Are you mad, Social Media? That’s for the kids.



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Research shows that management in Ireland is largely people in their forties, fifties and sixties. This is the case in both large and small business, private or publicly owned and it is also the case in the management of the public sector.(see link below) It is no wonder Irish business is slow to embrace the new medium that is social media. Being in my mid forties, when I ask my friends if they are on Twitter or Facebook they look at me with horror, as if to say, I would not sully myself or my company, by stooping to that level. Pause for dramatic effect:)

Most of the people I interact with are of a similar age as myself or older. They are  business owners and senior management, Social Media is a frivolous pass time in their minds (some thing for their children or grand children) and they can not understand why I am interested and working in the sector. It actually boggles their minds that people could make a living from such a venture. They do not understand the fact that their market/customers are moving to this sector and their companies and services are not currently being offered thru this channel. So in five years they will have no customers and no business.

I did not pause for dramatic effect here because this is a widely held view among the largest companies in the world who are now using social media to develop new markets and to engage with their customers (communities). Coke, Ford, IBM and other large business are actively driving their business growth by creating social business’s to best leverage social media. These companies do not waste money on frivolous fads, they are following their market research which shows their customers are engaged in social media in large numbers.

This does not have to be large business, it can be in any size or business sector. In an Irish context have a look at Simply Zesty, a major success story. The level of company engagement should be dictated by your resources and does not have to be an all consuming and expensive exercise, which is some peoples worry, but these people are somewhat informed. It is the uninformed companies that are the major concern, because their markets are currently moving and they have not done any research to discover where they are going.

This is also the case in the public sector, so much could be done to help to cut costs and help the reduced work force to work smarter so that they can say ahead of demand and help the countries recovery from the current reality.

I will cover some of the areas that should be explored over the coming months how you can look to leverage the sector and give examples of successful companies.




Recession in Ireland



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We in Ireland are going thru a recession which seems worst then else where. This is due to the collapse of the building boom which was under way for over ten years.We had built this myth that our economy was different to others and could not stop growing at unrealistic speed.We all got sucked in, why, greed, pure and simple.I was one of those people that accepted that we were bullet proof.Hands up we messed up on a massive scale.At the present time most people are still looking for where to apportion blame.It is a useless pursuit as all the energy is wasted and what will we have in return, nothing.If this inertica is allowed to continued we are facing much deeper problems in the futher.What is the current reality?If we do not face it we will all suffer more than we are already suffering.All change and recovery will only come from within ourselves and not from others.The motivation for change has to intrinsic because this is the only motivation that is sustainable in the medium to long term and the only proven motivation that gets results.Einstein said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.As a people we have to examine ourselves see what we can change about ourselves and not waste valuable energy trying to change others.Blaming the bankers developers and the government is futile and will not solve anything.Internal change is where it’s at and I hope people will realise this for their own benefit.By pursuing internal change we will affect all those around us, our personal growth will help to focus on our goals in life and will help to shed the cloak of negativity. This negativity will only drag us down further and will hold back our development as human beings.

Rugby, Now About Blunt Force Trauma.


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Being an avid Munster and Irish Rugby supporter, I am unhappy with the changing style of rugby now being played particularly in the Northern Hemisphere in both the H/Cup and Six Nations competitions. Core skills are now being neglected, passing, creative back play are being replaced by players inflicting blunt force trauma on each other. Size matters, skill not so much.

The Ever Evolving Game

Rugby has come a long way since the game went professional back in the nineties. Diet, gym work and human development are changing the shape and size of players. Some really great rule changes have made the game a better spectacle, such as lifting in the line-out. The changes to the scrum has improved the continuity of the game, if you look at a game from the late eighties you will be surprised by the changes, changes for the better.

Blunt Force Trauma Merchants (BFTM)

While in Thomond Park on Saturday to watch the quarter final of the H/Cup match between Munster and Toulouse I was taken by the size of some of the French club’s players. The sheer size of these guys now means the strategy of rugby coaches is to create miss-matches where possible by getting the “big units” running at/over a smaller player, more NFL than rugby, not much skill needed. The game was always a physical test but with many facets and skills to compliment that physical aspect. The beauty of rugby was all shapes and sizes could play, tall guys, small guys, fat guys and skinny guys. The tall guys became second rows, fat guys played in the front row, skinny and small skillful guys played in the backs. The forwards won matches, the backs dictated by how much.

We now have the spectacle of a fat guy playing as outside center Mathieu Bastareaud of the France and Toulon teams, tipping the scales at 120 kilos, 19 stones in old money, the same weight as John “The Bull” Hayes. Compare that to Brian O’Driscoll weighting in at 93 kilos, nearly 15 stones, Gordon Darcy 91 kilos, 14.5 stones, Matt Giteau 85 kilos, just over 13.5 stones. What have these players got in common, they can pass the ball and create space for those outside them in doing so. Passing the ball is a basic rugby skill you might think, well look at the centers playing rugby in the final stages of the H/cup and in the Six Nations, excluding those centers named above, the rest are blunt force trauma merchants, none of them possess a range of passing skills, never mind knowing how to drift off their opposite number so they could go around them.

