Social media is beginning to make its impact on business, yet businesses are a long way from being social. Digital and social influences have forever changed the expectations of both customers and employees. It has affected the speed at which customers expect to be serviced. Social has redefined what “easy-to-do-business-with” really means and everyone expects a company to know at least a little bit “about me” when talking with them.
This is a stark contrast to how businesses have been built in the past with a clear hierarchy of controls, a corporate curtain over any and all communications and all products and services being built and delivered with a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies have spent decades telling customers and employees what their brand is supposed to mean.
Social now requires companies to deliver on that promise. This new age requires that companies deal with customers on their terms including when, where and how they want, and it requires that the interaction be relevant to the situation and their needs at the time.
Many brands have started to “be -social” by setting up a listening post and making content extensible on social networks. Communications are still just managed by a few people in the public relations or marketing departments and customers still get only what companies serve out.
High-performing businesses of the future will transform every part of the enterprise and enable employees to be more accessible, messages to be more relevant so that every interaction will make up the new customer experience. Ultimately, high-performing companies of the future will be required to deliver on the promise of their brands.
Enabling relevance at scale in an always-on, always-connected world
In an age of information overload and unlimited choices, smart marketers know that brand engagement is driven by providing precisely relevant experiences that attract and hold the attention of each consumer.
Consumer relevance cannot be episodic. Maintaining relevance continuously as consumers move seamlessly from one interaction point to the next is a new demand of the digital age. The imperative for consumer relevance requires a brand to harness deep contextual knowledge about each consumer and apply it intelligently to create persuasive experiences at every touchpoint. This ability to be “relevant at scale” will determine which brands win and which brands get lost in the war for consumer attention.
The social media phenomenon is transforming the way companies connect with and make money from customers. It’s a disruptive process.
By Gavin Michael, contributor
FORTUNE — Facebook’s IPO and subsequent stock market performance continues to be widely reported. What has attracted less coverage is that it soon will be dropping Facebook Credits in favor of local currency pricing — a vital step towards offering full-service payment functionality online. A clearer signpost to the reality of “social sales” — financial transactions taking place within a social site — is hard to imagine.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, instant messaging, video conferencing, web meetings: These and many other collaboration and social media platforms are now an everyday part of people’s lives around the world. They are also finding their way into enterprise communications and management strategies. But are these social media applications and technologies ready for an even greater challenge – helping companies and government agencies successfully navigate major business change programs?
Companies struggle to be successful with such initiatives. According to numerous studies, anywhere from 50 percent to 80 percent of change programs do not live up to expectations. Although the reasons for failure vary, many can be traced to the difficulty with managing multiple talent and organizational elements effectively across a global enterprise – creating a shared vision, gaining buy-in across locations and levels, dealing with expectations and handling the day-to-day upheavals inherent in change. Accenture believes that these challenges are well suited to the capabilities of social media and collaboration tools.