The Rise of The Chief Brand Officer

The question, “who owns social?” has become a toxic, internal struggle between the Marketing and Communications teams within many companies (and expands to include IT, Customer Service, Human Resources, and Sales). The answer is that they all own social, collectively, but most companies have yet to align their divisions and teams to work in coordination. This leaves companies solving for social through a framework built for an analog era.

Why? Social has typically become part of an organization via a bottom-up adoption through the work of small teams in the trenches (many companies hired interns/junior level staff to manage their social programs).  This causes each separate team to develop its own specific take on social. This leads to a handful of internal teams who strongly believe they each have the best answer for social.

These different social answers eventually work their way up ranks to where the division leads (Marketing, Comms, IT, etc.) need to reconcile the different approaches. They then negotiate and navigate. What needs to happen instead is collaboration and realignment.

Companies need to create a new way to manage social across all teams, switching from separate bottom-up learnings to a more holistic cascade approach. What is needed is the creation of a new layer for the organization between the CEO and the current leads. It’s the creation of a new C-level position and a redefining of the leads’ job profiles. This will not happen overnight, but it is the direction companies must be shifting towards.

This position that is needed to solve this problem is the Chief Brand Officer (CBO). The CBO will invent the shared, holistic social “north star” as part of their new duty to own, cultivate and shepherd the Brand through all channels (Marketing, Comms, IT, Customer Service, etc.). The immediate task for the CBO is to align these leads and their teams under the umbrella of Brand and sync their activities to map to the goals set by the CEO.

The CBO will create the new framework for social, ensuring it cascades while keeping the grass roots nuances that are relevant and actionable for the individual teams. These teams will now work in orchestration, under the guidance of the CBO. The CBO will pivot these teams from parallel “partners” to become “collaborators,“ enabling the organization to map to the new opportunities of the social era.

Say hello to the new era, the era of the Chief Brand Officer.

The Influence Ecosystem and Facebook’s Managing Editor Departing

I read MediaShift’s article on Dan Fletcher’s departure from Facebook yesterday and immediately saw (reading between the lines) that Dan, and Facebook, were shifting their focus within the Influence Ecosystem. Dan was moving away from the “Influencer” role in the ecosystem and towards “Originator” (where the emergent stuff happens). Facebook is shifting “back” towards being a platform for advocacy between peers.

The key quote from the MediaShift article is: “There is no more engaging content Facebook could produce than you talking to your family and friends.”

There isn’t a need for a Managing Editor, thus Dan is moving on. The article implies he’s moving to where stories are heading…longer form content anchored to passions and deeper interests.

What does this mean? From a Futurist standpoint, this is an early indicator of a shift taking place. There is a burgeoning start-up movement in the “Originator” point in the ecosystem as it’s mostly the final frontier in the current social communications behavior (until it all shifts again). The shareable foresight is that attention is shifting towards the Originators. This is an early indicator, but if you’re planning ahead, I’d recommend strategizing on how you, your team, and your organization can adapt to this shift.

What’s the Influencer Ecosystem? It’s a three part cycle, that when cultivated and managed well, fosters the productive growth of influential ideas from the grass roots, to the influencers, to the advocates and back to the grass roots. Here’s a quick whiteboard on how it works:

Simply, the Influence Ecosystem is how original ideas become adopted by Influencers who then share them with their audiences. In the ideal situation, these audiences then become Advocates for the Influencer’s messages and share them with their peers via word-of-mouth. Then, from this word-of-mouth activity, new ideas are sparked, which are relevant to Influencers and the ecosystem keeps on rolling. The illustration below outlines how the ecosystem functions.

This next illustration identifies the roles and behaviors of the points in the ecosystem; what is happening at each of these points.

And finally, the illustration below identifies the “who” of these three points within the ecosystem. The “who” is meant to help you identify where in the ecosystem you want (or need) to participate. As example, Influencer Management should focus on acting like an Originator in order to get the right content to the Influencers. A full Advocacy Program should ensure the “original” content is making it’s way to the Advocates. One short-cut to this success is for brands to become Influencers. This step is taking place through “branded content” platforms such as news centers and company blogs.

