Sep 20, 2012

Connected content & community: Chicago Integrated Communciations Forum recap

Every seat was filled at the Chicago Integrated Communications Forum.

This week’s  Chicago Integrated Communications Forum played to a packed house and featured speakers from a wide variety of perspectives, including:

Suzanne Fanning, WOMMA

Barbara Rozgonyi, Wired PR Works

Ed Garsten, Chrysler

Tim Albright, Jive Software

Amanda Mitchell, Allscripts

The broad topic of integrated communications was broken down into three segments – context, case studies and community.

The context for the day was set by Suzanne Fanning, of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, in her discussion of the shifting marketing landscape, and imperatives for organizations today.   She noted that social engagement – real interactions with our audiences, is “no longer a hobby,” and backed that up with the fact that over the next five years, marketing expenditures on social engagement are set to triple.

Suzanne’s presentation offered a great framework for a successful word of mouth marketing program.  Key characteristics of a good program are:

  • Credible:  honest & authentic messages
  • Social: brands encourage, listen to and respond to conversations
  • Repeatable:  the capability to do it all over and over again, to become a “talkable” brand
  • Measureable: ability to define, measure & evaluate success
  • Respectful : the brand behaves in a transparent and trustworthy manner.

Ed Garsten from Chrysler followed Suzanne, and in his presentation, he charted Chrysler’s evolution from “story sellers” to story tellers.   Developing your organizations’ thought leaders is an important component of making this transformation, he noted, and he offered some guidelines for thought leaders to abide by:

  • Forget the past
  • Look beyond “now” (as soon as something’s in the “now” it’s in the past!)
  • Use your life experience to grow NEW ideas, don’t just adapt old or existing ones.
  • Rules? What rules? There are no rules.  Write new ones.

Ed noted that we all belong to the “media” now, and discussed how the Chrysler team has evolved from simply selling the company story to using video, text and social media to effectively become reporters embedded within Chrysler, charged with telling the company’s own stories.    These stories, Ed noted, are self-contained, tightly edited stories that other media can use.

Tim Albright from Jive Software and Amanda Mitchell from Allscripts teamed to give us perspective into the value of developing an online community within a space the organization controls, steering away from the term “social media,” and instead, discussing the aspects of running a social business.

Allscripts uses Jive to power a customer community that has delivered real benefit to the company.  In addition to increasing loyalty, Allscripts has also gained efficiencies in support – the community is a great resource for people with questions, and that frees up the company’s support teams to handle more complex issues.

One insight Tim and Amanda  offered  about successful communities related to human behavior.   Social media encourages normal human behaviors of interacting and seeking community.  Psychological levers and game dynamics (e.g. rewards, recognition, reinforcement) can increase participation in a community, and can bring an element of “fun” to the community.

It was a great conversation, and we’ve just scraped the tip of the iceberg in this blog post.  Here are the presenter’s decks:



Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

Fill in your details below: