President Trump has recently created a(nother) media stir by expressing his concern about the selling power of the on-line retail giant we call Amazon. While personal opinions about this matter will vary, it signals a quiet but important industry trend – the consolidation of companies. We cannot assume that a business’s name is synonymous with ownership.
For example, did you know that Amazon owns IMDB, Twitch and Whole Foods? Or that eBay owns Craigslist and StubHub? Or that Apple owns Shazam (yes, that’s why ‘OK Google’ can’t tell you song titles like Siri can!). The chart below is one helpful way to understand the complex web of brand ownership
While you may (or may not) find this chart interesting, it contains an important lesson. In an increasingly connected society we need to do our homework. If you are selective about who you do business with, you need to spend time researching who owns who!
Dr. Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant, and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Email: email@example.com
Word-of-mouth can determine whether businesses thrive and die! When people share their good (or not-so-good) stories, an organizations’ reputation quickly spreads. While word-of-mouth still occurs over cups of coffee and through our friends and associates, it has also become a huge on-line business. Organizations like Yelp, Amazon ratings, Angie’s List or RateMyProfessor.com are all common ways that we research products, businesses or people. As a result, they are also a modern use the word-of-mouth phenomenon.
However, on-line sources and ratings are still susceptible to misuse. Can you recall the last time you read a rating that sounded rehearsed or was the only five star review amidst a slew of one star ratings? Conversely, businesses have also used this system to attack competitors with negative ratings as an unethical way of eliminating competition. Since many organizations live and die by these ratings, an entire industry of fake ratings or ratings-for-pay has emerged.
While this challenge will never be fully eliminated, there is a recent trend which provides hope. The solution is simple – rate-the-rater! In traditional rating systems, you buy a product from Amazon. After the transaction is complete you are given the opportunity to rate-the-seller! In a rate-the-rater system, the business also gets to rate you, the purchaser!
This is not new and has already been used effectively with some organizations. For example, our AirBnB Coachella guests rated us after their stay in our home (a five star rating system). However, as hosts we were also given the opportunity to rate these same AirBnB guests. Uber uses a similar system and drivers are able to rate their customers. This allows other drivers to determine the quality of their potential fare. In turn, this helps balance a system that, historically, has favored the purchaser!
A rate-the-rater system creates accountability as we can no longer offer scathing reviews without some level of consequence. It is a unique application of The Golden Rule – treating others as you want to be treated. When rating becomes a two-way process, an amazing change occurs in what you say. While I will still leave a negative review, my language changes when I know that the company will potentially also be reviewing me. This limits my rants or inflammatory language.
This change also reminds us that privacy is something that no longer exists (see The Death of Privacy). It also teaches us that our on-line ratings are one more thing that we must manage in our on-line lives. Potential employers are already reviewing our Facebook, Instagram and other social media pages to assess our character. I expect that your on-line rating will be yet another aspect of this within the next five years.
As usual, this trend has both upsides and downsides. However, no matter what your personal views are, this shift will occur. So I encourage you to begin managing your on-line ratings like this trend has already happened. Because it has! Rate-the-rater is here to stay!
Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant, and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
While social media began as a social phenomenon, it quickly moved into our business and corporate lives. Whether it is Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or a bevy of other options, there are some very useful ways we can use social media to help our businesses thrive.
However, I have observed a troubling social media trend. It is something I call “media masquerading as social media”. Let me explain.
We are used to the constant presence of media in our lives. Magazine & television advertisements, billboards and flashing coupons at the grocery store are constant reminders that media is vying for our attention. There is a quiet but important premise about media – we understand and accept that companies are trying to get our attention by telling us something! And it is one-way communication.
However, social media operates on a different premise. By definition, social media is about a social exchange between two parties. The term ‘social’ means that communication is not meant to be a one-way exchange. While media is one-way, it is my belief that social media must be two-way. However, I believe that the business use of social media is becoming increasingly one-way. Here are some recent examples from my life which illustrate this point.
On a recent Halloween, my daughter created and wore a Pippy Longstocking costume. It turned out wonderful but it ended up looking even more like Wendy from the Wendy’s burger franchise! I snapped a photo and posted it on their Facebook web site to see what they would do. In short, they did nothing at all. This taught me that their social media outlet on Facebook was simply media.
A local golf club regularly posts photos to my Instagram account. They are typically pictures of their amazing lunch plates and a description of their weekly special. This week I decided to treat a business guest to lunch on their patio. Below this week’s photo of their lunch special I posted, “I’ll be there tomorrow. What time do you close?” I never received a reply. Once again, this social media feed was merely media.
While I lament this misuse of social media by some organizations, I have also experienced some effective ‘social’ experiences with organizations through their media channels as well.
After our recent half-marathon, I snapped a photo of my wife stretching her tired muscles and posted it to Instagram. One of the comments was from a company called GetStrechy. They have an exercise program that could be a very good fit for us based upon my social media post. In contrast, the like by the company that sells marijuana obviously has not taken time to understand my social profile.