Facebook (all social networks really) remain the platform for advocacy. Brands shift into the role of Influencers on those Advocates. The next undeveloped area is the “Originator.” The people that create the content and ideas that feed the Influencers. What’s your Originator strategy? 😉

How a Hacked Burger King Gained 30K new Followers

A hacked Burger King Twitter account was “spectacular.” Burger King’s Twitter content is rarely spectacular, it’s mostly focused on pushing out content about their products. So when their account is hacked, and the content is expected to be spectacular, the audiences who seek that type of content come flooding over.

The proactive solution, is for Burger King to elevate and diversify their content strategically, not ad hoc. Taking a look at the last 3 – 4 months of @BurgerKing’s activity you can see that they pretty much just push content out, mostly during the middle of the day, east coast time.

Looking at the types of content they’re producing for Twitter, you’ll see that they are mostly focused on sharing news and info about their products. In my content matrix, this type of content fits in the bottom right corner where the audiences are “wide” but the content is “resonant.” They are writing topic-specific content to hope to net interest from a wide audience. Sometimes the Burger King Twitter account engages with users (which I call “granular” as the message is focused on a specific user), and rarely they step out from products and have “real” or natural conversations about topics other than the products. One natural conversation, or bait for “spectacular” engagement was a Tweet around “Happy Hump Day.”

So, when the account was hacked and the potential for this account to provide “spectacular” content, they attracted audiences who seek that thrill. In short, there’s a content gap in Burger King’s content strategy.

Since Burger King has not been actively engaged with more than half the content matrix, they are missing out on the opportunity to increase their engagement with their entire audiences. When the hackers stepped in and offered the possibility for spectacular content, they attracted this audience. Their opportunity now is to do something “spectacular” with this new audience.

How the NYTimes Can Make New Revenues from a Personalized Hybrid Web/Print Service

I am a NYTimes subscriber. I “browse” the digital edition daily. I receive the Weekend edition in print, which I tend to “read.” What I want is a “surround” service that is something in between digital and print, and I’ll pay for it. I believe the NYTimes has the technology to make the following idea happen…

I want a weekly print edition based on my daily reading habits and selections. I want a digital “dashboard” where these articles live in an archive.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Add a check box to articles. As I’m reading the digital edition, let me chose which articles I’d like to read in print as part of the Weekend edition. The NYTimes could then print these articles as part of an additional printed section. They could then display specific adds (at a higher value) against this content based on what I’ve chosen.
  • For each article I’ve chosen, The NYTimes would then scour their rich archives for related articles going back 5 to 10 years. They’d add up to 5 of these related articles to my weekly print edition (in a “related” section), which allows them to display even more relevant ads to me.
  • As time progresses past the first few weeks, the NYTimes would begin to see my reading habits and send me relevant “recommended” articles to add to the “related: section. These could be from sections of the paper I don’t regularly read (such as the Travel section).
  • In tandem to the above, the NYTimes would create a “news dashboard” for me, to see my history of articles and prompt me to answer simple questions such as “do you want to read more science?” which would help them send me more (or less) science articles as part of the “recommended” part of the section.

If the NYTimes offered this as a premium service, I would pay for it. This way they are making new revenues off of the “value” of what they already have, while providing me a more valuable service. FTW!

We Are Now Post-Disruption. We Are Now Creative Innovation.

Similar to telescopes snapping pictures of supernovas that took place eons ago, media outlets such as Fast Company are spectacularly identifying “disruptions” as if they are in the immediate present. From my perspective, where I assist companies seeking to shift their communications functions, many of these disruptions are now in the past. We’ve moved past the peak of our disruptive era. We are now in a “pause” in time where we can see an the effects of disruption clearly and ruminate on their cause and effects. (For more about identifying “pauses” please check this earlier post on the Trend Pendulum). At the same time, we are now entering a new era.

Many companies will still be disrupted. Staid businesses, such as food giant ConAgra and publishing giant BMG, have not yet made shifts to protect their firms from the eventual disruption of creative destruction (look at what happened to Hostess). Both of these giants have found temporary solace through consolidation. Other giants of industry, such as GE and IBM have found a positive way forward, moving past staidness and into agility. In tandem there is a wave of both new businesses and innovative-minded businesses that are either being built or rebuilt to thrive within our new business era.

