If You Build It, Will They Come?
It is hard work as of late, convincing individuals that blogging needs to be part of their digital personal brand strategy.
Especially those that have amassed valuable knowledge over the years and even those with great ideas and opinions.
Some tend to believe that all they need to have is a static presence, say hello on Twitter or Facebook once in awhile, occasionally add connections to their network and they are set to attract clients.
The “build it and they will come,” theory.
Lets be honest, this method doesn’t work and those that are venturing into this arena can back me up. There is no “one size fits all,” path to success.
It’s about creating relationships and you have to drive traffic. BUT it is not only traffic that is important. Unlike traditional media where today’s news is tomorrows fish and chip wrapper, the world of the Internet has staying power. So every entry into the online world leaves a digital footprint about you that can be found.
Magnetism & Four-Letter Words
Streetwise professionals would probably also agree that publishing blog articles is like magnetising your target audience to you. When the blog is quiet, the traffic to your blog slows or stops.
Lets take a look at some benefits:
• Gives the writer credibility.
• Focuses on the author’s ideas and expertise.
• Establishes credibility in the author’s niche.
• Attracts the reader to the author & the author’s additional content.
How awesome, right?
Who wouldn’t want that?
Ever met a salesperson that didn’t like the spotlight or to talk more about themselves?
Even so, when I say the word, “blog,” it’s like I’ve said a four-letter word.
The definition of this word has also changed; with the advent of 140 character micro-blogs i.e. Twitter, the use of video blogs i.e. YouTube, picture blogs i.e. Flickr. Penning a few words can lead to engagement however the richer the content the richer the engagement.
Walking the talk
So, for some time, I’ve been pondering how I could get more people interested in blogging. A little more exciting…more “sexy,” if you will.
It would have to be, or I’d lose my audience.
In this case:
• Sales Professionals.
Individuals, that clients will make decisions about, in 2012 and future.
These days, the Internet is a haven of nifty new media. A place where we read, play games, buy, sell, trade, socialise, and more…
Building a boat
Back to my challenge – To making blogging more attractive and enticing. As a parent, my instincts are to put a fun slant on it.
Much like how we convince our children to take their medicine with the song, “A spoon full of sugar.” Or inspire others to remember something with a groovy acronym.
Finding the Hot Button
So, playing to what gets people enthused I realised this is the sweet spot…the hot button. I should find a way for them to get just as excited about their blog as they might be about “MONEY“.
M – More
O – Opportunity
N – Needs
E – Engagement
Y – You
More Opportunity Needs Engagement from You
Oh yes, Show me the money!
What sales person wouldn’t get excited about that? Information about themselves – about their purpose – rippling across the Internet where their target audience is hanging out!
Can you imagine what could happen with this slightly changed perspective?
Pen is mightier than the sword
The 2015 roadmap will be tough. Battles between competitors are intense, at a time when our clients need answers and solutions.
Dell are changing customer engagement with mighty mileage from social media. From a marketing, brand and personal standpoint, a blog should be the hub of your social media and digital presence.
Technology is already changing who wins and how.
Employees – regardless of time served, status, or experience – NEED to stop snarling their nose at penning a few words once in awhile, and start realising the benefits.
For them, and their clients.
More Opportunity Needs Engagement from You
- Don’t fret as much about the technology. Don’t have a blog? Start one at WordPress.com or Tumblr.com. If you want more flexibility, get your own WordPress blog (affiliate link) by clicking the 4th option on this page.
- What are you passionate about? What is useful to others? These two thoughts combined are your best bet at defining your platform.
- You might be the “little drummer boy,” worried that what you have to say isn’t worthy. Everyone has something to contribute, especially if you remember to be the real you and not a copy of others you feel are successful.
- Get in the habit of writing daily, even if you don’t post daily. Start with 200 words. Then 300. The current best bet for a blog post’s length is between 300-500 words. You can get that.
- Remember that there are all kinds of platform-making choices. You can do blogs, video, newsletters, social networks, and many more avenues. What you can’t do is do ALL of those well. Pick a few and work from there. One, maybe two, is a good start.
- Don’t be afraid to consider video or audio as part of the mix. We are inundated with text. Why not give all those shiny new smartphones and tablet computers something to consume?
- The simplest of messages is often the one we need to hear the most. Paulo Coelho has a world record for how many languages and countries his book, The Alchemist, has been translated into for consumption. The real core of the book is about love and how all things are essentially the same.
