#sketchnotes Brand Innovators Summit on Social Commerce #bisummit

Brand Innovators are at it again assembling an ever inspirational and fun group to share best practice, talk about the future and have great fun. Thanks Ted Rubin for inviting me to join the conversation. It was a great event with much to think on. The day was filled with creating new stories with Liza Sperling of Tongal, Judy Chan of Livescribe, Susie Weitzman, Kristin Kosglow of Chango and reconnecting with Brian Solis, Bryan Kramer and of course, Ted, to the sharing insight of B. Bonin Bough of Mondelez, Jennifer Sey of Levi’s and many more. I hope you enjoy my sketchnotes, they are more fun when one can share and continue to build on the stories they tell. I look forward to many more. I only wish my iPad battery had lasted the entire event, and that I had to leave before the real fun got started. Until next time!

Note: If viewing on an iOS device, here is the direct link to view on Flickr https://www.flickr.com//photos/forbesoste/sets/72157644489418614

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Social and Visual Leadership

The paradigm has shifted, and the learning curve is steep. Some will rise and some will fall. Social media marketing is only a small piece of the picture. Understanding that social is people, and people are not just our customers is a start to the journey.

Organizations are made up of people in many different roles. Their jobs require people both internally in the organization and externally in partners, product & service providers, new hires, investors, and so on. Relationships are what count whether business to business or business to consumer, it comes down to people.

Each person has a story that contains knowledge, experience, passions, interests, skills, and people.  Each individual is a unique part of the whole organizations and defines its collective story.  It is this story we share and grow in social technologies.  Leadership must take active part in the story for an organization to succeed in this new paradigm.

Social Optimization, the building and maintaining of MUTUALLY beneficial and effective relationships, is a key behavioral shift when mastering the Art of Social Strategy.  This does not come simply from balancing the gives and takes by counting interactions.  The behavior change must be a result of recognizing the value of all relationships as part of the whole.  It comes from understanding who we are (as individuals and organizations), what we have to offer and what/who we need and how to reach it/them.

Social technologies are tools that help us optimize this change in behavior when we learn how to best apply them.  They simplify our processes for supporting our networks and communities, receiving that support in return.  Sharing knowledge globally through different sensory stimulus has never been easier. It has evolved beyond text.  It is visual, interactive, musical and memorable. Language and time are no longer limitations for creating a global community of advocates.

Understanding who we are and who is part of our story is the first step of the journey.  How you apply social optimization is what will determine your success over the long haul.

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Social Strategy needed for Economic Recovery

“Honesty, integrity, cooperation, collaboration, partnerships that mutually benefit and respect, public engagement, accountability, transparency, role models, knowledge sharing, perspective.“ These are all words that we are hearing repeatedly in the common theme of the Global Summit of Women in Beijing . From Maud Olofsson, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden (so glad to see her here as a role model for Swedish women professionals) to Rosie Rios, Treasurer of the United States, to Wang Lili, Senior Executive Vice President, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in their session on Global Mega-Trends of the Economy to the Leading Corporate Change CEO Forum with Microsoft, Haier, Boeing, Korn Ferry execs all leading the call for action. This is no small talk. It is not whining about problem, it is talking about solutions. They mean business when it comes to making the case for change and how it can happen.

The solutions and themes share something at the root: SOCIAL. I came here not only to speak on Growing Business through New Media, but also to see what women of influence are talking about and to whom. Who are the companies that are investing in making a difference through engagement and CSR? I want to know which companies and organizations realize and walk the talk to the 50+% of their market and 80% of their decision makers on the purchase of their products and services. They come together here to make a difference and it is resounding. As an advisor on social strategy I believe it is critical for companies and organization to get involved in people not just the technology they use and platforms of networking.