Passing a “Key Skill”

When Joe Schmidt took over at Leinster Rugby in 2010 he declared that his number one objective was to make Leinster the best passing team in Europe. He did and Leinster reached 6 finals and won four trophies in his time as head coach. By focusing on the skill of passing the ball Schmidt made Leinster almost unplayable at times, they became the Barcelona of rugby. As a Munster supporter I can testify to this as we found it very difficult to beat Leinster during those 3 years he was in charge of the boys in blue. He also did this with the players at his disposal, Irish men are not as big as the South Seas Islanders now so fashionable in French and English rugby.

While watching last years H/Cup final between Toulon and Clermont Avergne I was taken by the fact that Clermont largely outplayed Toulon on the day but bad passing meant that scoring opportunities created by Clermont went unconverted. Passing skills or a lack of them cost Clermont the H/Cup their fans so desperately deserve. This passing skills issue is one that Munster suffer from as well and Leinster have slipped back into old habits now that Joe coaches Ireland.

If you look at the centers left in the H/Cup only Matt Giteau has a complete passing game. Casey Laulala of Munster can pass but rarely does, the rest are “Blunt Force Trauma Merchants”. We are also now applauding the wrong skill sets, defense, the game is about creating space not flooding the space and isolating the guy lying on the ground so your player can lean in and stop him from re-cycling the ball. This is now getting as much reaction from players, crowds and commentators as scores, it is mad s**t. Whats worse about this is the defending player is now kneeling on the prostrate player in possession, not supporting his own body weight, as is the rule and not getting penalised.

Concussion will change the way the game is played

It is very much in the interest of the game that the IRB look at the current developments with the concussion issue. The BFTM’s are inflicting serious injury’s on fellow players, Johnny Sexton was stretchered off against France when he tried to go high when tackling Mathieu Bastareaud and suffered concussion. Luke Marshall has suffered 4 concussions in under 12 months not all at the hands of BFTM’s it must be said. Legal issues will force change, as it is doing in the NFL in America, the rule changes could be taken out of the IRB’s hands. There are some measures now in place around concussion but players are still getting back onto the pitch despite the best efforts of the medics.


Power and pace allied with the correct skill set will lead to a winning side as Leinster under Joe proved. Human begins and rugby will develop and change but skills such as passing have to be encouraged. It is easier to coach defense then it is creativity, see Irish soccer under Big Jack, compare that to what Joe did with Leinster or Pep Guardiola did at Barca. Passing and movement not long ball or Blunt Force Trauma Merchants. Watch the All Blacks they combine power and skill, that is why they are consistently the best team in the world. Could we match them if we could combine those two attributes. It wasn’t power that beat Ireland last year against the All Blacks, it was skill…..

Can you achieve an RoI from Social Media Marketing? YES, read below.

It is official, Social Media Marketing has been proven to deliver an ROI. So says the 2012 LoyaltyOne Social Media Transaction Impact Study. This report provides the missing link, proof that Social Media Marketing campaigns actually affects buying behaviour and increases sales as a result.

The jury has been out on the Return on Investment (ROI) issue for some time. Now thanks to Canada’s Air Miles Reward Program, operated by LoyaltyOne, we have conclusive proof. The methodology of the research is sound and the results compelling.

social media marketing

This study shows:

• When properly designed and executed, social media engagement provides long-lasting returns that are both significant and measurable. (In the case of the study, this engagement was prompted by online events and contests.)

• Social media initiatives create a long-term improvement in customer engagement, markedly improving the value of customers involved in the effort.

• The impact of consumer engagement is evident at all levels of the marketing dialogue with customers – from the initial outbound contact all the way through to customer response.

• The biggest lift created through social media engagement is found in high-potential customers who are not yet fully engaged with the brand.

What is the Canadian Air Miles Reward Program?

This is a hugely popular program in Canada with 70% of all households actively participating. Air Miles allows people to earn reward miles from everyday shopping at more than 220 brand-named partners. Since 1992 over 50 Billion reward miles have being redeemed by Air Miles members. It has over 10 million members and is ranked as one of the first and largest such coalition loyalty programs in the world. So the sample size is without question.

Why is this land mark research?

In 2010 a DMA-Colloquy study, two thirds of marketers answered “don’t know’ when asked to identify the most important measure of Social Media. In 2012 a Deloitte and MIT Sloane Management Review asked 3,748 executives about Social Media metrics. The number one answer was “do not measure”. This lack of measurement is puzzling, without measurement how are you going to know if your campaigns are working or not?

If you Google ROI and Social Media you will find a large amount of studies, reports and surveys all trying to prove the link between Social Media and ROI. This is by far the most comprehensive report proving the link and they used two campaigns to prove the theory.

Campaign One

Showed an impact over the course of the ten weeks surrounding the events – benchmarking participants’ transactions over the entire period against an indexed performance baseline of 100 for non-participants’ transactions. Members, who participated in the events by responding with their thoughts about the AIR MILES brand and what it brought them in terms of benefits, became much better customers.

In the eight weeks after the events, participants increased their transactions with the AIR MILES partner companies by, on average, 15-30% over the performance of the non-participants in the control groups. These aggregated general results were consistent with the specific findings of each of the three individual events – significant lift in post event transactions for participants that persisted for the two months following the event.

