Why Is David Kirkpatrick Warning of a Social Revolution in Business?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

David Kirkpatrick says that a social revolution is coming to business, and that it mimics the revolutions in the Arab Spring.

I think that's a little over the top, but the guy has to get our attention. Here is where he is correct:

In this new world of business, companies and leaders will have to show authenticity, fairness, transparency and good faith. If they don’t, customers and employees may come to distrust them, to potentially disastrous effect. Customers who don’t like a product can quickly broadcast their disapproval. Prospective employees don’t have to take your word for what life is like at your company—they can find out from people who already work there. And long time loyal employees now have more options to launch their own, more fleet-footed start ups, which could become your fiercest competitors in the future. “Companies that have been around more than five years are having a hard time because this is so different from what they know” is the jarring observation of Doreen Lorenzo, president of design and consulting firm Frog.
If a company has not done so now, they should be looking into hiring listeners and engagers, something that people in digital media call the voice of the brand.

Forget about the naysayers that claim they will never hire a social media consultant, or a social media expert. They are right, you don't need a social media expert. You need a communications expert, someone who knows something about language, voice, tone, and the rhetoric. They should know enough about rhetoric to know how to get around it, and how to use language and discovery methods to get to the core of the problems people face.

We used to live in this fragmented world where you bought a brand object, took it home, and then called a separate customer service line, probably outsourced to India, to ask questions about functionality, or to get a repair.

Now it's more like you "hire" a brand to do a job for you, and when it doesn't work out, or if you want more, you talk to that brand through social media channels. It's not about getting help anymore. It's about belonging to a tribe.

You don't need a social media expert for that. You need someone -- a poet of the technologic -- to do that. Face it, not everyone is good at communicating. Some are. Some can do that better than anything they do.

I predict that language use and communication will be some of the most highly valued skills in this new era, after coding and digital infrastructure management. Are you ready?


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