This is just the first morning, but I am glad to be here and will be writing more as the event continues. My connection is limited, so I will work with what I have got. Pictures will be posted when I return to Sweden and my beloved unrestricted access and bandwidth. Some things we just take too much for granted. (It will be nice to get back to the balance with men too, a little too much estrogen can be a bit overwhelming.)

written on Day One of the Global Summit of Women in Beijing, but unable to post until now. More to come…

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The Art of Social Strategy keynote video


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Google Head of Social needs to be Strategy not Product

GoogleAll morning I have been reading updates about Google’s new job search for Head of Social.  Being an avid Google user in many regards, my initial reaction was: Yes, Finally!  Then I began to read the job description and the further comments and blogposts from other techies and social media experts.  I’m afraid Google has missed their mark.  Indeed they need someone with social media experience, management and strategic thinking, entrepreneurialism and competence, a leader, and so on.  But as long as they understand the capability and potential of the technology, their understanding of human behavior in social and global marketplaces is more important in order for them to succeed at social.

We are talking about “social” here.  And what is social? People. When I work with clients on social strategy, they have been caught up in the technology and forgotten about the people element.  “Needing” the latest social platforms and tools, referring to people as users, not looking at the human potential or needs, understanding how their own strategy fits in the social strategy are all challenges they share.  I am just surprised to see a colossal like Google making the same mistake. Fix it by making it more applications or gadgets or going away from the mission itself will not solve the problem, in fact it will make it worse.  Buzz and Wave have great functionality, but who needs yet another  thing to add to their list of places to check in order to be sure you are up on the latest information.

Head of Social at Google is being positioned under Director of Product Management, Social.  To solve the problem their needs to be a more social emphasis that is not simply product based (although this role is also needed).  I agree with some of the point brought up by Mehendra in  10 questions presented for the Google Head of Social   on Skeptic Geek blog. Mostly I think he captured the point of where is the strategy overall.  If Google is to succeed in the social marketplace, they need to re-evaluate their social strategy and integrate it into their business strategy overall. They need to look for a Director of Social Strategy who understands the big picture. Hiring just a product manager when the overall strategy is missing a critical component is set up for failure.  Look at sociology or community experts to add to the mix.  Just because they are big doesn’t mean they don’t have the same challenges as everyone else adapting to the social economy.  Fortunately for them they have the capacity and the resources to do something about it.

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Expert: Companies miss chances on Twitter

several people have asked me for an English translation of the article by Thomas Lövgren in Metro Teknik (22 April 2010) So here, it is.  I hope the translation is ok.
Many companies have no strategy when they use social media, according to advisers. A clear policy is needed to encourage businesses to make better use of employees’ social skills.  Social media is a buzzword reminiscent of blogs, micro blogs and Facebook. For many, social media is a way to talk with friends and meet people with similar interests.
This is also a the perception that many companies have. But it also means that companies are in danger of missing out on the opportunities social media can offer, “says Heidi Forbes Öste, Adviser in communication and social media.
Companies with a clear strategy would be able to channel the workers’ social skills in order to gather tips, information and establish important contacts.
Each company also has a background story, to attract people through social media, it is important that the story be communicated clearly. 
– It is important to know who they want to be, to explain their company’s identity, “says Heidi Forbes Öste.
For employees to use social media at work requires a vigorous but brief policy so that people know what they can say and not say.
– If it is ten pages long, no one reads it says Heidi Forbes Öste.
Heidi Forbes Öste’s five tips to consider when investing in social media in your business.
1st Have a strategy that clearly communicated internally.
2nd Invest only in social media, that are value added for your business.
3rd Be consistent and relevant with information that employees use externally
4th Be patient: Building relationships takes time.
5th Social media should affect all areas of the organization to get the best returns.
6th Invest in one’s own social platform, where employees can share information and knowledge internally that is accessible to all employees where relevant.

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10 Truths about Social Strategy

1. You must cultivate an environment of trust for social tools to be effective.
2. Social requires people interacting, the tools enable the interaction.
3. People are individuals, effective social draws on their strengths and passions.
4. Social impacts every part of your business that is not automated by a machine.
5. You do not have to be a “people person” to be successful in social business.
6. Listening is more than monitoring.
7. Social tools are not just on-line, they begin with face to face interactions.
8. The extensive power of social is in engagement and resonance.
9. Communities do not get authentic commitment by force, but rather by seeing value.
10. Social strategy must be aligned with your business strategy.

