Enterprise 2.0 and Social Media Policy

Commonwealth Bank Logo

Commonwealth Bank Logo

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is one of the biggest multinational banks of Australia with businesses in New Zealand, Asia, Fiji, United Kingdom and USA. Needless to say, an organisation of such an enormous size needs to pay special attention the new emerging Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 trends in order to keep their competitive advantage and also protect their reputation at the same time.

Social media restrictions

Social media restrictions

In December 2010, Commonwealth Bank introduced a 2-page social page policy that threatens their employees with “serious disciplinary action which may include termination” for a range of various online activities. This alone would not have raised any eyebrows, as it is to be expected from employees nowadays not to engage in social media related activities during working hours. What caused a significant public outrage was that the policy explicitly forbid any online activity for all their employees outside normal working hours that might damage the bank’s brand (however that might be interpreted), and the worst of all, the policy held employees countable for their online friends’ actions. Also, if one’s friend posted any material that was considered to be “offensive”, the employee in question were to help the police with the investigation against their friend.

Clearly, the primary aim of CommonWealth’s social media policy, namely to protect the reputation of the company, had backfired terribly and had caused much more harm than good. While initially the bank tried to defend their draconian policy, later on they changed their attitude and appeared to be much more receptive in reviewing it and softening the restrictions in their policy.

The lesson of this case is that putting social media policies in place can be a double-edged sword that in some cases can have an the exact opposite effect. In order to avoid scandals, organisations must realise that social media has become a fact of everyday modern life, and they cannot (and are legally not even allowed to) to control every aspect of it as they cannot their employees actions in their private lives either. Having a social media policy does not mean that the company can make unreasonable demands on their employees on how their use the internet outside of work.

References

Wikipedia – Commonwealth Bank
Bank threatens staff with sack over social media comments
Lessons from the Commonwealth Bank’s social media policy
Learning from the social media policy mistakes of the Commonwealth Bank
Bank’s Social Media Policy Says Snitch & Spy on Your Friends or You’re Fired

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Enterprise 2.0 Social Technology Value Levers – @ComcastCares Case Study

Comcast Logo

Comcast Logo

Comcast is the largest provider of entertainment, information and communications services and products in the United States, providing cable television, broadband Internet and telephone services to their customer base in 40 states. As of March 2012, Comcast had more than 18 million subscribers to their Internet services alone. Despite their obvious commercial success, the company had been the target of criticism for their poor level of customer service for a long time, which had been evidenced in their low customer satisfaction scores.

@ComcastCares

It is a well know fact of life in the digital age that disgruntled customers can do tremendous harm to the reputation of a company by tweeting and posting negative comments about their experiences with customer service. Due to the viral nature of Facebook and Twitter, the company’s reputation will surely suffer in almost all such cases.

Comcast Cares Logo

Comcast Cares Logo

Comcast has managed to revolutionise their customer care approach and improve customer satisfaction by utilising Twitter as a means of reaching out and communicating with their customers. In 2008, Frank Eliason, a Comcast customer service representative, initiated a new project where he and his team of 10 started addressing the growing criticism of their customers that had been caused by their frustration and dissatisfaction with Comcast’s customer service. The project made good use of Twitter’s microblog functionality in order to help customers in the most efficient way possible.

According to a 2011 report, Frank’s new customer care division processes about 6000 blog posts and 2000 Twitter messages per day which results in faster customer response times that directly translate into improved customer satisfaction indexes. One unique aspect of their Twitter based communication is that they don’t use “ghost” personas – all communication that comes from @ComcastCares originates from Frank himself. This brings the much needed human touch back to the online customer interaction which is pretty rare among companies the size of Comcast. Arguably, this has been the key ingredient that made Frank’s project a success and a very strong differentiator compared to customer service practices of similarly large corporations.

Conclusion

To sum up, taking care of your customers and handling customer complaints appropriately must be a first priority for every company that wants to improve (or even just maintain) their good reputation on the market. With the proliferation of social media on the Internet, news travel extremely quickly and no company can afford to lose their paying customers due to the perception that their concerns are not being addressed appropiately by customer service. Conversely, by providing stellar customer service through social media can be an important differentation that can result in serious market advantages over the competitors.

References

Comcast
Wikipedia – Comcast
Wikipedia – Criticism of Comcast
Cable Continues Low Customer Satisfactions Tradition
Comcast Reports 1st Quarter 2012 Results
12 digital and social media case studies that prove Customer Service ROI
Social Media Case Study: How Comcast Is Winning The Battle For Perception
Twitter – Frank Eliason
Twitter – @ComcastCares

Examples of Enterprise 2.0 in Action

In this blog post, I am going to present two examples of companies utilising Enterprise 2.0 techniques in a significant way to meet corporate goals. Both examples will be analysed according to the Wikinomics business model (Peering, Being Open, Sharing and Acting Global).

BASF

BASF Company Logo

BASF Company Logo

Starting from 2008, BASF have made significant steps towards becoming a social business by creating the connect.BASF online business network. By 2013, the platform has become a huge success and more than 35,000 employees around the globe are collaborating and sharing information on it on a regular basis.

Peering

When starting the connect.BASF project, the primary aim of the company was to foster the creation of self-organising online communities that solve business problems by sharing knowledge, collaborating and participating in discussions. “We form the best team” – was the motto of the project, which acknowledges the fact isolated players cannot provide as much value as communities who act together as a global team.

