Social media: a window on your culture

July 29th, 2009


A study done by Charlene Li’s Altimeter Group shows that companies who engage in social media have done better financially, even in a recession.

Li is quick to point out that the companies’ financial success is not necessarily caused by their social media engagement, but there is a strong correlation.

What does it suggest? Here are three things that stand out:

  1. The winners are using social media across the organisation, not just as part of marketing and HR
  2. Their social media use is an outgrowth of a customer-centric culture, not an add-on.
  3. Social media for them is as much about listening to their customers, as about sending messages.

iJump’s focus on culture

Sometimes potential clients just don’t get Marie. They can understand me, with my marketing and technology background, but Marie is neither a techie, nor a marketer. She’s a customer service specialist, and a trainer who helps move people from apathy or fear, to engagement.

Those skills are crucial to make social media more than just a passing fad for companies.

Yes, the technology is important (and ever-changing). What’s more important are the people who drive it.

Social media is only ever a window on your culture. If you have an unhealthy culture, it will come through, whether communications departments forbid it or not. If you have a healthy, vibrant culture, that will come through, too.

Our job isn’t just showing you the window, it’s enabling change in the culture inside, which in turn leads to genuine, human engagement between you and your customers.

What’s your organisation like? Ready for the window, or stitching up the curtains?

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NBR’s marketing fail

July 20th, 2009

The only thing we have to fear

Okay, so the NBR wants us to pay $298 a year for their content. And why?

Because … well, that’s where it starts to get a bit vague.

In an email to NBR subscribers, publisher Barry Colman offers two very loose paragraphs explaining the new paid offering … then spends four paragraph explaining the NBR’s problems (as well as the problems facing the whole news industry).

Worse, he then lambastes part of his audience (bloggers), calling them (us!) a huge band of amateur, untrained, unqualified bloggers who have swarmed over the internet pouring out columns of unsubstantiated “facts” and hysterical opinion.

Gee thanks, Barry.

Where’s the vision? Where is the value of what you’re doing? And why are you telling us more about your problems than your solutions?

Sure, the news industry faces big problems. And yes, citizen journalism has severely disrupted the established way of doing things. It happens! It’s happening in many industries around the world.

How do we face these problems, with fear or creativity? Can the two co-exist?

Instead of seeing bloggers as (a) a single group of people, and (b) the enemy, wouldn’t it be great if the NBR recognised that bloggers make up part of their readership, and started to dream of ways to collaborate with bloggers – many of whom don’t consider themselves direct competitors to paid, professional journalists.

Dream? That’s a bit of a “soft” word, isn’t it? It’s a bit “touchy-feely”. Not the hard kind of words that business people – especially in New Zealand – like to use, so we sound serious and businesslike and unflappable.

In order to survive we’re going to have to get a lot more soft, and start thinking of dreams and visions. We’re going to have to start thinking about the people we serve, and how we can co-operate with them to create a great outcome for us both.

And, Barry, that goes a long way beyond just asking for our money – and then insulting us.

What do you think?

Is this a marketing fail – and indeed a failure of vision and leadership – from NBR? Or is this a very canny move, calculated to appeal to the ignorance and fear of those who agree with Colman’s blogophobia? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

More info

I’ve focused on the marketing story here. Others have covered questions of business model and journalism very well:

Thanks to Tropical Pete for the Creative Commons-licenced image!

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Behind the Scenes of Scary Washing Machine – iJumpTV 59

July 9th, 2009

Last Friday I caught up with my old mate Zac, who works at Tango Communications, and had a chat with him about the Scary Washing Machine saga.

This piece of brilliant storytelling caught the whole nation’s attention, and shows the value of stories – a washing machine that could’ve gone for $20 ended up at over $5000, and is still creating value for charities and a business (appliance retail chain 100%).

Here’s Zac, explaining how it happened:

YouTube Preview Image

Questions for the road ahead: How well will the community translate? How will 100% build a community from a standing start? Stay tuned, on the 100% blog.

Key messages for you as a marketer: take chances. Think of the upside as well as the potential downside. Improvise.

(Related: We interviewed Tango’s founder Boyd Wason way back in 2007)

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New Zealand the sixth most Twitterous country in the world, 129k users (or is it? See update)

July 2nd, 2009

Stats from Sysomos’ research on Twitter use show that New Zealand is the sixth most Twitterous (I made that word up) nation on Earth.


According to some quick maths by Nate, that means there are 129,000 Twitter accounts registered in New Zealand. And judging by the numbers of new followers from New Zealand, that’s growing every day.

But, as Duncan’s question pointed out, how many of those users are active? We don’t know.

But if you’re looking for influential Twitterers, check out Twitter Grader’s Twitter elite. It’s interesting that while we have a lot of Twitterers, according to the Sysomos research above, our quality is only 18th on the list.

If you liked this post, you’ll probably enjoy other stats about social media in New Zealand (and these too). (You’re welcome!)

Update: these numbers may be wrong. Sheldon pointed out some links that suggest the number of NZ Twitterers is more like 57,500. See his comment below.

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