A Manifesto for Social Business


Share on LinkedIn

The nature of business is inexorably changing. The changes are being driven by a number of factors: ranging from the need to compete differently after the recession, through the availability of huge volumes of new information, to the rapidly growing influence of social customers.

I would almost go as far to say that we are fast approaching a period of ‘Business Enlightenment’, based not so much on the linear thinking that drove the Enlightenment in the 18th Century, as on networked, emergent thinking which is driving so much new thinking in the 21st.

Many different themes are coming together and new business models are emerging from where they meet and mutually reinforce each other. Together, they have the potential to change many aspects of what we call business today. They have the potential to create a new kind of Social Business, driven not so much for social purposes as by social relationships. Many companies are already experimenting with these themes, some companies with a number of them. Although no companies are experimenting with all of them yet, it is only a matter of time.

Here are the fifteen themes (the Manifesto) driving Social Business:

  • No1. From Individual Customers… to Networks of Customers

    The emphasis for business today is still on managing customers as individuals. But we have evolved as social animals with highly developed and highly influential social networks. For example, research by Christakis & Fowler suggests that we are highly influenced by three degrees of influence – friends, friends’ friends and friends’ friends’ friends. It’s not about ‘influencers’ per se, but the social networks in which influence happens. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must recognise the power of customers’ social networks to shape customers’ behaviour.

  • No2. From Customer Needs, Wants & Expectations… to Customer Jobs-to-be-Done

    For years we have struggled with the psychobabble generated by trying to understand customers needs, wants and expectations. Customers know what they are trying to do but codifying this has baffled market researchers and cost companies millions in failed new products. Recently, Tony Ulwick has shown how looking at the jobs customers are trying to do and the outcomes they are trying to achieve, can cut through the psychobabble and provide a foundation for innovation. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must start to understand the jobs customers are trying to do and how we can help them do the jobs better.

  • No3. From Company Value-in-Exchange… to Customer Value-in-Use

    The dominant model in business today is based on value-in-exchange. The company sells products in exchange for the customer’s money. There is obviously value in exchange for the company, but not much value for the customer. Customers only create value when they use the products in the days, months or even years of the product’s lifecycle. Think of buying a new car. Customers create value over many years of happy motoring. But the carmakers pretty much abandon the customer (to their dealers) immediately after the sale. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must understand how customers use products to get jobs done throughout the lifecycle of the product.

  • No4. From Delivering Value to Customers… to Co-Creating Value with Customers

    In the value-in-exchange model, companies embed value in their products and then try and find willing buyers. Value is delivered at the point of sale. But as we have seen, value for customers is co-created when customers use the products to help them do jobs more effectively. The product is a means for the customer to co-create value. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must understand how customers use products to help them do jobs and to embed the collected knowledge, skills and experience in the products themselves so that customers can co-create more value-in-use.

  • No5. From Marketing, Sales & Service Touchpoints… to the End-to-End Customer Experience

    Traditional CRM is based largely on the marketing, sales and service touchpoints. But customers see many more touchpoints, in particular, they see the many touchpoints as they use products to help them do jobs. CEM has extended CRM to include all the touchpoints in the end-to-end customer experience. But far too much CEM is about the company’s brands rather than about customers. It is a step in the right direction but it doesn’t go far enough. It isn’t about how customer co-create value. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must understand all the touchpoints important to customers and how we can help customers co-create more value during the touchpoints.

  • No6. From One-Size-Fits-All Products… to a Long-Tail of Mass-Customised Solutions

    Most companies still make a limited range of products and then try and find willing buyers. Many companies have gone beyond this simple model by bundling a range of complementary products, information and services. But as anyone looking for a new mobile telecom plan knows, the bundles never give you exactly what you want without bankrupting you in the process. Some companies, like Turkey’s Garanti have started to offer customers modular products they can mass-customise for themselves. Their Flexi credit card offers 9,000 different variations through only 19 easy to customise options. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must modularise products and provide simple configuration tools to allow customers to create just the right solution at the touch of a button.

