Hope powering change

Last night I attended the Sydney Festival event Hope 2012 with the theme “Citizens seizing the day”.

My name is HopeSocial Media was hailed as one of the agents of change.  Certainly it has made it possible even in oppressed societies for citizens to reach more people and help gain momentum and support for their plight and desired change (think recent people lead change in Egypt as well as community support generated for those affected by QLD Floods, NZ & Japan Earthquakes etc).

However social media really only represents an easy, low-cost, high reach and engagement channel.  It is not the channel that brings change but the opportunity it presents and the people who engage within it and the messages they share.

Listening to the personal stories of the great speakers last night and those across Australia, there were some common and consistent messages that suggest a blue print for bringing about change. They point to the cause of which the channel is only the conduit:

1) Hope Powers Change – you must first genuinely hope to bring about change . Hope then provides the fuel and momentum for you to continue in the face of adversity, inequity, barriers, and power imbalance. Hope also binds people together behind a common cause.

2) It starts with the first step – no matter how small, everything you contribute to bringing change no matter how small can make a difference.  The benefits of taking 1 minute of your time, showing or demonstrating your encouragement and support, donating something small (time, message, money, resources).  Just taking an action can generate, add-to or complete some great act of change in someone’s life. It has the added benefit of impacting you positively too.

3) Look for, understand & stand for basic human rights – equality, freedom, opportunity  for everyone – how can you ensure this is enjoyed by everyone. Identify how many of your rights you take for granted that are not available to others.  Identify the basic human rights that are being challenged all around the world including in our own back yard (and our legislation).

4) Connect directly with people affected – it is too easy to be disconnected from the person and people who needs help.  Listen to their story.  Listen to their hope.  It is impossible to ignore and will help you know the right action to take.

5) Have Courage – it requires courage to stand up, have a voice, be counted and more importantly to act.  It starts with the courage to ask yourself “why is this happening and what can I do to change it?”

It felt easy to applaud those making changes last night however significantly more difficult and uncomfortable to ask ourselves how much are we doing at the individual level to bring about change.

It matters not how much we have done to support required changes in the past, only how much we can do moving forward.

I reflect on the great George Bernard Shaw quote:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

It points to the need to stand resolute and that we must first look to ourselves as the instruments of change.

May 2012 be your year.  Allow Hope to power the change you desire.

Commonwealth Bank – Women In Focus 3 day conference 2011

logo-commonwealth-bankEmma is a keynote speaker addressing the Commonwealth Bank’s 2nd Women in Focus conference, held at the prestigious Byron, at Byron Bay 31st August – 3 September, to approximately 100 key banking clients on “How the Social Web is changing the way we do business”.

Emma will be presenting latest research, different value and view points into the social web, some case studies and will lead a workshop session on how to leverage the social web across your entire go-to-market strategy and how to link your activities to specific business outcomes.

If you would like to know more about Emma’s presentation or would like Emma to speak at your next event, contact Emma at emma@emmalorusso.com.

To find out more about DIGIVIZER’s unique capabilties in delivering the social footprint of the people you know (your customers & prospects) and the people you wish you could know (new leads & influencers), visit www.digivizer.com.

To find out more about Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus Community, visit www.womeninfocus.com.au.

Socializing your organization…

We are all connected (Image Dimitri Vervitsios)Social Media is not just for the geeks, techos and the under 30’s. No manager can ignore the increasing power and influence of the social web.  People are connecting, sharing, listening, influencing, growing the relevance of their networks every day.

It is easy to see that as technology advances at such rapid rates, the rules of marketing, customer and employee engagement have changed and must continue to change.

Most managers accept you can’t ignore the social web.  The question really becomes for each of us:  “How can I add value to my organization in determining where and how the social web can be leveraged to deliver solid bottom line outcomes?”

Connecting the social web to organizational value:

Building your brand is largely based on how your brand is perceived by your customers.  You don’t own your brand  – your customers do! Your customers are already choosing to watch, connect, discuss and engage with your brand.   Aden Young of DigitalBuzz noted in his December post “that 67% of people on Twitter follow a brand (that they will purchase), in comparison to only 51% on Facebook. Yet on Facebook 40% of all people follow a brand in comparison to Twitter’s 25%.”

Easy to conclude that the social web should not be seen as an add-on channel, but rather an extension of your business, providing customer information and the means to engage that should integrate into every aspect of your business.

Opportunities include:

Screen shot 2011-02-09 at 7.02.47 AM

WHAT QUESTIONS CAN AND SHOULD YOU BE ASKING?

Here are just some of the questions you can be asking your organization.

