MAD Perspectives Blog

Yes, you need a Social Media Policy!

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, February 09, 2010

There is a lot of buzz in social media circles this week since it became known that Forrester Research, Inc. has established a policy prohibiting their analysts from having personally branded blogs that discuss Forrester research.  Forrester CEO, George Colony, has recognized the ability for analysts to build a personal brand (i.e., Jeremiah Owyang) based on their expertise in their market segments.  I don’t want to debate whether this decision is good or bad for analysts or whether this policy is a result of Jeremiah’s departure from Forrester as their leading social media analyst.

What’s more interesting is Forrester’s implementation of a social media policy.  They are not the first, nor should they be the last firm recognizing the power of social media, yet focused on protecting their intellectual property.  The value of any company, be they an analyst firm, services business or product company, lies in their “secret sauce”.  This can be their knowledge, their processes, their technology or their innovation.  It’s not surprising that they want their revenue generating value to remain inside company walls.  So, how do companies become more accessible, more human, and more open while protecting their IP and their brand?

One step they can take is to establish a social media policy.  This should be a core component of your overall social media strategy.  Policy, "a definite course of action adopted for the sake of expediency, facility, etc.”, allows companies to establish guidelines for its employees as to how they will behave or communicate.  Several companies have been very public about their social media policies.  They include:  HP, IBM, Intel, Wells Fargo, Wal-Mart, Mayo Clinic, International Olympic Committee (IOC), and many more.  For visibility into these policies click here.  In many cases, these policies are an extension of existing statements regarding employee conduct.

Many social media pundits have shared their thoughts on the ‘must haves’ for a social media policy.  The primary goal for most social media policies is to remind employees that when they blog or chat on behalf of the company, they are an extension of the company.  They should be transparent about the fact that they are an employee and should remain as professional online as they would be in person when communicating with customers, business partners or competitors. Would you share product roadmaps without a non-disclosure agreement in place?  Would you discuss company financials while online at the supermarket?  A social media policy services as a reminder that while social media can provide great benefits to companies in terms of visibility, transparency, accesibility and marketing, it is a forum with open access by and for anyone.

The social media policy helps the company articulate its goals for using social media.  It provides business units and employees with the guidelines that enable them to take advantage of social media for the benefit of the company. Is your company utilizing social media?  If so, do you have a social media policy?

What’s your perspective?

Is Video Social and do we need to Manage these Digital Assets?

Peggy Dau - Monday, January 11, 2010

In early December, I participated in a webinar hosted by North Plains.  The focus of the webinar was about video, social networking and digital asset management.  I want to thank Joshua, George and Robin at North Plains for inviting me to join a discussion that started with basic question.  Is Video Social?

There are two ways that we can interpret this question.  The first is that video tells a story.  The story can be a comedy, a drama, a sporting event, a news topic or a personal moment.  Regardless of the medium by which the video is viewed (TV, PC, cell phone), the story incites a response.  This is the social aspect of the video.  Back in the old days, we had informal chats in the coffee room or by the water cooler to laugh about the latest Seinfeld episode or to exault about the Yankees latest win.  Today, these thoughts and comments are posted and shared in online communities.  We share our stream of consciousness with our friends and colleagues, enjoying the socialization that evolves.

The other perspective is that unless the video is interactive (i.e., video conferencing) it is not inherently social.  Social implies a two way conversation with give and take between the parties.  However, this perspective is weak as their is not requirement for social networking to be accomplished in real-time.  Social discussion can take place over a period of minutes, hours and days.  So, we can agree that video is social.

If video is social, do we need to manage it as we manage our other video assets?  Up until now, Digital Asset Management (DAM) vendors have provided solutions to manage the process (aka workflow) surrounding the creation, storage, repurposing and distribution of Digital Media.  Digital Media is the assortment of photos, audio files, video clips, animations, computer graphics or banner ads created, owned or licensed by a company.  The uses of these assets may be for internal or external purposes. 

Up until now, most of the video addressed by DAM vendors was created by "professionals", meaning the studio, broadcaster, agency or enterprise itself for their purposes depending on their business model or business goals.  However, as video has become "social" it has become less professional and is created by individuals.  How does these businesses incorporate user generated or employee generated content into their DAM system?  The DAM is supposed to be the key to managing their digital assets.

