Making A List. And Checking It Twice; Gonna Find Out Who’s Naughty And Nice…

by Professor Lee Schlenker,
EM-Lyon, chair of emerging economics & technologies

[photos by unless stated otherwise ]

Years aren’t measured in just months and days, but in the intensity of our experience.

November 15th wasn’t quite a day like the others. Woken up in our New York City hotel room by an SMS alert at two in the morning, we learned that the police were evacuating Zuccotti Park.  We consequently changed our morning’s plans and decided to visit the sights of Lower East Side. The protestors were now everywhere but occupying Wall Street, the movement’s sympathizers and the curious provided quite a spectacle.  This circus atmosphere clashed sharply with the peculiar beauty and eerie silence of the 9/11 memorial just a street away. The dissonance between the two left us both dwelling on the past and wondering about the future, and convinced more than ever of the need to focus on what’s important.

D18 immigrants occupy

[photo by OWS at]

The morning’s events led us inevitably to look for coffee off the beaten path.    We found a small convenience store on Lafayette that offered hot drinks a few tables and chairs to rest our feet. The store’s major attraction apparently was neither Starbuck’s nor Ghirardelli’s, but a myriad of conversations of the indigenous population around Chinatown.  The store wasn’t exactly packed at three in the afternoon, but the conversations about the day’s events, projects and challenges occupied every available space.  As we took in a few sips of coffee and several earfuls of conversation, we couldn’t help but think of Paul Auster and Wayne Wong’s film Smoke, and especially Auggie’s conversation with Paul Benjamin about his photo album. Although places are often haunted by similar people and events, their stories are continuously shaped and refined by experience.

Our eyes slowly focused on a police officer sipping his own coffee at the table next to ours, seemingly oblivious to the conversation around him.  Alone, of medium build, perhaps in his fifties, and not exactly fashion conscious, his weathered skin and uniform seemed to underline the troubles of the day, or perhaps of a lifetime.  We were struck not only by the fatigue that seemed heavily draped over his shoulders, but by his intense concentration in filling out some kind of list. We imagined how hard his day must have been, and asked him if he was glad that it was almost over. He looked up from both his paper and coffee, his weary smile and drained eyes seemed to welcome the opportunity to tell his story.

He explained that his day was pretty much hundreds of others in the past – trying to insure that the pain, the energy, and the commotion of the City didn’t get too far out of hand. Much more important in his mind  was the list he was compiling of his favorite songs that he wanted to record for the end of the year.  As he saw that we didn’t quite understand, he filled in the details.  His life had never been easy, but his girlfriend’s condition was even worse – he feared that she would not make it through another year. His work as a traffic officer differed little that of his colleagues: he didn’t want to be just another uniform.  Decorating the house for the holidays, playing the music his girlfriend loved, and by doing so piecing together their collective memories, was his way of making a difference.  The stories people share  when we take the time to listen….

This chance encounter certainly couldn’t compete with the more media-ready headlines that day. To put things in perspective, the jury is out on whether the events of that day will ever “make” history. I’m not even sure that I could find that coffee shop again on Lafayette, let alone recognize the fellow that took the time speak his mind. Yet there was something profoundly human in that fleeting exchange. I hope I will long remember what he was doing his best to share.

With our warmest wishes for the holidays.

about “tweetable” marketing “truths”

today’s selection is …

Pamela Vaughan’s highly enjoyable “truth vs. myth” tweetable piece on Marketing at Hubspot. Enjoyable for sure, but you should take some of these facts and figures with a pinch of salt. Much as I believe in the power of social media, my field experience has shown that Facebook is not a catch-all tool for B2B for instance. There are many more effective ways of attracting leads when you are in B2B than writing up a Facebook post: Blog posts, affiliate marketing and well crafted, really meaty whitepapers (not those slapdash “bought from someone else” things but the real mac Coy which tell the world you are a true expert and know what you are talking about). Instead, you might want to recycle this idea of a safe tweettable piece with real myths and truths such as those taken from Scott Berkun’s Myths of Innovation opus.

42 Tweetable Facts to Squash Marketing Fantasies

We hear a ton of marketing myths everyday that have no basis on research or facts. They’re simply made-up fantasies that people have come to believe. But let’s face it, we marketers can’t afford to live in a fantasy world. Instead, we need to rely on cold, hard facts to guide is in the right direction toward inbound marketing success.