One inescapable conclusion from the study is that the greatest mistake in marketing via social media is employing it only as a means of communication—to tell the customer something. Instead, initiatives must offer customers opportunities to participate in ways that reinforce the brand value for themselves. Our findings indicate that successfully prompting dialogue triggers brand engagement, and engagement drives subsequent transactions.

Campaign Two

The smallest improvement in customer participation was among the heaviest users of  AIR MILES. Those people were already spending at a high level to collect the currency, so it’s likely that they were participating as much as they could. Therefore, social media interaction can be a tool for lifting the transaction value of lower-volume consumers with high potential, who have more room to increase their spend. The spending of the low-volume consumers increased between 20% to 35% in the eight weeks proceeding the start of the campaign.

What have we learned from this brilliant report?

Some of the knowledge imparted in this report we have seen before.

  • Peer to Peer marketing works
  • Selling directly via social does not work
  • You have to stimulate the engagement by your community in an engaging way
  • Measure the engagement levels that your campaign evokes

Most importantly we have learned that a solid, well executed, social media strategy will raise the engagement within your online community. In the two cases quoted in this report, this led to increased sales. Can your company get the same ROI? Yes is the answer.

I would like to acknowledge the work of Neil Everett and Jim Sullivan in writing and researching this report. I have quoted from the report liberally in my post.

Leadership is…”The Man in the Arena”


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Leadership is what?  What qualities do the leaders in this world have that sets them apart from bosses, management, functionaries, politicians and other would be leaders.  Can these qualities be thought, can they be learned.

In one of his great speeches, Citizenship in a Republic, delivered in the Sorbonne in Paris on the 23rd April 1910, US President Theodore Roosevelt, spoke of “the man in the arena”. To me it epitomizes what a leader needs to do; the risks, the vulnerability, the failure, the success, the pain, the joy, the sorrow. Below is the quotation in full.


The Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

This has become a famous and often used quotation. One of my great golfing heroes Tom Watson used it to motivate the 1993 US Ryder Cup Team on the Saturday night before the singles matches on Sunday. The US were away from home and facing defeat, the players were inspired and went on to record an unlikely victory.

US President Nixon referenced The Man in the Arena, during his resignation speech as a result of the Watergate scandal in the early 70′s. Nixon equated himself with the man, with his face marred with dust, sweat and blood. Watergate was not Nixon’s finest hour.

Brene Brown: Listening to Shame

In the second of her TED Talks; Listening to Shame Brown quotes “the man in the arena” as she attempts to link vulnerability, shame and courage, three of the main emotions that her 12 years of research has led her to believe distinguishes a group of people she has identified as “the whole hearted”.

Brown’s research shows this group to be made up of people that have the greatest ability to connect with others. “Shame and Vulnerability is the birth place of Leadership, Innovation and Creativity”according to Brown. The whole hearted have the courage to expose themselves to rejection or ridicule, again and again, because they believe that that is the only way to live life.

What has this to do with leadership?

“Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” – Peter Drucker.

Leaders must process the ability to connect with others, above all else this is what sets them apart.  That ability has to be allied to a skill set. The following ten points are to me, what differentiate leaders from management.

  • connection
  • authenticity
  • empathy
  • values
  • principles
  • ethics
  • vision
  • gratitude
  • courage
  • vulnerability

“To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’” — Lao-tsu

Leadership is…Getting people to make a Leap of Faith.

Both Peter Drucker and Lao-tsu believe leadership is not about the leader, the leader will understand this intuitively; it is about the team that the leader surrounds themselves with. It is about how the leader sells his/her vision for the organisation and brings the team along for the journey. According to Drucker the performance levels of the team increase to levels they would have not previously believed they could attain and as Lao-tsu says, the team believe they have accomplished the raising of these personal standards on their own.

Leadership is…Facilitation

So a Leader has to

  • facilitate
  • coach
  • mentor
  • initiate structure
  • initiate methods
  • processes
  • culture

To quote Theodore Roosevelt again,“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” 


So facilitation scores high in the abilities of the leader, along with the other bulleted points above. The leader has to have the vision, the belief to stick to this vision and carry the team with him/her. We have all worked in organisations that have had the second, third and forth type, mentioned in the Lao-tsu quote above.

How many of you can say you have worked with the first type, the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence? 

Leaders Need Connection, Vulnerability, Courage, Gratitude And Authenticity


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Why should true leaders display Vulnerability, Courage, Gratitude and Authenticity? Who in their right mind would allow others to know that they are vulnerable? Well on the night of his second US Presidential Election, POTUS Barack Obama showed his vulnerability by declaring his love for his wife Michelle in front of the whole world. Vulnerability is one of the many factors that got him re-elected. Women in particular respond to this, with the majority of women voting for Obama.

true leaders

True Leaders are all about Connection

Connection is intrinsic to everyone, without connection we cannot live. Connection brings meaning and purpose to our lives. Without connection we as people cannot survive. We fear disconnection; deep down inside it is our greatest fear. Our fear is that something we have done during our lives is so shameful that this will cause disconnection from our loved ones. Only psychopaths can survive without connection. A True Leader will have the ability to connect with people in abundance.

