In my last post, I’ve analyzed how the interplay between people, technology and formal and informal networks yields the organizational culture. It was focused on what was happening inside the organization so its now time for the other side of the coin. I’ll try to explain the effects of new social media to the organization on elements outside the organization, specifically the consumers. You could say they are the life and blood of organizations since they decide whether your organization deserves to live or not.
First let’s visualize a simple scenario.
Here we have the organization and its customers. let us consider a scenario where the organization is a profit-oriented organization. If the organization has a product they want to sell, they would want to advertise their product to the people.
Back then, orgs will try to bombard people with tv commercials and everything in the mass media arsenal to convince their customers that their product is good. This is heavily a one way communication since the consumers have no way of providing feedback to the organization. Another disadvantage is that its costly as hell and there’s no telling how many people saw your advertisement. Of course you could air during prime time but that would cost you even more. In other words, its costly and inefficient. But what if we introduce new social media?
First effect of new social media; the invasion of Social Networking Sites. People are now “connected” more than ever. With the power of blogs, wall posts, tweets, forums, boards, and everything else that the internet has to offer, people now have the power to express themselves before an immensely large audience. Organizations are now introduced to a new breed of customers. This could potentially spell either salvation or doom for all organizations. If you make the people happy, you can be the next big thing regardless of the size of your organization. If you do otherwise, you have a very rough road ahead of you. So what does this say about comm strategies of orgs?
No more power play of television commercials. This is the time for a more fluid form of communication. Remember what I said about people having more power to communicate? Well, organizations can also communicate with these people, a two way communication making way for a collaborative economy. Organizations do not tell the people what they want and expect the people to bend towards it; the people tell the organization what they want and the organization must work their way around these expectations in order to satisfy the needs or their customers.
Instead of doing a research study on what the people want, organizations can now “work with” the people they target themselves. The less-talk-and-more-work principle now clearly applies to the current market, thus the thin line. Flexible and continuous flow of information is described by the curved line. People have different tastes and can even change over time. The organization must learn to ride this flow or else they’ll get left behind.
And why is this the perfect storm?
You can now relate to the people you target more effectively and efficiently than ever. What’s more is that these people can pass on the word of your organization through word of mouth, which is arguably the best form of advertisement in this day and age. Other people outside of your network will then be “caught by the storm” and will be a part of your customer list. If you manage to ride this storm successfully, then it can’t get any better than this.