Authentic leadership, identity & social media – part iv

by Justin Souter on February 28, 2011


I started this series of posts because I’d been listening, reading, and discussing the importance of ‘authentic’ in an organisation. In some ways, this isn’t rocket science, but it could turn out to be a big challenge in terms of how organisations operate going forward.

The relentless nature of public scrutiny, and the threat to reputation and brand equity from 24hr news and now real-time online tools place pressure on organisations to respond in a timely way and often in a way not of their own choosing. Will organisations react by blocking users they feel threatened by?

This series has taken a look at how business and communication trends are developing in terms of a ‘veil’ being ripped away from corporate-speak and corporate behaviour, and organisations being held to account by their stakeholders. We all have feet of clay, myself included, but I would like to think that being transparent is good business.

I would also like to think that businesses can a) be profitable, and b) act as a force for good in doing so. Unilever certainly did so:

Barry’s Ben Barry Agency provided some of the plus-size, older and ethnic models for the Dove Real Beauty TV and magazine campaigns that helped push Dove sales up 700 per cent. [My italics]

Word of Mouth marketing

I’m leaving you with another article / podcasts I’ve been listening to recently. It’s material from the McKinsey Quarterly about word of mouth marketing article & the more extensive (or readily understandable) podcast.

In my view, there’s a close fit between social media and word-of-mouth marketing – i.e. it’s about reputation, and also encouraging things to go viral. It’s about trusting other folks’ opinions, rather than regular marketing / advertising campaigns…

A New Way to Measure Word-Of Mouth Marketing

Wash up

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour authenticity, identity, social media and word-of-mouth. I can’t help but thinking that this is the cusp of ‘different’. I wonder how it will turn out, but fingers crossed that it will be a positive process. Please let me know what you think in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you! Thanks for reading :-)

Other posts in the series

  • The first post looks at how recent leadership thinking means you’re not forced to be a cheeseball at work
  • The second post looks at how idealised images of ‘beauty’ are being replaced by real-life ones, and the impact this trend on the bottom line
  • The third post examines the challenge for organisations, run on a ‘command and control’ basis, to cope with the freewheeling nature of the social media world
  • The fourth post is this
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