In the end, it comes down to policy and governance.  As we move forward and the creation and capture of video becomes easier and less expensive, there will be increasing amounts of non-professional content used by businesses.  In fact, many are already inviting it (i.e., Doritos).  As companies move forward in using video to educate, entice, inform and entertain, they will need to consider guidelines about how the content will be used, who will see it, how it will be distributed, how and where it will be stored, how it will be consumed, etc.  These companies will need to establish guidelines and educate their content creators and digital asset managers on how to incorporate social video into their DAM systems.

So, yes video is social.  Video will become more casual just as social networking became a more informal method of communicating.  Check out further perpsectives from this North Plains webinar.

What's your perspective?

The Five C's

Peggy Dau - Friday, November 20, 2009

I recently attended a seminar for women entrepreneurs.  One of the speaker's spoke about the 5 C's (my apologies, for not being able to reference the specific speaker).  They are:

     - Clarity
     - Connect
     - Confidence
     - Communicate
     - Courage

As I've thought about these 5 C's, I feel there is a strong connection between these comments targeted at building a entrepreneurial business and how businesses define and implement a digital media strategy.  Remember there are many elements to a successful strategy, that include goals, audience, process, content, platforms and metrics.

Clarity - be clear about your goals.  Write them down.  Think about them.  Edit them, but be clear about what your want to accomplish with your digital media strategy.  Do you want to enhance your brand awareness?  Do you want to attract more customers?  Do you want to augment your customer support capabilities?  Are you focused on a product launch?  Whatever it is, be clear as your success can only be measured if you know what your goal is.

Connect - once you have defined your goals, you need to connect with the community that can help you achieve them.  This may mean internal resources.  You may need to gain alignment across internal business units or functional teams.  You may want to develop a go-to-market solutions with business partners that requires connection with those partners and relevant technology vendors.  You will need to think of how you need to connect.   Depending  on the audience, there are various tools you can then select to enable the right kind of connection.

Confidence - move forward with determination.  Investigate your options.  Research your customers, competitors and key market influencers.  Investigate platforms and vendors.  Gather the information you need to make informed decisions.  Armed with this information you can move forward with your plan with confidence!

Communication - be consistent, be clear, be real.  Sometimes we think we are communicating clearly, but when asking for feedback, we find that our audeince is hearing a different message.  Think about your audience and how they ingest infromation.  Then think about not only what your communicating, but how you will communicate.  Which platofrms (social networks, webinars, video conferencing, podcasts) allow you to communicate most effectively.  Align the content and format based on your goals and your audience.

Courage - be brave!  Incorporating various forms of digital media will take time.  The results will not be evident overnight.  Do not be afraid to promote and utilize innovative digital media strategies to achieve your goals!  With clear goals and metrics, knowledge of your company, products, market sector and competitors, you will succeed. 

I'm keeping the 5 C's in mind as I work with clients.  It helps me stay focused.

What's your perspective?

Cisco: taking networking to the human level

Peggy Dau - Thursday, November 12, 2009

Once upon a time, Cisco provided network products such as switches and routers.  They still do.  These are not necessarily exciting products, but they were (and still are) critical to facilitating the flow of content and information across private and public networks.  However, Cisco has long had a reputation for growing through acquisition.  In the past 10 years, these acquisitions have become very intriguing as Cisco perceived the impact that media could have at both the corporate and consumer levels.

Cisco has a stated commitment to collaboration that incorporates video and social networking.  It is pervasive across the company through Cisco's focus on interoperability of its platforms, its R&D investments, standards leadership, acquisition strategy and partnerships.  Cisco has been building it's video management capabilities over the past 5+ years with a focus on capture, create, manage, edit and share video assets.  There capabilities run the gamut from the very high end (e.g., HD content encoding for broadcast) to the low end (e.g. consumer video capture) and the all the complex challenges that happen in between. 

