Hit The P.O.S.T.

Source material: groundswell by Li C., Bernoff, J

How important is the Groundswell? Well its arguably the most important thing in business. The best companies listen to their customers and users and form their entire company around that. They use the Social Technographics Profile they have constructed and kept updated to feed them quality information. It all starts with people (users and customers). Trying to start anywhere else would be like trying to start playing a game at the final boss and not knowing what the controls are. How are you going to plan to beat Big Bad Boss Character without knowing what exactly you’re supposed to do? So it is beyond important to figure this out and it all starts now.

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1. People – What are your customers ready for? What do they want? How are customers going to engage in your company? Depending what industry you are in then it determines just how much time needs to be spent here. If you’re a tech company, ideas here are relatively standard. Apps, web pages, forums, social media, etc. Internet and mobile stuff. If you’re a consumer product such as a vacuum or running shoes, people might be more likely to engage in a 3rd party forum for user reviews/conversation than a social network you may set up on your own site.

2. Objectives – What are your goals? Are you trying to get marketing information via communication with the groundswell or are you trying to invigorate sales? Both? What about tapping your internal groundswell to find ideas to better your organizational design? What about finding out how employees think they may work more efficiently or with greater satisfaction? There is generally 5 main objectives that anything and everything can be linked into.

  1. Listening: Research and understanding of your customers. What do they expect? Can get very important insight for marketing and R&D.
  2. Talking: Spreading messages about your company. You talking to customers. This is more about disseminating your company and creating awareness much like advertising.
  3. EnergizingThis is igniting conversation in others. Like poking and prodding, in the nicest way possible, to get others to share your company/message/product via word-of-mouth for brand selling.
  4. Supporting: Could be as simple as a FAQ. Could go the extra step and set up your own support and help forums/section on your website for either you to answer or other users to help each other.
  5. Embracing: The most challenging and should probably not be attempted if you haven’t aced 1 through 4  above. This is integrating your customers into your company and using their insights for R&D and marketing.

3. Strategy – How do you want things to change? What of the above 5 objectives are you trying to accomplish? Once this has been hammered out it also lets you set goals to judge whether or not you’ve been successful. Also you’ll have a better idea how to prepare your organization and which people to involve.

4. Technology – What applications are you going to use? What channels? Is it blogs? Wikis? Social networking? Most will involve a multitude of platforms throughout the process but picking the right ones at the start are crucial to successfully accomplishing your goal.

Some companies that are great at doing this are generally video game companies. When they create games they look at what people want for a game, what features, what experiences and try to find their own way to deliver that. Neatherrealm Studios did this when they rebooted the Mortal Kombat franchise in 2011 to great success. People wanted the game to get back to basics after the lore turned into a convoluted mess after Mortal Kombat: Deception.

The development team at Bioware is using feedback and consumer insight in developing Dragon Age: Inquisition. Fans liked parts of both the previous two main entries, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2, and now Bioware is using that feedback to find the happy medium between both games on things such as environments, combat and character interaction. A lot of this feedback comes from Bioware’s own social network where members of the writing and development team are quite active.

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Example Mass Effect 3 survey conducted by Bioware

Another good example of a company that underwent change after making a commitment to the groundswell was the WWE. In fact, the change in direction that involved social media and other outside inputs following this pipebomb from CM Punk is largely responsible for the re-invigoration of the company since 2011 when ratings and revenues had been on a continuous slide since 2006.

All these companies created POST process plans, maybe not in the exact words as this but likely in a very similar fashion, and have used it to do what their customers want.

And in the end, isn’t that the point?

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Video Games Don’t Kill People

tdb_108_video_games_kill_people_by_shadowmaginis-d4ybhxx I was watching With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story the other day and there was an great segment of the documentary devoted to the heat that the comic book industry faced during the 50’s because it was comic books that were ruining and corrupting young people. The only proof presented was shoddy – 100/100 juvenile delinquents read comic books, which today would be like asking junior high boys if they played video games – and at the time it gave an excuse and a scapegoat for poor parenting.

“You’re not a bad parent, its those comic books ruining your kids!” – direct quote from the documentary.

Fast forward to 15 or 20 years ago around Columbine.

“You’re not a bad parent, its that heavy metal ruining your kids!”

And nowadays,

“You’re not a bad parent, its those video games ruining your kids!”

