Monthly Archives: October 2010

Have you got a Social Crisis management plan?



When I’m talking to clients about their social media implementation plan, its surprising how many of them don’t  have an effective Crisis Management plan in place.  They have no procedures in place to deal with an online or crisis catastrophic physical event involving their employees and the results can be devastating.

Take the Toyota crisis earlier this year.  Toyota initially had no plans in place to deal with communications with customers and remained largely silent until the crisis has escalated to global proportions with an estimated 10% wiped off the value of the brand.  A huge impact for the company.  Give Toyota credit though – when the crisis escalated everyone was kept well informed by blogs and Tweets etc.  But it seemed to have come too late to keep the reputation of the brand.

I think that this issue and others like it can be solved by a structured brand monitoring program.  This would avoid flare ups , like the debacle over the Eurostar trains stuck in the tunnels, or the Domino’s video of staff spitting into Pizza and posting the video onto YouTube (which lost the company 3% from their profits). 

Brands can turn issues into non issues due to engagement with customers.

Engagement and proactive conversation which reduces the customers pain and keeps them informed.  If you keep your customers close  by keeping them informed.  You need to keep them informed because if you don’t then the media will.  And there’s another lesson…


The media is not your friend.

They will kick you when you’re down.

I don’t even mean the traditional media either, any special interest group that engages in conversation will be the first to criticise if you don’t keep them well informed.  And inform them OFTEN!


When Ford had an issue with The Ranger Station, Scott Monty from Ford sorted it all out using social media, quickly and easily (real the full story here)and doing great things for Fords reputation.  He satisfied the customers needs about knowing hat was going on NOW.  He communicated in almost real time – and kept the community informed and happy.  This stopped speculation on other 3rd party sites and drew attention right back to where t was happening  – from the team that was involved – at Ford.

Usual PR diversionary tactics and tricks – delay, deflect defend weren’t needed at all – and this helped in the crisis management strategy. What worked much better was honesty, candour and total transparency –  which is a much better tactic.

After all – the difference between a crisis and an emergency is that everyone is drilled in emergency procedures (think fire crews and cabin crew).  Everyone needs to be trained in old and new media and how to communicate effectively. With an effective crisis management plan and procedures in place, you can add your social media emergency drill to your standard implementation plan, drill everyone and make everyone aware of what they need to do when – or if the crisis arrives.

And then you’ll know what to do…but more on that next time…

Customer awareness of Facebook and what it means for business

It’s quite interesting to watch the statistics for Facebook and the phenomenal numbers of users.   Take this list of top 5 countries on Facebook for example:

1 United States 142 631 260
2 Indonesia 29 363 800
3 United Kingdom 28 038 000
4 Turkey 23 036 280
5 France 19 592 080

Wow – almost 60% of the online population in the US use Facebook, and almost 55% of the online population of the UK.  That means the potential to get your brand noticed, and discussed amongst your customers and their friends is huge.  What does this mean from brand awareness then? As Brian Solis pointed out in his post the other day, the top 10 brands on Facebook are all US or global brands.

The top brands in the US are:

    1. Barack Obama
    2. Xbox
    3. Taco Bell
    4. ESPN
    5. Walmart
    6. NPR
    7. Cartoon Network
    8. The Onion
    9. Best Buy
    10. JC Penny  

Politics, Entertainment, sport, shopping, food

However, the UK has it’s own top brands too (as do several other countries):

    1. iTunes UK
    2. Starbucks UK
    3. BBC World News
    4. Smirnoff GB
    5. Kiss 100
    6. Vodaphone UK
    7. Blackberry UK and Ireland
    8. Haribo Cherries
    9. Esprit UK
    10. O2

Leisure, News drinking, Mobile Technology, Cherries (?) (and a relief to note that Coffee ranks more than alcohol over here at the moment)

with 50% of online audiences on Facebook, it’s vital that you have a presence there.  As I say in my book and every workshop I deliver

Fish where the fish are – don’t fish in stagnant water

No matter what your brand is –

  • if it’s appealing to the consumer, then you need to have a presence on Facebook
  • if it’s an event – you need to have a page on Facebook
  • If you’re trying to generate buzz about your brand – you need a page on Facebook
  • If its awareness – then you need a page…

Get the picture?  You HAVE to be here… Your competitors are there, they are making great connections with their customers.  You need to be too.

And if you want to know where I got all these stats?  Facebakers… Great site and well worth bookmarking for future reference…

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Equal Pay Act–40 years on

I’m in Athens today, delivering a session to mark the Gender-IT project, funded with support from the European commission.  I’m delighted to be speaking at this conference, and I’m speaking about something that I feel really strongly about.  The Gender pay gap.

Working women all owe these ladies a huge debt of gratitude.


These, women were employed by Ford to stitch car seat covers together.  Their job was classified as unskilled, and therefore not applicable for pay on par with their male colleagues on the shop floor.  in June 1968, they went on strike for equal pay.

