I just read Stowe Boyd’s post, Enterprise Software Is Unsexy: Because It’s Not About Individuals, But Groups. Looking at it wearing my Enterprise Communication Strategy goggles, I see some interesting corollary’s. Stowe is primarily talking about software design and my post is about how organizations choose to express themselves. But in reality we are talking about the same thing, treating people as people and not as their function, role, job, etc. People are inherently social , meaning that the nature of the relationship between individuals is a key criteria to the effectiveness of their interactions.
When software design, or communication plans, do not consider the social aspect and individuality of their intended “audience”, there is little chance that audience will become an engaged community. Now if the design objective is strictly about efficiency, compliance or risk management, maybe this approach is good enough. If the objective has anything to do with learning, engagement, innovation, etc., consideration of the individual as a social entity becomes critical.
Where was this when I still worked for a big corporation? 😦
OK, I want to think I have a bit of insight here, having spent the last year promoting the use of Social Media at GSK. The first thing that jumps out at me is the myopic focus on “blogs”, as if that is the only new media channel through which the enterprise has to speak with “the masses”. OK, let’s give the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume that blog is a euphemism for all social media tools (like when I grew up all soft drinks were referred to as “Coca-Cola”). Even this is short-sighted because the inherent supposition is that it is all about the delivery mechanism, the technology.
The real shift that needs to be discussed by these corporate executives is the mindset behind their approach to what is communicated. The watch words should be openness, authenticity, honesty, not blogs and RSS. Until people understand that the real change, that is being highlighted by social media, is about listening to and understanding customers/stakeholders and not just another messaging channel, we will not see anything significant from the Blog Council.
The role of ECS is part traditional Marketing Communications, part Organization Development, part IT and part Strategic Planning. Interesting mix. Can’t say that I have ever seen those four disciplines together in the same room at the same time working together. Sounds like fun.