Web 2.0

Enterprise 2.0: where to begin (part 1 – does your boss know social media?)

The following article is published through pharmaphorum and is the first in a series about Enterprise 2.0.

Social Media in pharma, it still  a hot topic and main subject of most of the marketing and communication conferences that I attend. And like in any industry, and with every innovation, some brave pioneers try to cross the borders and push the limits. Take Marc Monseau, John Pugh and Alex Butler who started to explore Twitter on behalf of their employers Johnson and Johnson, Boerhringer Ingelheim and Janssen-Cilag. Take the JNJHealth channel, Bayer’s InBedStory series and Janssen’s Living with ADHD campaign on YouTube. Take Facebook initiatives by Pfizer. All of which are grassroots initiatives to test the social media waters. And these aren’t all.

But where is the pharma industry really when talking about using and implementing social media? Does pharma really understand it? Is it mostly useful as a marketing tool? Or does pharma know how to live social media?

One thing is clear, social media has become a major channel for the consumer, for the patient and for the doctor. But pharma still struggles how to get involved – bound by regulations, afraid of mention of adverse events and scared of patients (and doctors) talking directly to us – pharma hold themselves back from this high visibility that social media provides. Even the FDA has no clue how to deal with it, referring to the radio-silence since the public hearing in November 2009.

“If Twitter is just useless twitter, why does it have
close to 200 million users?”

That’s not all. That’s just finger-pointing to the outside world, referring to influences we do not control. But when looking in the mirror, what do we see? We see enthusiastic and passionate marketeers and communication specialists, eager to explore the great opportunities of social media. And we see the thick brick walls they encounter on their way to the decision making units, the boards of management, the legal departments and regulatory affairs. What’s the benefit of getting involved? Where is the ROI? What positive impact could it have in our business?

The opportunities are beyond their imagination. But in order to get that message across, we need to convince them of a few things. So let them know the following:

Unaware makes ignorant
It starts with understanding what’s happening around us. If Twitter is just useless twitter, why does it have close to 200 million users? Why are almost 600 million people using Facebook? Understanding social media starts with becoming aware of what it actually is, why it is so big and why it has such impact. As said, we as marketeers and communication professionals are aware, sure. But what about our managers, our board, our lawyers? Force them in a room, lock the door for half a day, explain to them and they will leave the room enlightened.

Control lives in Utopia
One thing that you need to let go immediately in social media is control. There is no control. You cannot control what your customers, your patients and your doctor say and think of you. You cannot control the response to the message you send out. What you can control is your interest in them, your care and how you may be able to help them. Your products and services are there for them and not the other way around. Connect, build up a dialogue and offer help to make their lives better. Don’t push, don’t sell, but listen and respond.

“You cannot control what your customers, your patients
and your doctor say and think of you.”

Think before you act
I know, it’s very tempting. Once you see the power of social media, the urge is to start working with it as soon as possible. But beware, first understand where your customers are, how they use social and new media, then think about how to get involved, make a plan and only then think about the technology. Take the POST approach: People. Objectives, Strategy and Technology.

Learn by mistakes
You cannot learn without making mistakes. So when you start using social media, allow people to make mistakes. Learn from them. Making mistakes makes you better at things.

Start in shallow water
But making mistakes in social media can have serious effects. So, when you immediately start in the ‘big bad world’ outside, anything you do is visible to anyone. And that can be potentially harmful, even if it’s unintended. It’s the same with swimming: if you jump in the deep, chances you’ll drown are high. Therefore you learn it in shallow water. So, why not start experimenting with social media in a safe environment? Why not start using it internally, within your own organization? With that you kill at least seven birds in one stone:

  • it improves internal communication
  • it improves internal collaboration
  • it stimulates innovation
  • it leads to knowledge sharing and retention
  • it increases productivity and efficiency
  • it leads to higher motivated people
  • it’s fun

Meanwhile, you learn how social media works (and that’s bird number eight).

This is what we call Enterprise 2.0: Social Computing in a business environment. A necessity for any company that wants to lead by innovation, that wants to attract talent and keep them inside, that wants to share and retain knowledge and harvest the potential that’s within the organization.

“Don’t push, don’t sell, but listen and respond.”

Most of you are probably familiar with all of this. But again, what about the layer above? What about the managers that make the decisions? Are they aware? Do they realize that standstill is regression? That it’s a form of ‘ostrich politics’? There are always higher priorities, so there is no reason to postpone the experiment. And if you do, then tomorrow, while taking your head out of the sand, you feel as if you’ve been left behind in the Stone Age.

In the coming months we will publish various articles on Enterprise 2.0. How do you start? What are the requirements, the do’s and don’ts, the pitfalls and the opportunities. How do you manage your community and more.