  • No7. From Competing on Products, Price or Service… to Competing over Multi-sided Platforms

    The Delta Model tells us that companies should compete based on innovative new products, keener pricing or superior service. This approach has served companies well in the past 20 years. But new advances in business models, in particular, the growth of multi-sided markets like credit cards, internet retailing and more recently, the Apple iPhone application store has changed whole industries. Multi-sided markets allow thousands of sellers to trade with millions of buyers who normally would never meet each other. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must provide multi-sided platforms over which customers can trade with our companies and a whole ecosystem of partners.

  • No8. From Company Push… to Sensing and Responding in Real-Time to Customers

    As we have seen, most companies still operate using a push model. Products are made and then marketed and sold to willing buyers. That works fine when most customers want what your company has to offer. Or if there isn’t any real competition. But today’s customers are no longer willing to accept products that don’t exactly match their needs. Companies like Capital One and Tesco have used the power of customer analytics to offer the right products to thousands of dynamic customer micro-segments. Capital One reputedly carries out over 50,000 such marketing experiments every year. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must learn to sense and respond to the changes in behaviour of small groups of customers in almost real-time.

  • No9. From Technology, Processes & Culture… to Complementary Capabilities and Micro-Foundations

    Most companies recognise that it is no good just installing new technology and expecting things to get better. As we used to say in PwC’s Change Practice, Old Organisation + New Technology = Expensive Old Organisation. Today, companies look to a basket of technologies, processes and people to plan business improvements. But this isn’t enough. We need to look deep into the nuts and bolts of our companies to understand the complementary capabilities and micro-foundations that drive success. And in today’s networked environment, that may mean understanding partners and even customers’ capabilities too. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must really understand what drives success in our companies and our network of partners, not just use simplistic improvement models and hope for the best.

  • No10. From Made by Companies for Customers… to Made By Customers for Each Other

    Companies exist as they are more efficient at providing what customers need than either markets or other customers; they have lower transaction costs. But the Internet is slowly chipping away at these transaction costs and is enabling new ways of transacting. Customers can now transact directly with other customers, often at a lower cost than going through a traditional company. As the success of peer-to-peer bank Zopa shows, customers can now do business with each other directly, cutting out the expensive middleman. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must ensure that our companies are not in danger of being cut-out of the equation as customers start to deal directly with each other. Or to adopt, e.g. a multi-sided platform business model if we are.

  • No11. From On-premise Applications… to On-demand Solutions from the Cloud

    As companies recognise that yesterday’s complicated approach to business won’t work in tomorrow’s complex environment, they must adapt or die. Part of the adaptation is moving away from suites of all-singing, all-dancing on-premise applications to solution clouds of integrated on-demand applications. Although this is still very much work in progress, it should be clear that only on-demand solutions through the cloud will give companies the flexibility they need to cope with emerging changes to the business environment. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must have access to use just enough on-demand applications delivered through the cloud to respond to changing market conditions.

  • No12. From Stand-alone Companies… to an Ecosystem of Networked Partners

    Most companies still only work with a limited number of partners. But these times are changing. As customers increasingly demand complete solutions to help them do their jobs, companies are forced to work together with a network of partners to provide exactly what customers need. For example, Procter & Gamble’s Connect & Develop programme allows it to partner with thousands of potential partners to deliver better solutions for customers. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must identify the partners we need to deliver better solutions for customers and learn how to partner with them for mutual advantage.

  • No13. From Hierarchical Command & Control… to Collaborative Hybrid Organisations

    When companies are organised to minimise transaction costs, it usually leads to a hierarchical, command & control approach to organisation. This is fine if companies want to operate as efficiently as possible in an unchanging environment. But if the environment is continuously changing, companies cannot sense and respond quickly enough if they are organised in this way. To make sense of changing environments, companies need a flexible, network-based organisation that can work together with customers to identify and respond in real-time to their needs. The answer to these apparently conflicting ways of organising is to create hybrid organisations that combine the best of both worlds. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must create collaborative hybrid organisations that combines the efficiency of command & control with the flexibility of networks.

  • No14. From Customer Strategy… to a Portfolio of Emergent Customer Options

    In an unchanging world companies should formulate customer strategies that allow them to make the best of their limited resources. But in the continuously changing world we find ourselves in today, that just creates problems as plans quickly become out of date. As McKinsey’s Eric Beinhocker points out in his book The Origin of Wealth that means creating a portfolio of customer options with which to respond to customers’ emerging behaviour. And as we have seen, today’s social customers are highly influenced by what their friends do. Their behaviour is highly emergent. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must create a portfolio of customer options with which to respond to changes in customer behaviour.

