Executives view their economies as bad but, in a change from recent months, do not see them getting much worse. Government actions have helped, many say. Companies are hanging on, and many are taking long-term actions to cope with economic turmoil.
Two years after the economic crisis, executives’ confidence has returned—albeit tenuously—suggesting a better ability to cope with and manage economic volatility.
What do senior management executives at CPG companies and retailers think about corporate social media strategies? Top executives were probed on this topic, along with many others, as part of the research for a just-released 2010 Grocery Manufacturers Association/PricewaterhouseCoopers financial performance report -- and the insights gleaned are more specific and practical than marketers might imagine.
We gathered up expert advice from Tim Bray of Google (Google), Guy Kawasaki of Alltop (formerly Apple), Doug Ulman of Livestrong, John Battelle of Federated Media and Steve Rubel of Edelman on the why and the how when it comes to C-level executives and social media. Their tips and advice range from practice to crucial and point to the need for C-suite executives of this generation to heed social media.
Yes, marketers have long acknowledged that teens wield plenty of buying power. And, yes, they have given plenty of thought to their technological prowess. But Marian Salzman, president of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR North America, tells Marketing Daily that most executives are missing the bigger picture -- that these teens wield far more influence than they are given credit for.
If I asked you to name the important meetings you have coming up, it probably wouldn't be a problem: things like the annual shareholders' meeting, the final pitch for a major contract, the one-on-one performance review with your boss and so on. But if I ask you to point to the two or three moments in each of these meetings that will define the outcomes, many of you may look at me with less certainty. We don't have a problem identifying critical moments from our past, but predicting — and preparing for — those moments in the future is quite a bit more difficult, but no less essential than those past moments prove.
Executives at Allstate, known, after their famous slogan, as “the ‘good hands’ people,” are looking for a few good advertising ideas — and are making that clear in attention-getting fashion. Three top managers of the Allstate Corporation came to New York from the company’s Northbrook, Ill., headquarters to make a presentation to senior sales executives from dozens of major media companies. They were joined by a surprise guest: Dennis Haysbert, the actor and Allstate spokesman. The message, delivered by the Allstate leaders on Wednesday under the title “The New State of Allstate,” was this: Help us advertise more effectively by developing, for all types of media, better ways to tell consumers that Allstate sells protection, not just insurance.
At a time when other financial services firms are rolling out flashy multi-million dollar advertising campaigns aimed at rebuilding consumer trust, Citigroup is unveiling something that seems far more simple: a blog and videos featuring top executives. The company this week launched a new branding campaign including a fresh Web site, new.citi.com, and print ads directing people to it. The Internet roll-out features personal blog posts from Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit, as well as testimonial videos from CitiMortgage President Sanjiv Das and CitiRisk's Chief Risk Officer Brian Leach. By featuring the executives, the company aims to position Citigroup ( C - news - people ) as a more transparent, accessible and conversational corporation.
Bowing to calls for restraint in tough economic times, Goldman said that its most senior executives would forgo cash bonuses this year. Instead, the 30 executives will be paid in the form of long-term stock — an arrangement that means they will not get big year-end paydays, but one that could turn out to be enormously lucrative if Goldman’s share price rises over time.
While they continue to slog through the longest economic downturn in decades, companies are no longer making cost-cutting their primary focus. Innovation is now front and center on the corporate agenda, according to a global survey we recently conducted with 65 senior executives from diverse industries. Executives are adding more breakthrough innovations and business model changes to their portfolio to fuel the growth engine for the recovery. Yet our survey reveals that companies by and large are having trouble making innovation efforts work. Executives are struggling to find the right combination of business strategy, operational model, and execution to deliver profitable growth.
A year ago, 1,200 executives in marketing, advertising and the media attended an annual conference that by coincidence took place a month after the financial crisis began. Together, they stared into the abyss, wondering what conditions would be when — or if — they met again. The sky has not fallen, at least so far, and most of those executives are now gathering for the 2009 conference. Many of them are saying, “What a difference a year makes.” Others, however, are wondering, “What difference does a year make?”
On a sunny day in June 2006, David McDonough, chief executive of Trustmark Insurance, was roaming Chicago's Navy Pier, talking to strangers. "We needed to understand what made people tick," says McDonough of the exercise, which was part of a two-day workshop designed to get his executive team to look beyond actuarial tables and stimulate thinking about the company's future.
Having just returned from vacation, (hence the break from blogging) I had the distinct pleasure of keynoting Silicon Valley AMA last night at Cisco’s Telepresence suites in Santa Clara. In my opening keynote, I had a specific message to marketing leaders in the valley to think holistic about social. I outlined some of the major impacts to other departments beyond marketing.
A recent survey from eMarketer.com seems to show that U.S. executives are warming up to social media usage in the workplace. Out of 438 management, marketing and human resources executives polled, 81% saw social media as being useful for both brand-building and enhancing customer or client relationships. Just under 70% see it as a valuable recruitment tool, 64% think social media is useful for customer service, and a lower sampling at 46% saw it as improving employee morale.
It's become fashionable among a certain set to declare that RSS is no longer the foremost pipeline for news and information on the Web. Steve Gillmor and innumerable others have said they've abandoned their RSS readers in favor of Twitter. Twitter hiring Feedburner's CEO seemed to compound this trend towards dismissing RSS as old hat (though headlines shouldn't always be taken literally). The usual suspects, such as Dave Winer and our own RSS geek, quickly jumped to the defense of really simple syndication. But where was the data to back them up? And what do businesses think about RSS? The McKinsey Global Survey on Web 2.0 in business came out yesterday, and out of the almost 1,700 executives they talked to, 42% said they see a measurable benefit from RSS. That's 24% more than those who see any benefit from microblogging (i.e. Twitter).
I spent the day in a room with the senior managers of a mid size company. It was interesting to see how many of their problems are not paradigmatic problems: issues you can get to the bottom of with due diligence, the right data, the application of hard thinking, and the customary approach. No, many of the problems these people are dealing with have an air of indeterminacy. This is pre or post paradigmatic thinking. It's hard to know exactly what the problem is. It's tough to know which terms apply, how best to frame the issues, what the best perspective is. In other words, this is not processual thinking. This is development, demanding, and entirely intellectual.
I’ve been spending a fair amount of time touring the world in support of my ideas and thoughts on the direction of new PR, branding, service, and marketing communications. My reward and inspiration to continue is sourced from each person I meet and the experiences and challenges they share. I’ve learned that our greatest hindrance to evolve is not our unwillingness to do so, our indoctrination in new media and communications is truly obstructed by the executives to whom we report and serve.
In the next five years, we will see a rapidly changing landscape across the globe, where the opportunities for businesses to benefit from corporate and product branding efforts will be larger than ever before. The growing emphasis on branding will move up the boardroom agenda and I strongly believe that branding will become one of the most prominent drivers of value across the globe in the next two decades.
How will Twitter make money? It’s a question that’s asked constantly as the microblogging service continues its stratospheric ascent. Some third parties are already experimenting with business models, creating a situation where these sites have monetized before TwitterTwitter reviewsTwitter reviews itself (MashableMashable reviewsMashable reviews, for instance, launched the Twitter Brand Sponsors ad format earlier this month). Today, the ad network Federated Media is taking a shot at making money from Twitter; FM has launched ExecTweets, a site that aggregates Tweets from business executives. The site is sponsored by Microsoft.