- People always worry about how often or rarely they should post. The answer is “how often do you have something worthy of tapping into my attention?” Do it that often.
- It’s hard to create consistently without inspiration. Read often. Keep your eyes open. Be wary of how your world offers you stories every day.
- No matter what other tools you use, make sure you have a website that is your “home base.” Everything else is an outpost. You can spend more time on the outposts, but your goal is to encourage a visit to the home base for a furthering of the relationship.
- We are in a consumption society. People can barely read a tweet. Keep everything brief. Note how a numbered list helps with this? Do similar things. Think bite-sized.
- We tend to overwrite. Most people’s first few paragraphs are throat-clearing, and their endings are weak. Try cutting from the beginning, and making sure the ending of what you write lands well.
- Short sentences rule. Read The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. You can’t not write like her afterwards.
- In video, the goal is under 2 minutes, unless it’s a speech or an interview. A trick: you can break up videos with your own “commercials.”
- People can barely read tweets. If your blog post is super long, make it worth it.
- Writing commentary about other people’s ideas is great – occasionally. Start formulating your own brief ideas.
- Want to master brevity? Learn how to create useful posts on Twitter. It spreads to other mediums quite well. Participate in a few hashtag chats like #blogchat on Sunday nights (US time).
- If you can say it with fewer words, do so.
- Think of ways to “chunk” your content, so that people can consume it. We’re consuming more and more on mobile devices. How will you serve that marketplace?
- Email newsletters were born to be brief. One “ask” per email is plenty.
Video. Video. Video
- Find a video recording tool and start using it. It can be your laptop. It can be a standalone like the Kodak PlayTouch. Whatever. Just start recording. Practice getting comfortable. Delete the first dozen until you feel like you can look at the lens.
- Get a YouTube account. You can use any other platform you want, but you must also use YouTube. It’s the #2 search engine in the world. Why would you NOT use it?
- Practice recording daily. Practice publishing weekly. Even if it’s just a few minutes. (It’s better if it’s just a few minutes.)
- Remember that brevity rules. 2 minute videos (or even shorter) get much more play and have many more views until the end than long videos. Yes, interviews are a different beast. Break them up with “commercials” or other ways to segment them.
- You can edit just fine in iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. If you graduate to Final Cut Pro or Sony Vegas or whatever, great. But don’t worry about that at first. Just start with the simple and the inexpensive.
- AUDIO is the secret to better video. People forgive a lot of visual mess if you have solid audio.
- How I learn more and more about video comes from watching and dissecting how others do what they do. Find interesting video shows (or TV shows) and figure out how they get what they get.
- Remember: start somewhere. You don’t have to do amazing video. You have to start telling a story that reflects you, and that is helpful to others. This is the core of a humble platform.
- Interviews are a great way to get started in video, because you can ask others to talk about themselves. Learning about others is often helpful to people.
- The more you practice with video, the more you’ll see rewards. We are a visual race, we humans. But don’t forget to add text in the post that contains the video.
Ideas Drive Platform
- If you’re the same as everyone else, how will we notice you? Ideas need contrast to make sense.
- The best ideas are the ones people can take and make their own. Give your ideas “handles” and let people take those ideas with them when they go.
- If you can clearly articulate your ideas, even simple ones work well.
- Sharing other people’s ideas helps show that you don’t feel you know it all. (Humble, remember?)
- Sometimes, a question makes for a great idea. I’ve learned plenty from admitting I don’t know something.
- One amazing idea trumps a lot of little ideas. And yet, usually really little ideas can be amazing. Sir Richard Branson’s biggest business idea is to keep his companies small. For a long time, only the airline bucked that trend.
- To come up with great ideas, read and listen to other people’s great ideas. To make your ideas great, share them as often as you can.
- Hoarding ideas is like stashing ice cubes under your mattress for later. Use them when you get them, and share them liberally.
- Never worry that someone else “stole” your idea. Ideas are free. Execution is what makes you money. I’ve met countless bitter people who “invented Facebook” years before.
- We love learning from people who have interesting and positive ideas. It’s harder to keep an audience, if you’re forever in the negative and griping camp.
- The more I act like myself, instead of like what I thought the world wanted, the more successful I become.
- Realize that there’s a “hot mess” line, meaning that you have to filter the “you” that you put out there a little bit. People don’t want to hear every woe and misery in your life. (Most times. Dooce not withstanding.)
- Realize that being yourself means you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Embrace that.
