Forbes magazine has been an institution for big corporates since 1917. Not hiding any modesty, the motto of Forbes magazine is “The Capitalist Tool.” Forbes is steeped in the traditional business model, so you can guess their content is anything but trendy. So when Forbes declares – “Social is today’s extinction event for organizations. Companies need to adapt or they will fail to survive” – doubters better take note…and more importantly action.
An insightful and blunt article from Forbes: “What Do the Extinction of Dinosaurs and Social Business Have in Common?”, has offered a big wake-up call for any corporations not moving with the change to social business. Likening big corporates to dinosaurs, and social business the ‘extinction theory’, it highlights quite simply the failure to adapt is the failure to survive.
The Forbes article, inspired by a talk from social business group Dachis, focused purely on the need for social businessl. The social business model does not begin with tools, platforms or campaigns – it begins from a core business need from within.
Some success factors highlighted by Dion Hinchcliffe:
1. Listen, analyze, and engage, continuously
2. Integrate social into the flow of work
3. Plan for change and the unexpected
4. Turn on the network effect
5. Remove barriers to participate
6. Enable everyone to participate
Seems simple, yes, but for most corporations the ‘simple’ is muddled within a sea of opinion, information overload, lack of data, and leadership hesitation. The core business needs remains the same – the fact of the matter is consumers have changed, and businesses must adapt.
So why is it so difficult to adapt? In the 1920s the average lifespan of a company was seventy+ years, today its fifteen years according to Dave Gray of Dachis Group. Forbes highlights this extremely well in pointing out that since the existence of corporate – it has always been a controlled top-down model: drive efficiency, control margins, manage customers. Social business flips this business model on its head. In order to survive in the current market, top down control has turned to ground up, listen and learn. So, how to get there…
Dachis group spoke about evolution on a 10 point roadmap:
Establish a business case and social strategy that solves a real problem.
Gain organizational alignment around a shared vision.
Listen to the sentiment of the market.
Get your employees ready for change by involving them in the change process.
Pilot the social solution and measure the results.
Develop realistic roadmaps made up of short mini-projects.
Continually train, educate and inform employees and stakeholders.
Break your organization up into small semi-autonomous pods.
Integrate social across the organization.
Extend social externally and measure results.
Consumers are past just being saavy – they are informed and have options at their fingertips. The culture of your corporation must embrace this shift in power. A transformation into a social business will take time, but needs to start with the decision makers. Here at FRANk, we didn’t need any convincing about the future of Social Business, so some strong advice from the powerhouse of Forbes doesn’t hurt! With the average lifespan of corporates moving from 70 to 15 years…we’d suggest it’s time to go social.