What do world leaders say about social media?
During the World Economic Forum in Davos, some business leaders where asked: ‘how is social media changing how you do your business?’, and their answers provide some very interesting insight into the growing importance of having a social business today.
Michael Acton Smith, CEO and Founder of online toy company Moshi Monsters, for instance says that although children are not necessarily connected to social media, their parents today are. This means that it is very important for the toy industry to connect to parents through social media if they want to ensure the success of their products.
Michael Acton Smith here touches on the crucial point that it does not suffice to simply develop a product and hard sell it, but that it needs to be ‘communicated to’ as well through fruitful discussions with the right customers, in this case, the children’s parents.
CEO of Marriott International, Arne M. Sorenson, says that ‘social media is a tool that travelers almost always use now one way or another, particularly for leisure travel, to assess where it is they are going’. He further adds that while this might be done through Facebook or a dedicated travel site, the important point is that travelers want to know what their friends and others have to say about the place they are going to, whether it is a hotel or a destination.
This not only means that it is crucial to increase your travel product’s online exposure, but that is it equally important to make sure that happy customers have channels to spread the word for others to see. This point touches on the snowball effect of social media, which can be either a great advantage or disadvantage to a company, depending on how much customers like your product and/or service.
Working on turning a disliked product into a desirable one is thus another crucial aspect to take into consideration as customers who do not approve or like your product will not spare you on social media channels.
Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan says that social media is particularly important when launching a new product: ‘the fact that you are chatting all the time with your customers, and they are proposing and they are telling you what you need to do is great because it allows you to enhance your product and develop it at a much faster pace and much more accurate than before’.
Here, Carlos Ghosn touches on the crucial point of ‘collective intelligence’; a key business opportunity provided by social media. Social media tools allow for businesses to connect to customers and listen to them – this feedback, in turn, can either be ignored, or instead, turned into immense business leverage to enhance a product and/or service.
CEO of Havas, David Jones, says ‘social media has created a world of radical transparency and it has dramatically changed the world of business, […] businesses now know that they need to be more socially responsible, and that’s being driven very much by people who can now sanction and take down those leaders and businesses who do not behave in the right way’, and that this phenomenon ‘can create movements against you, so I think social media is playing an incredible important role in driving the world of business to be much more socially responsible.’
David Jones here discusses an aspect that is becoming increasingly more important as social technology moves forward: in the world of transparency that social media has afforded, businesses need to be true to their brands, transparent and socially responsible in order to survive and be successful. If their true actions are far from the image that they portray, people will eventually discover reality and broadcast it to the world.
While this video shows additional word leaders sharing their opinions and comments, one essential point remains as the common denominator between all of their experiences: the fact that social media is dramatically changing the face of business, and that the social revolution taking place is moving at such a pace that those business leaders that do not adapt to it now will end up lagging behind their competitors sooner than later.
To watch the full video, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMNIK4CWk1g
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