True Leaders are all about Vulnerability

We have all heard that voice in our heads, our ego, saying you are not good enough! If we get past that, the next question is, who do you think you are? The majority of C-Suite executives in America were polled and their greatest fear was they would get found out.  They believed they were not good enough to hold the high powered position they had worked up to.

Accepting your Vulnerability is fundamental to you as a person. Brene Brown in her TED Talk speaks of how Vulnerability is the birth place of Joy, Creativity, Belonging and Love. By accepting that you are enough, by ignoring your ego. Accepting our own faults and failings we listen better and our authenticity shines through. We become far better leaders for our authenticity and vulnerability.

True Leaders are all about Courage

Courage to be imperfect, courage to be vulnerable, just like Obama on election night. Courage means from the heart. Courage to be compassionate to ourselves, because if we cannot be compassionate to ourselves how can we be compassionate to others. If we are not compassionate how can we have connection or have empathy with other people. An understanding for others’ strengths and weaknesses is paramount to a leader. How can you do this if you have not got the courage to accept your own imperfections?

True Leaders are all about Gratitude

I wrote a few years back that Gratitude is one of the Universal Powers. Gratitude if practised every day helps you to remain grounded to your beliefs and values. You do not lose touch with your courage or your compassion. By having an Attitude of Gratitude as part of your daily routine it helps you to be accepting of what is going on around you. Both the things you can control and those you cannot.

True Leaders are all about Authenticity

Authenticity shines through like a beacon and people see this. Richard Branson is a living example of how to remain authentic in business. When you hear him speak he remains congruent to his values and principles. This is a very difficult thing to achieve but the true leaders do so intrinsically. Nelson Mandela, despite his time on Robin Island, never let his ego dictate how he dealt with the “White Minority” after he was released. In fact it made him all the more courageous as his compassion to them was incredible and his Authenticity shone brightly.

What is actually happening in today’s world?

In referring to Brene Browns TED Talk earlier she also says that we “Numb” ourselves so we cannot feel emotions. Americans today are the most indebted, obese, addicted and medicated generation in American history. It is a similar story here in Ireland. We want to block the trails and tribulations of everyday life. So we “Numb” them with food, drink, drugs and over spending.

The difficulty with that is we also block, joy, love, gratitude and happiness when we “Numb”. The “Numbing” process also brings another difficulty, we want to make everything certain. We want to blame everybody else for everything that is wrong with our lives. The right wing politics in America is evidence of this, I am right you are wrong, now shut the f**k up. This is a way to discharge pain and discomfort and we pretend that what we do does not impact on others.


People need Leadership, something sadly lacking in Ireland. What I wouldn’t give for a person to stand up like Obama did two weeks ago and proclaim loudly, I am vulnerable and I am happy. Today’s Leader needs all the above attributes and when he/she gets this right the resulting community will run through “Brick Walls” to work for this Leader. By understanding vulnerability, courage, gratitude and authenticity you become the photo fit of the True Leader. Do you agree?

Where Is ALL Marketing Heading? Online, That’s Where


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I mean like WTF, my head is spinning from the onslaught of change and innovation. Where is marketing heading? All communication and entertainment is heading online. The print media, books, newspapers and magazines – online. Voice conversations, the humble phone call is now happening online. TV and movies are now all online. Music is now downloadable from where? You guessed it, on f*****g line and so is marketing, that’s where.

Personally I am fascinated by what has happened over the last 25+ years, the digital age. When I read about, online, all the change that has taken place and what is coming down the track, I am so excited, I keep reading and wanting to understand and learn about this new digital world. Why fight it, sure you can opt out and that is every persons right, but is it a companies right to opt out?

Are the C-Suite executives unable to comprehend the obvious business benefits that online marketing brings. Now let’s be honest I think the Muppet’s that post about what they had for breakfast have given the business world a big stick, to justify their claims that online, particularly Social Platforms, are frivolous, but are they?

Online marketing

Dion Hinchcliffe is a blogger I read and admire, yesterday I found a post of his that made a lot of sense to me personally and should have the attention of every C-Suite executive and marketing person in the world that is not convinced by the online marketing argument. I will paraphrase Dion a bit in my attempt to explain what it is he said in the post so that you understand why it caught my attention.

What online marketing brings to business

The old communications model, so called legacy channels. They are the old communication model for advertising and promoting business. Newspapers, Radio, TV, magazines, flyers, and so on… These legacy channels have a very limited reach, fine for a small or family business, but for a large business with international markets, pretty useless penetration.

This is how Dion broke the legacy channels down.

  • One-to-some – low scale, meaning that the numbers of people you could reach using these channels is very low
  • Closed Participation – low network effect, these channels are mostly for broadcasting your message
  • Low Simultaneity – inefficient, not possible to target your known market effectively
  • Low Visibility – hard to re-use, limited value
  • Difficult to analyse – poor insight, my personal favourite, it is very difficult to know who has seen your advertising, is new business coming because of a new advertising campaign they have seen or not?

