[This post is part of a series on Social as a Strategy. Click here to access the theme blog page]
Social media has the power to strategic ally transform businesses. It provides new ways to engage customers, employees and everyone else that matters. Numerous studies have proven that active executive sponsorship is crucial to ensure the success of strategic initiatives. And the transformation to a social enterprise calls for nothing less than absolute top management commitment. In BRANDfog’s 2012 survey, 86 percent of respondents rated CEO social media engagement as somewhat important, very important, or mission critical.
CxO commitment helps to set the vision, align stakeholders and mobilize the troops around the purpose. It demonstrates accountability and provides the motivation required to ensure that the transformation progresses as required. It also ensures that all the necessary resources are made available to initiate and drive efforts. And CEO’s get it – according to multiple other surveys, CEO’s expect their use of social media to more than double or even triple in the next five years.
One prime example of executive sponsorship and management commitment is Burberry. Led from the front by CEO Angela Ahrendts (whom I had the pleasure to meet at Dreamforce 2012 in SFO), the company leverages the social web, to transform customer experience. The 155-year-old British fashion brand has reinvented itself since 2006 to be “all about brand, culture and being social.”
Dell, on the other hand, has transformed from a “Dell Hell” customer service organization to a “Listening Czar.” Social media has become a core part of Dell’s business functions and customer service. Crucial initiatives include creating a dedicated corporate blog and launching a centralized Twitter account, @DellCares, with the express purpose of helping customers in distress. The CEO, Michael Dell, himself exemplifies the virtues of social networking with around 20,000 first-level connections on LinkedIn including partners and clients from across the globe.