- The “yourself” that most people want you to be is the one that they can learn something from. And yet, if that’s not what you want to be, disregard me and be yourself.
- Part of being yourself is untangling from other people’s expectations. This is a very difficult matter, and yet important to building your platform.
- “Be yourself” doesn’t mean be only about yourself. Connecting with and caring about others is always a trait that earns more attention.
- It’s great to have a lot of passions. When displaying this via your platform, try to tie them to a larger storyline so that people understand how they connect.
- Never let your shortcomings become your reasons why not. Richard Branson is dyslexic. Ryan Blair went from gang member to millionaire success story. Excuses are Band-Aids on wounds that don’t exist.
- Marsha Collier said it best: “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”
- Start where you are. Lots of people worry that everyone’s so far ahead. Those people? They started somewhere.
Humble Is Better Marketing
- It’s better to focus on helping and creating useful information than it is to seek and share praise about yourself.
- Promoting others does more for your reputation and reach than promoting yourself.
- Share other people’s great work, and create great work. Yours will be shared, at some point.
- Leaving comments on other people’s sites with your links and promoting your stuff is poopy. It smells of desperation. Don’t do it. The only exception is when you’re invited to do so.
- Ask about others first. The most famous people I’ve met do this and do it well. Both Sir Richard Branson and Disney CEO Bob Iger asked me about me before I could start my interviews with them. In both cases, they were sincere and interested. Learn from the big dogs.
- The more you care about the success of others, the more you will be successful.
- Being humble isn’t a marketing plan. It’s a requirement for doing human business.
- Humble doesn’t mean “forgotten,” nor does it mean self-destructive. If you’re too humble, that’s also called “invisible.” Realize when the right times to chime in might be.
- Yes, occasionally, it’s great to pat yourself on the back.
- Remember that praise and criticism are the same: other people’s thoughts that shouldn’t sway your overall mission. (We tend to accept praise but loathe criticism. Learn to loathe it equally.)
Your Three Roles
- Whether or not you want to be, you are now in sales and customer service, along with whatever your main goal or drive might be.
- If you want your platform to succeed, you have to become comfortable with selling. Sell yourself. Sell your product. Whatever you’re looking to do, learn how to be open, clear, and honest with how you sell.
- Customer service (and use this term broadly) matters. If you’re selling something, serve those who are your customers. If you’re hoping to sell, realize that how you treat your prospects is how you should treat your customers.
- Marketing is part of sales. If you’re not finding ways to promote (humbly!) your ideas and your goals via your platform, you’ll not get the chance to have sales.
- Listening and responding are core to customer service. It’s amazing how many people miss opportunities simply by missing a reply. (Happens to me, often.)
- The old “ABC” from Glengarry Glen Ross was “Always Be Closing.” The new ABC is “Always Be Connecting.” Networks are what make selling easier. Your platform is part of how you network.
- Customer service also means sometimes learning who isn’t the best customer. It’s a tough moment when you have to let a customer go, but often times, this leads to improved success. (Tread cautiously here.)
- Most small businesses split their time in thirds: 1/3 prospecting, 1/3 executing, 1/3 serving your customers. That’s a good model for us, too.
- If you’re doing it right, all three roles complement each other. We buy from people we know. A platform helps with that. Serving the people you care about, your community, is just what comes with the territory.
- No matter how busy you are, if you’re not doing one of your three prime roles, you’re not working on your business or your platform.
- Building a platform takes time. Years. But you have to start somewhere.
- Doing the work requires more time and effort than not doing it. Unemployment is also easier than working.
- No one ever hands you success. Even those stars you sneer at, saying “but they had ____” , really have to earn it.
- Success, as I define it, is the ability to choose how you spend your day, and a full belly.
- It takes a lot of “kitchen table” time to find ideas that can bring you success. But you need to test those ideas out at the “lemonade stand” to know whether they have any play in the marketplace. And ultimately, the beauty of this platform you’re building will be that it provides a “campfire” around which you can gather and further develop the community.
- There are very few successes in the world that happened as solo acts. You need a team, a network, and a lot of goodwill.
- Success doesn’t just show up. It comes in tiny molecules daily. If you didn’t work today on building success, how will it come to you tomorrow?
- Success is also about knowing what not to do, and what to cut out. Success is about stripping down to the core of what you can do for the world. This takes work.
- Never mistake popularity for success. There are plenty of popular people who still haven’t made it.