Our new era is anchored to the business realization that change occurs more frequently than ever before. The successful path in the new era is to elevate the role of agility as a foundational part of a business model. This is not theory, this is happening now, live.

Still, there are plenty of staid businesses that are holding firm, seeking forward paths through more of the “same old, same old.” Therefore, there is plenty of work to be had for change agents to assist these businesses either when they have come to the necessary fork in the road, or when they are under unfortunate  distress.

At the same time, there is a new area of work to be found and a new importance for the position of innovation and creative professionals. At the highest level, there is now a need for a Chief Innovation Officer and a Chief Creative Officer. Companies should at least be hiring for executive level Innovation and Creative professionals (or engaging with agencies who can provide these services) to audit, assess, build and re-build the incremental plans to ensure companies are compliant and thriving within our new post-disruption era. Instead of a focus and fearful stalling on Creative Destruction, it’s time to shift our focus and energies to Creative Reconstruction!

Disruption will still occur, and will do so for the next decade or so, but now there is a clear way forward for companies who want success for the next 100 years. We’ve exited the Disruption era. We’re now entering a new renaissance, a new era of productivity. We’re in an era of creative innovation.

Momentum Flow: An Introduction

Momentum Flow

An adaptive business model that shifts organizations incrementally versus painful disruption.

To be competitive within our current and future business environments, organizations need to build internal team models that succeed by “going with the flow.” This is not a passive act, it’s the building of a system that harnesses the power of disruption and innovation. Disruption is a continuum; this model creates a method to mitigate disruption by working within it.

I drafted and implemented this model during my two years working on social and digital programs at the PR agency, Waggener Edstrom. This idea is not original; it’s a modification to existing models on team management. Plus, this model couldn’t be accomplished without the input of the clients I assisted at the time. This model was successful for my team in our pursuit of assisting current clients, attracting new clients, and transforming the all-up agency to become more facile in bringing our clients into new opportunities.

The best metaphor for this model is a gyroscope. The core team “spins,” producing iterative and creative work that then moves the entire organization in the direction of momentum.

How it works:

The Framework for this operation is illustrated as concentric circles

  • People and their skillsets move towards the middle
  • People and their new experiences move out towards the edges
  • The core team produces deliverables, for clients and the organization that incrementally educates all stakeholders on new learnings.

“Leads” are identified from across the organization to manage a project, team or initiative.

As example, At Waggener, our initiative was to increase the social media offerings for clients. Leads with Social Media experience were identified to lead the team.

“Seats,” the people who make up the team, are then identified from across the entire organization.

These Seats do not have to have specific topical experience within the goals of the project, but should have strong relevant skillsets. An example make-up of the core team would include some experts, some intermediate experience, and some novices on the topic, but would include complimentary skillsets:

  • Project Management
  • Creative & Design
  • Client Engagement
  • Analysis & Research
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Branding

“Seats” are “temporary” positions, lasting between six months and two years. The tenure of the Seat is based upon:

  • Time-availability of the individual to join a core team
  • The desire for the individual to learn new skills
  • The expected length of the project

Once tenure on a core team is completed, the Seat is then assigned to a new team and/or returns to their previous position (such as back on the sales team).

***A key aspect of the success of this model is the new understanding of the role of an “employee.” Within this model, an employee learns to adapt to the new business environment of innovation and change with low pain and low anxiety. Rather than being anxious about skillset and current “static” roles (such as being hired for one specific career path), this model shifts the workforce towards “dynamism.” In the new era, employees will need to be flexible and expect disruptive change as part of ones career. This model builds anti-disruptive flexibility into the organization. Employees gain the skill-sets for success within disruption by working within an organization that is build to harness the power of disruption. In tandem, this creates a flexible, agile business organization that is “always in motion” and “always on their toes” versus “back on their heels.”

Leads will remain with the core team as long as that function is needed. In some cases the Leads will go on to lead other core teams or take new positions within the organization.

