The warm weather is upon us. It’s a time of year often associated with the blossoming of love and relationships, which has me thinking about how marketing has leaped forward in its ability to build emotional connections with customers.
Marketers from Mondelez International, Ford Motor Company and Estee Lauder have headed up a new list of 25 social business leaders globally actively driving social culture and practices within their organisations.
The ‘Making Social Business Happen’ program was launched by the Economist Intelligence Unit earlier this year and identified 25 leaders who are successfully applying social technologies, principles and strategies within their companies worldwide.
The list followed a nominations process and was comprised by an advisory board including The Economist’s Nick Blunden, Blue Focus Marketing CEO and CMO, Cheryl Burgess; Mesh Lab’s chief instigator, Lisa Gansky; Altimeter Group principal Brian Solis; and IBM vice-president of social business marketing, Maria Winans. IBM was the lead sponsor of the program.
Five individuals were chosen as ‘standouts’ on the list: Mondelez International vice-president of global media and consumer engagement, Bonin Bough (pictured), who was recognised for his work with the Mobile Futures mobile marketing initiative, digital-first media approach and social media war room; former chief of global digital communications at Ford Motor Co, Scott Monty; Cemex director of innovation, Gilberto Garcia; Estee Lauder vice-president for corporate digital marketing, Marisa Thalberg; and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers senior vice-president for business transformation, Chris Laping.
Criteria used to evaluate nominees included the ability to use social technologies, process and principles internally as well as with external clients to support business goals and revenue, as well as using social technologies to share knowledge and ideas across the company. All nominees had implemented social technologies, policies and governance within their organisations.
These leaders were also shown to use data to gain actionable insights into the performance and activities of stakeholders while improving experiences and outcomes, and had also developed a consistent social voice for their organisation that was authentic, transparent and driven by two-way customer communication and trust, The EIU said.
“Social business is now more critical than ever in improving efficiency, unleashing innovation and creating cultures of trust across organisations globally,” Blunden commented. “We hope this program will enable business leaders to see what they can achieve by learning from their peers within startups and some of the world’s leading consumer brands.”
Judging from recent reports on the state of social business in organisations today, there’s a long way to go. According to a report released last year by Altimeter Group, only one-fifth of companies could boast of being strategic around social media strategy.
The State of Social Business 2013: The Maturing of Social Media into Social Business found only one-quarter of respondents has a holistic social media approach, and 48 per cent claimed top executives are not informed, engaged or aligned with social strategy.
In that report, Altimeter devised six stages to a company’s social media maturity: Planning, presence, engagement, formalised, strategic and converged.
The EIU’s full list of 25 social innovators consists of a diverse range of job functions and titles, although digital, marketing and innovation officers pop up from many organisations, and heads of social are, unsurprisingly, featured on the list.
Well-known brands featured on the list include Nestle, TD Bank Group, Wells Fargo, Audi AG, Deutsche Bank and Zappos.com.
Individuals in the top 25 took to Twitter to share their stories and inclusion on the list. Thalberg, Burgess and IO Data Center former digital technology evangelist, Brian Fanzo, all said they were “proud and honoured” to be on the list.
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