defining social business

By on Jan 26, 2012 in conferences/events, edelman, social software | 2 comments

We’re spending a lot of time these days discussing our Social Business offering with clients. In some instances, they’ve come to us asking what we can offer, whilst in other instances we’ve observed things in our work with them that highlights the need for the conversation. Either way, one of the things that comes up time and time again is the question, “what exactly IS social business”. I, like others, have made attempts to define Social Business in a sentence or two, my most recent attempt being the blurb I wrote for the Social Business panel we’re hosting in our London offices on 14 February (details here): “From increasing the breadth and depth of the interface between consumers and corporate staff, to improving the ability to share knowledge and expertise within the enterprise, Social Business is a very human centric approach to solving the challenges faced by organisations in the highly connected, always on, business world of today.” This, of course, is more of a description of Social Business as opposed to a definition. So in trying to craft something that hits the mark a bit better, I decided to list out some the important aspects of Social Business: Human centric Supported, rather than driven by, technology Increases breadth and depth of participation in business activities Offers new opportunities for collaboration Connects people to processes Builds trust Enhances sense of shared ownership and mission Reinforces meaning Encourages transparency Cuts through complexity Flattens hierarchical structures Delivers measurably against objectives Makes the most of people, skills, knowledge and content So how to define Social Business? To me, Social Business is about creating participatory frameworks that enable businesses to harness the willingness and ability of a variety of stakeholders – whether they are internal (“staff”), external (“audiences”), or both – to meaningfully and measurably contribute towards meeting the shared objectives. I think that stab at a definition of social business connects pretty well with the elements in my bullet point list, but if you’ve come across something better, or think I’ve missed something important, please do feel free to...

social business event with david armano, euan semple and vincent boon

By on Jan 17, 2012 in conferences/events, edelman, online community, social software |

Edelman Digital is hosting, and I'm going to be moderating, a great panel on Social Business as part of Social Media Week. The event will be in our offices at 105 Victoria Street, London SW1, on the morning of 14 February. You need to register to attend – here's the details: Social Business In ActionA Social Media Week (London) Event Hosted by Edelman Digital Register Here: A growing number of organisations are tapping into the power of Social Business to harness the willingness and ability of consumers, stakeholders and staff to get closer to, and more involved in, the delivery of business critical processes and practices. From increasing the breadth and depth of the interface between consumers and corporate staff, to improving the ability to share knowledge and expertise within the enterprise, Social Business is a very human centric approach to solving the challenges faced by organisations in the highly connected, always on, business world of today. The following panelists will, during this hour long session, share their thoughts and experiences of Social Business in action: David Armano (, Executive Vice President for Innovation and Integration at Edelman Digital, and leads Edelman's "Social Business Planning" whilst regularly writing about Social Business for The Harvard Business Review and elsewhere. David is widely considered to be an influential and authoritative voice in the use of social media for business, and has a combined audience of over 70,000 subscribers to his blog and twitter feed. Vincent Boon is Head of Community at giffgaff (, a mobile network operator "Run By You" that puts it's customers at the heart of business processes ranging from marketing to service delivery to customer care. The result, an award winning service and strong differentiation of it's offering, is perhaps the best example of Social Business success yet in the UK. Euan Semple ( is an independent consultant and leading figure within the Social Business movement. For over ten years, Euan has been helping the people within organisations, including the BBC, international organisations, and consumer brands, connect and work more effectively through Social Business programmes. He is the author of a forthcoming hardcover on Social Business, "Organizations Don't Tweet, People Do: A Manager's Guide to the Social Web." Fourth Panelist (TBC) Session will be moderated by Edelman London's Director of Digital, Robin Hamman (, a twelve year veteran of the convergence of social media and business, who has written and spoken extensively on the subject of Social Business. A light breakfast (pastries and coffee, not full English) will be provided. Registration is...