  • No15. From Customer Lifetime Value… to Customer Network Value – Customer lifetime value is based on the customer as a purchasing island. But as we have seen already, the customer is highly influenced by friends, friends’ friends and friends’ friends’ friends, and in return, influences then back. This led to the development of Customer Referral Value as a way to measure these influence networks. But that isn’t enough. As I pointed out in an earlier blog post on Take Three Bites at the Customer Value Cherry customer networks by dint of their ability to attract other customers and sellers has a value over and above the customers’ referral value. If we are to be successful in Social Business we must understand how customers, their referrals and the customer network as a whole creates value for companies.

The fifteen trends driving social business are not meant to be the final word on the subject. Rather, they are meant to provide a framework to start to think about social business in a structured way and at the same time, a catalyst to stimulate everyone else’s own thinking on Social Business.

Social Business is too important to leave to individuals or individual companies to decide. It is SOCIAL Business after all. That means everyone with an original thought should feel free to add to the many conversations now spring-up on Twitter, Googlewave and elsewhere.

As Alan Kay famously said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”. Let’s get inventing.

Graham Hill
Customer-centric Innovator
Follow me on Twitter

Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

Graham Hill (Dr G)
Business Troubleshooter | Questioning | Thoughtful | Industrious | Opinions my own | Connect with me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamhill/


  1. Hi Graham,

    A truly great post, that sums up for a lot of things we have been discussing over the past six months. Further to that I think this is a great way to stimulate the discussion.

    A few topics come to mind, of which I will put down one here:

    Social Business is often said to require a more authentic and transparent approach to doing business. Furthermore I notice that emerging social outcomes like sustainability and social responsibility come into play too.

    @designthinkers explains it in the way that in essence peoples desired outcomes are to be happy and healthy as long as possible. In combination with the above I feel that providing a social purpose to your business, or in other words: cater for the social job of being responsible (including wanting to do business with companies that act responsibly), may be another trend that drives social business.

    What are your thoughts on this?

  2. Hi Graham,

    Thanks for doing the heavy lifting. That means I can throw in my 2 cents so you can make me think a bit more. The first thing I would say is that we have customer-centric businesses today, and that not all of them will need to be “social business” to be successful. A small % of business may be customer centric, but just because other businesses use social tools, won’t make them social, or customer centric. Here area few specific reactions. I’m sure they are from my complete lack of thought on this these topics so I’m hopeful I’ll learn something:

    1. This sounds completely in the realm of relationship marketing and will likely remain there. Yes, they will have to figure something out, unless there are some examples.

    2. We already do this, don’t we? My initial reaction is that this says that we create products that have no use for our customers.

    3. I look at this as the car having value at purchase, and over the years we “use” or absorb that value. The user isn’t creating value, value is potential and it’s used. At least the way I look at it today.

    4. This seems similar to 2. I don’t understand the “co-create” concept very well. If I design a product or a service that that has value to my customer, isn’t it because they can then use it to add value to their customers? Otherwise, why did I offer it, and why did they buy it? If the conversation gets much more complicated than that, I don’t seen the conversation getting too far with your average business.

    5. Customer centric business already get this, social or no social, in my opinion.

    OK. That’s all my brain and my schedule can handle for now. This is going to be a good set of discussions if only because explaining it to me may make it easier for the average guy on the street to get it (which I am).

    Mike Boysen
    Effective CRM

  3. Fabulous post, Graham.

    Although much of what you say I’d put under the banner of just good business, not necessarily what most people think of as “social.”

  4. Graham –

    Fabulous post, and I agree with Bob that this should be put under the banner of “good” business (with the assumption that “good” means putting the customer first).

    Love the comparison of today’s environment to the Age of Enlightenment. Considering the fact that the first 100 years of talk and debate led to 70 years of power struggles and revolutions, this can truly be considered interesting times. (Given the pace of technology, information, innovation, etc today, I would certainly expect this to play out in our lifetimes and not have to wait for our grandchildren to be the first to reapt the benefits).

