Guest Blog Post: Michele McConomy on Social Innovation & UCLA Social Business Course

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...

Infographic on how Social Media are being used, and how everything is changed by them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am very excited about Spigit coming to present. In part because of the two amazing women, Michele McConomy and Janice Ragar who will be attending and presenting. Educating people about social media / social business is new — especially at the university level. And I really appreciate every single one of my guest speakers and their willingness to take time out of their schedule to participate and contribute!

I also am excited about their content – they will showcase two cases studies on how social innovation has changed how Citibank‘s employees are working together to make a better company and how JCPenny’s has innovated change by participating with their customers. So we’ll get a look at not only external social collaboration and innovation, but also internal social collaboration!

Part of the course is about theory and strategy, but the other part is when students are wondering, “When I go back to work, how to I take the theory and the strategy and make it work in my own organization? What software do I need to make it scalable and affordable?” That’s why companies like Spigit have been invited to participate. I want students to walk away with actionable insights and wisdom. Thanks to Janice Ragar and Michele McConomy -the students are going to get a real treat. Here’s some videos from Spigit, if you want to get a sneak peak of the types of things the company does!

It’s my honor to have a guest blog post by Michele:

The promise of so much to so many in so short a time is essentially what social media has given to the world.  And this promise offers so much. By enabling us to think differently about how we approach not only conversations and connections, we have also been able to think differently about how we innovate. Being able to harness the ability to engage crowds to share ideas and perspective in a dynamic, collaborative environment is a real opportunity.  But how do you leverage social media to innovate?  Through the use of social media tools and platforms, the opportunity is to reach everyone, include everybody, and fundamentally convert these real conversations and dialogues into value for the organization.  Using social innovation technologies like the Spigit platform, organizations have been able to transform social dialogue and conversations into actionable ideas.

Innovation is constantly highlighted as a fundamental priority to every organization’s business, but the question still remains on how to do it and on how to do it right.  Many books have been written and processes born, but no matter how many books you read or processes you implement, there is no one-size-fits-all innovation prescription.  Creating opportunities through social media to generate conversations and to also derive value through idea generation is a real opportunity that is still in its infancy.   It is about generating engagement and value through social media to connect communities of employees, customers, and partners to drive innovation and increase productivity, while turning data and discussions into actionable intelligence. Companies are just starting to realize the true value in developing a social innovation capability within the organization, and now is the time to create that competitive advantage.

Social innovation, through the use of social media and social technologies, is really about creating a 21st century organization that engages crowds, drives value, and defines the brand through innovation.  Leveraging the power of Web 2.0 and enterprise social networking technology, the Spigit platform creates opportunities for people to share and collaborate on real issues and opportunities to participate in the process of innovation.  Being able to generate ideas that lead to new products and services is just one of the many benefits organizations experience when enabling social innovation inside and outside the enterprise.  Creating a program to enable the social innovation experience in the enterprise is where your competitive advantage starts. But where should you focus your efforts?  Here are 10 suggestions to get you started on your social innovation journey…

  1. Engage Everyone
  2. Create Options and Opportunities
  3. Recognize Uniquely Talented Individuals
  4. Create Perspective
  5. Make It a Fun Experience
  6. Know Where Your Best Ideas Come From
  7. Flatten Hierarchy
  8. Focus on Value-Driven Collaboration
  9. Make Everyone Feel Like a Superhero
  10. Take Action on Ideas

As you can see, it is about engagement and value.  Creating engagement is about enabling a holistic and exciting experience, not another task or check-the-box item.  Generating value is proving that through engagement, we have the ability to glean insights and ideas that will take the company further.  With the Spigit platform, we’ve been able to create an experience that not only is engaging for the person that’s participating, but also insightful for the organization. It is what we call the 360° experience. This 360° experience is about looking at all ways a person engages.  Understanding behaviors and motivators is the most important element in creating a truly engaging and valuable social experience. It also helps to accelerate and evolve the process of innovation within the enterprise.

Social media and social enterprise technologies have created a new way of approaching innovation. It’s not about implementing an overnight process, but it is about enabling organizations to fundamentally change the way they work over time to inspire creativity, to encourage participation and involvement, and to enable processes that will help to nurture and develop ideas from inception through to implementation.  Social media has created the opportunity to leverage the power of people in ways that accelerate, develop, and push conversations to actionable ideas.  Creating those new and exciting experiences to engage people is important to driving a social innovation program.   The real question is, how will you harness the power of your social media programs to create valuable opportunities for your company?


Come join other luminaries at April 27th after the first day of classes at the @UCLAEXTENSION course 

Thanks to @spigit @michelemcconomy @jrag2009 for sponsoring it!!