- Success never comes to those who don’t put in the work. If this seems like a lot of repetition, it’s because this one lesson is often skipped over.
What to Talk/Write About
- Write about your potential audience or buyer more than you write about yourself.
- Sometimes, the best posts or videos come from the frequently asked questions people have.
- Share more than just a few tiny tidbits. People know if you’re trying to lure them in deeper.
- Interviews make great content, but only if you ask great questions.
- Product and service demos can be interesting.
- Testimonials are good to talk about, but ESPECIALLY if you can highlight the hero, your customer, and not your product. Meaning, talk about a successful ____ customer, but don’t talk as much about the product as you do them.
- Personal posts can make for really great content. And by personal, I mean, connect people with who you are and what you are about outside of your professional role. What else are you into?
- Point out the great people in your community. Posts or interviews really make this happen.
- Deliver instruction. Teaching someone how to do something never goes out of style.
- Don’t forget to do the occasional series.
What to Avoid
- Any post bragging about how great you are is a wasted post. You want to feel proud, but it’s just hard for people to feel it with you, unless you’ve built the relationships first.
- Posts that are selling, but that are masked such that they don’t appear to be selling aren’t good business. If you’re going to sell something, be clear about it.
- Try never to say “you guys.” Address one person, a very important person.
- Try never to write about us and them.
- Want to wow people? Don’t write nasty posts about your competitors.
- Don’t worry about link-baiting. Worry about becoming a trusted and valuable resource.
- Before you blog or shoot video in anger, rethink whether it’s worth it.
In the end, it’s up to you. Yes, this will take work. No, this isn’t simple. Yes, there will be mistakes. But I feel that the world is shifting from simply “use of social networks” into “seeking of value.” This is some of the way you can attain that.
reveals the following trends:
December 2011 Compared to December 2010 (year/year)
- Consumer Spending Increases: Online sales were up 5.4 percent over 2010.
- Mobile Traffic: 15 percent of all online sessions on a retailer’s site were initiated from a mobile device, up from 5.6 percent over this same period in 2010—an increase of 169 percent.
- Mobile Sales: Sales from mobile devices grew, reaching 12.9 percent versus 4.5 percent in December 2010—an increase of 186.5 percent.
- The Apple Shopper: Apple’s iPhone and iPad ranked one and two for mobile device retail traffic (6.4 percent and 4.7 percent respectively). Android was third at 3.6 percent. Collectively iPhone and iPad accounted for 11.1 percent for the month.
- The iPad Factor: Shoppers using the iPad also continued to drive more retail purchases than any other device with conversion rates reaching 6.1 percent compared to 3.8 percent for all mobile devices.
“This Christmas shopping season has been characterised by consumers looking for deals and increasingly using their mobiles to shop online,” said Andrew Jackson-Proes, Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) leader for UK & Ireland, IBM. “The report demonstrates that retailers can really benefit from Smarter Commerce initiatives by meeting their customers’ expectations for offers and service via any device.”
These early Christmas season findings are based on data from IBM Coremetrics Benchmark, the only analytics-based, peer-level benchmarking solution that measures online marketing results, including real-time sales data. All of the data is aggregated and anonymous.
Coremetrics Benchmark uses IBM’s cloud-based digital analytics platform to rapidly collect and analyse intelligence on how consumers are responding to the products and services being offered to them, enabling clients to make accurate decisions on marketing expenditures. As a result, marketing teams can gain deeper insight about their consumers and present personalised recommendations, promotions and other sales incentives across the wide variety of channels—including social networks and mobile devices—where consumers interact with their brands.
More information on Smarter Commerce can be found at:
We really can’t deny the fact that businesses are testing out Twitter as part of their steps into the social media landscape. You can say it’s a stupid application, that no business gets done there, but there are too many of us (including me) that can disagree and point out business value. I’m not going to address the naysayers much with this. Instead, I’m going to offer 50 thoughts for people looking to use Twitter for business. And by “business,” I mean anything from a solo act to a huge enterprise customer.
- Build an account and immediate start using Twitter Search to listen for your name, your competitor’s names, words that relate to your space. (Listening always comes first.)
- Add a picture. We want to see you.
- Talk to people about THEIR interests, too. I know this doesn’t sell more widgets, but it shows us you’re human.
- Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.
- Share links to neat things in your community. ( @wholefoods does this well).
- Don’t get stuck in the apology loop. Be helpful instead. ( @jetblue gives travel tips.)
- Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.
