From Social Brand to Social Business Part One
By Michael Brito
Many organizations today spend a lot of time, resources and financial investment trying to understand the social landscape and engaging externally their customers and prospects. They are on a quest to become a social brand. They are investing in Facebook applications, branded communities and blogs; and many are using online monitoring solutions to listen and see what people are saying about the brand. And, from this perspective, many companies today are doing a decent job.
Friends, fans and followers are important, yes. And brands increase their social equity by engaging in two-way dialogue with their constituency, yes. And transparency is key to these external engagements, yes. And while many organizations are trying desperately to humanize their brand, they are failing to understand that they need to humanize their business first.
And thereby lies the business challenge for many organizations today. Years ago with the expansion of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks; and as the influence of the social customer became apparent to everyone, companies of all sizes and in every vertical began to “join the conversation”. It was not only an expectation from customers that companies engaged with them but also from social influencers who enjoyed playing Monday morning quarterback and often criticized brands for every customer action/inaction.
And companies listened. In response to the social customer and the growing criticism from the masses, organizations today are now aggressively hiring community managers and social strategists, allocating budgets to social media, hiring social media agencies, integrating social media into other areas of paid media and doing their best at community engagement. They are doing everything a "good" social brand should be doing.
But a good social brand causes problems behind the firewall.
From the outside looking in, most wouldn’t recognize and understand the challenges that social media has created in the enterprise. The anarchy, conflict, confusion of roles and responsibilities, lack of communication and collaboration; and organizational silos that exist behind the firewall is not visible. These challenges make the process of becoming an effective social brand much more difficult and less effective. So for many organizations, this quest to becoming a social brand and a social business is one of a simultaneous effort.
Social business is an organization’s natural (sometimes forced) evolution to humanize its business operations It deals with the internal transformation of an organization and addresses key factors such as change management, organizational models, culture, internal communications, collaboration, governance, training, employee activation, global and technology expansion, team dynamics and the establishment of a measurement philosophy.
In order for companies to do this effectively, they will have to get smarter, acquire new technologies, intelligence, talent and become more open and transparent. The will have to actually communicate with each other, share knowledge, tear down silos and essentially change the way they work day to day. They will have to establish processes and governance models that protect the organization yet empower their employees. They have to change the way they do business, from the way they develop new products to the way they write a press release, and that starts with the people of the organization.
A tech veteran, Michael Brito is Senior Vice President of Social Business Planning at Edelman Digital, the interactive arm of the world's largest independently owned public relations firm. He is a much sought after speaker, advisor and community activist on issues ranging from social business, fund raising, digital marketing, community engagement, customer advocacy and integrated brand marketing communications.
Check back on Sunday for Part Two
How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans
AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”
AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”
Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”
Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”
Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”