As example, at Waggener, the Leads were semi-permanent as bringing social to the organization was a long-term process. Our approach was to rotate the core team lead at least once per year. This way the Leads remained on the core team, but each had an expected time when they would set the agenda for the team. In the ideal situation, over time, the entire organization will adopt this agile team model, becoming an organization build of agile teams. Start-ups, such as Spotify, are built this way (

However, most organizations can’t shift that quickly. Therefore, the near-term value of using this model is:

  • Individuals increase their skillsets and value to the organization through experience versus “training”
  • Individuals gain closer working ties across teams, leading to greater efficiencies and innovation through shared experience
  • Clients gain a greater wealth of value from their relationship with the agency
  • The organization increases the potential value of each individual by providing new platforms for their success
  • The organization establishes and gains a model to incrementally address change (and potentially crisis)

The Successes

When this model is put into place it creates an incremental organizational shift in thinking. It fosters a new way to approach opportunities while mitigating the pain of our disruptive business era. This model “learns-up” staff in a meaningful way via experience and collaboration versus “trainings.”

Ultimately this creates better, higher-value work for clients & customers. And that’s the end-goal of any organization.


All Mod Comms: The ROI of your Comms is Trust

All Mod Comms: The ROI of your Comms is Trust

(The Currency of Next-Generation Business and Communications is “Trust”)

Trust is not a new concept for branding and marketing folks. There’s  a whole portfolio of blog posts, books and articles discussing the importance of a user’s trust in a brand. Currently there is conflux of Trust within three key forces. When aligned into an equation, these forces point to a specific answer… Trust is the currency of the near future. Trust will lead to ROI. Trust is the buffer between comms and actions.

Three Forces

Three current forces are creating a conflux point of “Trust”:

  • Branding as high-art ( brand value, brand equity)
  • Business organizational change due to disruption (knowledge economy, accelerated creative destruction)
  • Social media behavior (social capital, social sharing, WOM)

These three forces have pushed Trust to the forefront of b2b, b2c, and p2p relationships. Trust has become a key ROI of all three as all three have converged into the social arena:

  • Branding strives to create stronger brand trust
  • Businesses are acclimating to and adopting “Social Business” transparency
  • Active Social Media users are creating new channels for trust (beyond traditional media outlets such as news and advertising)

The question all current communications campaigns should be answering is, “Are we creating greater trust between our brand and our audience?” Trust leads to more sales, focus your comms campaigns on Trust.

Dissecting the Force

The once bound-up forces of Value, have become unwoven. Simply this equation used to be “Value = Function + Trust (- Decay)”.  At the dawn of consumerism, Function was the key value as new products made life easier. A simple filter determined trust, “did it work?” and “will it keep working?” Now, the force of Trust is tied to many more psychological and behavioral factors. Products and Brands can have a value equation of “Value = Trust,” skipping function altogether. We’re in the era where Brand Trust can trump Brand Function. When both Function and Trust are done well, the product is unstoppable.

Economic Shifts towards Trust

Since 2000 organizational gurus have been pointing to research data on the shift to a knowledge-based economy. They point to “Trust” as the new connective currency of internal corporate success. They have identified the failure of both hierarchal structures and market-driven forces to create new value and opportunity.

Their strong recommendation is for corporations to change their models and adopt more agile, collaborative methods where knowledge can be shared across teams, across pillars without penalty. The non-hierarchal (wirearchy) collaborative team is the ideal way to create value and success in an economy based on Trust.

Social Media as Current Fix

Social Media is the comms world’s entry into this shift, but are the current offerings from social comms programs really adding trust to the equation? Or are they focused on current-fix metrics such as likes, links and follows that map closer to banner-advertising lingo of impressions and views. A small pivot is taking place where comms leaders are seeking ROI beyond quantitative metrics. This trend will grow exponentially.

Trust is separate from price/cost, it’s separate from salary…it’s an emerging currency all to itself. It’s a super-currency on top money. The ROI of Trust maps to sales, but it’s not based on market forces, it’s based on a belief of the value of the thing for sale.

The question we should be asking is “what is the ROI of Trust,” with the next actionable question to be “how do we shift our business and comms programs to embrace Trust as a currency.”

