Dec 1, 2009

3 Reasons To Get With The Program Already

Old-fashioned Underwood brand manual typewriterFirst, the change has already happened. It's done.

What has changed is the way people communicate and interact--with each other, with companies, with government. We don't yet know what that means. We can try and predict, but the main outcomes of these predictions is fodder for future laughs.

Now to you naysayers who say that not everyone is plugged in, not everyone uses social media or the Internet or even e-mail, I say, "So? You don't have to drive to know that cars changed the way we live, where we live, how we shop, where we go."

And, to you near-term nostalgics, the people who think that texting, tweeting, friending and gaming are stupid, who prefer a stamp to online banking, I say, "it's okay for you to feel that way, just realize that the rest of the world is embracing new channels."

Second, your brand has changed. "Brand" is not a visual representation of your organization. It is the experiences that people have with your organization and the sharing of these experiences within their networks. Brand doesn't belong to your agency, it belongs to people who interact with your agency.
For example, 65% of U.S. consumers report a digital experience changing their perception about a brand (either positively or negatively) and 97% of that group report that the same experience ultimately influenced whether or not they went on to purchase a product from that brand. In a nutshell, experience matters. A lot.

...That's why Amazon continues to pour money into improving its customer service rather than run traditional advertising or marketing campaigns. As Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has said, "We are not great advertisers. So we start with customers, figure out what they want, and figure out how to get it to them."--
See more at
This matters a lot to government--at least it should. People expect that their tax dollars pay for the same types of experiences that they have in the private sector. When we disappoint, we fail. Government needs to better engage with citizens and provide services that people seek--less time broadcasting/marketing our messages and more time building good experiences. Better experiences will translate into better confidence in government.

Third, you simply disappear if you are not present. People are watching TV on their cell phones at their convenience. The entire country does not sit down at 6 p.m. to watch the evening news on traditional broadcast channels.
This is why monitoring, establishing and cultivating a strategic presence and inspiring meaningful engagement is so critical in social media. It impacts the bottom line. If we are not present within the attention dashboards of our existing customers and prospects, we intentionally remove ourselves from their decision-making funnel. Consumers are among the new influencers as they now have access to the same tools and channels that reach peers and shape their impressions.--[emphasis mine] More from digital marketing expert Brian Solis

Government frequently suffers from disproportionate emphasis on traditional communications channels. The story in the NY Times, the interview on CNN will remain important, but not the most important. The results from search engines that lead to content on web sites or engaging applications that are passed around and shared among friends on social networks are equally valuable. We have the skills to get traditional news stories, it's time to build skills to bring information directly to citizens.

Wake up! The world has already changed! But we still have time to shape what it will be and what government can do to better serve our citizens.


  1. Great post, Gwynne. You may not have to LIKE social media and communications reform, but it's high time to accept it.

  2. I agree with Adriel. Some organizations, and many more managers within, are not so concerned about what is being said on social media services because they don't believe it's a big deal. Fact of the matter is what people used to talk about around the water cooler...well, the water cooler is now Twitter, Facebook, Joe Schmoe's blog, etc. Those water coolers are massive and there's a lot of people drinking.

  3. @govy and @adriel as they say, resistance is futile. We can bemoan the slowness of some, or we can continue working toward--and shaping--the future. Glad you guys are helping to do some of the shaping!

  4. Being programmed is always the first step to go for the work done.. The programming and the arrangements should be done periodically in such a way that there may not be any kind of remedies live in the work...

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  5. In-your-face post with moxie! Earth-to-gov1.0...Earth-to-gov1.0, are you in there? Yes, it really is 2010, that's TWO-O, get it!? TWO-O...2-O...2.0...that's 2-oh, No, no, no! not 1-oh, not 1020. Earth-to-gov-one-oh!

    Nice post! Oh,oh,oh, whoops, I mean merry xmas, ho-ho-ho!



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