As social media started first began to emerge as a viable business tool, this insurance organization viewed it with trepidation. The risks were high and the rewards were unproven. It was early days, when the notion of relinquishing control over messaging was anathema to organizations used to one-way, top-down communication.
The use of social media had the potential to transform this company's position in the marketplace. As a business based on trust, it had the opportunity to extend its reach, offer unprecedented accessibility, deliver efficient customer service, and directly engage its current and prospective customers in genuine and responsive dialogue. It could cultivate have a means of detecting and responding to issues when they first began to emerge. And it had the chance to learn about the needs and preferences and behaviours of its stakeholders in ways it could never have before.
The Result I developed a business case for what would be the organization's first venture into social media. It provided robust data to substantiate its benefits. It illustrated how it could take a lead position within an industry that had typically lagged in the area, but at the same time could leverage the experiences of companies in related industries. It outlined how the organization's brand characteristics lent themselves perfectly to the qualities of empowerment, enabling, sharing, listening, individualism, and accessibility inherent in social media. I set out principles and objectives, outlined an organization structure and governance, estimated resource requirements, and described a phased approach to implementation. And then I pitched the story to senior leadership in a way that assured them we would move slowly, cautiously, with risk mitigation strategies fully in place.
The Chief Marketing Officer bought into the vision and put the organization's full weight behind the program. Within a few months I'd established a small team and developed an overall strategy along with a governance model, processes for legal review and overall approval of content, response and engagement protocols, and guidelines for employees. By the end of the first year we'd established multiple channels on each of the major platforms. We gained a 64 per cent share of social media voice (compared with 28 per cent for the largest competitor) and reduced telephone inquiries to the Call Centre by 20 per cent and resolution time by 40 per cent. Within two years we were viewed as leaders within the industry in our use of social media.
With rapid growth, heightened competition, and increased scrutiny, this organization realized that it had no choice but to seize of the story it told and participate in the one being written by others.
Becoming digital-first in its approach to communications meant that this financial services organization had to re-think what communications was about: its goals, its limitations, and its processes.Educating on and embedding a digital-first mindset and related processes and guidelines across all areas of public affairs and communications.
This organization recognized that it could increase its visibility and build trust and engagement by developing high-value, engaging content on themes rooted in its brand identity - and then to integrate that content across channels.
As a business based on trust, this organization seized the opportunity to use social media to extend its reach, offer unprecedented accessibility, deliver efficient customer service, and directly engage its current and prospective customers in genuine and responsive dialogue.
This major bank recognized that strong communication and addressing cultural issues was critical to successful integrations - fostering employee engagement, retaining high-performers, and reducing the time to integrate processes and technologies.
Real cooperation and collaboration between functions of this professional services required more than knowledge and even financial rewards. It required relationships - where employees knew and understood their colleagues working in other areas of the business.
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