Most don’t think of employees as your best brand advocates. Most employers don’t think of social media for employee brand advocacy that can be tracked back to the bottom line. According to journalist Bernie Borges, EMC was able to document a “6% share of EMC voice in online conversations” from employees. Very impressive but now what one might ask?
EMC’s full-year 2012 revenue was $21.7 billion, an increase of 9% year over year. That catches all CEOs’ attention. Yet we too understand the marketing department’s attention was captured at the 6% of social voice. Reactions from the top will of course be different from the marketing department glad to take some hard-earned credit for a perfect implementation, yet the CEO still sits and ponders the bottom line.
How do you take the 6% of share of voice and translate that into sales and/or reduction in expenses? Let’s assume for sake of argument EMC’s marketing budget is 12% to achieve sales leads, brand extensions and messaging to capture a share of voice in all media channels. Now lets look at the 6% of share of social voice it has achieved by simply lighting its employees’ passions. This example speaks volumes in how to maintain a great brand and attract millennials to your stable of talented hires without a huge investment.
As the President of one of Canada’s top B-to-B media companies we continuously see a fluctuation of product spend year-over-year. One year its all about share of voice, another year its all about share of wallet and yet another year the million spent on advertising brand or message/product/service is directed solely to sales lead generation activities. It’s 101 to state we all need to plan, harvest and grow the delivery mechanisms our clients’ demand at any given time. It’s 201 to know that is hard to do.
Keeping your internal staff up-to-date is as much a challenge as constantly manipulating your work flows and design to ensure your company has optimum delivery in all areas. Providing the right communication vehicles for such internal conversations that will flow out at some point to external stakeholders is not only necessary, its also mandatory for success.
I applaud EMC for its use of a social platform that allows its employees to converse. Yes, we started with brand but we end with survival. Social is not the latest fad, though its powers have not been properly presented to the CEO class, where one sits back and states “now what?” Social is like the telephone. Imagine doing business without a landline or mobile. Really, try and imagine it. Never having a conversation. Always texting to ensure the relationship is formed, is solid and is growing.
Good luck with that! You must have enough understanding and vision to know in today’s world you can’t control the conversations of your employees or your clients. All you can do is enable the conversations. Thank you EMC for such a great example of how its done.
New Years Blog
And so 2013 went out with the lights, power and heat!
What happened this year that made it different from any other year?
The big move to digital was accomplished by most. But the big move to replace print ad revenues with Run of Site (ROS) advertising in premium branded sites, were far more tepid than was hoped. With cheap impressions being delivered by many ad networks, the need to keep branded sites alive now comes down to original relevant content being ever-present. It’s really pushed the old saying, “Back to the Future.” But even quality versus quantity this day in age is only one slice of the answer in maintaining and building upon a media content business that many of us still refer to as Publishing. Most of us began understanding this reality by early 2012. By the end of 2013 there can be no doubt that the business of Publishing is into a very different survival scenario for 2014 and beyond. For those of us who really get it the future can be very bright. But for those of us that believe but did not prepare for such a day, the future will be cut short swiftly.
The projected future, strictly coming from a B-to-B Publisher’s perspective, is original content is always preferred. After all, it makes sense that Premium content will always have a place with your best readership demographic that most times translates into some loyal AAA customer advertising. However, for advertisers wishing to tap into the extended cosmos of readership impressions, Ad Networks not only take a place in advertising spend, but also will have a place far into the foreseeable future.
And so having worked through the ebbs and flows of changing times, I believe for overall health to a Publishing organization, Hybrid strategies remain the friendliest advice. If you look at your client base, I would be very surprised if your Top Ten customers have not added something new to the arsenal, allowing for revenue growth. Companies can only cut so deep, or so many times to get to the point of profitability.
It therefore begs the question that if your top clients are reinventing certain lines of business, in order for your offering to remain relevant and address solutions to such new things, a Hybrid strategy for maintaining or growing your line(s) of business remains essential.
Large statistical numbers tracked daily by e-Marketer to Nielsen ratings paint a brighter picture if you are prepared to look at your current business differently. Where once there was good old fashioned headlines and stories in newspapers that kept the Guardian or Globe and Mail a must read, there are now sites that feed whatever content you wish to snack on. But to counteract the loss of readership loyalties you can also take a great writing pool and re-contract them out to create brand journalism for such sites offering such snacks, or for different brands outside of your own.