That’s why we’ve released our newest ebook to help you separate marketing fact from fantasy. Download your copy here, and tweet some of your favorite facts below! Some of them might surprise you.

Inbound Marketing

  • Fantasy: Inbound marketing focuses exclusively on top-of-the-funnel objectives like attracting prospects & leads.
  • Fact: Inbound marketing helps attract leads & also helps convert those leads into paying customers. (Tweet This)

Social Media

  • Fantasy: B2B companies don’t need to waste their time on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn.
  • Fact: 39% of B2B companies using Twitter & 41% using Facebook have acquired new customers from it. (Tweet This)
  • Fantasy: Facebook may be great for building buzz, but it has yet to prove itself as an effective channel for generating sales.
  • Fact: 41% of B2B companies & 62% of B2C companies using Facebook have acquired a customer from it. (Tweet This)
  • Fact: 51% of Facebook fans are more likely to buy brands they ‘like.’ (Tweet This)

via 42 Tweetable Facts to Squash Marketing Fantasies.

5 tips for organising social media teams in large organisations (5/5)

This is part 5 of the synopsis of my Figaro Digital presentation in London on November 23, 2011. In order to gather all parts, click or use the following short link: 

[all photos by Yann Gourvennec:]

5. building a community of community managers

Once all the above principles have been implemented, there is a requirement for all in the organisation to get themselves organised and this is what we have been doing for at least three years now, with a community of community managers which was started by my predecessor, and is known as the “come’in” community. This community of community managers exists online on our internal collaboration platform named Plazza, but mostly, it is a community of people who actually meeting person every two months. In a well-established process now we gather all these people together in a room anything between 50 to 100, we invite renowned industry professionals who give us some of their time and knowledge in order to share with our community. This community of community managers is also working on new projects, building a repository together, establishing the tools which I described earlier on, and last but not least launching campaigns together and exchanging on best practices. In December, we will be going one step further by inviting some of our peers from other corporations in order to exchange and broaden the scope of our discussions.

We see “come’in” (one of our meetings in the above picture) as one of our most important assets, a forum in which we can devise new projects and launch new initiatives a place in which we can exchange and debate and move forward and implement the dandelion organisation. Our most important goal now with regard to this community is to internationalise it and we will be taking “come’in” to Tunisia in order to kick-start this process.

Key to our new programmes is also the so-called “social media champions” programme which is going to enable us to distinguish the people throughout the organisation who are actually better than others in social media. As I said earlier on, I don’t believe in social media experts. It’s more a case of “the blind leading the blind” and helping the company to move one step at a time and succeed in its business endeavours via social media and improve the way it communicates online as well as its e-reputation.

5 tips for organising social media teams in large organisations (4/5)

This is part 4 of the synopsis of my Figaro Digital presentation in London on November 23, 2011. In order to gather all parts, click or use the following short link: 

[all photos by Yann Gourvennec:]

4. using tools as platforms for change

Social media is a difficult discipline which requires many different tools for management, monitoring and statistics. Using your team’s expertise, you can build credibility and offer tools which could exponentially equip your entire organisation, therefore improving cross channel communications and mutual help. These mutualised tools can therefore serve also as a basis for the implementation of the multiple hub and spoke organisation. At Orange, we have been able to work in those directions more than once.

First and foremost, we have worked on the standardisation of processes and the industrialisation of moderation around our social media platforms. Because our teams cannot be behind their screens all day long, let alone speak all languages and especially difficult or rare tongues (even though we already speak three or four), we are resorting to external teams in order to moderate the comments and posts by our audiences on social media platforms, in order that each and every customer (this is our ultimate goal) gets an individual response by the Orange helpers teams in the country relevant to the customer who has an issue.

We have been able to work beyond this though, with the equipment of the entire organisation with a social media platform Administration tool which we are using to help teens better communicate between each other and respond within platforms across the organisation. With this kind of platforms (many vendors exist) you can very well ask somebody from, say the Orange helper team, to take ownership of your twitter platform any time somebody has a problem which needs to be solved. Slowly but surely, we are improving the process, and the equipment of our entire organisation with tools like this is making it possible.

Beyond social media (but including social media), we are implementing what we call a websites factory, based on the popular open source software CMS EZpublish in order not only to establish consistency throughout the group, but also to achieve the merger between social media and web platforms. In essence, this is undoubtedly the topic which is the most important in my eyes, a lot more important than just an merely growing one’s fan bases on Facebook and other platforms, because through this websites factory, we will be able to establish governance, enforce consistency, make social media work for the company and its business and eventually, establish this decentralised, dandelion organisation which I was talking about at the beginning of my pitch.

