Closed-Loop customer feedback and local knowledge
Posted On May 26, 2011 By Jeff Carruthers
Is a Facebook Page really the answer?
Posted On May 17, 2011 By Sue Cash
I’ve been working at Resonate for a few years and have seen many dramatic changes to the social media landscape in that short time. One of the major changes that concerns me is the rapid increase in Facebook Pages for brands. It appears that most organisations think they need a Facebook Page to engage with consumers before they have developed a strategic approach to social media. The “free” nature of Facebook Pages offers an extremely low barrier to entry and this is part of the problem. It may be inexpensive to launch a Facebook Page but a poorly planned Facebook Page can do more harm than good at a time when consumers’ expectations are sky high.
Facebook’s extension from Profile pages with “Fans” to official Facebook Pages is certainly a step in the right direction and a great way for small to medium sized companies to enter the market. They can respond more rapidly, with a less formal voice and be more in keeping with a Facebook style conversation. I also appreciate the recent change in Facebook Pages that allow developers to use wireframes within pages. We can now build apps and embed them in FB pages with greater flexibility and control.
All great stuff, right? Not quite. I think many companies are unaware of the lack of ownership and control they have over their Facebook Page. You may prioritise your customers’ needs but will Facebook put your customers’ needs first…. ahead of their financial gain? If I put myself in their shoes, I see the massive penetration of practically every wealthy nation on the globe as an opportunity to make huge profits, and not to worry about any impact on a brand in Australia. Where is Australia anyway?
Before you start to think that I am a Facebook sceptic, I should say that I really enjoy Facebook and think it has changed my life for the better but I have noticed some of my friends dropping out of the Facebook world. This leads me to ask myself whether Facebook will be as popular in 2012. Will the market start to fragment? Will the explosion in Facebook Pages for brands cause a backlash where the number of “unlikes” starts to exceed the number of “likes” as members’ walls fill up with messages from dozens of brands and they can no longer see the messages from their friends and family. I recently had this experience and it took me only 2 clicks from my profile page to unlike a brand that was invading my space. Giddy with excitement and only 5 minutes later, I had removed practically every brand I had ever liked. I predict that many brands will be scratching their heads soon wondering why they have lost so many followers.
Another concern I have is that the sole use of Facebook Pages to engage with your consumers is putting all your eggs in one basket. With decent budget, you can design apps that are engaging for members but as soon as you are completely reliant on a particular platform to operate, you lose all the power in the relationship. Who will fight your corner when Facebook changes T&C’s or privacy settings…at the detriment to your app?
After venting my concerns about this issue, I would like to finish up by saying that one possible solution is to design an app that has the content you need e.g co-creation functionality. You can then embed this app into both your corporate site to support a branded online community and also into Facebook. It becomes an aggregation of the user generated content across all your social media channels. Bingo! This removes the risk of being reliant on Facebook and allowing you to continue to maintain your community on your brand site.
Does your brand have a Facebook page or are you thinking of starting one?
Navigating the river of customer data
Posted On April 19, 2011 By Jeff Carruthers
“The fundamental premise is that research in 2021 will represent a continuous, organic flow of knowledge – a “river” of information. Today, maybe 80% of marketing issues are addressed by conducting a market research project. By 2021, we think that leading edge companies – probably led by consumer packaged goods and technologically driven enterprises – will look for answers to 80% of their marketing issues by “fishing the river”of information.”
And some of the tributaries that will flow in to this new river system:
The World’s Top 10 Gov 2.0 Initiatives
Posted On January 20, 2011 By Darren Sharp
Originally published by Shareable Magazine
The Gov 2.0 movement continues to gain momentum around the world with a number of inspiring people, projects & ideas rising to prominence over the last year or so. Sometimes the most important innovations emerge from the periphery where creative citizens take a “do it first, ask for permission later” approach that can generate a wealth of benefits for the entire global community. So here’s my pick of the world’s best Gov 2.0 initiatives. What are your favourites?
SeeClickFix is a map-based citizen reporting platform that enables the public to
report and track non-emergency related issues via web and mobile. Co-founder Ben Berkowitz developed the idea after getting frustrated with city hall’s lack of response to graffiti in his local neighbourhood. Governments can access a dashboard to acknowledge outstanding issues and close the loop with constituents. The service is similar to the UK site FixMyStreet built by open government pioneers MySociety.