In case you have specific questions or experiences you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment.

The next episode in this series will be published on pharmaphorum on May 10, 2011


Enterprise Social 2.0: an impression

A few weeks ago KGS Global organized a conference in Brussels titled Enterprise Social 2.0. A 2 day meeting with large brands on stage (such as Toyota, Cisco, BMW, KLM, British Telecom, Accor Hotels) but also smaller companies like the Roger Smith Hotel and non-profit organizations such as Médicins Sans Frontières. A good quality of speakers with some great examples of how to use Social Media as a way of getting connected with your customers and turning them into fans.

We’ve produced a short video-impression of the conference, which has been released by KGS today. Just check it out below.

A crisis! Now what?

Social Media, you can’t ignore it, even if you’re offline. Take yesterday. I was reading a newspaper on the train and read about social media and the Egyptian revolution, about a mysterious disease at a Playboy party discovered through Facebook and Twitter and about Collegiaal, a new Dutch online community where you can celebrate or remember a colleague. As I said: you can’t ignore the presence of Social Media. But how to deal with it, professionally? Can, or should you ignore Social Media? As a company? Or is that is practicing ostrich politics: take your head out of the sand in 5 years time and you feel like you’re left behind in the Stone Age.

Any serious company should realize the importance of Social Media. And I know, most of us do not work for Nike, Lego or The Roger Smith Hotel, companies that are very social media savvy. No, many of us work for companies that are either hesitant or afraid of using it. And if we’re using it, we wonder how to use it whilst not losing control over our brands and messages. But Social Media is disruptive, just because there is no control.

And then it happens. A comedian starts twittering about T-mobile’s customer service. An oil pipe of BP bursts, deep into the ocean. Moms massively respond through social media to a Motrin ad (a painkiller) in Saturday’s newspaper. Nestle ‘kindly’ asks their Facebook fans not too mess with their logo. Within days, damage is done. Why? Because those companies were not prepared for the power of social media or used it in completely the wrong manner.

News travels fast and bad news travels at light speed. So you better know what’s being said and where it’s being said. That means you need to listen. Listen to what people say about you on Facebook, on Twitter or anywhere else in the social media space where your audience is active. And know how to respond when the sh*t hits the fan.

Crisis management and Social Media, that’s what we’re going to talk about on Day 2 at KGS’s Enterprise Social 2.0 on March 9 in Brussels. I’ll be chairing a workshop where we will talk about how to deal with a crisis in social media. We will share our thoughts and experiences and see what to do when an actual crisis emerges.

Something KLM does understand. During the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull many travelers were stuck on airports throughout Europe. KLM informed and connected with their customers by successfully using Facebook and Twitter. On Day 1, March 8, Roy Scheerder, Vice President Marketing at KLM will explain how they did this and what they learned form this crisis. (Before I froget, LEGO and the Roger Smith Hotel will share their experiences as well)

So, be prepared for a crisis. Start today with preparing yourself. Follow ALAS: first become Aware what social media really means, start Listening to your audience and know where to find them, and finally, Act. But don’t forget to base your actions on a Strategy.

Know what to do. Don’t wait for the crisis.

See you all March 8 and 9 in Brussels.

Award for Afya Serengeti campaign

The Afya Serengeti campaign, of which we reported earlier in our blog, has won an Award of Excellence in the category Animal Health. With this award, founded by the RX club, the campaign is honoured for its creativity and execution. The campaign was developed by Circa Healthcare in order of Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health, and focuses at the prevention of rabies in the Serengeti area in Tanzania. The campaign supports vaccination teams that vaccinate all domestic dogs in the communities surrounding the Serengeti National Park. We were involved in this campaign through the production of a video-series where we followed these team in their year around vaccination campaign.

Rabies is a lethal disease that still claims more than 25,000 Africans per year, mainly children. While rabies is preventable with vaccination, fighting it is a huge undertaking. The Afya Serengeti project alone encompasses an area inhabited by more than 6 million people and 500,000 domestic dogs.

This Award of Excellence is a fantastic recognition for this sympathetic campaign.

Social Media Blues

It’s a bit old, but still funny:

Your tweet over Johannesburg with Nike

What if your favorite player lights up the skyline of Johannesburg? With your headline? You can just do it with Nike. As part of the ‘Nike future’ campaign, you can let the whole world know which player will write the future in the World Cup. Go through Facebook or use Twitter with #NikeFuture and your headline may be displayed on this huge LED screen on one of the tallest buildings of the city. I just did.

