The Social Business Model
"Social media changes everything."By Leland LeCuyer
Humans are social animals.
Then a new millenium dawned. Facebook suddenly, disruptively, exploded across the world — followed by Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ — reverting back to the personal, even if the personal now appeared online. Consumers began talking with each other about your products and your company. This was unsettling because you expended so much effort and care building your company’s brand and, suddenly, you lost hegemony over it. Now your customers claim an ownership stake upon it, becoming “brand ambassadors” when they believe in it, or its fiercest critics when they don’t.
Welcome to the social internet!
This return to personal engagement turns out to be only the opening salvo of the social revolution. The two-hundred year experience of people buying things from people they do not know is swiftly, maybe even thankfully, drawing to a close. Customers now demand to know who you are and what your company stands for before they even begin to consider parting with their hard-earned, increasingly scarce dollars, euros, pounds or yuans. You will be scrutinized like never before.
To say the least, this transformation is uncomfortable for business leaders, analogous to the “just-in-time” supply-chain revolution of the 1980’s that forced management to let go of absolute control over distribution — only far more destabilizing and disorienting. Word-of-mouth has always been the most effective form of advertising and the cornerstone of any sensible marketing effort. Customers have always had a narrow network of friends with whom they would share their opinions. Nowadays that network has exploded, as customers possess real broadcasting channels through which to express and amplify their sentiments and opinions, fair or foul. Corporations have no control over what is said about their business or products, services, employees, or policies. Individual customers, today, possess unprecedented power to positively or adversely affect your brand, your reputation and your bottom line.
What does all this mean? Social media has literally redrawn the boundaries. In the past, customers stood outside of business, on the other side of the the check-out counter. Today they reside inside. Your customers have become your partners, your marketeers, members of your board! Not only can they take their business elsewhere, but those with large followings on social media might launch a campaign against you — a campaign that could be surprisingly effective.
As boundaries have shifted, so too have rules. Success isn’t what it used to be. Profit, prior to the social era, provided an accurate gauge of the health of a company. No longer. Although profitability remains no less vital, it no longer functions as the reliable diagnostic tool it had been in the past. Profit or loss is a lagging indicator, reporting “results” of transactions that have already transpired, disclosing nothing about what is about to happen in the near future. Relying on results is akin to driving while looking through the rear-view mirror.
Today the magic of social media puts you in a position where you can offer the cozy neighborliness of an 1820’s cobbler, while backed by the scale, resources and sophistication of a transnational corporation. But only insofar as you are prepared to abandon the outdated verities that remained true as recently as a decade ago. This is where SynaptIQ+ can guide your transition from obsolete old-style business practices to a dynamic, socially energized and engaged concern.
SynaptIQ+ can guide your transition to a socially energized and engaged concern.
"If a corporation is a person, I want to know what kind of person I’m doing business with!"
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