The engaged web is organic and fluid, meaning that it changes rapidly. What was a positive comment can turn into a negative one within minutes and the social community expects rapid response.
Take the below as an example of just how quickly things can change.
During the recent UK election, the Labour party released this campaign poster depicting David Cameron as the Ashes to Ashes character DCI Jean Hunt with the following tagline.
Less than 24hrs later, the Conservatives had turned it round with the following alternative tagline.
Note the quip “idea kindly donated by the Labour Party”.
Organisations which spot things early and have the ability to respond quickly and effectively will gain significant competitive advantage.
The days of rear view mirror reporting are gone. Receiving a quarterly evaluation report, no matter how pretty and intelligently assembled it is, has limited value in today’s connected world because it will be too late to do anything about the information contained in the report by the time you receive it.
There are some really good examples of how some companies have lost out due to the speed of their response. Earlier this year, a freelance Paperchase illustrator who created the Hidden Eloise character, noticed that some of her work was being used without her permission. Having attempted, without success, to contact Paperchase, to ask for royalties or to issue a desist notice, she began tweeting about the incident. This resulted in coverage in The Independent and the Channel 4 News. This done untold damage to the image of Paperchase right before one of the busiest times of the year, Valentine’s day.Read the article in The Independent here.
Consider on the other hand, Sony Playstation’s agility in handling its console woes earlier this year. Some consumers were left unable to use their Playstation 3 consoles after their systems mistakenly calculated that 2010 was a leap year. Bloggers were the first to identify this issue and while Tokyo investigated it, they put up holding statements as well as the eventual solution to the problem on Twitter. Although they certainly experienced reputational damage, it could have been much worse than it was, all but for the speed and methodology of Sony’s reaction.
Real time ‘v’ right time analytics
The ability to have good digital listening posts that allow us to see true meaning when it most empowers good decision making, means we need to be able to analyse information in real time but we need to get the full picture at the right time. If we don’t, we run a real risk of knee jerk reaction tactics. You wouldn’t want to alter the corporate strategy in reaction to a Twitter storm which was later to prove inconsequential.
Staying with the games console industry as an example, if say Nintendo were to spot some negative comments around the pricing of one of its systems, it may be inclined to reduce its pricing. However, if it notices that there is an overall pressure on pricing throughout the industry, including its competitors, its reaction is likely to be very different. Hundreds of millions of pounds are likely to be at stake on these kinds of business decisions.
The measurement industry is therefore evolving from a ‘what has happened’ industry to a ‘why it has happened’ industry, but there remain some real challenges. In part three in my Engaged Web series, I outline just what these challenges are.