Re-imagination and business: Antony Mayfield at #SMWB2B

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Last week, I wrote about the first keynote speech at the fifth B2B Huddle, from Microsoft’s Dave Coplin. It’s taken me a few days to get this post up but the next “act” was Antony Mayfield (@AMayfield), who spoke about advanced persistent opportunities: re-imagination and business (in other words, looking for new ways of working that are not from past business models).

[slideshare id=14428574&doc=dellb2bhuddle-aptbybrilliantnoise-120924064815-phpapp02]

One of the early points that Antony made in his presentation is that there are no real case studies for this topic (everyone is at the start of a journey – there is nothing definitive) which is an interesting observation. He did suggest though, that there are some useful resources out there in the form of Mary Meeker’s [and Liang Wu’s] State of the Internet report and Kevin Kelly (former editor of Wired)’s What Technology Wants.  Another interesting quote that Antony used was attributed to Marc Andreessen (web browser pioneer turned venture capitalist) who was cited as saying that “the future is six months away” or, in other words, the limit for any sure-fire bets in the world of the Internet and social media is much shorter than the business and marketing plans that we use, so we need to find a new way of working…

One area where people constantly have to re-imagine models is that of security – with constant threats and risks. One particular form is that of the advanced persistent threat (APT). These are not one-off attacks but are very serious and often related to organised crime although hacktivists and governments also represent APTs.

Applying the same thoughts to social business, there is no such thing as the definitive social business strategy – strategy is seen as something distant. Strategy should be thought of as an advanced persistent opportunity. Strategy is fluid and social media is the context. Social media is a proxy for change but it is an approach, not a technology.

Antony then went on to talk about social marketing and its relationship with social brands and social businesses, building up to “six brilliant things” for successful brands to follow [in their social media marketing].

  1. Leadership: Mandate and licence for change is clear. Antony cited Burberry as a case study where the CEO ambition was one of a digital brand. Following successful pilots, Burberry built an in-house content team and a social media approach based around a community that, once built, drives the brand.
  2. Vision and values: They know what and who they are for. In place of the recognised purchase funnel (awareness, consideration, decision, buy [, loyalty]), today’s decision journey is one of a “loyalty loop”  (as described by McKinsey and Company as far back as 2009). Brands like Nokia are embracing this cycle of consideration, evaluation, purchase but then building enjoyment, advocacy and bonding with the brand and a Harvard Business Review article looks at branding in the digital age and how many organisations are spending their money in the wrong places.
  3. Principles: How they will operate with social/digital. Again, Nokia was the case study cited by Mayfield (Brilliant Noise has a paper on Nokia’s global social media strategy), with six principles for digital engagement – effectively “the right ways to behave”: 1. Consider the social opportunity in everything we do; engage in better conversations with more consumers; deliver personal experiences, be authentic, and earn trust; sharing is more important than control; define clear objectives from the outset; invest and commit to social presences.  These are a great starting point for developing a set of principles for an organisation but, to give another example, the UK Government Digital Service sets out its own seven  digital principles to follow:
    The 7 GDS digital principles
  4. Pilot and scale: [Have the] Will to try things, [and the] will to scale things that work. Nike was the quoted case study here, building relationships and viewing campaigns as an investment, rather than straight spending.
  5. Frameworks and governance: Systems to guide pioneers and connect key stakeholders. IBM’s investment model has moved from a traditional campaign model of spend, followed by attention to one of consistent spending targetted on building a community (creating an “S curve” of attention, rather than peaks) – but this is hard work and requires a continued focus.
  6. Digital literacy: investing in skills across the organisation. Examples here are the Nokia Socializer and the Dell Social Media University.

Antony Mayfield believes that social business is a journey and, just as we embark on personal journeys to move from reading, to marking favourites, sharing, commenting, posting, creation, and [perhaps] starting a group in an ever-more-steep curve there are Business models such as Red Ant’s 5 stages of: traditional  experimental, operational  measurable and  fully engaged social business.  Some organisations might want more detail

Some organisations want detailed ideas but ultimately, says Antony, we need to re-imagine everything (or someone will do it for you…).


For those who would like to watch Antony Mayfield’s B2B Huddle presentation, a copy is embedded below:

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