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The 4C's of the Conversation Company

In his new book, Steven advises companies to become conversation companies. A conversation company is a very consumer oriented company, relying on the power of people and using social media as a perfect partner. The Conversation Company invests in 4 C's to optimize its conversation potential: customer experience, conversation management, content, collaboration. This report gives an update to which extent companies are investing in these 4 dimensions.

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The 4C's of the Conversation Company

  1. Katia Pallini
  2. About thisresearch reportInSites Consulting, together with sample and datacollection partner SSI and the translation agency NoProblem! conducted a quantitative online survey among1,222 senior managers.The targeted markets included are Belgium, TheNetherlands, France, Germany, the US and the UK.All respondents are senior or top managers fromcompanies (+20fte) in different sectors, with differentsizes and offers. Splits per sector, region… are shown ifthe results are relevant.
  3. What to expect fromthis research reportMarket circumstances are forcing companies to changetheir marketing, their behavior and their leadership style.In his book, The Conversation Company, Stevenidentifies four pillars that will guide companies throughthis change process. These pillars are rethinkingcustomer experience, conversation management,content strategy and collaboration.This research project measures the current state ofcompanies in their journey to become a conversationcompany.
  4. The ConversationCompany Philosophy‘The Conversation Company’ is a metaphor for themost consumer-centric organization one can imagine,using the power of the people as a positive lever andthankfully accepting social media as an ideal businesspartner. Company culture is the conversation guide forall employees and clients. To optimize its conversationpotential, the Conversation Company invests in 4 C’s:Customer Experience, Conversation management,Content marketing & Consumer Collaboration.
  5. 4C IMPACT MODEL The 4C impact model shows how ‘identification with company culture’ and ‘social media integration’ influence the adoption level of the 4C pillars, which in turn have an impact on employee satisfaction and the likelihood of staff recommending their own company to others. Both are objective parameters of business performance.Identificationwith companyculture Satisfaction & recommendationSocial Mediaadoption
  7. 1Lack of identification with thecorporate values amongtop management blockssocial media integration
  8. 2High social Low socialmedia adoption media integration 61% 29% 29% 27% 27% 17% 17% 15% 15% 39% 12% 12% 29% Doing nothing with social Doingmedia First steps in social media First Pilot phase in social media Pilot Integrating social media Integrating Social media is integrated Social nothing steps in phase social media with social social in media integrated media media social 24% media
  9. 3 24% Conversation39% management Still a long way to go before the world is Customerexperience full of conversation companies 16% Collaboration 19% management Content management Current adoption of the 4C components
  10. 4A digital gap is created in thebusiness world:Those who invest today, are theones who will invest tomorrow
  11. Companies that invest in all 4 C’shave a higher satisfaction & 5recommendation rate amongtheir own employees
  12. Full Research Report
  13. 4C IMPACT MODELIdentificationwith companyculture Satisfaction & recommendationSocial Mediaadoption
  14. The Company Cultureis your company’sConversation GuideThe most commonly used definition of company culture reads as follows:“Company culture is a series of shared values and convictions which help individuals understand the functioningof the company.”A transparent company culture makes it easy for the employees to understand exactly what the company expectsof them. Culture gives people an insight into the type of behaviour the company considers appropriate.Research confirms that company culture often forms the basis for the successful implementation of a strategy. Astrong company culture also has a positive impact on the performance and productivity of its employees. Thisculture is a kind of „mental programming‟ that sets an organisation apart from its competitors.Your culture is the personality of your organisation and the foundation your Conversation Company is built on.Your staff and customers make this culture tangible to others. This involves a method of reasoning that worksfrom the inside out. A traditional company is first and foremost interested in keeping its shareholders happy.Making customers happy only comes second, with the staff coming a poor third. A Conversation Company turnsthis logic on its head. Happy staff are more than willing to keep the customers happy; happy customers meanhigher profits and this makes the shareholders happy as well. Or, as CEO of Southwest Airlines puts it:“We take good care of our staff. Our staff take good care of our customers. And our customers take good care ofour shareholders.”Your company culture is the conversation guide for employees and clients. Employees know how to behave andhow to communicate with clients, whereas clients know what to expect.
