Community, Hierachry: Cognitive Dissonance

There seems to be a trend toward companies jumping on the social media bandwagon for marketing and promotional purposes. As much as I love social media and the promise it delivers, I believe that most of these efforts are going to crash and burn. The reason; non-alignment between internal cultural norms and the desired external perception.

Most organizations that are now starting to find the religion of “customer engagement” operate internally as authoritarian hierarchies. This causes cognitive dissonance among the people that are trying to implement the social media strategy. How can you expect someone, that operates day in and day out getting approvals, wondering what the boss wants, and asking permission, to understand and be able to implement an viable external community environment?

If organizations really want to engage with customers and become part of the conversation, they need to start by holding up the mirror and seeing themselves. Only those organizations that are willing to loosen the reins and allow an internal community culture to take root, will be able to successfully engage their external stakeholders as a community.

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3 Responses

  1. […] Community, Hierachry: Cognitive Dissonance […]

  2. I think this is a really interesting point. I know of a lot of people who are actively trying to implement “customer engagement” tools, with varying levels of success. Speaking from my industry, libraries, I think that if a field sees that it’s old ways aren’t sustainable, some institutions within the field are very open to rethinking things. People are always saying libraries are on the edge of extinction, but some of the people I know who *get* what’s going on online the most work in libraries, and their libraries are adapting to this cultural change. I’ve seen it in some newspapers/traditional publishers, too. So, I guess my question is, what about the mainstream businesses that aren’t under threat? Interesting post. Thanks for giving me things to think about!

  3. […] wrote a post over a year ago on another blog that is even more relevant today than it was when I first wrote it. […]

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