Experience Is The Best Teacher
If we hang too long in the wrong corners of the social web, we might form the impression that all big companies are evil or inept. The ones I met yesterday were anything but.
Great companies — big and small — have always cared about customers.
Yesterday, I had the experience of BlogWell 2 Chicago: How Big Companies Use Social Media, a 1/2 day seminar, offered by blogcouncil and gaspedal. The event was under the care of gas pedal CEO, bestselling author and Word of Mouth Maven, Andy Sernovitz.
I attended on a press pass, and I’m delighted that I went. The seminar wasn’t what I expected. I was surprised by familiar “blogger passion and camaraderie” of the event. Possibly that open atmosphere could be the strongest proof that these companies are set on getting social media “right.”
Blogwell is framed around 8 major brand case studies presented as two tracks of four. All are taped on video so that participants can see the case studies they don’t attend. The companies presenting were:
- The Home Depot
- Mayo Clinic
- H&R Block
- US Coast Guard
- Procter & Gamble
The sold out room was filled with big companies, consultants, and members of the press talking every possible minute about how social media might fit their business and how businesses might find ways to help people connect. [Check the sidebar to see the Videos from BlogWell 1]
The compelling thread that seemed to run through every story was that despite the size of the company or the brand — from Sharpie to Procter & Gamble — the social web initiative was something that started with a passion for the space and a willingness to learn. I attended four sessions and the messages seemed resoundingly clear … Listen before you act. Start where you are. Move in manageable ways. Know where you’re going. It’s a lot of work. The end game is helping people connect.
The open conversation and communication about moving from the known to the unknown toward the community in ways the community responded to was natural and filled with the positive learning culture all successful thinkers value.
The break conversation was equally refreshing, friendly, and informative. I enjoyed the interactions I had every point of the way. BlogWell was simple, elegant and totally delivered on it’s promise. Don’t hesitate to attend.
These huge brands are tackling the same social media problems we are — we’re building answers from the outside in and from the inside out. I left with the hopeful thought that the digital divide might be closing sooner than I thought.
Thank you, Andy. I hope have that experience again.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!