"Because the purpose of a company is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two - and only two - basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business." [Peter Drucker]
If this doesn't sound like any place where you worked, you are not alone.
In The Hyper-Social Organization (Amazon affiliate link), Human 1.0 founder Francois Gossieaux and Ed Moran, Deloitte Director for Product Innovation, write about putting people back into business and getting to know and work with its communities or tribes.
In strategy, there are always some pillars that underpin how a business and organization can find its motivation to move from where it is to where it needs to be, which then the people in the business translate into execution.
The four pillars of Hyper-Sociality, according to Gossieaux and Moran are:
- ditch market segments, think tribes
- forget information channels, leverage knowledge networks
- let go of company-centricity, become human-centric
- loosen up fixed processes and hierarchies, embrace Human 1.0
Customer-facing processes are social processes -- business is social, it's always been that way. There's an interesting nugget in the book about communities you should think about, especially in light of the fact that many organizations need quantum leaps, not incremental growth, to succeed in the future.
Companies usually have a mix of two communities: defenders of the faith and seekers of the truth. You certainly do not look for innovation from defenders. And yet a lot of effort is put into wrestling *all* into defenders of the faith. You need those seekers of the truth to balance things out.
An agency I worked with a while back when I was the client used to tell a funny story about one of their creatives, "we keep him locked into a closet, mostly", they used to say. "When he comes out, though, that's when we get the really good and new ideas."
What do they say about branding?
You need to develop a point of view about your positioning and try to get your tribe to accept it voluntarily. As in most social interactions, your chances of getting someone to adopt your point of view are going to increase if you involve them early on.
This is congruent with the fundamental question of the Web, which is why wasn't I consulted? People now take that attitude to other platforms, in mobile and offline events, for example. Brand perception is only as good as the last interaction the customer had with the brand.
It sounds to me like we need to simplify business, services, and processes to get there. To me, the answer is not heaping more -- resources, rules, layers, etc. -- on service or product delivery. The answer is to do fewer right things with a more streamlined process.
You need to allow the people involved in the process to be human. Which requires trust, the very engine that allows you to attract, assist, and affiliate customers. Are you and your organizations advocates on behalf of your customers?
[Disclosure: I received a copy of The Hyper-Social Organization from Francois Gossieaux, who is a long time friend, and was excited and grateful that the authors would acknowledge my input on page xvi. This review and recommendation is based upon the quality of the material -- and not on how I obtained it.]