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?



Aligning your Digital Media Strategy

Peggy Dau - Monday, January 25, 2010

Is there any other word other than “align” that says what we mean when we say align or alignment?  We know implicitly that when we use this term, that something is out of sync.  It could be goals, people, things, projects, budgets or tactics.  A colleague of mine, Kristin Kaufman of Alignment Inc., provides leadership coaching techniques to align individuals and teams to an organization's strategic direction.   She takes a 360⁰ view to align internal and external factors.  Working with Kristin validated my thoughts on the importance of alignment when it comes to establishing digital media strategies.   It is crucial that you look at your “current state” and validate that perspective before planning for your “future state” and aligning necessary resources (people or financial).

You’re thinking, well sure, we all know what our goals are, we are in agreement on how to move forward, we have alignment!  But do you?   As you’re thinking about the benefits that digital media can provide to your organization, are your goals in sync with those of the other business units that may be impacted?  Does your digital media plan support your key corporate initiatives?  Have others been considering the use of digital media (i.e., video conferencing, social networking, employee generated video, product training videos). If so, do they already have a plan in place?  Do they understand what they want to accomplish and how to track and measure their success?  Have they assessed vendors?  Have they already invested their budget?   

Digital media solutions can impact several groups within a business.  Here are some thoughts on some of those groups and their role in gaining alignment to a digital media strategy:

Executive Office –Your C-level executives (or at least one of them) must support and champion new initiatives.  Whether it is blogging, video conferencing or internal social networking, without their support digital media projects may never realize their true potential.  The executive suite will not necessarily be involved in the implementation, but they will benefit from the deployment and use of digital media.

IT – This group will likely own responsibility for assessing the functionality, features and performance of specific solutions.  They will want to understand the alignment of these solutions with existing infrastructure from platform, operating system, integration, management, security, support and budget perspectives.

Network (this group may be part of IT in some companies) – this group will want to assess the impact of the solutions on bandwidth and firewalls.  Is the solution internally focused, externally focused or both?  They will want to understand if there will be changes required to the network architecture.

Marketing/Corporate Communications – this group may be the group leading the charge.  They will probably see these solutions as an extension of the solutions they employ already.  This group understands the impact of digital media in the communication cycle.  However, are they aligned in setting priorities for usage?  Can they define at least 3 use cases or business cases for how digital media will be deployed and how it supports corporate goals?

Customer Support – If the goals for digital media include enhancing customer loyalty or retention.  This group has the most insight into the challenges customers are facing.  They are the front line providing resolution to customer questions.  Digital media may provide them with alternatives to address some of the most frequently asked questions.

These are just a few of the internal groups that should be aligned.  Others such as finance, legal, product engineering, R&D should also be involved depending on the focus of the project.    Gaining alignment requires a time investment to review goals, define benefits, review options, assess resources, determine metrics and prioritize tasks. Most importantly, it requires listening and honesty.  By working across impacted groups to gain alignment, teams can move forward with confidence as to plan and implement digital media strategies.

Creating a digital media strategy is important.  Leveraging the plethora of tools that will help your company connect, collaborate and communicate with bring drive incredible tangible and intangible benefit.  Don’t sabotage your best intentions by forgetting to gain alignment.

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?



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.