9) Manor Labs
The City of Manor on the outskirts of Austin Texas with a population of only 6,500 has made a name for itself by embracing Gov 2.0 through its innovative use of online services. Manor Labs is the brainchild of CIO Dustin Haisler and has gained international recognition and won numerous awards for its ideas generation platform, pothole reporting system and use of QR codes. Manor in partnership with GovFresh ran a Gov 2.0 makeover for the City of De Leon and documented the steps to enable other local towns to emulate its efforts in municipal government innovation.
8) The Australian Government
The Australian Government have been leaders in the development of an open government policy framework through initiatives like the Government 2.0 Taskforce, the Declaration of Open Government and Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for Reform of Australian Government Administration. The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) recently launched a Gov 2.0 Primer which “is about putting the policy ideas and principles into action and providing examples of where and how agencies can engage with the public and release more data online.”
7) Public Sector Innovation
Christian Bason is the Director of MindLab, a cross-ministerial innovation unit in Denmark that develops engagement models for citizens, public servants and business to co-create public sector services. Christian’s new book Leading Public Sector Innovation outlines his service design model for co-creation involving the seven activities of framing, knowing, analysing, synthesising, creating, scaling and learning. The slide decks ofChristian’s recently delivered Masterclass and public lecture series present a valuable distillation of some high-level themes from the book.
6) Place-based creative problem-solving
Photo by urbangrammar on Flickr
“How much does a city trust its citizens?” asks Chiara Camponeschi in the opening of her publication The Enabling City, an ideas packed toolkit for urban-based social innovation & sustainability. Chiara developed the work for her Master’s degree as a means to demonstrate the “potential of participatory governance and co-design in moving cities and communities towards a more sustainable future.” It’s packed full of creative thinking about active citizenship and I especially love the idea of seeding local communities with a “Social Innovation Mayor” to drive long-term structural change through open leadership.
5) Kate Lundy’s Public Sphere
Senator Kate Lundy (Australian Parliament) was named the winner of the International Top 10 People Changing the World of Internet and Politics at the 11th World eDemocracy Forum held in Paris, October 2010. Senator Lundy has been a strong advocate of Gov 2.0 for Australia and has actively used open government principles for her work in public office through an innovative series of Public Sphere consultations that used a unique co-design methodology for policy collaboration.
4) Crisis Commons
CrisisCommons came out of the CrisisCamp movement of volunteers who collaborate to develop open tools and aggregate crisis data to assist response organisations in civil incident management. Its efforts were recently recognised by a two year, $1.2 million dollar grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation which will enable the organisation to continue its commons-based approach to crisis management. Random Hacks of Kindness is a spin-off project that mobilizes the global developer community to “hack for humanity” and develop code that responds to global challenges.
CityCamp was founded by Kevin Curry in 2010 as a Gov 2.0 unconference to catalyse innovation in local government. The success of the first camp in Chicago inspired a number of other cities to host their own events in London, San Francisco and St. Petersburg, Russia. CityCamp refers to itself as an “open source brand” that uses a repeatable pattern with step-by-step instructions protected under a Creative Commons license. The rapid spread of CityCamp’s model might come down to the founders #1 goal to: “create outcomes that participants will act upon after the event is over.”
Ushahidi (which means “testimony” in Swahili), was first developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. The site has grown to become an important resource for citizen journalists in times of crisis like the Haiti earthquake. The Ushahidi platform provides tools for communities to crowdsource real-time information using SMS, email, Twitter and the web. Check out this Ushahidi-powered interactive map of the Queensland (Australia) floods and recovery effort put together by the ABC.
The diplomatic storm unleashed by Wikileaks in what’s come to be known as “cablegate” has stress-tested the US and its allies commitment to the principles of open government. Wikileaks has demonstrated that governments consider “openness” a virtue so long as it doesn’t embarrass them or reveal that realpolitik is still alive and well. Wikileaks has changed the Gov 2.0 game by exposing governments and world leaders to the powerful forces of radical transparency and giving citizens access to a body of evidence that can be used to scrutinise critical decisions made in our name.
Are games the future of online engagement?
Posted On December 20, 2010 By Darren Sharp
According to the Game Developers’ Association of Australia the video games industry is now “double the size of the box office and more than 40 per cent larger than the movie disc industry in Australia”. Video games have gone mainstream and the average age of players in Australia is 30 years old and 46% are female. So why are games so popular and what can they teach us about marketing and customer engagement?