The Retail Influence Story is a Flow from Pop-Ups to Pop-Ups

Walking down 5th ave in my Brooklyn neighborhood last weekend I had a moment of cultural economic clarity. The cadence of the shops, of different types and at different states of retail trends, told a story. There was a clear pattern, a trend wave that meandered from “new” to “staid” to “retro” and back.  There’s one particular block on 5th ave, between Union and Sackett that tells the story. On that block are both Brooklyn Industries and Goorin Brothers Hatmakers mixed in with the old and new shops. Both are “Local” style operations that channel the vibe of nostalgia for goodness and originality. These two operations are veterans of the “Local” style yet their growth mimics the path of well established “staid” brands.

Here in Brooklyn there’s a burgeoning  “local made” and “slow” movement similar to other cities such as Portland and San Francisco. Nearly all of these new local brands have the name “Brooklyn” as part of their branding in order to show their genuineness. I’ve also noticed a wave of “pop-up” and “food truck” style retail experiments this past summer. There’s a pattern happening. A connection of trends. Here’s a matrix I drafted to plot this pattern…

The X-axis defines where the items for sale are produced; offsite manufacturer is on one end…locally manufactured is on the other. The Y-axis defines whether the store is a temporary pop-up on one end…and a flagship (showroom for the brand experience) space on the other. I plotted a handful of retail brands within this matrix to map out the pattern.

The brands cluster on the matrix. At the top left are brands that are testing out the panache of having a pop-up experience. These are not focussed on sales as much as they are creating local instances to showcase their brands. At the top right are the true “pop-ups” who choose the pop-up space to sell their goods, relying on the agility and panache of a pop-up presence to lower costs while still reaching their market. At the bottom left are the staid brands who are building flagship style locations. Just above them are the new wave of brands that are seeking to have similar coherent successes. At the bottom are new brands, creating truly locally manufactured items with a strong element of “place” infused into their products. Thus why so many have “Brooklyn” in their brand names. Some have stores, some have store-hours at their “factories.”

I labeled these clusters based on their tone and style. At the top left are the “Distributed Flagships.” These pop-ups are seeking to create local brand awareness by appearing locally and temporarily to create buzz and awareness. At the top right are the “Agile/Lean” businesses, the start-up, who require a pop-up livelihood to build their brands. At the bottom left are the “Anchors of Stability.” This group seeks to further install themselves as the hegemonic international brands. I added the seemingly upstart brands such as Goorin Hats and Brooklyn Industries to this group as both are seeking national expansion and adoption. They are keeping the “Local” flavor while aspiring to become national brands. At the bottom right are the brands that embody the “Slow Food” movement which is being adopted by other categories other than food. These brands could be the “Slow Manufacturing” or “Slow Brand” movement. When mapped together, the trend wave becomes clear:

The story goes like this…The energy and innovations of the pop-ups are becoming manifested in the “Slow Brand” movement which is the next generation of the “Local” movement. These Slow Brands are influencing the earlier wave of “Local” brands who have now moved on to attempt to become hegemonic brands. These new brands are rushing at the gates of the hegemonic brands, inspring the hegemonic brands take new risks; by trying out the style and tone of the original pop-up movement, but in the way they know how…by re-creating pop-ups as flagships.

Thats the cultural economic story. The pop-up and slow movements are influencing the hegemonic brands to take new risks. Let’s apply this story to “The Map.” (If you’re unfamiliar with the ACE Map read this post)

When added to the map the impact roles of these clusters of brands becomes clear. What does this mean for you? For one, if you’re seeking to influence this category, you can define your tactics by understanding where these groups sit within the flow of influence. If you’re seeking to create influence and impact from your own agenda, see if you can locate yourself or your target influencers on this map and compare your path to the retail path identified in this post. What would you change about your program? What can you do differently now?

If you want to see the retail trends that will eventually live within the anchor brands, go visit the pop-ups. If you’re interested in seeing this next-wave in a more mature state, go visit the Slow Brands.

