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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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Ethnographic Research of Social Media for Social Media Initiatives

Ethnographic Research for Social Media Initiatives avatarEthnographic research for social media initiatives shows how ethnography can change the rules of social media programs in marketing, customer service, product development, recruiting and others. Ethnographic research enables teams to understand the people who are most important to your firm so they can relate to them at a completely different level. Moreover, interacting in digital public activates the network effect and the annuity effect, so it’s very scalable. Since your teams interact in digital public, where a far larger group of like people observes the interactions, they influence a large group of people and build relationships with them. People start trusting your firm, preferring your firm, and doing more business with you. See the Trust Business Chain Reaction and infographic for how it monetizes.

Ethnographic research for social media initiatives is a game-changer for customer experience and digital transformation programs in multiple phases. It’s faster, less costly, and scalable. It provides an unprecedented combination of qualitative and quantitative research.

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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 […]

How Trusting Customers Drives Profit

How Trusting Customers Drives Profit avatarHow Trusting Customers Drives Profit reveals how firms unwittingly broadcast that they don’t trust their customers, how that weakens profit, and how firms can take the leap. It’s a simple revolutionary idea that’s born from nine years of studying behavior while practicing experiential social media and social business.

Analysts, consultants and professors increasingly say that customer experience is the last bastion of competitiveness, and an increasing portion of total experience occurs in digital public. This presents firms with an unprecedented opportunity: interacting with people in digital public can create trust at scale and drive profit from revenue and cost levers.

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Short Guide to Forum Outreach

Short Guide to Forum Outreach: experiential social mediaThe short guide to forum outreach reveals how experiential social media teams can tap forums’ unique opportunity to engage users, using a three-stage model. Forums are vital to relationship building with people with specific interests. They are consistently the most people-centric platform type according to CSRA’s research in such diverse industries as healthcare, consumer products, financial services, government, and nonprofits. As such, although they are very human and social, forums are distinct from social media, which often enables social actions oriented to content sharing and short exchanges.

In some ways, forums are the polar opposite of social media because their DNA is threaded discussions, which enable long conversations among many members. Even more exciting, the most passionate members are often members of several forums that are relevant to your stakeholders and workstreams.

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Noodle XIII: Surprising Benefit of Extreme Weather (Before you cancel that event..)

Surprising benefit of extreme weather: reflectionsThis winter carries a surprising benefit of extreme weather. It has been a bit colder than usual in much of the U.S.A. due to the “Polar Vortex,” and I have observed that many professional groups in Chicago have canceled or postponed events due to “extreme weather” over the past two months. This has started to become a phenomenon, so I’ve been observing it with interest.

My social business client work involves analyzing digital social networks, and it constantly reveals how people affect each other’s behavior, often in surprising ways. I hypothesize that reactions to this weather phenomenon are having unintended effects, so, in the spirit of all Noodles, I’ll explore some of these deeper meanings and invite your thoughts.

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Chief Digital Officer Needs Analysis: Do You Need a CDO?

Chief Digital Officer Needs Analysis is an executive summary of how CSRA helps organizations assess their need for “going digital” and hiring digital executives. These engagements serve as “requirements analysis” for an enterprise, business or brand.

Improving the Selection Process for Digital Executives

Chief Digital Officer Needs Analysis: Do you need a CDO?Astute CEOs and boards of established firms and brands are awakening to an increasingly uncomfortable reality: for many, business results have been flat, and customers are behaving “unpredictably.” Since this is such a prevalent trend, there is emerging consensus that “going digital” is the way to get closer to customers(1) and revitalize business. CEOs or board members get on the phone to their executive recruiter to search for a Chief Digital Officer, a “digital CMO,” or maybe a digital-savvy CIO to lead digital transformation. As we’ll see, in so doing they are too often putting the cart before the horse. They will get better results by assessing their needs for digital expertise first, so I’ll offer a simple yet robust needs assessment process.

Although CSRA’s client work shows accelerating digital adoption […]