  15. Lack of identificationamong top managementblocks the evolutionWe looked for the reasons why some companies are refusing to invest in new media. Looking at the data, we foundsome typical results: the healthcare industry is lagging behind; media is a frontrunner; smaller companies are in thelead compared to bigger companies. But I have to admit, these differences are rather small.There is a bigger and more fundamental reason why some companies are lagging behind: their leaders. This surveywas undertaken among top managers from companies in the US, the UK and Europe[p1]. It was quite shocking tosee that about half of these top managers do not identify with the corporate identity and culture of the company theypreside over. This parameter is crucial to being open to change and evolution. Leaders who have a less emotionalbond with their company, invest less in social media. The transparency, openness and authenticity of the social webmust scare them away.This shows that conversational leadership becomes a critical success factor for adapting companies to thetransparent world we live in. Leaders can hate their job but need to love their company. The more extreme the ‘love’(emotional bond) between the leader and the company, the higher a company scores in social mediaadoption/integration.‘First who, then what’I am a big fan of Jim Collins’ book ‘From good to great’. In his work he states that great companies first decide on the‘Who?’ and then on the ‘What?’. Our research about social media integration and adoption has the same conclusion.If you are serious about social media, the two elements you need are a conversation leader and a corporate culturewhich acts as your conversation guide. After that, implementation of new projects will go a lot faster. This study alsoshows that some companies (with the wrong leader and wrong culture) will never be successful in this field. Probablythese companies have even more serious problems to deal with first, don’t you think?
  16. It’s remarkable that halfthe senior and top-levelmanagers do not orhardly identify with theculture of the companythey work for.The two main reasonsare the lack of visibilityof company valuesthroughout theorganization and alimited focus oncompany culture in therecruitment process.
  17. Company culture is built on having strong values andliving these values…The 5 most common values are… 26% More than 1 in 4 companies has 27% customer centricity ‘professionalism’ as a value. professionalism France is an outlier regarding company values: values such as responsibility, trust and respect carry more weight. 16% expertise 16% 19% result driven service-oriented
  18. But how are people living these values… Perfect fit between No fit between company company & personal & personal values values Only 1 in 2 feel their personal values fit closely with those of theCompany company they values work for. This percentage is significantly higher among top-levelPersonal managers, managers values with more than 20 years of experience, B2B companies and companies not listed on the stock market. 51% 49%
  19. The better the value match themore satisfied people are andthe more likely they are torecommend their company toothers
  20. 37% of managersclaim their companyvalues are not clearto everyone in thecompany
  21. 54% of companiesrecruit employeesbased on matchingvalues
  22. Company values…To what extent do you agree with the following statements regarding company culture? Agree Our company values permeate everything we do 64% Openness, authenticity and happiness are somehow incorporated in our values 64% Our company values are clear to everyone in the company 63% If negative customer comments appear online, we do not remove them but instead we try to help the customer 61% Our internal and external values are the same 60% If a staff member says or writes something wrong, we help him adjust his behavior 60% New employees are only recruited if their values match ours 54% As an employee, you have access to social media at work 52% My company encourages online conversations with customers 44% Employees are allowed to talk about their work on social media 41%
  23. 4C IMPACT MODELIdentificationwith companyculture Satisfaction & recommendationSocial Mediaadaption
  24. Social network adoption ishigh in companies. Themost actively usedplatforms are Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn andYouTube.However, integration ofsocial media in businessprocesses is low. Only12% of businesses havefully integrated socialmedia in their business.Yet our study shows thatsocial media integrationhas a positive impact onsatisfaction andrecommendation.