Please let me know your questions. -JM


Here’s a list of all retailers mentioned…

Fresh Pop-up Truck:

H&M Pop-up in Miami:

Nordstrom/GQ Men’s Pop-up:

Target/Missoni Pop-up:

Benetton’s Pop-up:

611 Lifestyle:

Brooklyn Industries:


Goorin Brothers:



Ralph Lauren:

Brooklyn Watches:

71 Pop:


Cut Brooklyn:

Outlier Clothing:

Seagull Bags:

Brooklyn Machine Works:

Brooklyn Tailors:

Rickshaw Bagworks:,2817,2351890,00.asp

Applied Cultural Economics “Map”

When I produce my Applied Cultural Economics work, I use a set of tools to help determine what tasks I need to focus on. One tool I use frequently is the below “map.” This tool allows me to identify where a client’s efforts reside on the map and what steps I need to take to help them be successful.

Below, through a few “white-board” drawings, I’ll illustrate the flow of impact through the map. Each circle represents a role, a behavior of a person or organization that creates and has influence on the impact. Simply, impact moves from left to right.

In an ideal Cultural Economics flow, the impact starts all the way at the left and flows all the way to the right. To keep it simple, I label the “thing” that needs to be guided across the map a “spark,” but in most cases a spark is a piece of creative content. These sparks could  originate throughout the flow, and there are unique strategies to ensure these sparks create impact based on where they originate. In the ideal, these sparks originate at the “Trailblazer” layer as this allows the spark to be infused with the most momentum as it travels across the map. The spark can catch a fire, be homogenized, or it can fizzle out quickly.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the roles labeled in the map (these roles are updated from an earlier post I did on this topic found here):

Trailblazers: These are the fiercely innovative individuals and organizations who are inventing the next “thing.” Their greatest concerns are for newness and innovation. They are the artists of their specific disciplines, the cutting-edge. They aim to bring new ideas (or new combinations of ideas) into the world.

Futurists: These are the discoverers of the cutting-edge who eagerly seek to share their findings with their audiences. The result/rewards of this sharing is more about social capital and the value of their sharing than financial.  Their goal is to gather their findings into insightful, thought-leadership bundles before anyone else does. They amplify and provide trajectory to the life of the spark, often modifying the initial spark to map to their own agenda.

Pundits: This group sifts through the happenings of the Futurists to identify which sparks would resonate with their audiences. The pundits work to reconfigure the sparks within their own brand for personal or organizational gain. They are reliant on the futurists to do the initial filtering, but take it the step further to create ingestible, adoptable packets of information for their markets and audiences. The Pundits layer is where a spark can become a revenue driver.

Think-Sharers: This is currently the most active group on the map and where a spark can gain the most boost. Think-Sharers are the new “word-of-mouth” layer now with greater strength through the power of social media. People who play this role are actively sifting through the “firehose” of social data (news, links, thoughts) and sharing and/or re-sharing the sparks that resonate most with them and potentially with their audiences. Think-sharers are also powered by social-capital (like the Futurist) versus financial gains. Think-Sharers are seeking to gain recognition by the sparks they share.

Consumers: This is the largest, yet passive layer. This is the dense-middle that sparks have to traverse to remain relevant. Consumers are typically the last stop for a spark as they are ones who consume it, typically for pleasure, leisure, or intelligence. In many cases the initial spark has been corrupted/assimilated from its original form in order to become adopted by consumers. In unique, and potentially ideal, cases the initial spark remains mostly intact.

Late Adopters: If a spark is successfully consumed, there will be a group of late adopters who will eventually consume the spark as well. In some cases these Late Adopters can breath new life into a spark, like a reverb effect.

Lurkers: This layer is the very last stop for a spark. The most passive of all roles the lurker chooses to engage with the spark after its greatest relevance has passed.

Let’s walk through a spark scenario. I’ll use the metaphor of a “rock band” to guide us through the flow.

Four friends have a spark, they decide they want to start a band, write new songs, and change the world. The spark is driven by their passion to make music. Making money would be cool, but that’s not the driver for their decision.They write songs, rehearse them, post mp3s online and gain some gigs at local clubs. They share their spark with their immediate world. They are the Trailblazers.