- Promote your employees’ outside-of-work stories. ( @TheHomeDepot does it well.)
- Throw in a few humans, like BenIBM, green_goddess, etc.
- Talk about non-business, too, like @aaronstrout and @jimstorer.
Ideas About WHAT to Tweet
- Instead of answering the question, “What are you doing?”, answer the question, “What has your attention?”
- Have more than one twitterer at the company. People can quit. People take vacations. It’s nice to have a variety.
- When promoting a blog post, ask a question or explain what’s coming next, instead of just dumping a link.
- Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions.
- Follow interesting people. If you find someone who tweets interesting things, see who she follows, and follow her.
- Tweet about other people’s stuff. Again, doesn’t directly impact your business, but makes us feel like you’re not “that guy.”
- When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
- Share the human side of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has value for human connections. Point us to pictures and other human things.
- Don’t toot your own horn too much. (Man, I can’t believe I’m saying this. I do it all the time. – Side note: I’ve gotta stop tooting my own horn).
- Or, if you do, try to balance it out by promoting the heck out of others, too.
Some Sanity For You
- You don’t have to read every tweet.
- You don’t have to reply to every @ tweet directed to you (try to reply to some, but don’t feel guilty).
- Use direct messages for 1-to-1 conversations if you feel there’s no value to Twitter at large to hear the conversation ( got this from @pistachio).
- Use services like Twitter Search to make sure you see if someone’s talking about you. Try to participate where it makes sense.
- 3rd party clients like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck make it a lot easier to manage Twitter.
- If you tweet all day while your coworkers are busy, you’re going to hear about it.
- If you’re representing clients and billing hours, and tweeting all the time, you might hear about it.
- Learn quickly to use the URL shortening tools like TinyURL and all the variants. It helps tidy up your tweets.
- If someone says you’re using twitter wrong, forget it. It’s an opt out society. They can unfollow if they don’t like how you use it.
- Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.
The Negatives People Will Throw At You
- Twitter takes up time.
- Twitter takes you away from other productive work.
- Without a strategy, it’s just typing.
- There are other ways to do this.
- As Frank hears often, Twitter doesn’t replace customer service (Frank is @comcastcares and is a superhero for what he’s started.)
- Twitter is buggy and not enterprise-ready.
- Twitter is just for technonerds.
- Twitter’s only a few million people. (only)
- Twitter doesn’t replace direct email marketing.
- Twitter opens the company up to more criticism and griping.
Some Positives to Throw Back
- Twitter helps one organize great, instant meetups (tweetups).
- Twitter works swell as an opinion poll.
- Twitter can help direct people’s attention to good things.
- Twitter at events helps people build an instant “backchannel.”
- Twitter breaks news faster than other sources, often (especially if the news impacts online denizens).
- Twitter gives businesses a glimpse at what status messaging can do for an organization. Remember presence in the 1990s?
- Twitter brings great minds together, and gives you daily opportunities to learn (if you look for it, and/or if you follow the right folks).
- Twitter gives your critics a forum, but that means you can study them.
- Twitter helps with business development, if your prospects are online (mine are).
- Twitter can augment customer service. (but see above)
Profitero has been named as the winner of the 2011 IBM (NYSE: IBM) SmartCamp London. They help retailers maximise profits by analysing online competitive information on thousands of products and dozens of competitors, helping to build smarter retail solutions. Profitero was selected from more than 80 entries and won due to its outstanding technology, innovative business plan and alignment with IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy. They will receive three months of mentoring from IBM and go on to square off against other SmartCamp winners from around the globe to compete for the title of “IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.”
Today, 83 percent of midmarket CIOs surveyed by IBM have identified analytics, the ability to extract actionable insights from “Big Data” as their top-priority investment area. Profitero represent a new generation of entrepreneurs who are entering the market with technology and business model designed to capitalise on this trend.
“We are delighted to have won the London IBM SmartCamp award for 2011 and are looking forward to working with IBM on delivering completive intelligence to retailers and manufacturers.” said Volodymyr Pigrukh, CEO and Co-Founder of Profitero.
Business Minister, Mark Prisk, said: “Congratulations to Profitero. Businesses continually tell us they want to get advice from other experienced business people and we know that those seeking support are more likely to succeed.
“Innovative projects such as this one are very encouraging because they bring together entrepreneurs wit h venture capitalists, academics and other industry leaders to provide coaching and critical industry support and advice. This will enable growing businesses to gain the mentoring and insight needed to continue to drive growth and innovation in their markets.