Being Open & Sharing

The platform is completely open and all employees of the company have access to it. This facilitates the open sharing of ideas and has lead to numerous unexpected discoveries where teams that formerly were not even aware of the existence of each other have collaborated on the spot in an ad hoc fashion and created innovative solutions to difficult problems.

Acting Global

The company has 390 production sites across all continents. The enterprise social network has helped in bringing the companies workers closer together by creating a better connected organisation. As of April 2013, 35,000 users were registered to connect.BASF forming more than 3,700 online communities.

BeingGirl

BeingGirl Logo

BeingGirl Logo

BeingGirl is a community site created by the consumer goods company Procter & Gamble site that targets adolescent girls in the 12-14 year age group. The main purpose of the website is to provide information to young girls facing the typical issues of puberty (dating, self-care, menstruation, eating disorders etc.). It serves as a community where girls can discuss their everyday problems with each other and can ask for expert advice. Needless to say, the site is also a marketing tool for Procter & Gamble’s hygiene products, but the company has taken a more subtle advertising approach this time: the primary focus is on building a community while the products are kept in the background. This subtle marketing strategy has proven to be extremely effective as the BeingGirl campaign is four times as effective as a similarly priced traditional marketing program.

Peering

The site’s visitors can engage in various discussions, enter contests and participate in polls, which all provide a very strong foundation for building a community around addressing the various problem adolescent girls are facing today. Another important aspect of peering is that the company continuously improves the site based on the results of the polls and forum discussions.

Being Open

A key point of the success of the site is that the company does not hide the fact that it wants to advertise its products. However, it puts an emphasis on adding value first by building a community where young girls feel at ease and are happy the spend their time online. By putting their users first and their marketing agenda in the background, Proctor & Gamble has achieved what other companies using traditional advertising are only dreaming of.

Sharing

At the initial launch of the site in 2000, the site only provided traditional educational materials which haven’t gained much interest. When the company decided to make the site more fun and social while being educational at the same time, things have really taken off. The site provides music downloads, video series, blog posts and various forums for the girls to participate in and share their feeling about going through adolescence.

Acting Global

The website is now available in 50 different languages and it has become a huge success worldwide. Clearly, the company has succeeded in addressing a global audience with their more than 2 million visitors per month worldwide.

Conclusion

To sum up, in both case studies Procter & Gamble and BASF have been able to put Enterprise 2.0 to excellent use with great success. The fact that such established corporations are taking Enterprise 2.0 seriously is a sure sign that this trend is only going to get stronger in the future.

References

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
BASF
How connect.BASF Helped BASF Become a Social Business
The growth of an enterprise social network at BASF
Enterprise 2.0 success: BASF
BeingGirl
Procter & Gamble
Wikipedia – BeingGirl
“Best In Class” Marketing Using Social Media
P&G Does it Again with Beinggirl.com – 4x More Effective Than Traditional Media
Social media success story: Proctor & Gamble

Personal Digital Strategy

Blogosphere_map

Blogosphere as a network of interconnections

In the fast paced digital age we are living in today, an increasing number of people are starting their own blogs every year. By participating in meaningful discussions with like-minded bloggers (traditionally, by means of blog comments), one can quickly build an extended personal network, the advantages of which should never be underestimated. Having an own personal blog can have several benefits: first of all, establishing a well-known online identity can be a powerful marketing tool that can open doors when looking for a job. Also, the process of writing blog posts and interacting with readers builds one’s skills as a digital content contributor, which can have serious positive long-term career benefits.

Although the technicalities of starting a blog have become really simple by now, it should never be forgotten that the actual information content is a blog’s primary and most valuable asset. This is the reason why working out the strategy of any blog is of utmost importance — ideally, this should be done before posting the very first blog entry to keep the message and the purpose of the communication clear and focused.

First of all, my intention with this blog is to contribute to the discussions on Enterprise 2.0 related topics in a meaningful way. In order to attract prospective readers and to maintain existing ones, I am striving to create digital contents that represent value to my readers and I will make every effort to make the posts enjoyable to read that would keep the readers’ interest level up. This will require significant amounts of research work, but it is worth investing time in that because the readers value blog posts that are factually accurate and contain up-to-date information. It is extremely important to point out that every blog that is publicly available on the Internet can (and most likely, will be) regarded as a de facto resume of the author. For that reason, it is of crucial importance that the contents of the blog should never contain any offensive or controversial material that could be disadvantageous to the author in the future. Moreover, certain topics and opinions could also have legal consequences, especially if they have something to do with one’s current employer. I am going to pay special attention to these points, for obvious reasons.

Two excellent examples for blogs that adhere to the principles outlined above are The Danny Rodd Weblog and Andrew Kim Blog, the central topic of which are how to create hormonal balance by speeding up metabolism with nutrition. Both blogs bring unique value to their readers in many regards. Most of all, it is extremely hard to find information on this subject matter on the Internet, and the posts on these blogs are not only well researched and full of scientifically accurate information, but are also interesting and a pleasure to read. Clearly, the two blogs add significant value to the collective human knowledge and most of the time the comments are almost as interesting and educational as the posts themselves.

To sum it up, I strongly feel that a thorough understanding of the above matters is very important for everybody who wishes to establish an online digital presence on the Internet today. Personally, I am going to pay special attention to these points whenever I am even just contemplating writing a new post for my blog.

References

State of the Blogosphere 2011: Introduction and Methodology
Blog as a Marketing Tool
To Blog or Not to Blog? – How Blogging and Social Networking Can Impact Your Job Search
Fired for Blogging
The Danny Rodd Weblog
Andrew Kim Blog