It is possible to enforce organisational change through the implementation of new tools, even though the tools in themselves do not really matter. They can be changed one-minute to the next, but in the same way that we do business process re-engineering through tools i.e. that we encourage people to change their behaviour by mimicking those of others which have been translated into Information Systems, we can use this tools as platforms to help people communicate with one another and better respond to our customers and audiences.

to be continued …

@lbret: “LinkedIn is adding 2 new users every second”

[this post was originally written for the blog]

LinkedIn is aiming at keeping its users happy

In terms of Social Media, Facebook springs to mind with its 850 million users and growing every day. Yet, there is another social media behemoth which launched in 2003 and has only – even though only in this case is very relative – 136 million users worldwide and it’s LinkedIn. With nearly 140 million very high-end, affluent users, the business to business pure player has changed the recruitment industry for ever. Today at Le Web Paris 11, I had the opportunity to attend a workshop facilitated by Laurence Bret Stern, marketing director for the EMEA region at LinkedIn and what I liked most about their presentation is that – despite its staggering success, the company is sticking to its original mantra: “let’s keep our users happy”. And I have to admit I have been one of them since the inception of the service, and that I find it to be an invaluable business tool.

big and growing bigger …

LinkedIn has become a real social media phenomenon, worldwide and in Europe in particular. The proof of that is that the Netherlands is the country for which the penetration of LinkedIn is the highest. And it’s not finished. The increase in member uptake is staggering, namely in countries like France which are in catch-up mode.

Picture this, “LinkedIn is adding 2 new members every second” said Laurence in her opening pitch at Le Web this morning.

And it’s not just any kind of members but very high-end, affluent and influent people: Indeed, 15% of higher management functions execs who are managing more than €150k and managing 10 people or more are using LinkedIn and the B2B social media site is now getting “even more popular amongst such segments than well famed news websites like the FT or Le Figaro” Laurence added.

80% of LinkedIn users aren’t looking for jobs.

50% of LinkedIn revenues are made from selling services to recruiters (on how to find candidates) and advertisers . A vast majority (80% of users) of LinkedIn users aren’t looking for new jobs. This is a clear signal that they are getting business benefits from the service. LinkedIn premium subscriptions are reserved for expert users. For the above mentioned 80% users, LinkedIn is mostly a tool for doing business and working on one’s e-reputation.

Usage of LinkedIn on mobiles has rocketed up; an iPhone application has just been launched and is a success (a demo of the app is available here)

[above picture: LinkedIn today, a new information curation feature by  LinkedIn]

establishing your company & employee identities

Company pages are free. Laurence added went on saying that “LinkedIn is a no brainer for companies which need to promote their brand and image”. It isn’t just a personal system, “if you are a business, you should make sure you are on LinkedIn” she added a bit cockily.

a search engine optimisation (SEO) beast

“30% of Google searches are carried out on people’s names” Laurence added and therefore, LinkedIn has become an “SEO machine” and enables employees – and therefore companies – to become more visible.

review of the main LinkedIn services

  • The free directory: The core of the LinkedIn experience is free access to the directory, and the mission statement of the company isn’t to make people pay upfront but to make them happy about the service (and then let them pay for extra services if they want to).
  • LinkedIn today: a b2b curation tool
    • LinkedIn today chooses your vertical and presents a list of articles based on what people with profiles similar to yours have looked at. It’s available at and is very accurate
  • LinkedIn Groupsare a
    • Philips for instance is running a group on hospital lighting material, very specific and very successful.
  • Alumni:
    • using this new feature, you can see where your old classmates are working. This is working for university and college graduates
  • Stats about companies are made available from the company pages and all for free. This makes it possible for job seekers to prepare an interview for instance. Polls can be launched from company pages too in order to establish thought leadership around brands.
  • Talent acquisition: As seen above, most of LinkedIn’s revenue is coming from job search services sold to businesses. Recruitment ads are based on profiles. LinkedIn’s flagship product is called LinkedIn recruitment. In 2012, a new free service will be launched; it’s called “Talent Pipeline” and will be used by large companies which will build a pool of candidates and the novelty is that the pool in question will also include profiles from other services.

LinkedIn’s targeting very rich targeting capabilities are a fantastic asset and shows that social media has now become entirely mature, at least in business to business.