shift from measurement of tangible results to measurement of intangible results. Intangible results are about understanding and measuring intangible capital to effect tangible results.

Every business or an organized group of people exhibits four elements of intangible capital—human, relationship, structural and strategic—whether they realize it or not. In the Social Era success comes to those that enhance the intangible elements with the aim of producing an improved tangible result. In the Social Era it is more important to manage the cause of a result rather than simply managing the result.

Smarter Companies think about achieving tangible results by better understanding and measuring  the things that improve intangible capital. Are you a smarter company?



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