Tuesday, Cisco CEO and Chairman, John Chambers, spoke about Cisco's vision for collaboration.  This is a topic near and dear to my heart.  Having worked for a Fortune 50 technology company for many years, I was able to take advantage of various collaboration tools to connect, communicate and collaborate with my colleagues regardless of geographic distance.  I saw the evolution from proprietary corporate email to "standardized" email systems to the use of document management systems, virtual rooms, web conferencing and telepresence conferencing.  I personally saved many, many hours and dollars through the use of telepresence solutions.  However, the enterprise of tomorrow demands more than stand alone products, it requires integrated products to simplify collaboration and communication

Cisco is leveraging its vast array of assets for unified communication, IP communication, presence, web conferencing and media asset management to address the increasing relevance and use of video plus the growing demand for enterprise social networking.  It's Enterprise Collaboration Platform, which integrates new social networking products with existing communication and conferencing platforms, allows emloyees to navigate an employee directory designed in the manner of a LinkedIn or Plaxo.  The difference is its incorporation of tags for both data and video content, enabling users to find people, data and video content relevant to the topic searched.  Of high interest is the ability to view professional (studio created) or casual (import from Flip) video content at the specific frame that discusses the search topic.

It is clear that Cisco has a vision and is aligning its technology assets accordingly.  Cisco estimates the market opportunity to be $30B+ per year over the next 10 years.  Given Cisco's presence in the enterprise it will be interesting to see if they grab a significant share of the emerging enterprise investment in social media networking.  If nothing else, Cisco's announcements validate the investment and presence of the many small businesses that are emerging in this space. 

What's your perspective?

Finding the Needle in a Haystack

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Have you ever been in a situation where you're pursuing a large opportunity and you need to tap a resource, any resource, that has won a similar deal or delivered a similar project?  How have you gone about finding those resources?  I know that in my former life at HP, I frequently saw sales and consulting leads trying to tap the collective knowledge at the company in order to succeed at an account.  It was like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack!

I was in a global role that allowed me visibility across all geographic regions.  I had knowledge of the different types of deals that were in process and if a consultant in Asia was seeking advice from a colleague he/she would call or email me to see if I could connect them with someone with relevant experience
Notice, I said CALL or EMAIL.  Yep, they picked up the phone or wrote an email asking for assistance.  Sometimes they just needed references.  Other times they wanted to understand the technology solution that had been proposed to a similar customer.  Other times they wanted to learn about the capabilities of our myriad of software partners.  Finding a relevant resource could take them hours, days and even weeks.  They and many others like them did not have access to solutions that allow them "broadcast" their needs to a general audience.

The bottom line, was that there was no centralized system that allowed them to easily find colleagues with experiences they could tap into.  They had a database of customer wins, but many times these databases were regional in nature and not visible across geographic boundaries.  Additionally, these systems might have reflected outdated information.

Why am I sharing these challenges?  It is the experience of having been the linchpin tying these geographically dispersed indivduals together that gave me the insight to recognize the value that social netorking platforms can bring to the enterprise.  Most companies have an internal directory that captures your basic details such as job role, organization, location and contact information.  Imagine that you can add incremental information such as knowlege of software systems and hardware platforms, previous roles, industry expertise, account relationships, special interests, personal interests.   Now imagine it is as easy to use as social networking platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook. 

When we implement social media behind the firewall, we open the door to a new kind of collaborative communication.  Now, employees have the ability to broadcast their question.  For example, a solution architect in Poland is pursuing an opportunity with a small broadcast company.  He knows that his company has provided solutions to other broadcasters and he has searched the company intranet for information.  However, he just can't find the information he needs.  He knows he just needs some guidance - perhaps a 30 minute phone call.  Using an internal social networking platform he could post his questions and the collective community would be able to start providing answers.  The community, by its very nature, provides answers, links, contacts.  And, this information is available to the next person with the similar question.

Think about your organization and how knowledge is shared.  I bet you have some kind of knowledge management program, formal (if you are a mediaum-large company) or informal (if you are a small business).  Are there inefficiencies?  Do you have a plan to tap into the collective knowledge resident within your employees?  Think about how social networking platforms can help you can improve collaboration, actively find and tap into resident knowledge and facilitate employee efficiency.

What's your perspective? 

The Ford Fiesta Movement

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 26, 2009

Have you heard about the Ford Fiesta Movement?  If not, check it out Ford's press release.  Ford, who did NOT accept stimulus funds from the federal government, is thinking out of the box in its campaign to introduce the Fiesta to the U.S. market.  Rather than spending millions on traditional media channels, Ford elected to use social media platforms to generate buzz and promote the Fiesta's arrival in the U.S in early 2010.