    Actually though, today’s environment could be perceived as either a customer revolution or an evolution. That would be dependent upon where an organization is today in being customer centric. If you have very high NPS scores (though I personally think NPS is very limited in scope and usefulness) like Apple, Costco (here in the States, etc, then this is an evolution, and your strategy should be adjusted accordingly. If you have low NPS scores or only give lip service to being customer centric, then this is clearly a revolution and your future entails a painful power struggle for survival.

    Let the games begin.

  5. I echo Scott and co’s comments that this is a cracking post. Well done Graham.

    But I’d like to raise one point of concern about Scott’s reply – “the assumption that “good” means putting the customer first”

    I’m not sure I agree with this. Business involves many communities – customers, employees, shareholders, partners etc. These communities have natural conflicts. So is good business favouring one over the other? Why should customers be put first?

    Wouldn’t good business be focused on balancing these conflicts and delivering equitable outcomes for all concerned?


  6. Mark –

    Thanks for the comment and I see your point. I totally agree with the fact that business involves many communities – customers, employees, shareholders, partners, etc and that it involves a balancing act.

    That being said, can a business survive without customers? No.

    And happy employees = happy customers. To a point, I agree with this, but look at Enron or firms selling unqualified mortgages. Yes, it is possible to have happy employees, shareholders, and partners who belong to the RPP style of business (Rape, Pillage and Plunder) and, for a time, their customers might be happy until they wake up.

    I think the purpose of this manifesto is to show that the new social world is a wake up call to us (in business). Trust is declining rapidly and the ability to continue tipping the scales on the side of the business is waning.

    Is it not a good thing to ask what is good for my customer before I ask what is good for me? That does not mean that I can provide the customer with everything they ask for, since some of it may mean that I can’t profitably stay in business. That’s where the balancing act comes in. So, by saying, put customers first, I mean, that it should be paramount to understand the customers needs/what they are trying to accomplish (Points Number 2 and 3 above)first and foremost, and then balance that with what I can provide (and survive in the process).

    Does this make sense?

  7. Thank you for [wrastling] this monster down to fighting size. We’ve been trying to draw a map to help get started and you have laid out a proper route to follow. We see a lot of top consultants jockeying for a position of leadership and wondered if you see the work for your creativity in volume yet? Is the C-suite interested in the marketing shift?

    We would love for you to visit our network of IT and engineering folks and share your ideas.

    Well done,

  8. Putting the customer first is hardly an act of altruism or socialist thinking. It is the realization of the actual costs to get a customer, what a particular customer is worth, and what the stakes are to reach a particular number of customers. Those are moving targets but support the way business is done. When tech workers realized how much fun they could have being networked – called early adapter/adopters – and owners realized how much work could be done by encouraging collaboration, a revolution quietly took place. What we are seeing today is the not-so-early adopters having to learn communications skills, at every org level, and hearing the hooves at their heels.

    Unlike the initial appearance of the Internet and demand for people to learn email, today the global competition won’t wait. It ought to be a lot of fun.

  9. Hi Wim

    I think you are right about the need for Social Business to be more open and transparent. I would add more honest too. Not for openness’ sake mind, but because trust plays a significant role in Social Business and because we have so FEW reasons to trust large companies today.

    The social responsibility factor is interesting too. I still think it is a luxury that many people fighting to keep their head above the turbulent economic waters cannot currently afford. If you are faced with a choice between putting intensively-farmed meat on your children’s dinner plate versus only eating socially responsible vegetables, then people are right to be socially irresponsible. With high unemployment, falling wages and increasing poverty, people need to look after themselves first and the environment a distant second.

    The other difficulty with social responsibility is that it has been hijacked by politicians of all hue. It is now trendy to have a socially responsible flavour to practically every policy, irrespective of whether it makes economic sense to do so (someone else is always going to be picking up the bill, if only taxpayers) or whether the consequences have been properly thought through. And to add a wicked evolutionary biology thought to the discussion, it makes sense to be a quiet whats-in-it-for-me hawk when all around you are highly visible social responsibility doves. I will leave it to you to work out which one I am.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

  10. Hi Mike

    Thanks for your great questions.

