Marketers and PR professionals trying to implement these principles would find pages 159 – 177 particularly important – discussion of company’s real-time communication policy.
My notes from the book:
“The first priority is to listen to bloggers, analysts, journalists, and others who talk frequently about you and your business…”
Responding to social discussion about your company: thoughtfulness criteria. Critics and supporters will always be present; the thoughtful criticism however should receive attention.
New business opportunity: real-time products. These products provide an information or any other type of an offer much faster (real time) comparing to a regular product. Example: transcripts of announcements of companies’ financial information immediately after the announcement; CDs with the recording of the concerts provided right after the concert (“The Dead” ).
Interesting: the spark of the idea for a real-time offer comes often from customers rather than company employees. “Insiders are usually to insular to imagine new offerings that provide more than just incremental change.”
Real-time communications policy examples:
IBM – 400,000 employees.
IBM policy is cited in the book as a good example. IBM guidelines suggests speaking in first person singular. “We are going to create a new product… ” is more likely to be perceived as a corporate announcement than “I am working on a new product…”
IBM policy was approved by HR and Legal of the company within 48 hours.
Telstra policy is available on the internet and produced in the cartoon form. Not only the creation of the policy is important, but also assuring that the employees will review it
Air force policy is also available over the internet and encourages participation.
My guess Airforce example is deliberate to show us that our industry can not be as unique that it should become an exception.
If the US military was willing to encourage social communication and published open guidelines, our companies can consider similar approach.
How to Develop Real-Time Communications Guidelines
- Get initial agreement from stakeholders (senior executives, HR, PR, legal, etc.) that such guidelines are required. Explain the importance of communicating in real time… Coming to this initial understanding should win you the authority to actually draft the guidelines.
- Select the team of about six people to draft the guidelines. Find people who are active communicators from different areas of the company.
- Study all relevant corporate guidelines already in place… Some existing policies may need to be amended.
- In creating your guidelines, closely study IBM, Airforce , and other policies. Adapt them for your regulatory environment, corporate culture, and marketplace.
- Share with stakeholders, receive their sign-off…
- Incorporate feedback without being bogged down by process.
- Publish the guidelines on internal sites, and if you can, externally, the way IBM and the USAF have.
- Communicate the guidelines to everyone in your organization until it becomes second nature.
Interesting – Omnitre Webinar Creation experience:
“Every month, we produce three of four Webinars with experts, influencers in the industry, but before we put the final title on the Webinar, we test three to five different titles on a preliminary basis o our home page. And them, based on which one received the highest clicked response rate, we’ll use that as the title. We have found that the title of the Webinar has the most important influence on driving the best results.”
I love this point of view: web did not bring any “new” communication opportunities, but rather returned communication and purchasing process back where it was a century ago. People are no longer just view messages of the merchants, but also discuss and share their opinions through similar means – as it was on a traditional market…
Ha! Because of blurring of “work” and “private time” HubSpot eliminated vacations policy – people take time when they need it… I would love to see how it is practically done… :-)
The main point: real-time marketing and PR is not a technology – it is a mind set.