Digital Natives

In our New Media Masterclass we explain the difference between a Digital Native and a Digital Immigrant. The latter is a person who still remembers that queeking sound of a 56K modem, or for that matter, really had a life without a mobile phone. Digital Natives, usually younger than 30 years, grew up with the internet. For them, internet is the same as color television was for me back when I was a kid (“No seriously mom, did TV ever only had black and white?”). There’s can be a major difference between Immigrants in Natives as far as adoption of new technologies is concerned. I say ‘can be’, because not all Digital Immigrants are Digital Losers. I know a lot of smart senior citizens who are very, very clever using modern technologies. Then again, I also know a lot of young people who don’t give a sh*t about the internet and all that it has to offer. And that’s of course OK. Ket’s be honest, you do need an analogue life as well in order to function properly in society.

But what about people who are born now, or like in the case of my daughter, two years ago. Het life expectancy is no doubt about 100 years and before she can remember she has been playing with the iPad as if it is her first Fisher Price. With what kind of technologies will she grew up, knowing that for many people the ‘Star Trek age’ had finally arrived?

Some people find it unwise to let young kids play with a device such as the iPad. They say that kids should play outside. And I think that is true. Kids need to go outside, meet other kids, build tree houses and fall down from it. But I also think that kids will grow up in another world. A world where technology is getting faster, and thus the pace of the entire society. We might not like it, but that’s a fact. If my kid likes to play on the iPad for 30 minutes a day, after she has been playing outside, that’s OK by me. And if it learns her to speed up her thinking and motoric abilities down the process, lucky her…

Listening is not enough…

‘What ever you do, they’ll talk about you anyway’, is a free translation of a Dutch saying. Still, you’d better know what is being said online about you and your products, services and brands. ‘It doesn’t hurt if I don’t know’ is another translated Dutch saying (anyone knows the English equivalents?). But harm can be done in the blink of an eye. So listening is important, but it doesn’t stop there.
Take Motrin, a painkiller in the USA, two years ago. Immediately after the publication of an ad on the Motrin website on a Saturday (it’s not available anymore, but here’s a description), people responded emotionally through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The majority of them were moms. Before the weekend was over it skyrocketed in the media. The ad agency nor Motrin were aware of the impact of the Social Media turmoil, but damage was already done.


BP’s current attitude towards the environmental catastrophe, which takes place in the Gulf of Mexico, is another example how it should not be handled. BP is mainly silent, doesn’t give a lot of information, and if it does, it’s manipulated. No surprise people have no confidence in how the crisis is handled and they simply don’t trust the company. Why did it take BP 5 weeks before it acknowledged that this is a major environmental catastrophe, where the rest of the world understood this shorty after the oil platform exploded and disappeared in the ocean? Illustrative is the invitation I received the other day from my brother in law to join the Facebook group ‘Boycot BP‘, currently with more that 277,000 fans, amongst them Bill Cosby. Not good for your brand.

Knowing what is being said online is important. Responding is the next. But understand how to respond. Not like Nestlé did recently to Greenpeace, which started an anti-Nestlé campaign referring to the use of palmoil for the production of Kitkat. Palmoil, bought by Nestlé from companies destroying the Indonesian rainforest in order to plant palm trees. Greenpeace made a video and published it on YouTube, which Nestlé enforced to take away from the platform, due to copyright infringement. Fuel for Greenpeace’s campaign unleashing their entire community to spread the word about Nestlé. What if Nestlé had responded less aggressive on this video, or even had ignored it?

Southwest Airlines is doing a better job, although still not perfect. Recently, Southwest refused to take an obese passenger onboard on a domestic flight in the USA. The man, Kevin Smith, a Hollywood director, responded with fury via his Twitter account and in no time the story spread all over the States and was picked up by the media. Southwest Airlines responded rapidly through their own blog (here and here), although not always with the right attitude, resulting in negative publicity. (click here for an earlier article on our blog on this subject).

So, again, listening is important but responding in the right way even more. Responding in such manner that your audience in it’s turn listens to you. ‘Be engaging’, says Brian Solis, a social media expert, whom I recently interviewed at SXSW 2010 in Austin, Texas. ‘In order to be engaging, you need to be believable. And you can only be believable if you’re empathetic towards your audience. Recently, Brian Solis gave an interesting webinar on this subject, organized by Strongmail. And it’s available online. It takes an hour, the audio-quality is moderate, but hey, wasn’t Content King. Enjoy, it’s more than worth it. And if you still want more? Try his book, Engage.

A new look… Waddayathink?

On Twitter I was notified that somebody had changed their WordPress.com template into ‘Enterprise’. Curious as I am I checked it out amd guess what? I immediately fell in love with it. It’s simple, stylish and effective.

What do you think?

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