On events, a mainstream for B-to-B publishers, perhaps such brand journalism can add much muster, as top clients continue to grow event platforms for customer retention.
And of course, there can be no single revenue stream so powerful as lead generation. When marketing is held to the fire to prove ROI, ads that lead nowhere but to millions of impressions with no attached proven action can be disastrous. Can’t you just hear the internal conversations going on! “Yes, I spent $1,000,000 and according to accurate dashboards, it garnered 50M impressions in one month. “
And then you hear, “So what? Where are the results from sales?”
Now send your lonely sales representative in to calm the seas and bring home the contract. Think again, or think not.
To end this personal diatribe, in this year that now comes to a close with power outages and torn tree limbs across our Canadian landscape, I must say it has been a big move to HYBRID and ensuring the very best kind of delivery. As a B-to-B Publisher it is no longer good enough to be a master of your trade. We, as B-to-B Publishers, must be a Jackal of all things content, all things Internet, all things ROI, and all things relevant. That is the new mastery of publishing or media services. For without current relevancy, without the premium services that wrap all things together within your powerful media brand, we can’t help the marketing person confidently answer the question of ROI.
To all my readers, I wish you a wonderful safe and joyous Season and always, a Happy New Year.
People Energy – Look in the Next Cubicle
Trouble brews, corporations stew, people left become few. In turbulent times what can we do? Without our great people, management is but a muse. We can’t close deals, never mind deliver it on time, or guarantee it will be fine. We can only count our lost chicks and pray for some corporate bliss.
To be frank, we are nothing without our great people. Crowdsourcing is about the wisdom of the crowd. In an environment surrounded by cement and glass the wisdom lies in the energy of the staff, and their ability to bond, to fuse and to stand up and be counted. Not because they have too, but because they want to. Are you a leader that can stand the test of time? Ask your mailroom clerk or the lovely receptionist whose name escapes you at times. Are you keeping track of new staff members? Do they know who you are as some of us refuse to vacate our ivory tower and exclusive lunch clubs. Are you a believer in Management by Walk Around or Management by Videos sent around?
Given we are all replaceable except for the fabulous line of credit that keeps most of us afloat, what did you do today to make someone that should be important in your office world, feel they want to give you their best and never show you all the rest?
Short cuts and fast profits will always catch up. There are no easy routes to great culture and great companies. You can’t be a great company without energized people who want to do what they do best.
Take a moment and walk around your current office space. After all, most of us spend as much time at the office as we do anywhere else that is an integral part of our life. We keep reading about collaborative environments and turning strategies on its head time after time during such uncertain economic circumstances. Staff members don’t like constant change. Who does? Few are energized by uncertainties. That is why sharing information, allowing employees to be in the “Know” cancels the negativity, instills a sense of worth which creates the security of one’s environment. That is how trust is born, as well as fuelling a need to do more, to do better and to do it as a cohesive team. Employees don’t want to pay the bills but they will always look for the opportunity to take ownership if we allow them to help us.
Take a long walk through your cubicle labyrinth. Find the sustenance great employees look for by looking in the next and the next cubicle.
Women in the IT Channel
Women have always resided within sales and marketing organizations since I began my long sojourn in this industry. Those that succeed have some commonalities
Brains & Focus
Creativity & Stamina
The one we rarely read about are GOALS.
The Channel is a difficult place because it’s built on layers of stakeholders, with each area having specific needs, specific mandates and different goal requirements for next steps. Some of us have this down as a science, some of us simply know we should be doing this but a task list too often suffices the need to build comprehensive strategies containing set goals.
All of us need to ask “What is our overall goal? ” Are we looking to be the next CEO, (a lonely place at the top) or are such lofty ambitions set on building personal wealth from running a great sales organization? Like our opposites we have our own ways to produce great results. Sometimes we manage to exceed or at least get to the same place as our opposites, but we must have different approaches because as women we have different obstacles. This is not to say our male counterparts are viewed as our combatants. Rather it says applying for a $10M line of credit at one of Canada’s top 6 banks is more of a challenge for a female executive, and it is different when you can’t be part of the old boys club. Demanding a high salary must be presented in a different tone and articulating your value and worth needs to be coached in softer linguistics, and subtle but persuasive articulation that never offends. And once you have obtained such stature and power, a word we don’t use enough, its important to to help others understand the rules of business, specifically for the younger generation of females sitting behind you.
