Social Communication
Our Biggest Threat are the In-between’s.
January 11, 2010
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As the many cases of late tell us, corporations aren’t ready for social media. Not the least bit. The reality of today is that regular people aren’t adapting like they usually do. They are joining forces. I mean, corporations had PR crises before social media. But they could play them in a not so public way. Nowadays, they have to talk directly to the customers, and they do HAVE to, as the customers join forces and become a force.

So what is it that makes smart people at corporations make bad decisions? I mean, otherwise smart people that know all the rules of engagement, and are highly skilled to maneuver even the most sneaky of sneaky journalists.

My answer to that question is in the in-betweens.

How does an In-between manifest itself

You have an organizational structure at your company where one floor does one thing and the other does the other. Yeah, I know it says in all your internal documents that you have a flat organization, but c’mon, no human society has displayed that kind of behavior, so don’t feel sick about you failing to live up to it.

An in-between issue occurs when there is a change in society that doesn’t match the internal organization. We have seen them many times before. CSR was a question that has been there always, but has not been communicated by the companies as a separate issue. When it became the trending topic on everyone’s lips a couple of years ago, most companies weren’t ready. Most companies still aren’t done with their work.

The problem with the CSR questions are that they grasp over everything a company does and so they are the concern several floors in your office building. Everyone from sales to HR are in some way related to CSR questions as they have to do with society and people and the way we are mean or un-mean to them.

As it is everyone’s question it becomes no ones responsibility. More specifically there is no one who can take decisions in these types of questions until there is a person who is set to decide over these questions.

In-between’s most frequent conflict Marketing vs. Communication PR

It falls on everyone’s plate to do something about it. The most common problem is that between Marketing and Communication PR. More and more questions that were previously so neatly parted between the two departments are now becoming more and more blurry.

The latest in the bundle of these in-between questions are social media. The problem is as always that Marketing owns the channel, the dialogue area or the horn to the street. They are normally the ones talking to the end consumer. PR and corporate communications holds the mandate to talk, but they don’t know how the channels work, and usually they don’t know how to not talk corporatism.

So. The problem is that of ownership and internal organization. One owns the means, one owns the measures.

Solution to the problem

If you recognize and agree this far. Please read the rest with an “open mind”. Bundle them up. I am not joking. It is way past bedtime for organizations built on departments and not on people. So how to govern you think? Well, govern through values, and truly do it. I am sure I am saying this a bit to easily and that someone will have to show someone graphs somewhere down the road. But bundle people, bundle departments, put it all together to a one and the same company.

That’s the conclusion that we all will come to in the end. So why don’t we just execute?


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About author

Jesper Åström

Jesper Åström - @jesperastrom - is a digital tactician hired by people and companies all over the world to help solve their digital challenges. He is also a liked educator and business creator and currently develops educational programs in collaboration with Hyper Island in Sweden and Singapore, whilst building businesses in Sweden and Japan. Subscribe to Jespers YouTube Channel

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There are 2 comments

  • […] See this in the light of a bigger issue at SEO & Social media by Jesper Åström – H&M’s twittering has bothered me for some time, since they seem to think it’s just another “spray&pray channel”, but maybe they’re just suffering from the issues raised by Jesper. Maybe they should even get Jesper & Honesty to help them out! […]

  • Smurftips says:

    […] Our Biggest Threat are the In-between’s.“PR and corporate communications holds the mandate to talk, but they don’t know how the channels work, and usually they don’t know how to not talk corporatism.” Det här känner jag inte igen mig alls i, medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap är ju den vanligast förekommande kompetensen i branschen. Visst, jag kan köpa att kompetenserna behöver “bundlas”, men det kan vi bara åstadkomma om vi förstår exakt vad varje enskilt instrument i orkestern bidrar till; Marknadsföringen är blåset, PR är stråkarna. […]

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