The Fiesta has been a Eurpean best seller for several years and as the auto industry works to consolidate brands and become more eco-friendly, they decided to bring the Fiesta to the U.S.  Given the target driver for this zippy, smaller car, using social media to create awareness and attract potential buyers is brilliant.
Buyers love reading recommendations from others (think Zappos) and getting "insider" information.  Ford has 100 agents test driving, blogging and tweeting about their experiences with the Fiesta.

What has Ford accomplished with it's social media campaign?
     - 1.3M+ YouTube views
     - 500,000+ Flicker views
     - 3M+ Twitter impressions
     - 50,000 interested potential customers
          - and, 97% of these potential customers do not own a Ford!

How did Ford succeed?  They thought about the target buyer for this cost-effective, fuel efficeint car.  More and more potential buyers of all kind of goods are leaning towards social media platforms to learn about products and user experiences.  Beyond the social media platforms, Ford has created a fun, interactive site where you can design your own Fiesta and find out some of the likes and dislikes of other Fiesta fans.

Ford leveraged the energy of the community to great success.  I can imagine Ford will have a hard time keeping up with early demand for the Fiesta.

Enterprise Social Computing - a real life example from Intel

Peggy Dau - Monday, October 19, 2009

There are seveal thought leaders in the use of social computing within the enterprise.  One, who has been very open in sharing their experience, is Intel.  We all know Intel as a leading technology company.  I am writing this blog on a laptop with Intel inside.  However, we may not instantly think of Intel as a leader in social computing.

In fact, Intel began defining its social computing strategy and implementation roadmap in early 2008.  Like many companies, Intel was concerned that employees would become distracted by social networking platforms.  However, they also recognized that social computing could transform the way Intel employees connect with each other and lead to greater communication and collaboration. 

Intel began by defining their top level business challenges.  Their challenges are similar to those expressed by small, medium and large businesses:  improve knowledge sharing, increase the speed of innovation, facilitate employeed learning, provide leadership and protect intellectual property.  With these challenges in hand, they established goals which their social computing strategy would have to address to be considered a successful strategy.  They also considered the need for governance, executive support and risk assessment.

With a lot of information in hand, Intel then proceeded to define a variety of Proof-of-Concepts.  They wanted to be sure they understood the way that their various teams were currenlty communicating and collaboratin  so that any new solution would enhance the user experience.  This effort allowed them to clearly understand employee pain points. 

Note, Intel had not yet discussed the technology.  It is important to focus on the company culture, goals, challenges and processes before beginning the technology discussion.  The architecture they selected reflects the needs of large enterprise businesses to integrate new social media tools with existing platforms and networks.    This addresses concerns about process, investment and employee adoption. 

Intel has published a white paper with further information about their process and strategy evolution.  It's enlightening and validating.  I would encourage any business that is trying to figure out how they can implement social networking tools, behind the firewall, to check out this whitepaper and Intel's blogs on the topic.

Getting Social Behind the Firewall

Peggy Dau - Friday, August 07, 2009

A lot of Buzz

There is a lot of buzz about social media, social networking, social computing, whatever term you want to use.  We all understand that these solutions, which allow for connections to friends, colleagues or groups, emerged and became widely popular in the consumer space.   Now enterprises are jumping on the bandwagon and figuring out how to leverage the power of these technologies.  Initial success has been achieved in the business to consumer (B2C) space in a variety of customer support related models.  

Now, companies are seeking strategies to utilize social platforms, behind the corporate firewall,  to connect employees, increase product innovation, enhance knowledge management and more.   A key thought, to keep in mind as you consider social media, is these methods of communication are inclusive, not exclusive. 

Social Media solutions are a good fit when:

  1. You want to broadcast your thoughts to a wide audience. 
    You may not know who will receive your message. You are open or eager to obtain feedback from anyone who can view the content.  For example, An executive needs to share his thoughts on the company’s position in the market or the company wishes to update its customers on new products.

    Blogs and micro-blogs enable these capabilities.  Blogs allow the author to express their thoughts in a concise manner with supporting facts or links to additional information.  Micro-blogs require the author to be even more concise due to the character limitation of most micro-blogging solutions.

  2. Gathering information from a wide variety of users or consumers. 
    You may seek to create a catalog of key facts or it may be useful for customers to understand the nuances of certain products.

