Discerning Who and What to Listen to Inside/Outside Organizations Can Mean the Difference Between Failure and Success
One of the more intriguing aspects of a digital world, especially in business, is not the number of conversations or discussions surrounding a brand but the ability to identify them and determine their requisite importance and relevance to everything from customer satisfaction, future viability, strategy interpretation, and employee engagement.
As I spend time at clients traversing from meeting to meeting with different teams and functions it’s amazing to see just how different, interesting, and difficult people’s perspectives, opinions, and beliefs about the business and its strategic intent have become in an era of information overload. Similarly, looking outside the company, employing an array of proprietary analytics we can truly understand the granularity of opinion formation and perception influencing brand efficacy, product usage, purchase behavior, and share of voice.
What does this all mean?
The volume and diversity of inputs regarding a brand or company has grown exponentially and with it the challenge of filtering what’s important and strategically critical vs. what’s noise. In my opinion, the result is a combination of analysis including machine learning with human insight and experience. To that end, there are four considerations in gauging the most productive and useful techniques in being an effective interpreter of your company’s or brand’s position:
- Internally, look for discrepancies on how employees at different levels and in different groups are discussing and sharing their understanding of the business or situation with colleagues and peers. This will provide a clear indication of whether they are working to solve the right problems or address the right priorities.
- Study how discourse is taking place in social and digital channels and platforms including forums and chat rooms. Doing so will open a line of sight to the marketplace.
- Map these conversations back to leadership directives, strategy, and messaging emanating for the company. From here, you can ascertain linkages and gaps.
- Recognize the new expectations as a byproduct of today’s digital environment. The need for context, discovery, and consistent communications is now the norm in both marketing and communications.
The combination of technology and human values is a powerful and essential combination to making sense of an ecosystem that by default can lead one down multiple pathways in search of solutions. Information is a powerful tool on many levels. It can inform and influence opinion, shape confidence, and encourage trust. It can also initiate conversations and debates or perpetuate falsehoods.
As professionals, we are exposed to myriad voices in our work on behalf of our client partners. Utilizing the models and methodologies we have at our disposal along with our intrinsic curiosity and work experiences create clear and critical pathways to focusing on the truth regarding organizational viability.
In our work, it’s ok to “hear voices” as long as we interpret their accuracy and meaning!