During a recent layover in Riga, Latvia, we had time to leave the airport and grab dinner in their fantastic Old Town district. While we waited to board our flight from Prague to Riga, I found a restaurant that was highly recommended. I then accessed their Facebook page and sent them a direct message (DM) asking for reservations at 8. When we landed in Riga, my Facebook account pinged with confirmation that our table would be ready. Now that’s media that remembers to be social (great work MILDA!).
Perhaps you view social media differently than I do, but I don’t mind the media aspect of it. That is, as long as it stays social and doesn’t merely become media. I suspect that social media outlets that drift into media-only feeds will have a short shelf-life.
Jeff Suderman is a futurist, professor, consultant and pracademic who works in the field of organizational development. He works with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational FutureReadiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman. Email: email@example.com
A recent article from the team at Join.Me highlights a trend that has been quietly growing in our organizations – Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). This is not surprising given 90% of American adults own cell phones, 68% own smart phones and 42% own tablets (Pew Research). As a result, Join.me notes that “most organizations have adopted BYOD in some form, and an increasing portion of them actually have developed and implemented formal BYOD policies to ensure that the use of consumer-class notebooks, netbooks, tablets and smartphones is secure and productive”.
The logical next phase of this is also underway. Bring Your Own App (BYOA) is receiving support not only from employees, but also, increasingly, from their companies. To assess the impact of BYOA, Join.Me surveyed over 1,2oo respondents at small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand. The following charts clearly illustrate this growing trend:
Trend Strength: high
Trend Maturity: growing (40%)
Organizational Implications: Increase in employee productivity, increase in IT security management services, undetermined organizational cost (decrease or increase).
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Bring Your Own Application: The New Reality for the Mobile Workforce. Join.Me by LogMeIn. Retrieved October 15 from http://lmicreativeteam.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/tt-13-271-logmein-byoapp-research-brief.pdf
Pew Research Internet Project. Mobile technology fact sheet. Retrieved Oct. 15 from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/mobile-technology-fact-sheet/
The expressions of anxious mothers, too-cool freshmen and a steady train of boxes into residence halls this week heralds the arrival of thousands of new students to our universities. Having recently returned from work with a university in Europe, I can report that university orientation norms like these are very similar wherever you go.
As recruitment offices, we are quickly shifting to efforts to recruit our class of 2015. As you do so, I thought that a quick summary of the 2014 Noel Levitz E-Expectations survey would be a helpful way to refocus your efforts. While a full read of the report is highly advisable (E-Expectations Report) , here is a quick list of the insights which should influence your efforts:
Parents are important. VERY important! About 3 out of 4 high school seniors list their parents as having the greatest influence on their college choice.
Web sites are critical! As the most important recruitment resource, the importance of your recruitment web site is paramount! Programs, costs and financial awards are the top three things they look for. Furthermore, mobile-friendly browsing is important as 40% of student state that they use their mobile phone browser for nearly all of their web browsing. Less than 10% of students rarely use their mobile device for browsing.
Textingis becoming acceptable. About half of your recruits are fine with texting as a means of college communication. Similarly, 55% of parents are willing to receive college texts.
Use many social media channels. Prospective students are active on Facebook (74%), YouTube (73%), Instagram (49%), Twitter (39%) and Snapchat (39%).
Invest in your campus visit program! Three out of four students and parents agree with the statement that “schools should put more effort into getting prospective students to campus for visits and admissions events”.
Tie education to careers. Students and parents want to see that their program has career value. Ensure you provide stats on job/graduate school placement, testimonials (current students, alumni, and faculty) and have robust program information.
I wish you success in your recruitment efforts this year!
Noel-Levitz (2014). 2014 E-Expectations Report: The Online Preferences of College-Bound Seniors and Their Parents. Available at https://www.noellevitz.com/papers-research-higher-education/2014/2014-e-expectations-report
In the July issue of Wired magazine, they offered up their “Guide to behavior, manners and style” for those of us who live part of our lives on-line. While it was tongue-in-cheek, it provided some great tips that are worthy of sharing in this blog episode. Here are my ten favorites.
10. Yelp is a restaurant review, not an autobiography!
9. Don’t describe yourself as a guru or ninja on LinkedIn unless you read Sanskrit or kill people with throwing stars.
8. No posting ultrasound photos on Facebook.
7. You should favorite compliments you get on Twitter, not reteweet them.
6. Say no to #nofilter tags.
5. Please correct errors in Wikipedia.
4. Don’t follow brands or your followers will get ads.
3. Don’t start your Ted Talk with “so”.
2. During meetings, put your phone on the table, facedown with notifications off.
1. Do not ‘reply all’.
Credits: Wired Magazine (July, 2014). The Code: A Wired guide to behavior, manners and style. Pages 81 – 95.