Their actions led to the 1970 Equal Pay Act which was  subsequently adopted across Europe and the rest of the world.  It paved the way for women like me to pursue the careers we wanted to, in traditionally male environments.

And their action inspired the film, Made in Dagenham which tells the story of their actions and their resulting victory in  getting their pay brought closer in line to male pay.  A victory for female workers in the UK at the time.

But with the UK joining the EEC in 1972 things moved forwards.  The 1975 Equal pay directive was agreed across Europe and the UK became subject to European laws.

But with women across the UK still earning 18% less than their male counterparts, we still have a long way to go for true parity in salary, but transparency in salaries would bring a much greater awareness of the pay gap.  From 2013, all companies with 250 staff or more will face prosecution if they don’t reveal their pay gaps, so larger companies will have to move closer to equal pay for men and women.

But these female machinists who held out for fair pay and started to change the pay differential is an inspirational story for me.  Their story shows that you ‘can’ change things if you believe in yourself and stick to your beliefs…

But, we still have ‘such’ a long way to go…

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Attaching digital content to physical objects

I’m quite impressed with the concept behind Stickybits which has been gaining momentum over the last few months.  Stickybits is an app for iPhone or Android that lets you scan any barcode and attach your own tag.  The Tag can be anything really, text, images, files or photos and videos.  You can scan any barcode and attach your own comments to it effectively attaching digital content to a physical object.  A great ideaimage

Imagine what this could mean for shoppers.  You could be doing your supermarket shop and find a new product line.  You scan the barcode and find out what other shoppers think of the product.  You could add recipe suggestions to the barcode, or a photo of the completed dish.  You could even post a video dialogue of an interview with someone in the shop talking about the product.

You can even buy labels with your own barcode attached.  This barcode could have a video of you, presenting on stage, singing a song or even attaching your CV to the label.  And it’s been rather successful.  Look at this example…

As the knowledge base increases, every barcode you scan will give you lots of extra information about the product and allow you to make a really informed choice before you buy anything.  A real social shopping experience…

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The Internet in 2020

Nice infographic about the internet and how it will look like in 2020.  interesting facts:

  • There will be 5 billion Internet users
  • Sensors on buildings and bridges will be connected to the Internet
  • there will be 2.5 billion wireless subscribers by 2014
  • There will be more hackers (There were 1.6 million new code threats in 2008)

Courtesy of intac

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Social buying or social shopping?

We’re a long way away from a great shopping experience using social media.  Web 2.0 brought us social buying – a transactional event, but we’re still a long way from true social shopping.  I’ve been mulling this over and I’ve been looking around some of the social commerce sites mentioned at the event I went to in Palo Alto the other week.  There are sites that have lots of innovation around social buying.

ModCloth is an example of one such innovation around socially involving the purchaser at a really early stage of the design process.  They have a Be The Buyer program in which customers actually choose which designs get created.  image

When the design is finished you can be notified when the finished article will be on sale.  You can also continue to vote on other proposed design ideas.  This shows great innovation involving the customer and empowers the customer to make significant design decisions.  Starbucks have a similar way of involving the customer and innovating in their stores.  My Starbucks idea lets you submit an idea to Starbucks for them to decide to implement.  Even if they don’t implement your idea, you still feel valued as a customer as they get back to you and tell you why they haven’t chosen it.  Even a negative response shows that they have listened and have responded.

This sharing of ideas adds to the shopping experience.  Social shopping enhances the shopping experience and really involves the community, driving value to the shopper.  

Kiddicare in the UK has another way of fully involving the social shopper…


Kiddicare lets you tag products with your own definition. For example you can search for waterproof, absorbent, dry and leak proof nappies, or diapers.  These tags have been created by the community – not the store – and they help customers find the products that they have categorised.  This adds to the company knowledge base, searches for products are more intuitive than just trying to remember the brand name in the first place.

I think that we’re at an inflection point with social shopping, with a few pioneers showing how to really involve the customer and improve the community shopping experience.  These social strategies from the pioneers in social commerce are able to connect customers to the buying experience and will create a momentum as more and more commerce sites find innovative ways to connect with their customers. It’s difficult to rise above the sea of sameness and create something that really stands out in the market, but improving the shopping experience for the customer, connecting the customer to the experience is the way that this is going to bring bold results. Involving the consumer in their shopping experience will ultimately drive value for the brand to refine their selling experience and give the customer what they actually want.

Food for thought, certainly

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Predicting the Stock Market–on Twitter

Now I know why I spend so much time on Twitter.  Researchers at MIT published this graph in their Technology Review which has an accuracy of 87.6% in predicting whether the Dow Jones Industrial Average will go up or down.

GPOMS = Google-Profile of Mood algorithm which records the level of happiness, kindness, alertness, sureness, vitality and calmness.  The researchers looked for correlations between the GPOMS and the Dow Jones average and found that the calmness indicator index is correlated to the rise and fall and they can predict this change up to 6 days in advance.

Amazing stats for an Economist, but it might just blow your mind if you’re a mere mortal who uses Twitter for fun and information.

Full story in Technology Review

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