    You are right. There is no mandatory requirement for a company to become social-centric, just as there is none to become customer-centric either. Becoming social-centric should be driven by an understanding of what jobs customers need help doing (where they already engage non-company people to help), the capabilities the company needs to develop to help customers and whether there is any money to be made from doing so. And of course, nobody yet has a robust, repeatable, reliable social business model so companies are going to have to experiment to see what works.

    And picking up on your questions:

    1. Relationship Marketing
      Much of relationship marketing was purely about marketing and not at all about relationships. I had a big sort out last weekend and threw away all of my old relationship marketing books; three big boxes of books in total. People don’t want relationships with the majority of today’s companies; they just want high quality products at a reasoable price that do exactly what they say on the tin. Customer reach out to social networks for help where companies fail to do so effectively. Socially-minded companies should understand what jobs customers reach out to others to get help doing, identify how they can do this more effectively and work out how they can make money by doing so. Any resulting relationship will only be won over many value-adding touchpoints.

    2. Useless Products
      Research suggests that on average, 80% of new products fail on introduction in the market. And 60% fail on reintroduction. Clayton Christensen suggests that 75% of this failure is due to not understanding customers needs properly during the fuzzy front-end of innovation. And Donald Lehmann has shown that being able to rapidly sense and respond to changing customer needs can deliver a 95% success rate for innovation. So Yes, I guess many companies do produce many useless and not very useful products. And the few that do, really sweep-up the market.

    3. Automotive Value
      Do car makers really embed value in the vehicles they produce? If you buy a brand new car and just let it sit on your driveway until the engine seizes up and the bodywork rusts through, where is the value in that? A new car is perhaps best seen as a ‘value-proposition’, that enables you to co-create value in use rather than as stored value. But other than gazing admiringly at your new car (an emotional job) or pointing out your new car to your neighbours (a social job), most of the value comes from the jobs driving the car enables. Things like getting to work warm and dry during stormy weather, getting your wife safely to hospital in-time to deliver your first child and balmy summer holidays with the family in the South of France. And what applies to cars applies to pretty much every product, service and experience too. Value is mostly co-created during usage.

    4. Co-creating Value
      Understanding co-creation requires a subtle shift in thinking. Goods-dominant logic suggests that value is embedded in products during manufacturing, which consumers then destroy during usage until the product is worn out. Service-dominant logic on the other hand suggests that products are effectively value-propositions that enable customers to create value during their usage. In other words, value is co-created by consumers as they use the product to do important jobs. You co-create value with your brand new car only when you drive it which enables you to do an important job, whether that is getting to work in the rain, or just enjoying the acceleration and sound of a V8 super-charged engine. Once you have understood the principle of co-creation, the challenge is to understand how you can improve the customer’s ability to co-create value. That might involve redesigning the product to be easier to use, ‘error-proofing’ it to prevent mistakes or providing visual information to help the customer use it more effectively, to name but a few ways.

    5. Customer-Centricity
      Many companies claim to be customer-centric, but most of them aren’t really. My earlier definition of customer-centricity set out five principles including: understanding customer jobs (Manifesto Theme #2), mass-customisation of matching products (Theme #6), a reconfigurable business system (built on Theme #9), a lean business system (not covered) and managing customers for value (Theme #15). Companies who successfully adopt this definition of customer-centricity are automatically part of the way down the road to becoming social-centric too.

    I hope that helps clear a few things up.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

  11. Hi Bob

    I think you are largely right. Much of what I wrote applies to business in general rather than just to social business. Any difference is in the degree to which the fifteen themes apply. Social business requires more openness, transparency and honesty if it is to work effectively. Customers will work more closely with companies as a response.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

  12. Hi Scott

    Like you I am no fan of the simplistic NPS score and the cottage industry of consultants that has sprung up around it. But just imagine what you could do if you could link changes in NPS scores back to how well we support customers to do the important jobs they hire our products to help them do.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

  13. Hi Mark

    Theme #12 From Stand-alone Companies… to an Ecosystem of Networked Partners recognises that there may be a number of stakeholders involved in co-creating value for customers (and by implication, in co-creating value for themselves in the process). As you suggest, the art of business is in balancing the relative value co-creation so that all stakeholders are satisfied with their lot. Not always an easy thing to do.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

  14. Hi Mickey

    Thanks for your comment.

