I think that social technology is this connective tissue between employees, between the idea or what a brand stands for, what a company stands for, and then ultimately obviously to their customer base. Too often now brands, in a hurry to have some sort of social footprint, will rush out to their customers. They really need to coalesce their own sense of identity within the organization first. What I would recommend is it starts at a leadership level. You have to make an authentic commitment to engage in the social business marketplace on a consistent basis. Not in a duplicitous sense or a disingenuous sense. You really do need to commit. Once you have done that, you need to rally your employees….
Do you have any other words of advice for leaders?
I would say two things. One is after a lot of the research and exploration for my book, We First, which I have done; one idea is that the evolution of revolution is contribution. What I mean by that is if we really want to engage dramatic change, if we want to really shift ourselves in the marketplace; it is no longer a case of destroying our competitor or being number one in a sense. That is a sort of pathological competitive winner-takes-all mentality. It is through contribution that we win over more effectively than somebody else. If you offer more value, if you offer more meaning to your customer community; that community will work more effectively for you through all these channels. That will give you the advantage you want.
With that context in mind, I would say the best hope for business is the business of hope. Consumers, customers, and our employees with all the different hats that they wear are so acutely aware of all the challenges we face. They are looking to companies to not only provide them with a wage of a living, but to provide them with meaning in their lives. Improve society around them. Be a benefit. As we all know, there are so many challenges on so many fronts. If you give them permission to be hopeful, if you engage in meaningful and purposeful outreach consistent with the brand, if you allow them to have input in that they will be your most powerful brand ambassadors. You will resonate most loudly in the social business marketplace. You will create a society which is far more prosperous so that your company can thrive as well. The best hope for business is the business of hope.