Who is Your Employee Having a Conversation With?
Filed under: Brand Engagement, Conversations, Customer Experience, Greatest Hits, Loyalty, Marketing & Advertising, orthodoxies, Sense & Respond, Social Media, This Changes Everything |
Greg Verdino posted a really thought provoking piece On Friday. Seems that someone created a Delta Airlines Twitter account and the conventional wisdom said that it wasn’t Delta Airlines. From a scan of recent tweets, it seems that they may be coming from someone inside Delta acting in an unofficial capacity, but the net result is really interesting:
revamped the award ticket system for you SkyMiles me”mbers recently: http://www.delta.com/awardt… – you can shop around, calendar-style
sending out flight notices/reminders to those who’ve signed up for my messenger service: http://tinyurl.com/29xt5f
Happy Mother’s Day! Did you know you can donate miles to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation? http://tinyurl.com/yudbdo
Verdino comments that having “an active Twitterer acting as a mouthpiece for the brand (and responding in real time to direct comments and questions from other Twitter users) is truly revolutionary.” “Sanctioned or not, the Delta Twitter-er literally is the voice of the brand for anyone following his/her tweets”. Verdino goes on to discuss the implications of individuals claiming brand ownership and question of whether or not companies should be locking their trademarks.
Using a social tool like Twitter to engage with customers in real time IS revolutionary, but how many companies even understand the potential here? If it weren’t for the attention that popular marketing blogs (Jaffe, Waldman, AdPulp) have given this story, would Delta even know about it (do they now?).
So many companies are totally oblivious to how the world is changing around them. They see social tools as distractions and time wasters. My company, a major US retailer, just blocked access to Twitter from inside our corporate network.
At a time when we need to be finding new ways to engage with our customers and employees to design better experiences for both, management is focused internally on productivity and security. It came as no surprise that company leaders were unaware of the over 350 MySpace pages created by current and former employees. Every one of them references the company name & logo. Many of them are private groups for individual stores. The public ones are great resources for gaining insights into cultural and engagement issues. In an organization of 45,000 people, most of which are 18-25-years old, there is an amazing amount of conversation going on. Rich consumer insights, potential employee morale problems, operational issues, poor management, you name it. It’s all there in the conversations that are happening in the “unofficial” channels of your organization.
So here’s the point: Whether your executives like it (get it) or not, your employees are having conversations with each other and with your customers, and are doing it under your company’s brand. Is that a good thing? Perhaps, if it is identified and supported. Your Gen Y employees certainly have a better understanding of the communication tools and channels that their peers, and increasingly, your customers favor. Sure, there may be messages that aren’t strictly in line with company communication guidelines, but the voices are human. Internally, they build a sense of family which is much more genuine than what comes out of your periodic employee engagement campaigns. Externally, they can establish a dialog with your customers in ways that your highly structured, talking point-ladened corporatespeak simply cannot. Overturn your Orthodoxies. Let these voices show you the way.