Rewiring your CEOs brain for Social Media

Rewiring your CEOs brain for Social Media

Social Media | Judette Coward-Puglisi

September 23, 2010

Shaki Brickin, the executive vice president for Catapult Action-Biased Marketing said it well: “To be good at marketing you need to be a bit of a control freak.”  It’s the same way with communication. As professionals, we are custodians of the brand, the messages, and the sentiments communicated by the logo but communication, by its very nature too,  is about engagement.  And while we are required to be confident and  strong in our convictions, we are  also  at ease with evangelising messages, listening to  critics and engaging varied opinions.  Perhaps its  this duality that has allowed us to move with the times.  I have yet to meet  a communicator  disengaged with social media, our natural need to control  superseded by our desire to  connect.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said for many CEOs who we work with both as clients and as employers. Among them there is a lot of angst about relinquishing control of a brand’s identity and putting it out there for one rabid customer to take apart. Firstly, there is their  fear of the unknown, secondly there is  the possibility that there will be conflicts and inconsistencies in how consumers and customers represent the  brand, and finally  the loss of not being able to be the final decision maker and steward is hard pill to swallow.

But Forrester Research just released some interesting results  that should   put the fears on pause,  and it speaks to the   fundamental shift that CEOs must note. The fact is more than 1.5 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook daily and in  the near future, we will no longer search for products and services; they will find us via social media. Those are perfect reasons enough to press the unclick button and get to embracing the very thing that is causing marketing and communication  professionals  to lead the engagement change.

Perhaps the best way to convince a reluctant CEO is to prepare a series of  industry case studies that use   social media to engage, educate , excite and evangelise.  

The following are some of Brickin’s examples

Engage. Walgreens teamed up with Oprah.com to develop the O Dream Board, a desktop application that combines photos, quotes and words, to motivate and inspire consumers to turn their life’s goals into reality. Once consumers create a board, they can print them out at a local Walgreens to serve as a daily reminder. This successfully transitioned Walgreens’ photo processing from a transactional department to an advocate supporting shoppers’ personal transformation.

Educate. Would you believe that toilet paper could drive a public bathroom revolution? Charmin’s SitorSquat app helps consumers find clean public restrooms away from home. Approximately 52,000 public toilets in 10 countries worldwide have been reviewed! Charmin has solved a true problem for consumers and raised its profile as the toilet paper that brings you the best bathroom experience, whether at home or away from home.

Excite. The Pepsi Refresh Project  is driven by a $20 million social-media investment to drive excitement throughout the global community to nominate and vote for local community projects to receive funding from $5,000-$250,000 each month. Looking to close the gap between Pepsi’s 250,000 actively engaged Facebook fans and Coke’s 4 million, this campaign creates an emotional connection in the most personally relevant way, crossing the range of categories connected to people’s passions: health, arts & culture, the planet, neighborhoods, and education.

Evangelize. Target has a longstanding corporate commitment to supporting educational programming. This past February, they identified one more way to get consumers involved in helping the cause. Taking advantage of the fact that Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day were one week apart, they created a Facebook application called Super Love Sender. Consumers were encouraged to create and send up to 10 video cards a day and with each card they voted for one of five worthy charities. Target offered real-time tracking of how the charities were faring against each other for portions of Target’s $1 million donation.

The case studies speak for themselves, don’t they? Rewiring  your executive’s brain for social media is not going to be easy but can you think of a better cause, as a communicator, worth more of your time? Hmmm. Didn’t think so.