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The Art of Social Optimization

Bringing all the elements of social together to consider the benefit and impact on organizations and their influence has become an increasingly important. To speak about being “a people oriented organization” social must be taken into account. My recent workshops in Egypt and Ethiopia followed by strategy sessions with a global company and executive trainings for business leaders have all had a common thread. In revising my presentation for the Ethiopia (note, 0.4% Internet penetration) to provide context, I removed the social media tools themselves(that all clients seem to want to jump ahead to). Doing this, the opportunities and the pitfalls of social became more distinct. I have returned to my “social optimization” theory that requires developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships for growth and sustainability in a social economy. This mean you have to look at how and why you interact with your human capital first BEFORE you apply to on-line tools. It is the cultivation part that is so critical and often overlooked.

The above presentation, of course, had much discussion that lead in different paths depending on the context for the audience. The workshops in Ethiopia and Egypt were more focused on growing businesses to compete in the global marketplace, and emphasized Networking and Communications. We spent a lot of time bringing clarity to their stories and finding context for growth. The corporate and executive presentation and workshops were held in northern Europe, and had more of a business strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility emphasis. Engagement and finding ways to be more effective were the focus of conversation.

A note regarding the video, as it may not have as much context without the accompanying dialog. Aired in 2002, its re-emergence explains the power of word of mouth and sharing things in social tools beyond their original intended use. I use it often in presentations because it touches beautifully on the feeling of discovering context and connecting to something greater than ourselves by listening.

On a personal note, I have to say that I am thoroughly inspired by the people and the opportunities that working in social strategy has presented. I work with interesting and companies and executives that recognize the need to prepare their organizations for the social economy in order to sustain their company’s and their markets’ futures. I devote part of my work to creating change through knowledge sharing in the networks where I feel it will have the greatest impact. In this part,I am both supporting economic growth through women entrepreneurs, especially in developing markets, as well as teaching for the academic and non-profit arena where there social tools can have immense impact on change and the next generation. I look forward to connecting to more people that are working in this cross-over area. For me, that is social optimization, as I get to learn, to teach, to be inspired, and hopefully to inspire some along the way.

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Social Strategy in Global Context

Perspective is thrown at me like a rocket.  Next week I fly to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to present a workshop on Social Strategy for Women Entrepreneurs.  For those of us from developed and highly connected countries (myself living in Sweden), let me put this into context. According to the Internet World Statistics, Ethiopia has the lowest rate of Internet and Mobile penetration in the world (0.4% of 28 Million people).  There is one national telecom provider, ETC, which politically filters ( censors) content.  The GNI per capita (annual individual income) is $280 (no, it is not missing a zero). 
That said, there is a concerted effort to create change and leapfrog growth via access to knowledge, education and new business through the Internet.  They are making strides in privatizing the telecommunications and building up infrastructure.  CyberEthiopia reports on progress and access such as IT programs at the universities and companies are gaining momentum.  These people are thirsty for knowledge and the desire to connect.  

I am very excited about this opportunity to learn from them and to share what knowledge and tools that I can to help them in their journey.  My greatest challenge is to provide context within realistic means for their achieving their goals.  My workshop will begin with the importance of strategy and “base social rules” for engagement.  The sections are as follows:


The advantage they have is to not get caught up in the latest and greatest app or widget (which quite frankly is refreshing, teaching twitter is not really what strategy is about).  We can focus on the most essential tools and elements of strategy that cultivate a business that is prime for whatever social tools they can gain access to.

I look forward to writing more on this experience after my return. What are your ideas with how we can influence change and help them succeed in their efforts to leapfrog to catch up?

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Social Media Policy, laying the groundwork for the global market.

It is great to see some big players making concerted efforts for cultivating a collaborative culture that supports their strategy through establishing effective social media policy. Here are a few examples that stand out. Here is Adam Brown, Head Of Social Media at Coca-Cola as interviewed by Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing.

IBM-s policy can be seen here: IBM Social Computing Guidelines or heard here: IBM Social Computing Guidelines video
Social Media Governance has created an online database of Social Media policies
Interestingly enough many organizations still have no fixed guidelines or policies on a global scale. These are simple and necessary to improve effectiveness and to avoid major mistakes. The details can come at a market to market level. Kudos to those who recognize this as a top priority. Please feel free to add to the list. I am sure there are many more, although some do not share links to the greater Internet community.

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