2011 Predictions assessed – STOP PRESS UPDATE

Apologies, two months since my previous post.  Busy boy.  Here is my annual scorecard – a month late it seems.  2012 Predictions out soon…

1)  The concept of the ‘segmented audience’ will die – long live tribes!  In more than a semantic sense, (i.e., not just the emperor’s new clothes) decade-old tribal theory will come to fruition.  Some have been there for a while … in a consumer marketing and branding sense …  but this will cross over into employee communications and even corporate branding and communication.   (Yeah, I ‘got it’ when it came out … only now I think we can believe it.)

SCORE = 6/10.  It’s getting there.  Slowly.

2) People will wake up that “social media” that isn’t … isn’t.  Taking my cues from sources ranging from Mike Klein’s upcoming 55-Minute Guide; to Fortune and Fast Company; forgetting Wired and technology rags … and to-remain-unnamed “gurus” … now that the smoke is clearing companies and their “social media” leaders will realise that if it’s about a specific platform or technology, it isn’t technically social media.  The technology is an enabler.  It’s more important to get it to work to deliver the social side that matters.  Which leads to …

SCORE = 7/10.  It’s getting there.  Slowly.

3) … a return to short, sharp, interruptive ‘campaigns’.  My colleagues at SAS will debate this with me, but I think given a world where “tribes” are the centre of focus and media must be social … there’s still presence and content to be considered, on which community and dialogue are built.  Tribes (which are a new and improved kind of audience, right?) want to be communicated with on their terms.  I’m not saying 30 second spots or internal branding initiatives.  I’m saying focussed and issue-driven “365 micro-campaigns across platforms aimed at the base-jumping billionaire spelunker” set.  (Thanks Batman)… and yet …

SCORE = 8/10.  Definitely in the digital realm.  Less so in others.

4) Big ideas will still matter.  In utter contradiction to points 2 and 3 in particular, and against the zeitgeist of the brand literati, organisations (and potentially Tribes too) will still hunger for the bigger, unifying idea.  It might be at the END of the conversation as an outcome we are led to – a destination rather than a vision – but we’ll still need it.  we’ll hunger for it.  And that big meaning will need to be authentic.  Hmmn.  Watch this space.

SCORE = 2/10.  Moving in the opposite direction, I think.  Although several clients are now coming around…

5) Sell your shares in big employee survey companies.  Invest the proceeds in analytics.  The data machines of yesteryear will have to give up the ghost and breathe spirit into shorter, sharper, smarter (and much, much more complicated – while at lower cost and higher speed) solutions.  The 24-7 conversation economy waits for no annual employee opinion survey.  Buh-bye!

SCORE = 0/10.  (Tumbleweed).

6) HR process outsourcing will continue apace.  A no-brainer, perhaps, but the outsourcing pendulum (scythe?) continues its swing in this particular discipline.  But … and it’s a big but … HR (having morphed into Talent Acquisition and Management) will get its hands firmly back around Employer Brand and EVP as a strategic, joined-up business process.  Cue Employer Brand 2.0… which leads to …

SCORE = 3/10.  Not really, a lot still remains in house and many employer brands still seem lost between silos.

7) … an (potentially misguided) emphasis on the ‘EVP inside’.  The message has been received: Employer Brand is not just about external reputation and Talent Attraction.  The risk: leave unfinished as “too hard” cracking the external manifestation of the EVP and instead put all of your energy into making sure it is working internally with your existing employees.  It’s both!!!

SCORE = 7/10.  Definitely seeing more evidence of this.

8)  Smartphone apps applied to internal communication.  STOP PRESS> Just discovered DO…which looks very nice indeed.

SCORE = 9/10.  A couple examples – GE to name one.  But slow going.

9) More face to face.  Leave your Smartphone at the door.  Good old-fashioned a-talkin’.  Leader and managers in particular will be required to invest the premium effort and time required to face to face communication (conversation, not broadcasting, and including listening and intelligent responses), and they will need support.

SCORE = 6/10.  Not really, but oddly videoconference has really accelerated – the worst of both worlds (face to face and technology) combined in ONE!

10) External channels for internal communications . Perhaps a no-brainer, but using YouTube for internal comms is already well underway (I’ve just done it with a big, arguably “old world” organisation … let’s see how it works …) but why invest in platforms when they already exist?  It’s the tribe, stupid.

SCORE = 8/10.  Definitely seeing this, and with some large brands too!

So, my 2011 score – pretty poor.

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