    I had a look at your Manifesto for Social Media. It makes a lot of sense. And as expected, there is a quite a bit of overlap with my own Manifesto for Social Business.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-centric Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

  15. What a great series of themes to build a better business. Excellent job Graham. To me: The best I’ve seen.
    Yes, it feels a bit like “just good business” and it is amazing how many company leaders are light years away from just that. But this manifesto is NOT about just doing good business.

    I read this post twice.

    First with my social media head on and I was excited about the direction. The only thing that I’d like to change/enhance is the customer centric view of the “business”. But more on this later.

    Then I read it, pretending I have just very little to now social media experience and I can echo – it feels like “just good business”. But here is the PROBLEM we have to help business leaders to solve:
    1) People read what they want to read
    2) People just don’t bother to think abouty things they don’t completely understand or have experience with
    3) People put the content in context with what they know and what they see and draw new pictures (content fusion) to something the author didn’t even thought of. As you mentioned, Graham: “Any difference is in the degree to which the fifteen themes apply”.

    Endless discussions have been made with no learning – just manifesting ones own opinion, aggregating new arguments, fighting a longer fight.

    NOW – some thoughts on “Social Business”:
    Of course, our existence as a business is circling around the customers we serve. But I think we do even the customer a disfavor if we are too customer centric. A business is like a “synapse” in a brain. In order to work well we need to consider all inputs processes and outputs. In other words:
    Human talent acquisition and development must be equally important for a well designed business than the logistics part of the business managing everything from raw material selection to production and final distribution. As 75% of all world trade is conducted through supply channels, the partner world of a company is crucial to be successful – in particular in the newly connected world. The culture of a company need flow with the cultural development of the society that company is operating in. The production part, selecting environmentally friendly materials and processes are of great importance as consumer select or deselect products and brands based on their ecological qualities.

    As such I guess there should be at least 5 themes added to the Social Business Manifesto:

    No16. From resource hiring – to talent acquisition
    Most companies think in “resources” to perform certain tasks to create a defined output. While this works in a rather slowly changing ecosystem, it didn’t work out in the ever faster changing world. Team mates even in “lower level” positions need to be highly integrated in the business to be able to suggest changes and more efficient ways to do business. Adrienne Corn made a great presentation when she researched organizational behaviors and the gain in success with more talent focused companies than resource focused companies. A social team is not just more powerful as it can better connect to customers but highly networked engineers, production worker or bookkeeper know faster about new and better solutions than workers working in isolation.

    No17. From retrospective material planning – to crowd based trends analysis
    Most material planning and the resulting logistics processes are based on heuristic models. Past purchase volume, and some sampling data of potential trends plus the however discounted forecast from sales dominate the demand planning. A recent project I was involved in demonstrated that truly “listening” to the market with social media based methods not only increased profitability by 25% through better demand planning but also provided huge competitive advantages. Early warning systems using social media techniques can make a logistics department a finance hero.

    No18. From regional distribution channels – to socially integrated business partners
    With the vast majority of businesses conducting through dealers, stores, shops, resellers, distributors and other types of partner channels, businesses need to revisit their partner programs and ensure that the partners have the social connection to the joint customers like the company would want to have in their direct sales engagement. More so partners as “middle men” are able to play the diplomatic bridge and build an even stronger trust level between customer and producer than a direct relationship may get.

    No.19 From monetary cost only financials – to ecosystem cost financials
    Corporate financial are almost exclusively focused on short term monetary gains. Driven by shareholder pressure and financial competitiveness, eventually rewarded with high executive bonuses, companies and their shareholder community will need to revisit the longer term economic and ecologic impact. Customers more than ever look for ecologically balanced production, raw materiel usage and product output. As the sales of those products influence the revenue and profitability, social businesses need to be more integrated in the shifts the consumers performing towards a more eco system friendly output.

    No.20 From early business school modeling mentality – to an adaptive culture model
    Only a very few companies managed to reinvent themselves over and over again. IBM is a great example moving from typewriters to the largest computer manufacturer to the largest technology service organization. Businesses need to be deeper integrated, socially connected to the society they serve. Only openness will mirror openness from the market. Businesses need to evolve from an older hierarchical management system to a cellular system that allows many groups and departments to operate independently and evolve with a culture needed to collaborate with their respective parts of the society.