A number of recent articles & research point towards a growing trend called “gamification” where game-based dynamics are being applied to non-game websites and services as a means to encourage greater user participation. Online communities have borrowed elements from game design for years through the use of leaderboards, badges and rankings as a means to reward achievement.
Various start-ups have emerged that try and tap into the success of digital games for customer engagement like SCVNGR, a location-based service similar to Foursquare that lets users check-in and try out challenges that enable them to earn points, unlock badges & earn real-world rewards.
The founder and CEO of SCVNGR Seth Priebatsch features in a TED talk where he explains how the last decade of online media was about building the social layer of connections (Facebook & Twitter etc.) and how the coming decade will be about building the game layer of influence using the tools of game dynamics.
Priebatsch describes four game dynamics that can be utilised by community managers to influence behaviour:
What do you think of using game dynamics to encourage online community engagement?
Check out Seth’s TED talk in full here:
Groupon’s Social Sales Promotions. Profitable campaigns depend on satisfied… employees!
Posted On December 12, 2010 By Tim Tyler
I am sure you all read recently of the $6 billion bid from Google to the 'group discount local buying' online community called 'Groupon', as in 'Group', 'Coupon'.
Dholakia looks at all of the variables he can to determine the best predictor of promotion profitability and finds it is… employee satisfaction.
Consumer Research that Matters
Posted On December 1, 2010 By Jeff Carruthers
The world of the market researcher has been challenged by the social media phenomenon. That's the polite interpretation. "Turned upside down" is probably closer to the mark. The ability for more research to be done, more quickly and less expensively with willing online participants seems irresistible and often makes traditional research look, well, just irrelevant. So it is not surprising that we have seen traditional market researchers bunker down into a defensive position.
On the other hand, social media evangelists need to be very careful about exaggerated "research" claims. There are genuine issues of quality raised by sampling, respondent motivations and projectability in social media feedback. The insights that we glean from branded online communities, for example, are always qualified by a known and measurable bias.
Re-examining strengths across these polar positions turns out to be a far more productive exercise however; and as noted by Manila Austin: online, social, community-based research can actually strengthen validity and enhance quality. Austin proposes an integrative paradigm – a 21st Century model – in which research is:
This sort of talk can be threatening to researchers and Austin uses the following trade-off to understand what researchers are risking – and gaining – by shifting their focus and methods:
This is the best summary of the researchers dilema/opportunity that I have seen yet!
Voice of the Customer and the Learning Organisation
Posted On October 27, 2010 By Jeff Carruthers
So-called Voice of the Customer programs have become a hot topic. According to our friends at Communispace, search results from Amazon.com reveal more than ten times the amount of material about voice of the customer than was available fifteen years ago. In 1993, there were thirty three books published on the voice of the customer; since the new millennium there have been on average thirty-three books a month published on the same topic. Something is going on and it is clearly not "your fathers relationship marketing…"
However, I am not going to rattle on as to what is driving this – the social media component of this trend has been covered exhaustively – but rather the ability of organisations to leverage the explosion in customer feedback…
Way back in 1990, Peter Senge (The Fifth Discipline) was arguing that the only sustainable competency for organisations is their ability to learn faster than their competitors and that organisations with rigid hierarchies and an industrial-age mindset that restrict information flows are not well-positioned to become learning organisations. In this day and age they are certainly not well-positioned to hear or act on voice of the customer.
Manila Austin talks of three components of organisational learning that depend on companies listening to and leveraging the voice of the customer:
The current demand for Voice of the Customer programs "requires extending learning practices beyond corporate borders to include customers – not just as data points, but as active and willing participants in knowledge co-creation. This shift requires companies to develop conversation skills as the foundation for listening."
I find this last point particularly insightful. We can all relate to a listening capability at an individual level (our colleagues/friends/partners are only too ready to remind us of this!) but a listening capability at an organisational level is something different quantitatively and qualitatively. It is not just a bunch of individuals each developing their own listening skills…
Austin again puts this very well: "Listening sits at the intersection of emergent organisational models and technological advances in social media; leveraging these tools requires us to listen in new ways. Hearing and acting on the voice of the customer requires openness, transparency and curiosity internally and externally to build relationships with customers that will generate actionable insights."
For those organisations approaching VOC programs as passive data collection exercises – perhaps a time to pause and gather some courage!
What motivates people to participate in online communities?
