Tuesday, July 07, 2009

15 Key Observations by Bob Pearson

Tonight I am attending Third Tuesday Toronto with speaker Bob Pearson, President of the Social Media Business Council (formerly Blog Council); also formerly of Dell.


15 Key Observations about big business and social media

1. Customers are co-shaping your reputation every day.

2. Customers assume leaders will identify issues before they happen.

They have set up a "hot issues" team to try to anticipate.

3. The customer does not care where you want them to go.

We go where we find what we need. Our networks, therefore, are liquid.

4. Less than 1% of a customer's time is spent purchasing a product.

5. E-commerce will become e-community.

Customers don't want to go two places to get what they want. Sears,
Wal-mart and Dell are doing work in this area.

6. How people consume content is changing.

YouTube has become the second largest search engine. Customers go
where they want to.

7. The media world isn't changing -- it has changed.

Traditional media such as New York Times that are content producers
are find. Next successful are bloggers.

8. There isn't a destination for a customer.

If your clients are signed up for your email they may no longer be
coming to your website.

9. Syndication of content is more important than traffic to your site.

Micro-communities, video, etc. Customer-driven preference;
participation is a choice.

10. 10-20% of your customer base in a given year.

The majority are searching online, asking peers, or doing nothing when
they have a problem. Better to empower them to help each other.

11. Customers want to do three things to help each other.

12. Don't measure trust internally if you are living it.

Employees help each other.

13. We judge people by how they interact with us.

We need to speak the customer's language. How many languages can we

Put ratings and reviews right in front of customers. Be open and honest.

14. Preparing for yesterday is ineffective.

Old models and habits hold back innovation. They look and smell nice,
but hold you back.

15. Ethical behaviour is a key part of maintaining trust.

We should never support fake blog posts. Important we keep our ethics

In conclusion: "Companies that cling to the past may not realize it,
but they will lose relevance."

From the Q&A:

Websites are a great place to store your content that is syndicated,
but most people will not be coming to your site.

Virtual worlds still have a place but are not yet ready. Shopping mall
or tech support worlds would be useful.

If you get real feedback, some will be positive and some will be

Companies are mostly using old tech support models. Need to change --
companies like Comcast are heading the way.

Social media monitoring: you can see what is being said about your
brand. There could be 30 to 40 times the discussion of your brand in
social networks than you are seeing in Google.

Getting legal counsel on board: bring them in early as part of the
team. Pick one or two to be your social media experts. Same with IT:
they will set up roadblocks at first. Pick one or two to work with you.

Most people are not talking to their customers each day. Start with
free resources such as Google Alerts or NetVibes to monitor what their
clients are saying and what their competitors are doing. He's usually
working 20 steps ahead of this, but important to get clients starting

Customer service and social media is a journey -- we are 10-12 years
out from finding a good way to approach this. The Social Media
Business Council
is important in this respect, it allows members to
share notes and see what works, what does not work.

Search screens in mobile devices: first third of the screen is
important; bottom two thirds is not.

Inside the Council there is a private group where they share
privately. Info is shared publicly at http://socialmedia.org
and on the blog http://blogcouncil.org/blog/

If you are interested in community building, don't look at what
companies are doing, look instead at what Facebook is doing.

Note: Moblogged (live-blogged via mobile) from my iPhone with cleanup and links added afterward. Any errors or ommissions are my responsibility and not that of the speaker.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day & the Story of the Six String Nation Guitar

It's that time of year when we kick back and appreciate how lucky we are to be in Canada.

Not quite two weeks ago I was in Kingston, Ontario with friends attending Podcasters Across Borders, an annual conference for (you guessed it) podcasters. Each year we come from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and further afield in Canada, U.S. and even Brazil to converge, catch up and learn. We always expect to be inspired, but on the Friday evening before things had even really had a chance to start, we were caught off guard by a very moving, emotional keynote address.

Jowi Taylor of the Six String Nation project spoke to us about the creation of a very special guitar, the Voyageur. It is made from 63 artefacts of Canadian culture and history, including Pierre Trudeau's canoe paddle, Paul Henderson's hockey stick, Maurice "Rocket" Richard's first Stanley Cup ring, L.M. Montgomery's house in Cavendish, and copper from the Library of Parliament among many, many others. The guitar has been in the hands of many people including me and my friends, if you look closely at these photos by Alexa Clark above, and has been played by many famous Canadians since 2006 including Stephen Fearing, Colin James, Hawksley Workman, Feist and many others. If you watched today's Canada Day festivities on CBC, you would have hopefully seen Shane Yellowbird playing it (see photo below):

People have been learning about the Six String Nation project through word of mouth. During his talk we learned that Jowi Taylor has financed the project himself without sponsorship, which has been a fantastic labour of love that has unfortunately left him in debt. Many of us were moved by the collaborative, patriotic spirit of the project and made personal contributions.

A book has now been released to talk about the story of the guitar. It also includes stories of the pieces incorporated into the guitar, and portraits of people with the guitar. This project is bringing together and helping to define our nation in many ways. I encourage you to watch the intro video below, explore the other videos on YouTube telling the moving stories of how the pieces were gathered, and check out the website. If you are lucky to have the Voyageur visit your community, I encourage you to see it live and perhaps even try it out. It is going to be at Harbourfront in Toronto, for example, July 24-26, 2009. The schedule calendar is on the front of the website.

Photo credits (from top to bottom):

Podcasters Across Borders & Six String National guitar photo montage by LexnGer, made available under a Creative Commons license.

Shane Yellowbird at Canada Day celebrations July 1, 2009 in Ottawa playing the Voyageur, photo courtesy Six String Nation.