Traditional corporate communication no longer works. It makes no sense to pump the corporate website full of information, or to unilaterally bother the stakeholders with ads or other mass media. This is very 1.0. Everybody is sending, but who is still receiving? And stakeholders are simply making less of an effort to find you or your organization. It’s the other way around; the organization needs to seek them out.
But where are these stakeholders? Well, most of the time, they can be found in their own social networks. Your organization plays a leading role in the stories that are being told here, and you may not even know it. These are stories about good customer service and about bad experiences. One thing is certain: these stories, reviews, endorsements, and complaints are more powerful than your ads or other manifestations as they express the authentic experience of the customer.
How do you, as an organization, gain control of this situation? From my own experience, I can tell you: you cannot control it other than by really slogging away at it.
Looking at collaborative consumption, you, as an organization, have to be aware that, as said many times before in this book, people often don’t need you to get what they want. In these networks, there is a never-before-seen equality, and the borders between client and producer have completely disappeared. Or, the producer needs the network to make the market mechanics work, and the crowd needs the product or service which, in some cases, only the producer can make. So, you have to start connecting with potential clients, suppliers, staff members, and other producers you don’t know yet, and they don’t know you. You don’t know where they are and how to get in touch with them. You get the picture, right?
The primary goal on your way to monetize your relations with your stakeholders is, obviously, to become part of a network of connected people. Can you create your Mesh? And, after creating this Mesh, can you engage stakeholders in such a way that co-creation becomes possible? Gamification plays a role here, but I will address that later.
Social media is not a magic wand. All too often, I see projects fail because the utilized tools are “too complicated” or that the market is “not yet ready” for it. These excuses mask the simple, yet sad, fact that organizations lack the knowledge of all the available new opportunities, have developed little vision in this area, put little effort into it, and flatly refuse to adapt the organization’s structures and responsibilities to what needs to be done: optimally pay to attention to today’s stakeholder and his/her individual wishes.