So where does that leave us? Maybe the issues of troubled youth and mental instability aren’t because of a specific form of multimedia culture but the lack of a proper upbringing. I like comics and movies and music and video games a whole lot. I’ve never shot anyone in the name of demonic music/movies/video games. I also had parents that were very stern with me on what was okay and what was not. Not very long ago after the shooting in Connecticut a major news outlet reported that “According to a friend of the shooter, his favourite weapon in a video game was the assault rifle!” Then the article continued that since he played a video game with an assault rifle that it made him do this atrocity (paraphrased). Neat. Sick reporting bro. I prefer shotguns in most shooting games. I also like to throw fire balls in RPG’s and perform fatalities in fighting games. Not once have I fired a shotgun at a human, tried to manipulate fire in my hand or rip someone in half. video-games-kill Maybe theses issues go beyond multimedia and into far more difficult avenues of society? But those lack the easy canned outrage that old ass senators, who’ve never held a controller in their life, can conjure up. Much like the ones before them blamed heavy metal. And the ones before them blamed comic books. Much easier to blame things you have no experience with. Its like wrestling and steroids. Any time a wrestler dies, STEROIDS! Not alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, etc. STEROIDS! Why? It is easy. It ruined baseball too so demonize anywhere it might be. Don’t mention that caffeine abuse has all the same negative side effects of steroids. Its STEROIDS! because of lazy reporting. Do you have a source? No. Ah whatever. STEROIDS. Take the easy way out. There is an argument to be made about a culture of violence in today’s society. But that culture doesn’t start and end with video games. Ugh.

Industry… Transform!

Source material: groundswell by Li C., Bernoff, J

Autobots! Transform! The… industries. Because of the groundswell. Attack? Help these companies understand the mobile age! If you’re company connects and taps into the groundswell and listens properly then your company should never be the same again. It is like constantly innovating customer service, because that is what it is really all about. Good businesses serve their customers well because they know what their customers want. Social media opens that up in entirely new ways. But it isn’t quite that easy. global-mobile-data-traffic-by-device I’ve said before that the word is going increasingly mobile and that it is rapid. This article from Business Insider predicts that it will basically explode five-fold in the next 4 years. If you’re a big company, you best make an app. Send push notifications through it. That could very well be a new form of direct mail. Push notifications all pop up on my screen until I dismiss them. Why not use that for marketing? What about Snapchat for short time-span hype? A 5 second picture that gets auto erased would be awfully hype for your customers. If you’re a game company teasing box art or a sports team teasing a new uniform, wouldn’t that be a cool way to go about it? Type out a mini-message, take a picture of a corner and send it off. Sounds like viral marketing to me. You have to start somewhere. 1. Start small Company transformations are not easy tasks. Its a lot like a merger, which as history has shown, are full of hiccups to the point of causing big old failure. You’re merging new ideas into a company full of different personalities and peoples with different beliefs about how to do business. You can’t come in with these ideas, say “Everything we used to do sucks. Now we’re doing this!” and expect it to go smoothly. You just end up insulting people. But if you start small and strategically it can work. Like slowly dripping food colouring into water, and then slowly stirring it so the momentum doesn’t make anything spill. Change takes time so pick your strategy strategically for ultimate strategery. 2. Educate everyone This is especially true for executives who tend to believe social media and newer business practices are for kids or them daggum hippies and not customers. But wait, these “kids” are getting older and becoming the core customers and target audience/market. Proof and evidence always works best. One great example of proof would be to construct an in-depth Social Technographics Profile packed with all the facts and numbers a lot of the “older school” thinkers tend to favour. It also wouldn’t hurt to set up an internal version of any external efforts so people can see first hand how it works on a small scale to help them understand the benefits on a larger scale. Have an internal sort of social media sharing platform on the company’s intranet. You can’t make successful changes if people don’t understand them. 3. Get the right people in place This is one of the simplest business concepts. Getting the right person for the right job. This usually comes down to knowledge of the situation, but more importantly passion. If someone is passionate about something then they are more likely to succeed. You need this relationship with the customers established  and for it to be successful or else what is the point? The most successful sports teams hire the right people to coach and manage, and that is why they are successful. Ownership is proactive in finding the right people but once they have them they sits back and say “You are the guy. This is up to you. You win us a Super Bowl/Stanley Cup/World Series.” They don’t put people without the right knowledge or passion in that position. If you have the right ownership group in place, they’ll find the right management group, to find the right coaching staff, to find the right player personnel to win. No team has won a Cup/Bowl/Series by putting someone who just had spare time into a position they weren’t suited for. A business shouldn’t do that either. 4. Synchronize your third parties nsync-nsync-1998 This involves getting your technology partners, contracted agencies, third party anything’s coordinated on to your plan. You’re paying them to do work for you, but if they don’t know what is happening, with you and your other agencies too, you’re probably not going to get very good work from them. This could be duplicate work, wrong work, bad work. Plain old confusion. That is never a good thing in business. Also be ready that if push comes to shove, change agencies or partners. If the one you’re working with cannot do work the way you want need then it is a waste of time and money that could be better spent elsewhere. 5. Plan ahead You want to know where this is supposed to take your company. What are the expectations? Where are you planning to take this objectives? Why? Plan a couple steps ahead at all times. Anticipate twists and turns. You don’t drive a car only paying attention to the first 3 feet in front of your vehicle, why would you figuratively do that in business? ____ Read my latest  sports bits at Talkingbaws.com Goalie Mike Smith scores with less than a second to play High school umpire Tag Team’s his strike out call Don’t be upset that Joe Thornton would touch himself _____ Authors note: I have to apologize for the late post. I was suffering from some sinus infection induced migraines as well as midterms this week at college.