    All in all a social business is when all of its departments and functions evolve to a socially integrated organism as part of the society they serve.

    I’m sure you can tweak my louse English to some more profound wording 😉


  16. I hardly know where to begin. Not only itself manifesto brilliantly articulated, but you’ve given birth to baby manifestos within the comment section. Well done!

    Like commenter Axels, I read your post first with my social media hat on and then with my business strategy hat on. And then, for good measure, I put on my future-thinking hat. It made sense every time.

    I see bigger businesses with lots of resources adopting many of these themes (although often they do a few of them really well in isolation). But what I see more and more of is the new businesses springing up whose founders had an ‘aha’ moment in social networking adopting many more of these themes, in a much more cohesive way, often just by the quick learning that occurs in the social realm. It is the mid-sized businesses who don’t have the resources and move slower who should be most concerned — they are trying to duck and cover, but won’t have much success.

    I believe this way of doing business will lead to a creative renaissance unlike what we can even imagine, and I, for one, am looking forward to it.

    Thanks for the great insights.

  17. I greatly enjoyed both the original post and the excellent ideas shared in the comments.

    I’d like to add one more manifesto: From Financial Results Evaluation…to Multiple Results Valuation
    Every product or service interaction has the potential to create multiple results for multiple audiences:
    – Sales (financial return)
    – Social currency (creating communities that make work easier and more fun)
    – Community Impact (benefiting multiple audiences through connections, partnerships, supporting local causes, etc.)
    – Intrinsic Benefits (as described in Daniel Pink’s new book, Drive, the intrinsic human needs for Autonomy in how you approach your work, opportunity to create Mastery, and understanding of the ultimate Purpose of the work you’re doing.)
    Social Business requires defining value based on these multiple results.

    As we continue to move Social Business into the mainstream, we’ll hear individuals and companies introducing themselves differently. They’ll:
    1. Explain what they’re doing (The Purpose of their project, product or service)
    2. Engage – why it’s important (Who benefits and how)
    3. Energize – specify how others can participate (comment, share, participate, purchase, contribute your expertise, refer…)
    4. Expand – continue the conversation (report back to participants, respond to comments, show what’s working with case studies)

    This is a really exciting conversation and one that will bring huge changes to how we do business. Social Business will create much more comprehensive results and higher value for all particpants. Great to find a wonderful group of fellow enthusiasts!

    I’d appreciate your comments and feedback or any examples you’d like to share.

    Graham, beyond commenting on this excellent post, let us know of other ways we can support you. People are eager to be “engergized”. They just need clear direction on what you need/are looking to do next.

    Elaine Starling
    [email protected]

  18. …of what value is any of this if the employees themselves are not given the provisions to do the same first?

    Such is a necessary condition for any of the rest of this and yet it is not mentioned once (unless I missed it).

  19. @Rotkapchen You are right all this won’t work – but it is the same as if you make a manifesto for democracy and somebody in a communistic country is reading it. The manifesto still makes sense even so they can’t benefit from it.

    There maybe still companies who actually *prevent* teams to use social media, very much like there were companies who blocked Internet access, did not move to Personal Computers, didn’t allow employees to use a telephone… But those companies probably cease operation sooner or later – that is the natural cycle of a healthy economy. And if you are in such a company – you have the choice to stay or leave.


  20. the recession has changed things however CRMs save you money in the medium to long term. if your pitch is focused around this, you will meet and exceed your sales quota.

  21. Graham,
    Excellent post. My favorite is No9. From Technology, Processes & Culture… to Complementary Capabilities and Micro-Foundations. I’ve researched many failed enterprise social efforts. The formula is quite simple and almost always the same. If the focus is on the tools being used, the effort generally fails. If the focus is on people and process, the effort generally succeeds. I firmly believe that any enterprise social implementation should begin by looking across a business at which business processes can and should be improved by changing the process to leverage enterprise social capabilities. I also believe that training people on tools puts the emphasis on the wrong things (e.g., which buttons to click), but that training people on new socially-enabled ways of working is paramount. Again, great post. Thanks for sharing.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here