“Mentoring can deliver significant economic benefits from just a small commitment of time and resources. Building a relationship with a mentor can have a positive effect on your business, whether you are just starting up or are already established.”
“Entrepreneurs are critical to driving the next era of innovation and growth. I’ve been hugely impressed by the range and quality of startups we’ve seen entering the London IBM SmartCamp programme this year. Congratulations to Profitero and all the finalists. They’ve showcased solutions that seize major growth opportunities in the market to help make the world work smarter.” said Stephen Leonard, Chief Executive, IBM UK & Ireland.
All the finalists in the London SmartCamp are developing new technologies in critical areas such as healthcare, energy and environment, and other services that improve the life of citizens around the globe. IBM SmartCamps bring together innovative entrepreneurs with venture capitalists, academics and other industry leaders to provide coaching and critical industry support and advice.
Driving economic growth
Small and medium sized companies have long been the engines driving economic growth. They are responsible for nearly 65 percent of the global GDP – representing more than 90 percent of all businesses and employing over 90 percent of the world’s workforce. This group of entrepreneurial companies faces stiff competition, not only in their local markets, but also with larger enterprises across an increasingly global marketplace. (Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation). The IBM SmartCamps are designed to provide these entrepreneurs with the mentoring and insight needed to continue to drive growth and innovation in their markets.
In addition to Profitero, 2011 London SmartCamp Finalists included:
· PageHub, a young and fast moving company based in Brighton. They have developed an easy to use, powerful analytics tool for brands to more effectively manage their presence on Facebook and other social media sites.
· Radisens Diagnostics whose analytics device platform is helping to drive a step change towards a single device for point-of-care medical testing, helping to build smarter healthcare systems.
· RSM, the creators of FITS, an analytical and traffic management software system for cities, helping to build smarter transport systems.
· Visible Light Communications Ltd, a spin-out company from the University of Edinburgh. They are developing smart lighting driven by high efficiency LEDs, which delivers high speed data communications over visible light.
Visible Light Communications Ltd won the People’s Choice Award.
About IBM Global Entrepreneur Programme:
Companies are realising that social technologies are changing the way clients interact. As a result they no MUST incorporate these to enhance and exploit opportunities. There are both opportunities to improve internal process’s and also to explore new markets.
Seventy two percent of respondents are deploying at least one technology and more than 40 percent are now incorporating blogs and networking tools.
86 percent of companies are in high tech and telecommunications.
Executives at internally networked organisations note the highest improvement in benefits from interactions from employees; those at externally networked organisations from interactions with customer, partners and suppliers.
Another key performance measure, self reported operating-margin improvements, correlated positively with the reported percentage of employees whose use of social technologies was integrated into their day-to-day work.
Senior executives should think strategically about how social technologies can support business processes. Integrating social technologies into the workflow and using them to optimise internal processes will provide additional competitive benefits
- Don’t rest on your laurels: competition will increase as the adoption of social tools and
technologies continues to rise and as progressive companies use them to improve their
processes. Indeed, many companies we categorized as networked organizations last year
slipped to a lower rung this year as the benefits their executives reported fell. Integrating
Web technologies into the daily workflow, our results suggest, is the most effective way
to maintain competitive position or become more networked.
- Companies should prepare for more substantial disruptions. Since many executives believe that significant changes will occur as (or if) constraints on social tools and technologies are lifted, companies that can create change themselves—instead of reacting to it—are likely to benefit the most.
The Leader of Glasgow City Council has today launched a £1m affordable warmth initiative marking the start of efforts to eradicate fuel poverty in the city.
It will help give every Glaswegian over 80 and who receives Pension Credit an extra hand as the city moves into the winter months.
The initiative was one of a number of new measures announced today aimed at helping to make Glasgow one of Europe’s most sustainable and green cities through the Sustainable Glasgow partnership.
Speaking at the BaseGlasgow sustainability conference, Councillor Matheson, who is also chair of Sustainable Glasgow, said: “This winter we will give a £100 affordable warmth dividend to every Glaswegian over 80 on Pension Credit. That’s 11,000 of our most vulnerable citizens.
“It’s money to help these people so they don’t have to worry about putting on heating and ensure they can keep healthy and warm during the winter.
“All partners in the Sustainable Glasgow partnership are working for all the people living in our city. This new initiative is a measure of our commitment – a green future, social justice and leaving no one behind.