  25. Social Media AdoptionWhich of the following social media platforms is your company active on? Facebook 61% Twitter 39% LinkedIn 29% YouTube 24% A corporate blog 17% MySpace 9% Flickr 5% Foursquare 5% Netlog 4% Badoo 3%
  26. Most actively used platforms: 61% 39% 29% 24%
  27. Social Media AdoptionWhich of the following social media platforms is your company active on? <500 500+ B2C B2B 65% 56% 60% 62% 41% 37% 39% 38% 33% 25% 22% 41% 26% 21% 24% 24%
  28. Social Media AdoptionWhich of the following social media platforms is your company active on? Products & Products Services Services 60% 51% 70% 39% 32% 45% 32% 24% 33% 25% 16% 30%
  29. Social Media AdoptionWhich of the following social media platforms is your company active on? 80% 61% 51% 56% 59% 53% 45% 44% 35% 25% 39% 45% 48% 30% 8% 8% 35% 42% 31% 23% 19% 25% 20% 22%
  30. Social Media AdoptionWhich of the following social media platforms is your company active on? FMCG & Retail Healthcare Finance Media Tech & Telco Travel & Leisure 63% 43% 55% 78% 67% 62% 42% 39% 37% 66% 52% 50% 28% 29% 26% 29% 38% 24% 27% 30% 24% 46% 36% 35%
  31. Social Media Integration More than 1 in 2 companies are still in the early stages of integrating social media. 12% have fully integrated social media in their business processes. 29% 27% 17% 15% 12%Doing nothing with social First steps in social media Pilot phase in social media Integrating social media Social media is integrated Doing nothing media First steps in Pilot phase in Integrating Social media with social media social media social media social media integrated
  32. Social Media Adoption To what extent has your company integrated social media? <500 500+ B2C B2BDoing nothing with social media 27% 32% 29% 30% First small steps 30% 24% 27% 26% Setting up/ running pilot projects 17% 17% 18% 15% Integrating social media 15% 16% 15% 17% Social media are fully integrated 12% 11% 11% 12%
  33. Social Media AdoptionTo what extent has your company integrated social media?Doing nothing with social media 26% 31% 46% 19% 32% 23% First small steps 24% 27% 20% 28% 30% 33% Setting up/ running pilot projects 23% 18% 15% 19% 15% 13% Integrating social media 17% 14% 10% 20% 15% 17% Social media are fully 11% 10% 10% 13% 10% 15% integrated
  34. Social Media AdoptionTo what extent has your company integrated social media? FMCG & Retail Healthcare Finance Media Tech & Telco Travel & LeisureDoing nothing with social media 30% 38% 26% 27% 24% 30% First small steps 19% 26% 24% 20% 22% 33% Setting up/ running pilot projects 19% 12% 22% 13% 22% 16% Integrating social media 20% 13% 15% 23% 19% 13% Social media are fully 12% 11% 13% 16% 14% 9% integrated
  35. Companies that havefully integrated socialmedia in their structureuse an average of 3different social mediachannels.
  36. 52% have access to socialmedia at work41% are allowed to discusstheir work on social media44% are encouraged tocommunicate online withcustomers and consumers
  37. Companies where socialmedia is fully integrated havemore satisfied employees whoare more likely to recommendtheir company to others.
  38. 4C IMPACT MODELIdentificationwith companyculture Satisfaction & recommendationSocial MediaAdoption
  39. Why these Four Components?These four new disciplines have been chosen after careful consideration.A survey of 400 marketers has shown that companies grow faster than their sector rivals when theyuse these four components in unison.These four pillars help build a conversation lever for both your employees and your customers. Moreover,the entire process is in line with your company culture and company values.The first pillar, customer experience, is the most important conversation starter. If your employees andyour customers feel well-treated, they will mention this to each other.Managing customer experience means investing in word-of-mouth. You are developing a focus for staffand consumer satisfaction. As a result, service is no longer be seen as a cost but as an investment inconversations.Managing the conversations is the second pillar. This involves observing, facilitating and participating inconversations. Your participation in conversations in social media will help humanise your company andmake it seem less distant. Asking and answering questions boosts the interaction between the companyand the market.In addition to the reactive answering of questions, the Conversation Company also adopts an activestrategy with regard to content. Your content proves you are an expert in your field. Your company movesaway from campaign-based thinking and towards the planning of impactful, conversation-generatingcontent.The final pillar is the pillar of structural collaboration between your company and the market. Thecustomer wants to help you and you welcome that help. The Conversation Company builds variouscommunities of customers, who help determine the future of the organisation.
  40. The 4C componentsCurrent adoption levels… 24% Today, customer experience is the Conversation 39% management most adopted pillar. Compared to the other countries, US-based Customer experience companies score significantly higher on customer experience and conversation management 16% adoption. Overall, countries Collaboration providing both products and 19% management services score better on each of the pillars than companies providing Content management either products or services.
  41. US-based companies with less than 500 employees in the media or technology sector are the top performers across all 4 Cs <500MediaTech & Telco
  42. <500Only services Especially Belgium-based companies with less than 500 employees providing only services need better 4C leverage
  43. Customer experience is themain driver of satisfactionand recommendation.Offering strong products anda decent customer servicewill boost business throughpositive conversations.However, only 54% ofcompanies today managethose customer expectationsby delivering slightly morethan promised.Moreover, just 2 out of 3 areopen to conversations withcustomers in every phase ofthe purchase process.