Some of the most basic obstacles we experience are within our own heads. Yes, ladies, ourselves. We can tend to over-think situations and emotional reactions before it ever takes place; we can believe we need to work harder and be better for the same opportunities; we can also vote ourselves out of internal networked situations because we don’t play hockey or golf and sometimes we don’t wish to have libations that allow co-workers to engage in the right conversations with the office power crowd.
Certainly one way of looking at it!
Thank goodness there is also the newer views of female empowerment women are embracing . More women are volunteering in corporate non-profit organizations related to their work, and finding it does make a difference. It’s new connections, many of them powerful, which can take us to the next level of achievement, as well as enjoyment. There are many more mentors and mentorship programs to help high potentials achieve stellar outputs faster. In the past these types of programs were tailored for men.
Importantly, many women have now broken the “glass ceiling” from government, to banking, academia, media and great sales & channel organizations.
What are their secrets? Some are learning to be more aggressive while still known for wearing pearls. Some are putting themselves out there, taking the risk to take a big office while sticking to their own value systems based on a more collaborative strategy. Not all ‘kill what you eat’ strategies are effective. Whatever the secret sauce might be, the most successful women believe networking with other women remains a high priority.
Women need to work with other women in all professions. Each profession has its nuances, and this is why I am a fan of such activities. One is coming up in a few weeks you should know about.
Computer Dealer News with Ingram Micro will host the annual Women in IT Luncheon at the stunning and historical Graydon Hall Manor, Thursday, August 22nd.
To register go to http://www.computerdealernews.com/women-in-it
The Era of a Chief Digital Officer
I’ve written in an earlier post about all things now beginning with a “C” but this new title can be a game changer. From what you may ask? It took us three long decades to firmly establish the title of CIO, only to be dis-intermediated by a new Chief Digital Officer. The good news is the hard research, case studies, professional accreditation and community advocacy has let strategic CIOs move to the executive floor from a back-room function. Clearly, in mid-size companies there is still more work to be done.
The world, not just media where I preside, is in an era of disruption that can easily span into the next century. We are citizens & business artisans of the digital age rather than the historic industrial revolution. Once all awake to understand this is a real chasm we need to cross, some of us to be future casualties, the slow acceptance of change will flourish and become the norm for all.
Who is best to lead such a transition for the new corporation?
When I search the web I find the majority of Chief Digital Officers have held very senior operational roles, from EVPs to Presidents of divisions. I found this rather odd given the digital officer is to address impacts and opportunities of new technology. A side conversation is taking place about the CMO leading the change, but this is only one important function. Seriously, who do you think is going to lead a new generation of management and also help elders cross such a chasm? A recent article states within fifteen years the very new CDO role could be moot, as corporations get their heads and people around the new digital business models. I for one do not sit in such a camp.
I believe with such a profound change in how we do business the roles we currently know, such as the CIO, is more at risk now than ever before. The role of CDO, leading the enterprise to embrace fundamental change due to shifts in how we use pervasive technologies, reporting into the CEO will change organizational charts forever more. And now we get back to our cherished CIO role. What happens here? Should there be a new career path plan where CIO’s are migrated to lead parts of functional teams to gain such experience to become a future Chief Digital Officer rather than the future CEO? It actually aligns better with great CIOs, who have made a serious impact on the profitability line.
Is this yet another layer of authority that besets the CIO reporting into the CEO? In my opinion unless we can position the CIO better, this will become the new norm.
Studies are clearly showing with the onslaught of Big Data requiring expert analytics, the full C-suite in all large enterprises must gravitate to understanding technology while opening the corporate gates to cloud implementations. Smart companies need smart analytics and the ability to determine what data from the universe of data matters. So, what has changed?
A lot of change is due to greater accessibility of robust applications and ease of use. You know longer require a computer science degree to read & act on data. Taking advanced statistics is helpful, but between the business analysts and CIOs, executives must know the right questions to ask. Finding the correct answers is why the CIO must remain an important part of the executive decision-making process. Budgets and media hoopla of the new CMO role taking over the buying of IT is but one side of a new equation. It’s fully across the C-suite in all areas, and it makes sense. Where else will the business demand for technology applications exist?