“The Warm Glasgow project will tap into savings and income generated by future sustainability projects to ensure that affordable warmth becomes a reality for all our citizens.”
Councillor Matheson also told delegates that the Sustainable Glasgow partnership was a key commitment of his administration.
He said he would be asking the Sustainable Glasgow partners to join the council in tackling the challenge of affordable warmth through the creation of a new taskforce on the issue.
This announcement comes just months after Glasgow was named as the UK’s first winner of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge. IBM experts were asked to help Glasgow with the issues around fuel poverty or affordable warmth and report back to the council on a way forward.
Councillor Matheson said: “I’m going to use the IBM report as a basis for a new affordable warmth strategy. I’m not prepared to see another winter of hardship for our people. Affordable warmth is my commitment. Sustainable Glasgow is the means by which we will deliver it.”
He also announced two major projects with a Sustainable Glasgow partner – SSE.
The council and SSE have now reached the final agreements on a wind farm in the south of Glasgow, and the second is the launch of a £2 million pilot to renew 1000 lighting columns in the city which will use “green” technology.
He added: “I’m also delighted to announce that my council will allocate our revenue share from the wind farm to an affordable warmth commitment. This money will be used to provide direct support to some of our most vulnerable communities.
“On lighting we have been exploring a public private partnership which will look at the renewal of the city’s lighting network. There are currently 69,000 lighting columns in Glasgow – almost half of which are over 30 years old. The pilot to renew 1000 lighting columns is a first step looking at using new technology to save energy and carbon.
“That is the Sustainable Glasgow dividend – green energy, strong partnerships and benefits for all Glaswegians.”
The Sustainable Glasgow partnership includes Glasgow City Council, the University of Strathclyde, Clyde Gateway, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, Glasgow Housing Association, Scottish Enterprise, Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, IBM, BT, Honeywell, Siemens, ScottishPower, SSE, Scottish Water and the City of Glasgow College.
Through this ambitious city strategy, Glasgow has been positioned as a new centre of excellence in renewable-energy research and industry. Hundreds of new green jobs have been created in Glasgow by industry leaders including SSE, Mitsubishi and Iberdrola, the Spanish firm which owns ScottishPower.
Sustainable Glasgow partners are also supporting many hundreds of groups across the city which are running green community-led initiatives. These projects will be vital in helping the Sustainable Glasgow partnership hit its target to reduce Glasgow’s carbon emissions by 30% within 10 years.
Councillor Matheson told delegates that the city was well on track to meet this target. He said: “Our most recent results on this are just in and they show there has been almost a 9% reduction in Glasgow’s CO2 emissions. The trends show that Glasgow should meet our 2020 reduction targets.
“But I would challenge all the people who live and work in Glasgow to make a difference in their own lives so our city can beat this target.
“We’re on the cusp of a new and green industrial age in Glasgow. By everyone working together in partnership I am determined to let Sustainable Glasgow flourish.”
Mark Wakefield, IBM Corporate Citizenship Manager, said: “Glasgow’s leadership in the area of fuel poverty is to be commended – whilst it is demonstrably a priority issue for Glasgow, this is a universal and rapidly escalating challenge for us all.
“Glasgow’s response to our report demonstrates their aspiration to become the most energy literate city in the UK. We welcome Glasgow’s clear commitment to inclusion and the establishment of the task force to implement its recommendations. We hope that the 60 insights from our report can help others address fuel poverty in their cities.”
By Eric B. Meye
Cisco just completed this study, which shows just how much social media, device freedom, and mobile work means to the next generation.
Thinking about banning social media in the workplace? Before you flip the kill switch, read this:
More than half of students (55 percent) and an even larger proportion of end users (62 percent) indicate they could not live without the Internet; and one-third of respondents in each subgroup consider the Internet to be as important as water, food, air, and shelter.
Half of those surveyed would rather lose their wallet or purse than their smart phone or mobile device.
More than two out of five 20-somethings would accept a lower-paying job that offered more choices in the device they use at work, social media access, and mobility compared with a higher-paying job with less flexibility.
Can you handle a productivity hit?
So it would appear that your young workforce seemingly can’t live without a Facebook fix. But can you handle the productivity hit? Consider these numbers:
Nearly three quarters of your young college-educated workforce indicate accessing their Facebook page at least once a day or more frequently. 1 in 10 have their Facebook pages up all day.
Seven in ten young college-educated employees have friended a co-worker, manager, or both on Facebook.
