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True Love for Customers [Love in Business Series]

True Love for CustomersTrue love for customers reveals how nonprofit, commercial and government organizations of all sizes can create much stronger relationships and business by transforming how they relate to customers.

Philosophers, clergy and psychologists have long acknowledged love as the most powerful force between humans. Love connects people like nothing else can, I think because love touches and binds together so many parts of the brain simultaneously: Love stimulates the reptilian brain because it’s related to survival. It is central to the limbic brain, which is grounded in emotion and memory. And love throughly engages the neocortex in art, ideals, and many other forms.

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Elevator Pitches are Dead: Use Scenarios to Network into Jobs

Use Scenarios to Network into Jobs and ContractsUse Scenarios to Network into Jobs and Contracts reveals a new way to break through when you’re looking for new consulting work or employment for yourself, or you’re fundraising for your startup or nonprofit. As these pages detail, I’ve learned that “breaking through the noise” is easy when you play music. You’ll learn how to do it here.

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Healing Business [How to Rehumanize]

Healing Business - Experiential Social MediaIn Healing Business, I’ll share why I think business needs healing and how CSRA is doing it with experiential social media. Business is wounded from a human point of view because it’s become very impersonal; large organizations don’t mean to, but they treat employees and customers as numbers because they don’t know or trust them. Experiential is a practical way to change that.

If you’d like to watch this post instead of reading it, click the thumbnail button!

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How Do You Feel? On Human Experience

How do you feel? Human experienceOn human experience invites you to examine common marketing practices from a human experience perspective. It expands part of a presentation I gave at the University of Chicago Booth that the audience experienced as mind-bending based on their facial expressions.

Quite by accident I’ve happened on a rare view of humanity while practicing experiential social media during the last ten years. Experiential’s core research process involves conducting ethnographic research of thousands of people in specific situations. I analyze human behavior in communities in digital public, and it’s very rich, nuanced and complex. Ethnographic yields unparalleled qualitative and quantitative insights into behavior and human experience.

Experiential consistently reveals that many marketing practices repel people rather than attracting them because the environment in which marketing is practiced has completely changed from when these practices developed. Marketing creates mistrust and pushes people away, as I’ll show below. This post attempts to reveal this anachronism to you, so you can correct your practices and take the advantage from your competitors.

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Ethnographic Research for Design

Ethnographic Research for Design: IxD Service Design UX Strategy Interaction Customer ExperienceEthnographic research for design explains how to use advances in ethnographic research of social media to design products, services, experiences… anything—while getting better results at lower risk. Ethnographic research of social media is breakthrough for designers in the “design stack” in which I’ve includedArchitecture/Interior Design, Product Design, User Experience Design/Interaction Design, UX Strategy, Service Design and Customer Experience Design.

Designers in all fields lament clients’ resistance to funding robust research. Traditional design research methods are often grounded in asking proposed users explicit questions, and self-reported responses vary significantly from actual behavior despite respondents’ best intentions. Similarly, shadowing, service safaris, “a day in the life,” and other analog research methods are costly and slow. Sample sizes are necessarily small because scaling analog methods greatly multiplies the budget and length of the research phase. Ethnographic research of social media changes the game because it studies proposed users’ actual behavior in digital public when they’re having heated discussions about the outcomes they want when the proposed product, service, or process is useful to them. It enables […]

Behavioral Economics, Autonomy and Ethical Land Mines

Overview: Behavioral Economics Autonomy and Ethics user experience designBehavioral economics autonomy and ethics is a thought experiment on how to approach “doing good” when applying the emerging practice of behavioral economics. Along with big data analytics and cognitive science, behavioral economics affords businesses, governments and other organizations unprecedented impact on individuals’ behavior, even without their consent or awareness. This arouses serious ethical and social dilemmas.

Every behavioral economics practitioner I’ve met has emphasized the importance of using its practice “for good” in order to help people. Like all other human endeavors, however, “for good” is open to interpretation, so I’ll apply my experience with ethnographic and behavioral analysis of social media to reflect on what “for good” might mean in light of individual and group autonomy.

I also hope this Noodle will be food for thought for executives who hire behavioral economics firms as well as all of us who are invariably its subject. In a similar vein, most designers I know are committed to using design principles to improve user experience, and there’s considerable overlap between design and behavioral economics.

Behavioral economics is as […]

Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media

Ethnographic Research for Business Innovation Using Social Media: de-risk innovationEthnographic research for business innovation shows how to apply ethnographic research of social media to managing controlled disruption within organizations. Ethnographic research of social media can transform the entire innovation process because it’s a very efficient way to study the behavior and motivations of the people that the innovation proposes to serve. Unlike traditional innovation and ethnographic research methods, which are relatively slow, costly and qualitative, ethnographic research of social media combines qualitative richness with quantitative analysis. It’s faster and less costly, too.

Ethnographic research for business innovation can dramatically improve the depth and breadth of business and corporate strategy, business design and service design research since it allows teams to consider more users and to assess their behavior and motivations, which can improve the value of more costly research.

This post outlines the business innovation use case of ethnographic research of social media, and it includes examples in banking, professional services, consumer products, and B2B marketing. For more on ethnographic research, see More Resources below.

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Social Media Strategy Lessons Learned

Social media strategy lessons learned summarizes eleven golden rules I’ve learned while leading strategy and its execution for global firms. Some of them might surprise you: I’ve come to learn that I have a different perspective on social media strategy since I advised global firms and startups in their corporate strategies before founding CSRA in 2006.

Social Media Strategy Lessons Learned

Before diving into lessons learned, let’s specify what we mean by social media strategy. “Strategy” itself is an overused work that denotes some mixture of research and planning. The strategy trade-off is simple: the more research and analysis you do upfront, the more risks you can foresee and account for in your plan. When you put your plan into action, you make fewer mistakes and execute more efficiently. Conversely, “minimum viable”/lean strategy does less research upfront, so the team learns while doing. Neither approach is universally “right,” and both work best for certain situations and firms.

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Social Media Strategy Good Practices

Social media strategy good practices is a short list of principles that can make your firm stand out when empowering customer and employee experience. It’s part of a talk I gave today to a large multidisciplinary team. Their venerable institution plans to use social media strategy to get the ducks in a row without too much squawking. The most exciting aspect of social media strategy is that there’s so much room for improvement: while your peers and competitors are trying to “engage” with finely crafted-yet-impersonal content, you can power past them using experiential social media, which focuses on scalable interaction.

Social Media Strategy Good Practices: summary

Here are the cliff notes to the good practices part of our discussion:

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The Connected Car and Customer Experience

The connected car and customer experienceThe connected car and customer experience reveals a new opportunity for carmakers to dial into real customer behavior and desires around connected cars and autonomous cars. The Connected car and the autonomous car are powerful services that will help transform how people move around, and they are emerging during an era of unprecedented volatility in markets. I’ll wager that there’s never been a better or more challenging time to be a carmaker because opportunities and threats have never been higher. I’ve been fortunate to meet product managers and engineers who are pioneering connected and autonomous car services. I’ve also been meeting leaders in the Internet of Things (smart devices), of which the connected car is a part.

My crystal ball says that the connected car is a bet-the-brand proposition for carmakers because it directly addresses competing on customer experience, the most disruptive trend of all. As I detailed in The Social Channel, we have moved from a product/service-based economy toward an experience economy. Even IT analyst Gartner has proclaimed that customer experience is the final battleground for firms. Established […]