  1. Customer Journey – how is this being captured and managed from possible interest>engagement>purchase>repeat purchase>advocate>evangelist> influencers?
  2. Social CRM – how and where does (& can) the social media insights fit into the broader marketing and customer engagement, sales and support strategy?  Your communications strategy? How is this being integrated and implemented in real-time?
  3. Lead generation strategy – where and what is involved in leveraging the triggers provided within the social web in relation to your known customers and your ideal customer target markets?
  4. Employee Power – How does your digital strategy allow for you to grow, harness and leverage your employees? Your partners? Your franchisees? What is their role in this? How can they be involved in utilizing social media? What guidance and more importantly, permission and encouragement do you need to provide?
  5. E-Commerce – Thinking beyond “bricks and mortar” and your current go-to-market model, where and when will your e-commerce platform sit within this? Where and how do you drive traffic to and from this site?
  6. Retailing – How can you grow your online brand and customer engagement to drive traffic into store?
  7. Business Information – How are you overlaying the insights gained from the social web as it relates to your customers,markets and ideal new customers and markets?
  8. Measuring – How do you measure all the above?  Once you embark on a digital strategy that includes leveraging the social web, how can you be sure you are being successful?  What measures, insights and returns can you gain? How real-time is this?

These are just a few questions to start the ball rolling.   What else do you think should be added to this list?

How can you (the non-geek/non-social web expert) get involved in harnessing the social web and add even more value to your organization?

When One Business Just Isn’t Enough: How to run a portfolio Business

Emma was recently interviewed by Suzi Dafnis of Australian Businesswomen’s Network.  Here she introduces Emma to her network as:

“For many of us, running one business is more than enough. My guest today runs two businesses. Emma Lo Russo is an experienced innovator, organisation leader and marketer. She has brought together her experience gained from leadership positions across a broad spectrum of industries to two businesses.

Digivizer, a business that delivers the digital footprint of the people you know (i.e. your clients) and the people you should know. Digivizer looks at who you should connect to through social media and Validity Coaching, a collective of experienced executive coaches.

Emma joins me to talk about the pros and cons of running a portfolio business, that is, a collection of businesses. We look at:

  • Does running two businesses impact the effectiveness of one or more of the business?
  • How can a split focus help you get better business results?
  • What are the challenges of running more than one business, and how do you overcome them?

Enjoy this interview with Emma Lo Russo.”

http://www.abn.org.au/site/article/Video-When-One-Business-Just-Isnt-Enough-How-to-run-a-portfolio-business-Emma-Lo-Russo-interview

Be the change you want to see in the world…

"We are all connected" by Erica Marshall of muddyboots.org   I love this quote by Mahatma Gandhi.  And I try to live by this mantra.

Having lead an ASX-listed technology company as President & COO for 5 years, and after working 20 years in leadership positions for a range of corporates and agencies( working full time whilst raising my 3 kids), I took the big scary decision to step out last year and take a more entrepreneurial/self-starting career change.

After taking some time out to contemplate what next (travelling around Australia in a Winnebago with kids and husband), I decided to take my future into my own hands and do a number of things:

1)  Stay focussed on doing what I love and feel passionate about “helping people and businesses grow”, and to

2)  Find a new and different way to leverage my experience by playing to my strengths and passions

I now focus my time on sharing my experience and developing people through coaching, leadership development, workshops, speaking, writing and am now working to help businesses grow through harnessing the power and value of the web.

What drives me is my excitement about the increasing ubiquity of the web, faster processing and download power, interconnectivty and mobility through an ever-increasing range of electronic products and platforms, and how this has opened up the global market. 

The model introduced by Apple with the ipod and itunes was a real paradigm changer for all businesses. Now all companies are looking at how to take advantage of technology and how they can connect, interact, create lock-ins with their customers through more personalised, targeted products, services and support – all delivered through the web.

The web is undeniably becoming more social. Right now, people are meeting, finding, sharing, and connecting with one another through the social web – leaving behind digital footprints that are as unique as they are. As an example, a recent Nielsen study found that 75% of global consumers who go online access Social Networks and Blogs, and that there was a 66% increase in time spent on Social Networks/Blogs compared to last year. 

Australia’s social media audience is estimated at 9.9 million and 40% of online Australians are now interacting with companies via social networking sites, reinforcing notions that Australians are open to engaging with brands and companies online. And this type of penetration is typical of western countries and increasing at a rapid rate in the developing countries.

It is through this changing world and the increasing take up of what has become the social web that I co-founded DIGIVIZER together with my (very smart) partner Clinton Larson to help businesses bring sense to the billions of connections and conversations that are happening on the web each day.  To help them find what matters to them and to help them use it in ways that they can extract value and a return to their bottom line.

And so I now introduce DIGIVIZER to you… 

DIGIVIZER delivers to businesses the digital footprints of people you know and people you would like to know, providing insights into who and what people are saying and about things that matter to you. All presented in meaningful, people-centric, easy-to-understand and easy-to-access sets of data.