By contrast let’s now look at the Social Channels.

  • One-to-any – high scale, these channels allow international penetration from the word go
  • Open participation – high network effect, the ability to network your message has never being easier
  • High simultaneity – efficient, all your campaigns can be as targeted in many ways to suit your market
  • High visibility – easier to reuse, shared value, social conversations are visible to all
  • Possible to analyze – great insights, you can have metrics coming out your ying/yang

The last 6/7 years have seen the online communication platforms pass out all the legacy channels and the last 3/4 years have seen that development escalate with the growth of social platforms, but these are still not complete, nor has the digital development peaked. We have seen all the legacy channels migrate to the online space, all that I mentioned in the opening paragraph are now heavily dependent on the online space due to the ease of use of the online technology.

In conclusion

Get with the friggin’ programme, my words not Dion’s. For high scale, networking, efficiency, low cost, innovative and great insights (analytics) there is nothing to beat online marketing for your business or organisation, what’s not to like?

Can your company afford to get left behind?

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Ways Social Technologies Can Help Business Save Trillions of $$$$$


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This is a remarkable 184 page document produced by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI). The title of the report is The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity Through Social Technologies.  This report shows what a tremendous advantage Social Technology is to the world of business. Here I am going to highlight some of these benefits to save you having to read 184 pages…

Advantages to business of social technologies

Product Development

  • Co-Create Products
  • Derive Customer Insights

Operations and Distribution

  • Leverage social to forecast and monitor
  • Use social to distribute business processes

Sales and Marketing

  • Derive customer insights
  • Use social technologies for marketing, communication and interaction
  • Generate and foster sales leads
  • Social commerce

Customer service

  • Provide customer care via social platforms

Enterprise wide levers, social as organisational technology

  • Use social technology to improve intra-or-inter organisational collaboration and communication
  • Use social technology to match talent to tasks

Reading that list you would wonder how the hell companies are dithering, the whole business cycle can now be effectively carried out via social technologies across all sectors of enterprise, both inside and outside the organisations.

The following are examples of social collaboration for business.

Cost reduction

  • Working from home
  • Social platform-based resource center for business critical documents and knowledge sharing
  • Sharing document with clients in the development stage of a project, saving turnaround time

These are three ways in which business can now adapt to the new technology that is the online social space. Like many I work from a home base and no longer have the costs associated with an office. All documents and knowledge sharing can be easily achieved online, which increases the speed in which my work colleagues can access the data. Bringing the clients into the development process early also leads to more efficiencies.

Eliminate emails

This is still seen as revolutionary as email is not that old and is part of the online space. This is one of the disruptive elements to social platforms, IBM’s Luis Suarez believes that the time wasted in dealing with unwanted and unnecessary emails is costing business millions of dollars.

He advocated for an internal IBM social platform and this has led to an huge efficiency increase, plus the internal benefit to IBM is that people are dealing with people through their online profiles, communities and friendships have developed within the company across international times lines that would never have occurred previously and Luis’ daily emails have dropped by over 90%.

Forecasting Market Demands

Intel are now using the wisdom of crowds to predict demand for their products. By capturing individual and collective assessments for up coming demand, they can now predict with 20% more accuracy the future demand. This allows for efficiencies in cash flows, inventory planning and production.

In the same role; wisdom of crowds is now being used to predict movements on the stock exchange, by analysis of Twitter comments. Gathering together the sentiment expressed in Twitter comments and adding them to the existing model used to predict the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has improved the models accuracy from 46.7 % to 86.7%. These sentiments reflected in the DJIA 3 to 4 days later.

Now that seems like a lot of WONGA

You might have seen the adverts on Sky, spitting image type puppets of older ladies and gents in an office, extolling the virtues of borrowing short term money from Wonga. I personally wondered how these companies managed to survive in what is known as the biggest default area in money lending.

Wonga have disrupted this model by leveraging big data and using social platforms. It has reduced it’s default from over 50% to single digit default by developing an algorithm which takes 30 key points of information from the applicant. Based on that 30 point check Wonga have found that they can access 6,000 to 8,000 more online data points about the applicant from the online space, this is called data mining.

Designing a vehicle for the US Military

Local Motors where asked to produce a new military vehicle by the US Defense Department, in 1/5 the normal time frame of 5 years.  By offering a $10K prize fund Local Motors enlisted the help of it’s already active online community and produced the vehicle in 5 months. The fully built and functioning model was unveiled by US President Obama. He praised the efforts and rightly said that crowd-sourcing could save billions in development costs.


Businesses large and small can benefit from the disruptive influence of social technology. This report leaves you in no doubt about that. The savings to business across the four sectors MGI have covered in this report is put at between $900 Billion and $1.3 Trillion per year if the Social Business Model (SBM) is adopted. It is the ROI of online and as the Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts said some time ago, if you don’t have an SBM you will not have a business in five years.

This post is only skimming the report, there are also examples of how social is saving lives, helping people stay safe in Hurricanes. I will cover that in more detail at a later date. Can CEO’s and the C-Suite in general continue to ignore the Social Platforms and the Social Business Model? On the evidence of this report I don’t believe so, come join the most disruptive technology in the worlds history, sure mistakes will be made, but isn’t that part of the fun?