Approximately 43 percent of college students admit being distracted or interrupted by social media, IM, phone, or a desire to check Facebook, at least three times per hour.
For a good summary of the Cisco survey, click on the infographic below or click here for a summary of these surprising numbers
Whatever your position on social media in the workplace, address it at the job interview.
The reality is that even if you restrict network access to social media, employees — young and old — are going to whip out their smartphones and hit up Facebook, Twitter and the Internet.
A question for the job interview
Obviously, each company has to decide for itself, whether employee use of social media is a good thing for business, a bad thing for business, or no thing at all. For those who consider it a bad thing, consider asking about social-media usage during the job interview. If you don’t bring it up, expect that college-grad candidate to broach the subject. The Cisco study indicates that two-thirds of college grads ask about social-media policies in job interviews.
When the topic of social media comes up, don’t ask candidates for their social-media logins and passwords to access to their private sites. That shows a complete lack of trust and, frankly, a candidate who takes precautions to protect what they post on the Internet from your eyes shows good judgment.
But, much like candidates will want to know whether Facebook at the office is feasible or firewalled, you should ask questions about the quantity — not quality — of social-media use. This will help you to determine whether these candidates, if hired, will devote more time in the office to work versus commenting on Facebook from work about workr
A YouGov survey of more than 2000 GB adults shows that although 73 per cent of British citizens consider sustainable living to be important to them, more than a third (36 per cent) admit being confused about what they should or shouldn’t do to do more for the planet. In response to the growing need to change consumer behaviour, and specifically the role businesses can play in inspiring people to do more with less, an IBM (IBM:NYSE) summit is bringing together some of the biggest brands in the UK on 1 November to discuss new ways that businesses can empower consumers to achieve sustainable behaviour change.
This event follows the success of last year’s IBM Summit at Start held in association with Start, a charitable initiative by HRH The Prince of Wales to inspire people with simple steps for sustainable living. Last year’s summit saw 1000 British business leaders collaborate over nine days to discuss some of the key business, economic, societal and environmental issues of the 21st century.
“We believe the imperative for sustainable action is strong and businesses have a real hunger to make a difference. No one organisation can do this alone and collaborative approaches are now needed to discover new ways for businesses to empower consumers to create a new era of innovation and growth” said Stephen Leonard, Chief Executive, IBM UK and Ireland. “To help make the planet smarter IBM is uniting powerful brands and some of Britain’s leading business figures to identify how they can play their part in driving social change by encouraging customers across the UK to think, act and live more sustainably.”
This year’s summit – START Now START Today! – has been organised by IBM, The Marketing Society, and Start. The summit will see some of the UK’s best-known brands including P&G, M&S, Asda and British Gas join forces to discuss how to engage consumers on sustainability issues, while providing real value back to business, with the ultimate goal of driving social change and encouraging the British public to live more sustainably.
“Start Today aims to unite powerful brands to inspire behaviour change in the UK public towards more sustainable living. The IBM Summit is central to this mission as it brings together some of the UK’s leading brands to examine the role of businesses in driving change for a sustainable future.” said Joey Tabone, CEO of Start. “Small changes in behaviour when multiplied by millions of consumers can make a real difference and show that marketing and marketers can be a force for good.”
The research, commissioned by Start, also found that although just under half (49 per cent) of those surveyed believe they themselves (i.e. the general public) are ultimately the most responsible for encouraging others in the UK to live more sustainably, a quarter (25 per cent) feel this is the responsibility of the Government, and one in six say it should be the role of British businesses (17 per cent).
Additionally, just over a third (34 per cent) said a simple idea to help them live more sustainably from a company whose products they already buy would make them more inclined to try the idea than if the Government suggested it. However, if multiple companies came together with a set of ideas, this number rose to almost three in five (57 per cent), highlighting the power of collaboration and working together to tackle this important issue.
During the course of the day attendees will discuss how businesses can reach out and influence consumers, ultimately driving social change to start building a smarter planet. They will be addressed by inspiring keynote speakers including Stephen Leonard of IBM and David Green, CEO of Ecolsland. Delegates will then break into smaller groups to debate key issues such as ‘how to engage and empower customers’, and what ‘incentives will be effective in accelerating behavioral change’.
At the end of the conference each delegate will be given a summary of the actions and decisions taken to help put these ideas into practice and make the UK smarter and more sustainable.
For further information please visit: www.ibm.com/uk/start/
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Notes to Editors
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2107 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10th – 12th October 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).