When integrated with your customer relationship, sales and marketing platforms and programs, DIGIVIZER gives you a new edge to enable more powerful personalization and targeting through all customer interactions – significantly increasing the return on your marketing and sales investment.

We are in the early stages of growing, balancing client requirements with the development of the base platform.  It is exciting, it is challenging, and it is unlocking some powerful results.

I truly believe this Social CRM is the future for businesses and as a very wise person said, that the personalization of our experience on the web will no doubt be viewed as the characterizing aspect of the current phase in the evolution of the web and the way we will do business.

And so, the journey continues.  And it all starts with making the changes you want to see in the world – starting with yourself and your world, then looking beyond. 

Exciting times for us all ahead!

The Power of People Publishing

An interesting day for media with three stories that illustrate some of the big areas of change that are already underway.

First we have the sad and terrible news of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti. 

Although media publishers were quick to pick it up, it was the virtual real-time publishing of images and details of the desolation and casualties that were published directly from the ground via Twitter (#Haiti, #Earthquake, #Help Haiti).  This early reporting was quickly picked up on blogs and Facebook posts around the world, spreading the news to significant numbers of people which only latter made its way to official news services.

Mobile Phones and the Japanese by CocoarmaniThis is not the first time real-time reporting has come from and been shared by individual people who have already been “qualified” as being valued and newsworthy by their followers.

We also had the move today (Sydney time) by Google who threatened to quit China by announcing it will challenge the strict Chinese censorship rules that ban discussion or viewing images on topics deemed sensitive and “vulgar” by the government. 

David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer of Google announced Google are “no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next  weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”

Although Google have announced they will work with the government to find a way to provide uncensored access to the web, it will be interesting to see whether a compromise can be found and who it will come from. 

Google are responding to the identification of a sophisticated attack late last year on the email accounts of Chinese human rights activists using its gmail service and indicated a further 20 other global organizations were also targeted.

Although Google do not have dominant market share for online search in China, they do carry significant weight in the political and business leadership sphere and thus it will be interesting to see what impact and potential influence it will have on business should Google choose ultimately to withdraw.

Finally today we have the move by Murdoch  to restructure The Australian by creating a separate corporate division for the national broadsheet which is its traditional method for distributing news.  This move is positioned by News Limited Chairman and Chief Executive John Hartigan to help it pursue “the significant expansion of our ambitions”.  This ambition is widely reported and on record by News Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch as desiring to charge for online news content this year.

It seems to me that the Haiti example proves yet again how powerful and how quickly news and images can be shared when people put their mind to it and when people feel passionate about something.

Improving technology will allow for increasingly faster spread of information and utilization via people, niche groups and SMEs.  The historical one-size-fits-all approach by business and media will not exist in the future because it will be too easy for others to enter the market and who can provide at no or low cost, a more personalized, intelligent, relevant alternate option.

And no matter how powerful a government may be, if enough people move against their policies and restrictions, the walls will fall.  Perhaps initially at great penalty and personal loss to individuals, but never enough to overcome the power of people’s collective free-will.  And this is where new media will have its place in connecting groups of like-minded people who can easily organize their own dissemination of information, protests and actions.

Google today is at a cross-road.  It will be interesting to see how they play their cards.  Will they look only to the revenue that can be generated, irrespective to the cost of basic human rights and freedom (the answer today has been yes they will)?  Or will they take a powerful leadership position that becomes the catalyst for wider change and pressures from international governments and organizations? 

The power of people via social media played a significant role in communicating Iranian dissent and protest around the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a time where the Iranian government barred journalists from reporting on “unauthorized demonstrations”.

As TIME’s Lev Grossman reported at the time “Twitter didn’t start the protests in Iran, nor did it make them possible. But there’s no question that it has emboldened the protesters, reinforced their conviction that they are not alone and engaged populations outside Iran in an emotional, immediate way that was never possible before. President Ahmadinejad — who happened to visit Russia on Tuesday — now finds himself in a court of world opinion where even Khrushchev never had to stand trial.”

And so we come back to Murdoch and the move for “The Australian” to begin charging for its online news. For them to do so News Limited will need to overcome the same news which will be available online from competing news publishing mediums including the ABC News.  Digital medium lends itself to quick, fast, easy-to-read communications so holding a position of people paying for “quality news reporting” will be difficult to defend.

They will also need to overcome the news that will be made available from the reporting and sharing from individuals and niche providers.

There is always an opportunity for businesses to charge for something that helps makes someone’s life easier, better and more wonderful than it was before and for as long as you are the only one able to provide it. 

Since this is not a new concept, I am assuming News Limited will explore ways in which they can charge for news that meets that criteria. 

However my bet, reinforced by today’s news and examples, is with people publishing.

The power of people publishing is the future of news.