It seems that every certain number of years different trends and events converge to cause major change, e.g.:
- Millions of years ago, the world lost the Dinosaurs (65 million years ago to be exact, give or take a million, at the end of the Cretaceous Period),
- The slow but finite decline of the Roman Empire over a period of four centuries, culminating on September 4, 476 (1600 hundred years go by in the blink of an eye),
- The end of the cold war in the late 80’s which began with the coming to power of Gorbachev in 1985 and ended with the fall of the U.S.S.R in 1991 (it seems like yesterday).
While I can’t claim to have experienced 67% of these changes, I am glad to be experiencing the rise of a new era, that of the Social Business. The question is, do you want to go down in history as the tyrannosaurus or ensure the laws of evolution apply to you? What does it take to be part of the “fittest” to survive in this new era?
First we need to understand what is Social Business?
There seems to be two separate definitions, albeit closely related, as number 1 can be enabled and fed by number 2:
1. Social business, as the term had been commonly used, was first defined around 2006 by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus and is described in his books Creating a world without poverty—Social Business and the future of capitalism and Building Social Business—The new kind of capitalism that serves humanity’s most pressing needs. In Yunus’ definition, a social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective within the highly regulated marketplace of today. It is distinct from a non-profit because the business should seek to generate a modest profit but this will be used to expand the company’s reach, improve the product or service or in other ways to subsidize the social mission.
2. In 2011, IBM has started socializing, pun “intended,” Social Business as “the practice of combining social networking tools – internally and externally – with sophisticated analytic capabilities, companies are transforming their business processes, building stronger relationships among their employees, customers and business partners and making better decisions, faster. This is what makes a social business – embracing networks of people to create new business value and opportunities.”
While at first glance the two definitions may seem at odds ( let’s face it, one is Nobel Prize-worthy altruistic, while the other sounds like just another “self-serving” tagline), in reality, we couldn’t accomplish one without the other. Beyond Prof. Yunus’s actions with the UN and in Bangladesh, we are starting to see the rise of what I call the “Profit with Purpose” movement. To cite a few examples (you can click on it for additional details);
- TOMS shoes One for One Movement
- PepsiCo Performance with Purpose
- Starbucks, Chevron and IBM Financial backing for small businesses
I believe that there is a formula that will benefit all constituents in the new era. Just like we survived and grew during the industrial age – we can look at networks (Social Media) as the capital of the 21st century and use it to our advantage (way beyond grasping for likes and followers in Facebook, LinkedIn or twitter).
Are you ready? – How to secure “survival of the fittest”
Multiple events are predicting the new era; changing demographic landscape , the “Occupy (fill in the blank)” movement, the economy, even common sense tells us, what good is it to have a product to sell if customers can’t afford it?
It is time to take a closer look at your market, your business model (the complete “value chain”), maybe even your positioning, and identify what actions you can start implementing today that will ensure your business success as well as that of the market (customer) you serve. Social Media networks can help identify your employees, customers and even investors sentiments – take a closer look at how you can leverage this information. You know that there’s a faster, nimbler competitor out there doing it already – what are you waiting for?, an “Et tu brute” moment?
Stay tuned for my next blog. In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana
5 comments November 2nd, 2011