939 Broxton Avenue
Phone: 310.209.7475
Learn. Share. Grow.

Information about @DrNatalie:
Ebook: Social Media ROI Myths and Truths
YouTube Videos: On ROI of Social Media
White Papers: Social Media ROI
New Book on Facebook: Like My Stuff – How to Monetize Your Facebook Fans With Social Commerce & A Facebook Store

Let’s Connect here:
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts

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UCLA Guest Lecturer Charles Miller on Brand Advocates

Charles Miller– those of you who know him on Twitter know him at @ChasMiller, is one of the amazing guest lecturers that will be joining the line-up at UCLA with me. Here’s more information on the course if you want to attend!

I was honored that Charles offered to do a blog post and I know you are going to want to join us at UCLA and hear Charles live. Until then, below is his point of view on the importance of Brand Advocates. If you come to class you will learn how he has created one of the most powerful online, V.I.P. Advocacy communities for DIRECTV and hear about the success they are having. Nothing like hearing from real practitioner so you can go back to your office the next day and start to implement! And now here’s Charles:

Meet Your New Brand Team – The “Other” 1%    by Charles E. Miller

A select few shape the primary interpretation your brand online, and more often than not these are your most avid and connected customers.

If you’re like most brand leaders, you’re unaware of or turned off by these “super consumers”— people so infatuated with your brand that they spend more than 10% of their lifetime income on it.* But these
users can be your most powerful ally and most effective sales force. They promote your brand via blogs, rating websites, YouTube videos, and word of mouth – and in most every case, for free.

More likely than not, you are among the 80% of brand managers that are unaware or unsure of how these power users in Social Media can grow and affect your brand.

Things could be worse. You may catch yourself among the 10% that are aware of these customers, and intentionally ignore, avoid or ridicule them as “crazy extremists” or not a valid representation of your
brand.  You begin to fear that they are “off message” taken it too far outside your comfort zone or that your brand may be moving toward a niche extreme itself, appealing only to these rabid fans.

It is time to recognize these individuals ARE true manifestations of the brand you create and shape. They fully embody some aspect and persona of the brand. The 1% of your customer base is not only ready and willing to share when you are on message but also when you are riding off track or drifting from your core values.

Are You Brave Enough to Listen?
A select few brand teams have taken the step to get to know these customers better — reaching out to understand their motivations to encourage and inform them. They recognize these customers can evangelize to others and defend your brand in moments of crisis. These few also realize social media is not a fad but an invaluable asset available to locate and encourage them. It is primordial. People’s desire to connect has only been enabled through technology and repeats historical precedents from past technological waves of innovation. A true revolution is happening on a global scale never replicated. Yet this time, global corporations as well as governments are the target and can no longer make their proclamations from their respective mountaintops and expect all to comply. No longer can the same returns be realized without transparency, accountability and engagement. In fact ignoring this trend will only materially benefit your competitors who do so.  Social media is the new Enlightenment. It’s the Reality TV of how your products are used, praised or reviled.

You can’t even spend your way out of this – in fact, doing so may only help your competition.

Without a complementary social strategy, corporations are not only limiting the direct returns they might gain in broadcasting awareness campaigns, that corporate treasure is pulling in leads the competition as savvy brand managers that are socially enabled are leveraging the advantage of the category awareness you are bringing to market.

JetBlue Airlines and shoe retailer, Zappos understand this, counting on customer referrals in the moment they interact with and experience with a brand. They ride the wave of awareness to their product category provided by their competitors and preserve their money for the consideration phase of the purchase funnel. The traditional linear buying funnel is now a spiral that directionally amplifies positive or negative reputations built on the recommendations from past and current customers. Ratings and comments consistent with true experiences resonate, energize and convert those on the fence into your new customers or upselling to your current base. Working in reverse, negative recommendations send buyers running for the exits, back to category and community searches when the relevancy of the brand message and delivery is out of synch.

Who shapes these ratings? More often than not it’s that 1 to 10% of your extreme consumers, checking in, rating your service, posting tens of thousands of posts forming and shaping the opinions of the other 90%. And when wronged, every resource is at their fingertips to dig up SEC filings, organize boycotts, wave the flames of class action suits and encourage poor ratings across all the major touch points your customers visit.

If you find this all overwhelming, its cold comfort to know that the pace is only increasing as innovation and collaborative customer innovative communities are organizing, find loopholes in carefully crafted policies and promotions, and unlock how to use your product or service in ways you may never have imagined.
So while intimidating, it’s vital to recognize and collaborate with these avid customers where possible. When you can invite them to the table and clarify confusion you will find they are the ones closing the deal, referring your new customers, and writing the reviews that drive a large part of your business today and with demographic changes in motion — even more so in the future.

As the philosopher Joseph Campbell encourages, “The cave that you fear to enter holds the treasures you seek”

*Source: Harvard Business Review ‘Hail the Extreme Consumer” June 2010 edition

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