If the CMO can ignite innovation within the corporation combined with great IT, we have a winning formula. But I can say the same about the CFO and the COO, and the Chief Customer Officer as well as the Chief HR Officer. However, no innovation can occur if the right person to drive the technology to innovate is not at the table or properly consulted from the beginning. As real estate is about location, location, location; innovation is about execution, execution, execution. This is not to be confused with a back-end room or high-level utility function of information technology.
Recently I interviewed Susan Doniz from Aimia, a large successful loyalty company that handles Aeroplan. I’ve known Susan for many years when she was CIO at Procter & Gamble. The grapevine whispered she was now the new CMO at Aimia. Once Susan arrived to face the camera, she politely informed me she is still a proud CIO, but marketing has become an important part of her portfolio. We spoke about the future of the CIO role and she agreed that a Chief Digital Officer was most likely the next evolution for the larger corporate CIOs.
If you are interested in seeing more videos on these types of topics go to ITworldcanada.com/CanadianCIO-TV/
Creating Your Own Brand
As President of an on-going transformative media business it didn’t take me long to understand the President’s brand is as important as the corporate brand, but for very different reasons. A corporate brand must exude trust in the service/products; high-levels of competencies in all offerings; service par excellence; confidence in choosing the company in the first place.
The President’s brand will determine if people will place their future bets on the corporate brand you lead. It acts as a signal to whether the corporation will be visionary or closed enacting business as usual or embracing change. It will be the reason the corporation attracts the right talent or continues with the same talent. The President will be the reason new opportunities and people seek to work with the corporation or shy away. It could also mean shedding of some old alliances as new blood flows through the corporate vein.
I asked a dear media friend what she thought of my brand. Always being direct with one another she stated your brand is morphing as is your business. It rests between survival and visionary. Survival due to the incredible disruption in your area. Visionary because of how we have transformed our business from a traditional B to B Canadian media player to a very new type of business that sells “Content as a Service.”
Recently I had presented to a group of technologists and entrepreneurs in the London region. I posited I could place my head in the sand and ignore the statistics (179,000,000 bloggers), stating everyone is a publisher today or I could find a new way to differentiate my brand.
When we stopped the presses, finishing our last print edition forever, we had begun a new brand and a new type of leadership. When you burn the boats like the Vikings, there is no turning back. You’ve arrived at a new shore, and now you have a new life and way to live it or die with it. That is the “survival” of my brand.
Part of being visionary is an innate ability to believe. Believe in what you see in the market. It’s not a blip. It’s about how technology changed a 500 year old industry from Gutenberg’s press to Google’s glass. It’s all part of a larger shifting picture. I have always been one that wants to be ahead of the curve. Canada, and specifically my division as part of IDG was the first in 97 countries to stop the presses. If you can be first in a niche, you can win. Only the largest giants can follow a trend and have the money to catch-up, sometimes.
And so back to a President’s brand. Every US President has a brand. Every corporate President has a brand. Just check out your social networks and see what they are saying, or what someone is saying on behalf of the President. Some Presidents hire handlers, some have none. There is a whole industry around communications’ officers to handle a corporate President’s brand. This is not about placing your President in a Toast Masters Session. It’s about ensuring your President can become a Master of any Toast, of any session where customers or the consumer is watching. It’s about the President’s ability to articulate the best of a corporate brand ensuring that his or hers exudes not only the trust and confidence of the corporate brand, but also the value system a customer wishes to attach itself to.
Mission statements are important. But making a stand such as Loblaws, with its sub brand Joe Fresh connected to the disaster in Bangladesh, then immediately stepping up to corporate responsibility rather than fleeing such as Disney, shows greatness of brand and great leadership. This is what customers want to know about corporate values and the values of its leaders.
At a time when all is shifting; when nothing is secure and change is what you can truly count upon, its important for leaders to understand what they stand for and how others view their own personal brand as well as the corporate entity they lead.
New Years BlogAnd so 2013 went out with the lights, power and heat! What happened this year...
People Energy – Look in the Next CubicleTrouble brews, corporations stew, people left become few. In turbulent times what...
Women in the IT ChannelWomen have always resided within sales and marketing organizations since I began my long...
The Era of a Chief Digital OfficerI’ve written in an earlier post about all things now beginning with a...
Creating Your Own BrandAs President of an on-going transformative media business it didn’t take me long to...
Social Notes 2 Share via @fawnannan
Here are a few of the articles and commentaries across the social web I am making a note of, and sharing with you. Trust you will enjoy them as I do.