Thanks to McKinsey Global Institute and to the 8 writers accredited to the document, Michael Chui,James Manyika, Jacques Bughin, Richard Dobbs, Charles Roxburgh, Hugo Sarrazin, Geoffrey Sands, and Magdalena Westergren for an incredibly insightful report.

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WHY? What motivates people in Online Communities to Participate, why bother?


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I get this question a lot from my peers. This is a behavioural question that biz/orgs all over the world are trying to understand. In my Social Business formula I mention intrinsic motivation or internal motivation. In this post I will explore the behaviour and what drives people to take action.

If Multi-Directional Expressive Capability, MDEC, is to be maximised you need a motivated online community. What makes one community better than the next? Why does one biz/org get lots of shares on Facebook and RT’s on Twitter, while another, trying equally hard gets very few?

There are a number of reasons,

  • Dynamic content plays a large part. The better the content the more MDEC activity.
  • Trust is a huge influencer, your online community has to trust what they are sharing and talking about is not going to come back and bite them on the ass by embarrassing them in front of their online peers.
  • Values and Principles  the biz/orgs values and principles are demonstrated in the manner in which the biz/org conducts itself in public and the online community are happy to align themselves with that.
  • Transparency that the biz/org conducts itself in a manner congruent with its values and is not just paying them lip service. Get caught lying on this one and the online community will drop your biz/org instantly, after giving you a good going over on the social platforms. A very public humiliation.

Having these attributes in place allows the biz/org to build an online community but as I asked in the heading, what intrinsically, internally motivates people to participate, why bother. MDEC conversation is the goal of any online community, for the Social Business Model(SBM) to succeed. With-out the online communities participation in the, customer to customer discussion about business (C2CaB), then the biz/org can not maximise its online marketing results.

What motivates people to participate in online communities?

There has being a huge amount of research undertaken, trying to identify the triggers that inspire, drive, motivate people to participate. Reviewing results of this research shows the most consistent result proves to be intrinsic or internal motivation.As a result of reading some of this research here is what I understand intrinsic motivation to be. The Collins dictionary definition is as follows,  intrinsic means; “essential to the basic nature of something” or “of ones self”. Daniel Pinks research showed the following three terms help to understand intrinsic/internal motivation better.

  1. Autonomy; the urge to direct our own lives
  2. Mastery; the desire to get better at something that matters
  3. Purpose; in the service of something greater than ourselves

In themselves not startling information but placed together a powerful force which bring dramatic results for people.

Autonomy; not everybody is comfortable having to make decisions, in fact the majority of people are very happy to let others make decisions for them and complain about those decisions later. People feel that to many issues are stacked against them, money, education, ability or where they were born. All boundaries over which they feel they have no control.

The research shows that people that are intrinsically/internally motivated do not see these obstacles and see success as  matter of long hours of dedication. Matt Sayed in his brilliant book Bounce examines the back ground of some of the most brilliant sports stars and musicians to see what was the “autobiographical” circumstance of people like Beckham, Woods, Agassi and Beethoven were. He discovered that despite growing up in different circumstances the real difference was they were motivated early in life to love their chosen discipline. They understood nothing could stop them if they worked hard and put in long hours.

Mastery; The people mentioned above along with countless others are intrinsically/internally motivated by the desire to master their chosen sport or instrument. It is of course not exclusively sports or music, it can be maths, management, teaching any walk of life, but the basic desire to be the best spurs them on. In Bounce, Sayed uses a calculation that you need 10,000 hours to gain mastery over your chosen discipline, he is not alone in this belief as Malcolm Gladwell wrote his book Outliers: The Story of Success on that principle and proved the point with his research.

Purpose; People generally want to belong, we are pack animals and because of this we form communities and relationships. Some take this a step further by volunteering with organisations like the Coder-Dojo, Sports, training kids, working with charities and so on. Online the greatest example of this is Wikipedia everybody that edits Wiki does so free of charge and receives only the satisfaction of knowing they are helping their fellow man to better understand things.


The biggest contributors online are motivated people of that there is little doubt, the research in this area overwhelmingly points to this in all walks of life, online behaviour is no different. The job of the online marketers is to increase the number of intrinsically motivated people in their clients online communities to maximise the MDEC conversation around the company, organisation or brand.

It must be the company, organisation or brands objective to build TRUST with their community through TRANSPARENCY. Conducting themselves in a values driven principled manner. This is the new marketing model which will allow biz/orgs to tap into the undoubted potential of the online space. The Social Business Model does work, it is working, just look around at how some biz/orgs are reaping the rewards online word-of-mouth that community brings.

Big Pharma, The MDEC Communication Model And Improved Innovation


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Large and small business/organisations are looking to adopt a successful Internal Social Business Strategy. They are attempting to leverage the power of collaboration using online social platforms, but without the necessary tools or knowledge to effectively plan their strategy.

Here I will attempt to lay-out some of the processes required for the successful implementation of such a strategy plus give an example from the Pharma Sector.

One issue all businesses/orgs must face is that the process has to begin internally, people are going to have to deal with innovation and change and lots of it.