    Wikis allow users to contribute content with being censored.  This brings unbiased thoughts and definitions together for common review.  Customer forums or reviews are open to any user of a product or service.  They allow the users to comment freely on their experience with the product or service.

  3. Collaboration across business groups, skill sets, or geography. 
    It is often necessary to reach out across the enterprise to find relevant resources and share project files.  Social networks (or perhaps a better term with in the enterprise, is collaboration network) simplify an employees ability to find, connect and communicate with the necessary resources.
Social media solutions can enhance existing platforms such as SharePoint or LotusNotes with features such as micro-blogging, embedded internal or external RSS feeds, employee profiles, employee networks, or status & activity updates.

What are your goals?  Can social media help you achieve them? 

What's your perspective?

It's a Conversation

Peggy Dau - Sunday, July 05, 2009

One of the most important things to remember, when considering digital media strategies, is that it's a  conversation.  The information is being shared, regardless of the audience, is part of a conversation.  Conversation can be formal or informal.  The interaction can be in real time or spread out over days, weeks or months.

Digital media allows us to communicate with our peers, colleagues, partners and customers in a variety of different ways.  We can communicate by voice, video or written word.  The most successful conversations are those that are interactive, collaborative and dynamic.  Think about the exploratory discussions you may have with a business colleague.  The conversation may start on one topic yet progress to many other topics based on the interests, experience or exposure of the participants.  Any digital media solutions utilized should allow for this same dynamic.

It is also important to think about the journalism mantra of ‘who, what, when, where, why and how’.  Who are you talking to?  What information do you want to share or discover?  When will you communicate and when do you need an answer?  Where will the conversation take place?  Why are you communicating?  And, how will you communicate.

The different types of solutions reflect different levels of interactivity and address each of these questions.  Some solutions allow for live, immediate communication.  Others create a continuous exchange of communication over a period of time.  Some, intentionally invite asynchronous feedback.  The key is to consider the type of conversation you would like and think about which solutions align.

As an example:


Blog asynchronous feedback via comments 
Podcast asynchronous feedback via comments
Webinar scheduled live interaction
Video Conference real-time  live interaction
Social Network combination of real-time and non-real-time interaction depending on the number of members online at any given time

What kind of conversation are you seeking?  What's your perspective?

Enterprise 2.0

Peggy Dau - Friday, June 26, 2009

I've just returned from the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston.

This was a great experience yet also prompted some puzzling thoughts in my mind.  On the positive side, this conference attracts the movers and shakers and early adopters of web 2.0 technologies for use in the enterprise.  This conference looks at how social networking tools such as blogs, microblogs, networking platforms and wikis can be used behind the corporate firewall to increase productivity, enhance knowledge sharing, reduce imaginary barriers (think business silos) and more.

Vendors have a chance to articulate, defend and argue the value of their solutions.  Companies are exposed to best practices, thus far, enjoyed by early adopters such as Booz Allen, Lockheed Martin and Intel.  These are just some of the companies who were eager to share their stories.  The common goals: to effectively and openly share information within the corporate firewall, to simplify how employees could discover colleagues with common projects, interest or knowledge, to create a commong grounds for employees to publish new ideas or concerns.  Overall, an excellent conference for any company considering a social media implementation, but not sure where to start.

On the downside, I found an interesting paradox.

Remember, this event is a about social media or leveraging Web 2.0 tools within the enterprise. The paradox is that from a networking perspective, the event was unfriendly.  By this I mean it was very difficult to engage in a face to face discussion with fellow participants.  While the Vendor Expo was quite friendly, the vendors were there to find leads and sell solutions.  the general sessions were very well attended and many of the breakouts were standing room only.  However, the usual casual chit chat (i.e., who are you , what do you do, what is your company doing, what excites you here at the conference, etc.) was modest. 

Is this lack of verbal communication due to the fact that many of the participants are technology lovers and preferred to use the technology (i.e., Twitter) to communicate their thoughts?  I shared my thoughts with the few folks who were willing to engage in conversation and they confirmed my concern.  They had had equal challenges in fostering verbal discussion.  My cautionary comment for anyone using or considering social media:  it augments the conversation and interaction.  Social media should not 100% replace actual conversations or meetings.  Think about social media as yet another option to connect, collaborate and communicate, not the only way!

What's your perspective?