Then, a local music blogger searching the listings for local clubs sees the name of this new band. She searches for them online and finds their sample mp3s. She listens to them and writes up a blurb about their sound and recommends people go to the show. Another music fan also happens upon the listings, finds the mp3, and shares it with her twitter list and facebook friends. A good friend of the band also shares the mp3s with his coworkers to showcase the “cool new band” he found. They all go to the show and share their experience of seeing the band with their followers (checkins, tweets, updates, blog posts). These Futurists are multiplying the instances of the spark, giving it momentum, while also adding their own unique layer to the spark.

Through the activity of the three Futurists, a growing number of people are hearing about the band and listening to their songs and going to the gigs. The Pundits are now interested in the activity. More established music bloggers, a local alt-weekly music critic, and a few folks with large social followings start going to the shows. The Pundits write their reviews and share the music with their audiences. They’ve added new layers to the spark, such as wider context of the music, it’s relationships to other bands, where they predict the band (and it’s spark) will go (which audiences will like it). This context might corrupt the original spark, but now the spark has momentum and new audiences.

If the Pundits have done their role well, the spark has now been heard by a widening audience of music fans. This next layer of fans, the Think-Sharers, will compound this amplification by sharing the links to Pundits’s reviews with their audiences via tweets, checkins and status updates. If all goes well, the spark will remain intact and the band’s music will continue its momentum into finding a wider audience. If all doesn’t go well, the Think-Sharers either don’t share what the Pundits have posted, or they share the links with muted interest. As example, they compare the band to less favorable bands or only give the band a simple, passionless mention. The spark then decays and loses momentum.

This is a highly sensitive and important aspect to the flow…the Think-Sharers have tremendous impact on the momentum of the spark into the realm of the passive Consumers. If the spark doesn’t resonate with the Think-Sharers the odds the the spark will decay increases. This could be caused by which Pundits found the spark initially and/or how they wrote about the spark…which is impacted by the Futurists who spotted the spark. One layer impacts the next. If the “wrong” Futurist finds the spark, and the “wrong” Pundit writes about the spark, the spark might never get the chance it deserved.

If the spark is strong, and has found the right advocates in Futurists, Pundits and Think-Sharers, it will reach through the entire map. This is the goal of any spark. This is the focus of Applied Cultural Economists; to help sparks navigate their way across the map. The map is one tool towards this end, I rely on it all the time.

They key steps to use this map is to determine where on the map the spark is and then to identify which roles need to be mobilized to add momentum to the spark. I’ve created a PDF version of a blank map for you to download if you want to give it a try:

Creative Social Design (v1.0), An Introduction.

Creative Social Design (v1.0), An Introduction.

(In this post I’ll share a basic overview of the Creative Social Design framework. In upcoming posts I’ll walk you through specific exercises to get started using this framework.)

What is Creative Social Design?

Creative Social Design (CSD) is the framework for creating, launching and sustaining a holistic social media program. The CSD framework was built for a business-to-business audience, but CSD methods can be applied to any person or organization seeking to succeed in the transition to, and adoption of, social media.

With CSD, all elements of a program are built on the foundation of strong insights. There should be a guiding principle, even if aspirational, that drives the program through each step. There are four main steps to CSD:

  • Insights: Discovering and modeling the unique data points. Using this data to unveil the strong foundation upon which to build actionable strategies.
  • Strategy: Defining the path to reach the ideal outcomes anchored to business goals.
  • Planning: Drafting and finalizing the blueprint for the team, setting the metrics for success. This step includes education/workshops for the individuals and teams that need to improve specific social skillsets based on the blueprint.
  • Activation: Putting the blueprint into action with scheduled audits to ensure nimbleness.

When CSD is done well, Activation won’t be set in motion without Planning. Planning won’t be configured without Strategy. Strategy won’t be set without Insights.

A simple way to start planning your social media program within the CSM framework is to create a document with four columns. From left to right, label the top of each Insights, Strategy, Planning, and Activation. You could also do this exercise on a whiteboard. Here’s an example:

The rule is simple; you need to add the data on the left in order to take a step to the right. Give it a try and see what you can do on your own.

Here’s an example to help you get started:

On my next post on CSM Next post I’ll cover techniques on how to discover and model insightful data.