  44. 54%managecustomer expectationsby delivering slightlymore than promised
  45. 60% alwaysopt for solutionsthat benefit thecustomer in theevent of a problem
  46. 43% offerthe same servicesboth online andoffline
  47. Customer Experience…To what extent do you agree with the following statements regarding customer experience? Agree The staff are trained to deliver adequate customer service 70% My company tries to be open to conversations with customers in every phase of the purchase process 63% In the event of problems, my company always opts for a solution which benefits the customer 60% Our customers can choose their own preferred channel of communication to address their questions 59% Every employee knows how to react to both satisfied & dissatisfied customers 59% My company innovates sufficiently in terms of customer service 57% More than 80% of the comments (online and offline) about my company are positive 56% My company manages every touch point with customers as a conversation starter 55% My company manages expectations. We deliver slightly more than what we promise 54% My company offers the same services both online and offline 43%
  48. Conversations should bemanaged in three stages:observing, facilitating andparticipating.Only 40% monitor customerconversations whereas 36%also participate in theseonline conversations.Remarkably, less than 1 in 2companies manage theirconversations themselves.Also, just 38% share theoutcome of these interactionswith the entire organisation.In other words, much of theconversations potentialremains unused.
  49. 40% monitorcustomerconversations bothonline and offline,36% participate inonline conversations
  50. 48% ofcompaniesmanage theirownconversations
  51. 34% use the real namesof the people who administerthe company Twitter account
  52. Conversation Management…To what extent do you agree with the following statements regarding conversation management? Agree My company always answers when a customer asks a question online and/or offline 69% My company admits its mistakes and apologises to the customer 69% Employees participate in conversations with customers and clients 57% My company offers objective added value when dealing with commercial questions from customers 56% My company manages its conversations itself 48% My company monitors customer conversations both online and offline 40% The conclusions of these observations are shared with all employees 38% My company sometimes posts questions on public forums to gain input and feedback from customers 37% My company participates in online conversations 36% My company uses the real names of the people who administer the company Twitter account 34%
  53. Content management isbecoming increasinglyimportant. More companiesacknowledge the need tochange their commercialmodel due to the rise ofsocial media.However, only 39%currently have a content plan.Less than 1 in 2 believetheir company is fully awareof the opportunities eachchannel has to offer in termsof spreading content.
  54. A 6-Step Approach in Content Marketing… 50% 43% 39% 45% 40% Topic Content Editorial Create Manage Measure Selection Conversion Content Shareable Content Success Strategy Planning Content ConversationDefine what you want Content marketing Set up a roadmap so The content must be Once the content is The moment theto be famous for. should result in you know when and easy to share and launched, people will content strategy is upSelect your content increased revenue. where content will be worth sharing. react to it. Be open to and running, you candomains wisely and Think beforehand shared. Streamline People tend to this engagement measure its impactbe consistent in your about where you the content calendar spread positive, from your audience through a set ofchoice. want a conversation with all other relevant and and be prepared to relevant KPIs. These to take place. Define marketing actions in appealing content answer questions or KPIs should be a a top conversion order to increase that offers a benefit. to give feedback. combination of point and lead people impact. business generation to this point through measures and your content conversational measures.
  55. 39% have a content plan48% use the right onlinechannels to spread contentefficiently44% has well aware ofthe opportunities eachchannel has to offer in termsof spreading content
  56. 56% haveemployees whoare responsiblefor creating content.
  57. 36% have bloggers amongst their employees44% have an editorof sorts who plans andorganizes the content
  58. Content Management…To what extent do you agree with the following statements regarding content management? Agree My company has employees who are responsible for creating content 56% My company knows on which content areas it wants to focus 50% My company uses the right online channels to spread content effectively 48% My company is well aware of the opportunities each channel has to offer in terms of spreading content 47% My company has software to process content efficiently 45% My company facilitates the sharing of content 45% My company has an editor of sorts who can plan and organize the content 44% My company has a plan to convert content into leads 43% My company has a content plan 39% My company has bloggers amongst its employees 36%
  59. Customer collaborationhas the highest impact onemployee satisfaction andthe likelihood of someonerecommending theircompany to others.Employees value this newform of consumercommitment.Still, to date, only 53%have already taken decisionsin conjunction with theircustomers and only 1 in 2involve their customers in thedevelopment phase.