my 2011 in review

By on Jan 10, 2012 in edelman |

Usually, on the last day of the working year, I write a post that reviews the past 12 months. Well, I spent my last day of work last year flying from London Heathrow to Frankfurt, back to Heathrow, across to London Luton then off to Gdansk so didn't quite manage to maintain the tradition. But that explanation is a great start for my 2011 post as I spent much of the year – around a day every week and a half – gallivanting around Europe and further afield. The year started, as 2010 ended, working with David Armano on Edelman's Social Business Planning offering. Over the past year, various members of the Edelman Digital and Edelman Consulting teams furthered our thinking and, in December 2011, our formal offering finally saw the light of day. My client list has continued to grow and although I don't tend to name names, I can tell you I've had the pleasure of working with a leading global food and beverages brand, several international insitutions (UN and EU Parliament), a global leader in the finance sector, a consumer pet care brand, a mining company and others. Indeed, for some reason, my clients are almost all based outside of the UK – Zurich, Brussels, Moscow, Holland, Seoul, New York, San Francisco. This probably goes some way towards explaining why, if follow me on twitter or foursquare, you will have noticed that, as I mentioned above, I spent quite a lot of the year out of the office. So much so that, at one point, several members of our team were calling me "Dora", in reference (if you don't have kids), to Dora the Explorer. Here's the list – off the top of my head so likely to be missing one or two stops – of the places my job took me in 2011: NYC Moscow St. Petersburg Seoul Dublin Prague Bratislava Vienna Amsterdam (3-4 times) and Raalte (twice) and Utrecht Barcelona (twice) and Sitges Brussels (8+ times) Gdansk (once for work, often for play) Copenhagen Frankfurt Munich Belfast Belgrade I enjoy travelling as part of my job – it's great to see new places and meet new people – and there were far to many highlights to capture here, but here's a few of them: Belgrade, long on my list of places to visit, rolled out the red carpet in a way no other city managed to match – my conference speaking gig there was proceeded by a surprise VIP invitation to Belgrade Fashion Week (thank you Kosta!), where I met the Prince and Princess of Serbia and watched the show as part of their entourage, was interviewed by Fashion TV (I said some nonsense about the designs evoking strong images of Spring), and then went to dinner at a hard to better piano bar with a group that included a supermodel who had done Victoria's Secret and covers for just about every fashion magazine going – this does not happen every day and half the office still remains sceptical it happened. Sitges, near Barcelona, was extraordinary for entirely different reasons. I was there to speak at a client event – it's one of my favourite clients because they're smart, receptive to our ideas, and a lot of fun. After I spoke in the morning, I headed straight to the poolside at the Dolce. Visualise, for a moment, four or five pools split across different levels, lush gardens making each one of those feel entirely private, and beautiful views out over the Med and you're there. Clients take note – please help me get back to the Dolce, sooner rather than later. In Seoul we also had great hospitality. The hotel where our group of four stayed was not far off perfect although I never did figure out all the gadgets eluded to by all the buttons on the toilet, which had a heated seat and a protruding nozzle. I suspect, based on the icons, there was also a dryer built in there. Our Seoul office welcomed us warmly, and our client layed on a wonderful lunch for us – the octopus running down the table in a bid for freedom (he was captured and plonked into the boiling water in the end) was surely not part of the plan, but added a great story to my after dinner repoirtoir. Other memorable moments inculde member of our team somehow getting stuck in a lift, unable to figure out which Korean symbol to press for help, having a jet lag induced meeting at 4am, and buying a neck tie at 6am. We also managed to find time, during our 36 hours on the ground 13 hours from home, for dinner in the restaurant on the top floor of the tallest building in Korea and the food – as was all the food we had in Seoul – was truly delicious. I also had a great time during my trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow. I arrived in St. Petersburg on the weekend before a client meeting which, coincidently, was scheduled in the middle of the "white nights" when the sun sets for only an hour or so in the night. I visited the Hermitage, which must be one of the World's greatest art museums, and a short boat trip outside of the city, the "Russian Versaille", Peterhof. After finishing up with the client, I headed to...