Change Advocates

Management have to communicate clearly and consistently with all members of their internal community at the discovery and strategy planning stage. People dislike change, they fear it, this is a natural survival instinct. As Victor Maslow explained in his Hierarchy of Needs, people have layers of issues which need to be in place for them to develop and participate.

  • Physiological needs, such as food, clothing and shelter.
  • Safety and security, this covers issues such as family, social stability and employment.
  • Loving and belonging, which includes, family, friendship and sense of connection.
  • Self-esteem, such as confidence, respect of others.
  • Self actualization, which includes creativity, meaning and inner potential.

For any business strategy, that requires change to succeed you have to obtain the by-in of key “change advocates” on your internal team. If companies inform their entire internal community of the objectives and the benefits this new social strategy brings, the advocates will help others around them to be more accepting of the proposed change.

If management try to implement the strategy by stealth or give ownership to one department, say marketing, silos will re-appear. For this to succeed it has to be cross company/organisation, cross department and the implementation team has to represent all departments.

Related: Fear Of Embarrassment Or Mistakes, Are Not Business Reasons To Postpone An Online Marketing Strategy

Internal Collaboration is the Key to “Improved Innovation” IBM Report

A 2003 report by IBM’s Institute for Business Value was commissioned on internal collaboration in the Pharmaceutical Industry. The results proved that internal collaboration improved efficiency across all areas of research including the research required to introduce innovation, drugs. By introducing a system that allowed collaboration called the “Inter-Therapeutic Model” collaboration led to faster and better results.

“The inter-therapeutic model enables scientists—biologists, chemists, pharmacologists/ toxicologists – in different therapeutic areas, but often the same scientific discipline, to
work together”.

What this means is that big pharmaceuticals companies can innovate and bring new drugs to the market faster, but this new collaboration also helped them to eliminate silos. Where the report is out of date is in the technology sector. The method of sharing the research was “new virtual meeting tools” and “ask the expert”. Now they can have much more efficient secure internal Enterprise ready platforms, such as Yammer, Jive or Chatter from Sales Force.

Embedding Social into all the company’s processes

To remove the silos, a user friendly social platform has to be introduced. It allows all internal community members to learn from one another. A product like Yammer or Jive will allow employees to converse, share documents and locate business critical information quickly and easily. Email is not efficient to allow the level of collaboration the internal community needs.

In the example given above the inter-therapeutic model:

  • The scientists were encouraged to share research data across sectors, biologists, chemists, pharmacologists/toxicologists – this was a break thru, a silo buster.
  • This resulted in Multi-Directional Expressive Capability (MDEC) across different therapeutic disciplines, which was not the norm prior to this report.

Related: What is MDEC (Multi-Directional Expression Capability)? It Is The Rocket Fuel For Successful Online Strategy!

Having business critical data in easy reach, helps efficiency

The sharing of research results can have other benefits such as was the case with Viagra. Pfizer’s block-buster drug was originally developed to help heart disease, not erectile dysfunction. While I am sure there are many people ill with heart disease that are wishing for a cure. The amount of men and women thankful for the collaboration which resulted in the Pfizer Riser being developed, is far higher. This was a case of pooled research, internal collaboration. The research data can be stored securely on the internal social platform, with-in easy reach of those who need it.

As people get comfortable with the MDEC model, internal communities will form for:

  • projects,
  • common interests,
  • managing the running of departments,
  • arranging social events.

On the internal platform discussion threads can be started on

  • innovation,
  • sourcing,
  • HR,
  • all the process that are required for the daily running and management of a company.

As people load their profiles, faces can be put to conversations and relationships grow within the communities. The result is improved profitability for the companies, but most important for the people involved in the process, they are intrinsically motivated by the results and improved work experience.

Related: Ford’s Social Business Model, Seeks Multi-Directional Expressive Capability!


Internal collaboration using enterprise social platforms, leads to innovation due to the employees being intrinsically motivated. This in turn leads to raised efficiency levels and reduced costs, hence higher profits. What’s not to like?

Image: “colorful pills/Shutterstock

What is MDEC (Multi-Directional Expressive Capability)? It Is The Rocket Fuel For Successful Online Strategy!


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These are a sample of some of the questions that have surfaced during the week as a follow-up to my Ford blog last week. What is MDEC and how can it best be used to enhance an online strategy? This was the most common question, along with could it be leveraged by small to medium business as well as large?

What is MDEC?

To explain MDEC I have to share my Social Business Model.

People (Prospects, Customers, Employees, Management) Online x Intrinsic Motivation + Multi-Directional Expressive Capability = (Advocates > Evangelists) = Engaged Social Communities > Social Business

As you can see my Social Business formula, features Multi-Directional Expressive Capability (MDEC) as one of its components. People, are a basic need to all business.

  • it is how people take action when intrinsically motivated.
  • it is if they choose to express themselves or not, will dictate the success of your online strategy.

Through-out history, human begins have possessed the ability to express themselves by speech, body language, song, and the written word. Historically this meant we had to physically gather together in groups, large or small, for multi-directional expression to take place. By this I mean more than two people are involved in conversation and people expressing themselves freely and in different ways.