  60. 37% actively managetheir relationship withfans and ambassadors
  61. 50% involvecustomers in thedevelopment ofnew products
  62. 28% have a small closed fan community27% have a large open fan communitythey consult with43% have a staff/employee community
  63. Collaboration Management…To what extent do you agree with the following statements regarding collaboration management? AgreeMy company has already taken decisions in conjunction with its customers 53%My company involves customers in the development of new service possibilities 50%My company involves customers when launching new products 48%My company involves customers in the development of new products 45%My company has a staff/employee community 43%My company takes most of its decisions in collaboration with staff and/or customers 41%My company actively manages its relationships with fans and ambassadors 37%My company involves customers when choosing new suppliers 29%My company has a small, closed fan community it consults with 28%My company has a large, open fan community it consults with 27%
  64. Willingness towards Future InvestmentTo what extent do you agree that, in the future, your company should invest in….? 47% Overall, less than 50% of companies are willing to invest in these 4 pillars 45% 40% 44%
  65. It’s time to act! Disbelievers will lag behind…. Companies with a high score on the 4C pillars display a significantly higher intention to keep investing in these 4 pillars, which will result in a continued growth in business performance.
  66. This will create a gap betweenthe unwilling majority and theinvesting few. High 18% 11% Intention to invest in 4C Low High Low 62% 10% Currently investing in 4Cs
  67. Placing the 4Cs in a broader perspective…. High Combining these two dimensions creates 4 Structural Collaboration relevant quadrants. Each quadrant requires a different approach.Today, companies havethe opportunity to build Lowstructural relationships with their customers. Apart from these structural contacts, companies can also benefit from open relationships with customers. Low Social media can help you generate content efficiently Reach either on a large scale or on a one-to-one basis.
  68. Placing the 4Cs in a broader perspective…. 20%* 15%* High Consumer Broad open Structural Collaboration consulting collaboration board Low High Conversations Customer Content experience Low 14%* 16%* Reach* % of companies who adopt the C pillar today and have the willingness for further investment
  69. 4C IMPACT MODELIdentificationwith companyculture Satisfaction & recommendationSocial MediaAdoption
  70. A close fit in values and socialmedia adoption have an impacton 4C integration, which in theirturn have an impact onsatisfaction and recommendation
  71. Companies scoringhigh on the 4C pillarsboast an averagesatisfaction score 23%and recommendationscore 27% higher thancompanies * High is defined as an average score of minimum 4 on 5 on the 4 pillars.
  72. Thank you!Let’s connect on linkedin.com/in/stevenvanbelleghem @steven_insites Steven@insites.eu
  73. The research partners
  74. FieldworkThe field work for this study wasconducted by SSI:• SSI helps companies make decisions• By offering access to consumers and business professionals• In more than 75 countries• Through online and telephone methodologies• For over 2,000 clients across the globewww.surveysampling.com * High is defined as an average score of minimum 4 on 5 on the 4 pillars.
  75. Our translate agency parnter Your foreign-language communication partner • Translations • Copywriting • User-generated content summaries • Coding of open-ended questions • Language consultancy www.no-problem.be
  76. InSites Consulting InSites Consulting was established in 1997, and although a marketing research company, the founders never really wanted to be market researchers. InSites Consulting really is a crazy blend of academic visionaries, passionate marketers and research innovators that are determined to challenge the status quo of marketing research. Over the last 10 years the company has grown at an amazing 35% per year. Today, there’s more than 130 employees working in five offices (BE, NL, UK, RO, US) getting their energy from helping world leading brands to improve their marketing efforts and to develop deeper connections with consumers on a global scale via Research Communities. InSites Consulting is rewarded with no less than 15 international awards The recipe for success: a never-ceasing enthusiasm, a lot of hard work, a culture of sharing, and permanent innovation in research methods and marketing thought leadership. And last but not least: positively surprising clients every day. www.insites-consulting.com

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In his new book, Steven advises companies to become conversation companies. A conversation company is a very consumer oriented company, relying on the power of people and using social media as a perfect partner. The Conversation Company invests in 4 C's to optimize its conversation potential: customer experience, conversation management, content, collaboration. This report gives an update to which extent companies are investing in these 4 dimensions.


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