I’m back!

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Did you miss me? I hope so. After some technical difficulties I’m back.

QUICK OPINIONS

NFL – I don’t have a weekly opinion besides that Trent Richardson is just another trash Alabama running back who can’t cut it in the NFL. Gets up to the line… dances for 5 seconds and gets tackled. Indy is gonna regret this trade. Browns 3-0 since the trade! And since my Bucaneers are awful, go Browns!!

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The Steam announcements

SteamOS – another point for Linux as Valve moves away from Microsoft. Curious to see where this will take the games library in a few years. Sony and Steam seem to be on board with eachother though so you might find PS4 games making their way onto this OS.

Steam Machine – I have a gaming PC but this could serve as a good “everything” box for people that like consoles. If there is a way to sync it with my PC and stream from it and I can play games in 1080p on my couch… well I may have to change my mind.

Steam Controller – The controller especially looks like nothing but a shooter controller. Granted I havent had a hands on but overall a resounding “meh”.  The big thing with PC games is key bindings. This controller appears to lack that. And honestly, I have no idea exactly how it works.

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NHL – Everyone, sit down and take a deep breath. It is the first weekend of the season. No reason to panic. Unless you’re the Flyers (then its always time for panic). Dear Edmonton fans, I listen to you on the radio every morning. You’re great, but Devan Dubnyk is a good goaltender. He’s in the same range of starting goaltenders that has Corey Crawford and Jaroslav Halak.  Anything from 8-18 in the NHL is interchangeable. Maybe the team sucks because the defence is awful and the forwards don’t know what to do defensively? I think that is why.

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I’ll have a new social media post up tomorrow or Wednesday, then another on Sunday or Monday and eventually a post about LinkedIn.

401 Words on Equality

Person: “Oh my god can you believe COMPANY is using a TYPE-OF-PERSON for (position)? Pretty rude to NOT-TYPE-OF-PERSONs! They’re a horrible company!”

Me: “All I saw was a person.”

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(source)

I am a believer in equality. My definition is different though. I believe that you do not create equality through inequality. If all men are created equal then all men should be treated equal. But equality isn’t always fair. It is not equity.  So why is it often attempted by the creation inequalities?  If you have managed to become “improved” or “privileged” you should not be punished for it.

For example, I do not think it is right to tax wealthy people at a higher rate. I understand the temptation but the goal of society in the developed world seems to abundantly be that of equality. I do not think wealthy people should pay less tax but I do not think they should pay more tax. It is the same reason I am bothered by the principal when companies hire based on “quotas”. It imbalances the playing field in the attempt to balance it.  Isn’t the goal of companies, whether they say so or not, to serve their customers in the best way possible? So why wouldn’t you hire the most qualified person for the job? Who cares if that person is anything.

Imagine if you’re favourite sports team started to operate the same way? They’d be worse than the Astros and Jaguars put together.  Or Starbucks started hiring deaf people to take your order? Would it be okay if they kept screwing up your order because it is “fair”?

Everyone should be treated the same and not favoured because of a set of rules. Morgan Freeman has said something to the effect of “The best way to stop racism is to stop talking about it.” By continuing to imply to someone that ‘A’ is better than ‘B’ it will only continue that divide and further breeds the idea. Instead I believe that ‘A’ equals ‘B’ regardless of what ‘A’ and ‘B’ are and no preference should be given to either the same way no disadvantage should.

And yes, this is absurdly idealistic. I get it. I know. Naive? Sure. But isn’t the point of ideals to be idealistic?

(For clarity, to my knowledge I’ve never been a “victim” of any of this, but its the principal that drives me insane.)

(I’ll be back to social media Sunday)