Leadership and Vision at #PivotCon 2012

by Eric Melin on October 16, 2012

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Day One of The Pivot Conference 2012 was packed with really great insight that will help companies think in an overall way how to transform their business from a traditional one to a social business. Luckily, I was able give my Pivot Watchitoo Studio presentation on the value of Social Media Command Centers for Event Marketing at 8am, so I could then relax and just soak up the learning like a sponge.

Beginning a morning filled with talk about changing leadership roles, Stowe Boyd from WorkTalk Research and Paul Greenberg from The 56 Group LLC said that companies need to learn to have courage to try things they don’t quite understand. Inspiration can lead to huge profits.

The military term VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) applies to presents a “world of dilemmas,” or the business environment companies currently face. Stowe’s advice: Everyone should read the amazing Valve employee manual. Paul recommends this IBM paper about leading through connections.

Taking that theme further, Edelman’s Carol Cone and Bloomberg’s Rob Harles talked with host Brian Solis about investing in trust and transparency. Edelman actually has a 2012 trust barometer study. When Rob got hired 2 yrs ago, fear of social at Bloomberg  was high and they basically said: “do not engage.” Brian acknowledged there is a risk of putting power in hands of employees. The recent troubles of @kitchenaidusa are a great example of that.

bravo-social-editionBeing an adaptable brand in a social world is important and Ellen Stone, Senior VP of Marketing for Bravo said that social allows you to respond and gain insight. One thing Bravo does is called the Social Edition – the TV network encourages and curates conversation of both the community and the talent of reality shows during the premiere. Then they rerun the show with this overlay and get great ratings. One interesting part of this process? The talent (cast of the show) gets lots of social training. Ellen said failure is always an option, because that’s part of learning curve. Social for Bravo is company-wide not just for the marketing dept.

Racquel Mason from Coca-Cola talked about how they are relying more and more on consumer co-creation, liquid and linked. It’s hard to get used to loss of control, and it takes more community work, but it’s rewarding. She also echoed Ellen’s comment about experimentation in social media. It’s OK to be imperfect in social because expectations of the consumer have changed. For Coke, the process is simple:
1. Know business objectives
2. Get deep in social insights
3. Marry the two for your plans/strategy

Brian Solis, in the next interview says that one constant around the globe is that CEOs want to do more with less. I don’t this is ever going to change, especially since lots of businesses still think that social media is free.

Aramark’s approach, according to VP Consumer Strategy Danna Vetter, is hub and spoke. They have social delegates in different business units, which helps develop training. There are three levels: Employees start with basic awareness, become more active, and many eventually blossom into experts by actually doing social.

This morphing idea of leadership was summed up by Martin Nisenholtz, Senior Advisor for The New York Times Company:

1. People are putting vision first, put customers ahead of profits
2. Customer co-creation is a sea change
3. Companies are designing customer experiences
4. Leadership is bi-directional, it should have an evangelistic purpose, take it to CEO!
5. Social permeates conversation company-wide

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