With the advent of Online Social Media Platforms that has all changed. Just logging onto your chosen platform allows you to instantly enter a “Mutli-Directional” conversation or dialog. This allows you to exercise your “Expressive Capability”. For a Social Business Strategy to have success it is my opinion that MDEC activity is the magic dust, one of key drivers and measurement of ROI.

When the dynamic content you are sharing with your online community, intrinsically motivates a sustained amount of expression, your online community will engage in a mutli-directional discussion about that dynamic content. They take action and post comments/ tell related stories, upload pictures/video….Coca-Cola now measure “expression rather than impression” as an indication of a campaign success.

Companies like Coca-Cola, Ford and Burberry understand that MDEC is the key to increasing their company’s share of expressions of interest from online communities. MDEC conversations will develop between customers discussing a company’s products/service and the community will call it as they see it, the good and the bad. The trick is to be aware of these expressions and respond to them in a positive and helpful manner. The companies mentioned above all do, so why can’t yours.

Related: The Multi-Device Digital Omnivore: The Online Future In Focus

Can small business benefit too?

Yes, is the simple answer. MDEC conversations take place among online communities, the size of the community is irrelevant, large is great but not necessary. Starting with a small community and expanding it by implementing a social business strategy is desirable. It’s the quality of the dynamic content which will lead to expressions this helps to build the community loyalty; this in turn helps to increase the companies profile and profit.

Can you give examples of how a small business could use the MDEC model to its advantage?

Imagine two restaurants in a small coastal town, this town receives a big explosion in population during the summer months, due to the arrival of holiday makers who own summer houses on the beaches near-by. During the holiday season one restaurant is very busy all summer; the other is only moderately busy, why?

The answer could be that during the off season, the owner of the busy restaurant works hard on content for the restaurants website and Facebook page. During the off season the busy restaurateur continues to generate MDEC engagement with the summer community, by sharing content, recipes and fun competitions to keep the community aware of the restaurant. The owner’s fun and informative dynamic content and gamification effort alone will not sustain the engagement level.

The better the edu-tainment element of your content the more expressions it will receive, the bigger and better the share of the “expressions” among the online community in the off season, this will relate directly to them becoming paying customers in the summer season. Result; ROI and profit.

Related: Five Potential Digital Futures

What level of costs and resources would be required for an MDEC result?

The main cost of any online engagement is, time. The social media platforms are free and the 2.0 website design is now very affordable. Now you can easily set up a listening post to keep track of the online conversations about your business/organisation. TweetDeck is my chosen tool for monitoring mentions, again this is free. For bigger companies there are more sophisticated tools available.

What the owner will also realize on the content side, is that the community will have much more content to share, than the owner will ever be able to post. Coca-Cola has experienced this on a major scale. If the owner manages this cleverly, the inbound content flow will reduce the amount of time spent online creating content. It will also lead to some very clever innovations being created in the business due to the MDEC participation. Taking the example giving above; online communities love to share their knowledge and experiences from other restaurants in other Cities and Countries plus what they are doing in their own kitchen.

One mis-conception that small business labors under, is that the online community has to be big, this is not true, give me quality over quantity every time.

Related: The Holy Grail of Online Engagement (In 15 Steps)

What social media vehicles are best suited for the MDEC model?

In the above example Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter and of course blogging, can all by leveraged, but the issue is time and resources. If this is a one person effort then clearly when developing the online strategy, resources have to be considered. With only 24 hours in any given day and a business to run, one person could never hope to cover all these platforms keeping the content, current and interesting

Start with a toe-dipping exercise, also identify where your existing customers are spending their online time. Facebook is an obvious starting point. Run an in-store promotion for your customers to like your FB page. This will give you an online community which relates to your business. These people have being in your business and therefore have an interest. These are not anonymous strangers who “Like” your page; these are after physically visiting your restaurant/shop, what strategy/tactics you use to leverage this community is another question.

Related: Fear Of Embarrassment Or Mistakes, Are Not Business Reasons To Postpone An Online Marketing Strategy

Can MDEC be used for B2B development?

Again the simple answer is yes. If your company is a service supplier then this model can help you to

  • Draw attention to your company
  • Explain the service you supply
  • By sharing dynamic content with your proposed clients you will spark MDEC engagement; this will lead to your online community growing.
  • By sharing, building up a reference library you will create a “lighthouse”, a helpful resource for your community to interact with.
  • Blogging; by targeting the business’s you wish to attract is another excellent method of getting introductions to those customers.

This will mark you out as a progressive, helpful and trusted service supplier. Your online community will share this information through MDEC engagement and help you to grow you client list.

Related: How To Successfully Use Pinterest For B2B

MDEC is the magic dust of online engagement.

Over-all strategies are important, tactics are equally important as is the quality of the dynamic content you develop. If these elements are right then they will draw MDEC engagement, if these elements are incorrect nobody will engage.

Remember all online business engagement should be viewed from the perspective of edu-tainment, as well as educating your community you need to provide some level of entertainment, it keeps them motivated.

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Image: “Many diverse people talking with speech bubbles around the planet Earth/Shutterstock


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