Friday Wrap #71: Reputation risks, content marketing payoffs, B2B on Twitter, QR codes live and more2013-10-11
(c) Can Stock PhotoThe Friday Wrap is my weekly review of stories, studies and reports from the last seven days that may have slipped by unnoticed in the midst of bigger news. I collect the items I’ll consider for the Wrap in my link blog, which you’re welcome to follow at LinksFromShel.tumblr.com.
Losing reputation is the biggest strategic risk for big companies
Ask a typical C-suite or board member what the biggest risk is, and they’re likely to talk about brand trends and the economy. But according to a Deloitte study, reputation and the fallout from reputational damage are the biggest risk large companies face. “Overall, progress on strategic risk management is evident, though most executives admit that their programs do not support their business strategy well enough,” according got Bulldog Reporter Daily Dog report. The rise of reputation as a key concern is startling in some industries. Three years ago, it ranked 11th among energy and resources company; today, it’s at the top of the list. “The rise of reputation risk as the key strategic risk is mirrored by executives listing social media, which has transformed reputation management as the biggest technology disrupter and threat to their business model.” Two-thirds of companies surveyed said their boards and senior executives have assumed oversight for managing strategic risk, a reflection of leadership’s growing awareness of the importance of reputation and social media.
The company’s reputation also matters to employees
Nearly 70% of Americans would rather remain unemployed that take a job with a company that has a bad reputation. That’s the finding of a survey from the magazine Corporate Responsibility, according to a Staffing Industry article. 84% would consider leaving their current jobs if they got an offer from a company with a better reputation.
Not just a buzzword: Content marketing pays off
“Content marketing” is a phrase tossed off so easily by so many these days it’s assuming jargon proportions, like “paradigm shift” and “world class.” But just like those groan-inducing terms, there’s substance in the underlying concept. Adweek‘s Christopher Heine reports that General Electric’s content marketing efforts are producing 30% extra value for every dollar invested. That’s according to analysis the company conducted, according to CMO Beth Comstock. Data is driving a lot of GE’s content; Comstock says the strategy is to “make big data small and have fun with it.” It’s not just GE. A study from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs—sponsored by Brightcove—shows B2B marketers “are increasingly using content marketing and distributing content across more social networks to help increase awareness and website conversions,” according to a Bulldog Reporter Daily Dog report. According to the study, 93% of B2B organizations are marekting to customers and prospects using a variety of content approaches; 73% are producing more content than they did a year ago, and 42% say they’re experiencing positive results from the effort.
There’s real-time marketing, then there’s good real-time marketing
Jeff Dachis, CEO of Dachis Group, wants us all to stop whining about real-time marketing. Noting that a lot of coverage of the real-time movement has been “pretty derisive,” he argues that “the naysayers are 100% wrong.” Dachis, writing in AdAge Digital, admits a lot of the post-Oreo/Super Bowl success have been “ill conceived and generally lame” because “these me-too efforts are not actually real-time marketing. Brands are just inserting an ad into broad cultural conversation and hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.” But real-time marketing is driven by trends that are “very real and are rooted in massive changes in human behavior that marketers need to start grappling with.” If you’re looking for a good example, look to Clorox, which injected itself brilliantly into a story (brace yourself, it’s a gross story) out of Yale, where someone has been defecating into unattended laundry machines that still hold students’ clothes. “The Poopetrator,” as the culprit has been dubbed, has been doing his (or her) dirty deed at the Saybrook College laundry room, according ot the Yale Daily News. Hearing about the story, Clorox tweeted an image of a bleach bottle behind glass on which the words BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF POOMERGENCY are emblazoned. The Yale Daily News replied with a tweet that read, “Ur move @tide.” Digiday‘s Haniya Raye has the story.
Embrace technology or die: Study says companies face a digital imperative
Executives understand that their businesses need to embrace technology, but also complain that it’s hard. (Like math, says I.) A survey of 1,559 executives and managers from across the business spectrum found that 78% of respondents know that digital transformation is essential—and that it has to happen within the next 24 months—but 63% claim the pacd of change in their organizations isn’t proceeding nearly fast enough, with a “lack of urgency” topping the list of obstacles. According to the study from MIT Sloan Management Review, conducted with Capgemini Consulting, only 38% of respondents said that “digital transformation was a permanent fixture on their CEO’s agenda. Among those 36% of companies where the CEO does share a digital vision, 93% of employees say it’s the right thing for the organization. The entire study is available on the MIT Sloan management Review site.