Posted On October 14, 2010 By Darren Sharp
Managing online communities takes an interesting blend of strategy, social intelligence and diplomacy. One of the biggest challenges facing any community manager is to understand what motivates people to participate in their particular community given the relentless competition for attention from other channels.
Psychology 101 has taught us that people are driven by both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. We know that intrinsic motivation comes from within and relates to things like pleasure & personal satisfaction. Extrinsic motivation is imposed by an outside force through rewards like money or threats of punishment – the typical carrot and stick approach we’re so familiar with.
Based on this logic, the assumption has been that if you want people to perform better at a certain task you offer them greater external incentives like money, prizes or bonuses. The writer Dan Pink turns this thinking on its head in his new book Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us.
Pink demonstrates that external incentives (reward & punishment), what he calls “if/then” motivators, are good for encouraging algorithmic tasks where you follow a set of instructions towards a single outcome. Think about a factory assembly line or putting that new Ikea bookshelf together.
Pink refers to a number of pioneering studies in the field of behavioural economics to show that when it comes to heuristic tasks (like creative problem-solving) external incentives have the opposite effect by diminishing intrinsic motivation which crushes creativity, limits performance and crowds out good behaviour.
The open source software movement, Wikipedia and Linux provide some real world case studies of how heuristic tasks succeed through intrinsic motivation. Especially when you consider people are driven to engage in these projects for a range of social factors and non-monetary rewards including social standing, self-esteem and peer recognition.
The new science of motivation as described by Pink consists of the following three elements:
Every succesful community manager understands the need to facilitate engagement that’s meaningful and responsive to the needs and aspirations of their members, and Pink’s new book provides some practical advice for setting the right incentives.
How do you motivate members of your online community to participate?
Do you try and match incentives to the specific task at hand?
Check out this fantastic animated video of Dan Pink giving an overview of Drive to the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) in the UK:
Making Customer Feedback Visual
Posted On August 31, 2010 By Jeff Carruthers
As practitioners in the customer feedback game, we are only too aware of customer voices falling on deaf ears. And with the explosion of social media the imbalance between "user generated content" vs "enterprise generated action" has become the herculean challenge. Which is why any mechanism that enables an organisation to listen more effectively is, well frankly, gold.
Hence our interest in data visualisation. It is no great surprise that despite building healthy online communities of tens or hundreds of thousands of members, or surveying customers to within an inch of their lives, big brands are sometimes lousy at listening or distilling what is being said by customers. Other than perhaps a Marketing sponsor or Community Manager who is going to take the trouble to trawl through a thread on a community forum or join the dots across polls, surveys and ideas. Too much trouble for too little reward!
However, what if you can "dial up" your customer feedback like this. Or visualise relativities like this:
Making customer feedback data visual makes it difficult to ignore; and if it tells a story – particularly through the words of a real customer then you are tapping into something very fundamental about the way we communicate.
Stay tuned for some exciting developments in this area.
NPS: Do Promoters attract more valuable customers?
Posted On August 15, 2010 By Tim Tyler
Recently we talked about the NPS-relevant study that shows how detractors (evidenced by the fact they leave as customers) influence those close in their social network to also defect. We have also discussed previously, a number of studies showing that Promoters (specifically ‘influencers’) promote product take-up (‘diffusion’ in social network speak) through recommendation.
The great news? They also found that the extra value that comes from referred customers more than makes up for the expense involved in paying for the referral, giving an ROI of 60% over a 6 year period. This is even better when you consider that the cost of acquisition for a referred customer was 20 Euros lower as well…
One interesting conjecture to finish – homophily (birds of a feather flock together) suggests that valuable customers are more likely to generate valuable referrals. Maybe we should consider varying the value of the referral rewards, based on the value of the referrer?
Broadening your brand conversation
Posted On July 28, 2010 By Jeff Carruthers
This TED talk, Listening to Global Voices by Ethan Zuckerman is something of wake-up call. It is very easy for us – especially the digital us – to imagine that a global internet infrastructure means that we are all somehow automatically connected and gaining a broader worldview. Zuckerman illustrates that this is far from the case (we live in "filter bubbles" or worse, in a state of "imaginary cosmopolitanism") and that achieving broader connectedness requires a change in thinking – to break the human tendency to homophily ("birds of a feather flock together"). He sees a special role for people ("DJs") who are bridge builders between different worlds.
At the level of brand conversations, it is a timely reminder of building broadly based brand communities and the strength of weak ties that we have posted on previously.