B2B marketers rely on industry media content to share on Twitter
Marketers in the business-to-business world devote as much time to social media as anyone else, but they’re tapping different sources of information to share with their audiences. Industry media sites provide the fodder for 62% of the content shared on Twitter by B2B marketers, according got an analysis from Leadtail and DNN Software. Mainstream media sites come next, with 25% of shares, followed by social media sites, grabbing 11%, according to a MarketingProfs article by Ayaz Nanji. Mashable is the most often shared industry source, followed by Business Insider, Business 2 Community, Hubspot’s blog, and MarketingProfs. The analysis also identified the most retweeted people among B2B marketers, with Vala Afshar topping the list and Jay Baer coming in second. The report also lists the most retweeted vendors marketers’ favorite platforms and apps for using Twitter.
No, QR codes are still not dead
Mention QR codes in a conversation and more than one person is likely to tell you they never took off and never will. They shrug off the proliferation of QR codes appearing on packaging, magazine ads, in-store displays and a host of other venues. And now, PayPal has incorporated QR Codes to help encourage mobile payments. Customers will soon be able to complete a payment by scanning a QR code; alternatively, they can gt a four-digit sequence from a merchant. Todd Wasserman, writing for Mashable, says PayPal insists they’re not trying to push the technology, but instead is trying to “truly make the paying experience better for consumers and give merchants more opportunity to innovate without a costly investment.” To pay by QR code, you’ll open your PayPal app and check in at the location. “The app will produce a QR code or a four-digit code. If the merchant has a bar code or QR code scanner, then you can pay with the QR code. If the merchant doesn’t, then you can punch the code into a PIN pad at checkout.” The service will debut in the first quarter of 2014.
Facebook, Cisco want you to trade your location for free WiFi
In an expansion of a test with a single vendor, 1,000 merchants in 50 countries now offer WiFi to their customers thanks to a Cisco Systems backbond and a consumer-facing front end from Facebook. The goal: get people to share their location in exchange for free wireless access to the Net. Kate Kaye, writing for AdAge, says the locations using the service range from “mom-and-pop restaurants to international airports.” Facebook gets more location data to share with merchants while Cisco and the merchants providing the service get an easier way to connect. Many of the merchants are medium-sized businesses, a market Facebook has had its eye on for some time. The data Facebook will provide from the service will be anonymized, allowing vendors like early partner Philz Coffee to “determine the age range, gender breakdown, locations and interests of people who accessed wifi in its coffee shops using a Facebook login.”
Number of Internet-connected video devices to surpass global population
Video is the most important channel for online communication, and if you doubt it consider this: By 2017, there will be more Internet-connected video devices—more than 8 billion—exceeding the global population. The list of devices includes tablets, connected TVs, gaming consoles, smartphones, set-tops, Blu-ray players and PCs, according to Chris Tribbey, writing for Home Media Magazine. Tribbey quotes research firm IHS’s senior analyst of broadband technology, Merrick Kingston, noting that “On average, every human begin in the world will possess more than one Internet-connected video device by the year, 2017.” Kingston says the average broadband household contains 10 connected, video-enabled devices; every TV set in a broadband-equipped home will be “surrounded by three Internet-connected devices.” Much of the growth is coming in the Asia-Pacific region, where 1.9 billion connected devices will be added in the next four years. Another 145 million will come from Sub-Saharan Africa.
Employee engagement levels rise—but only to 13%
Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to Gallup, which more or less invented the concept of engagement. The research firm’s 142-country study defines engagement as those “psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations.” That number is up from 11% in 2010. Sixty three percent are not engaged, “meaning they lack motivation and are less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals and outcomes.” Twenty-four percent are actively disengaged; that is, they are “unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread negativity to coworkers.” The U.S. and Canada enjoy the highest proportion of engaged workers at 29%. “Business leaders worldwide must raise the bar on employee engagement,” the report argues. “Increasing workplace engagement is vital to achieving sustainable growth for companies, communities, and countries—and for putting the global economy back on track to a more prosperous and peaceful future.”