notes on Charlene Li At Parc Forum

I came in a tetch late, but trying to catch up…. when it’s archived, it’ll be here, probably […]

I came in a tetch late, but trying to catch up…. when it’s archived, it’ll be here, probably in about a week.

Okay, now for my notes on Charlene Li, of Forester.

She speaks about the “i love dogs” community, set up by del monte for snausages research. I’m torn between horror and pleasure that companies are listening. Sigh.

* talking — move form broadcasting to two way conversations — cluetrain 2.0?

New example: Southwest
Their blog is from tons of people, including structural engineers.. how he brings his passion for customers to his work as structural engineering. The CEO asks customers what he should dress as, and dressed as the one the most people asked for (jack sparrow).

Blendtec created youtube videos of them blending up things like two by fours, and asked viewers what else tey should blend. The ipod was the #1 choice, and it has been viewed 4.6 million times… and people then talk about how it makes good smoothees as well as reposting the video to their blog. It cost the company $50.

* Energizing — helping your best customers recruit others

example: puts highlights and widgets on myspace, and offers widgets like countdown ticker to the wedding. Friends see it, and want the same widgets.
Users associate themselves with brands. Brand as identity.
Myspace found that for brands like Addis advertising on the site did okay, but widgets people chose to put up was 40X more effective.

* Suporting- enable yrou customers to support each other

example: oracle mix creates a community for supporting and embracing via forums.

* Embracing: Involve customers in product development

example: salesforce has “ideas exchange” (like Dell’s ideastorm) for demand management. Allowed PM’s to remove an annoying widget marketing liked via customer compalints.

WHO owns this process? Who should lead the social strategy in a company?
* start with your most customer centric employee
** they use the word customer in every sentence
** it’s too easy to get back into the broadcast marketing point of view.
* Put someone important in charge
** don’t give it to the guy with bandwidth– why does he have bandwidth?
** if you want it to be important, it’s got to go to someone with clout
* add an executive sponsor who has the ability to get resources from around the organization
* make the social strategy the responsibility of everyone in the company
** sun encourages everyone to have a blog, because the employees can speak honestly aobut the product.
** their policy is “be smart” (i.e. you know what not to post, and what to post…)

Example Case Study
Dell’s community forums provide support… they’ve had them pre-web on compuserve
** a user, predator, has 21,794 posts, 473,113 minutes
** why? “I actually enjoy helping people. That’s what got me hooked, when you help people and they say thank you”
** imagine support costs realized

Dell hell– jeff jarvis’s blog on Dell Hell: “Dell lies. Dell sucks.”
made Dell realize they had to watch the blogosphere to understand their problems
* feb 2006 dell creates an elite group in customer service to search and find bloggers writing about problems with Dell
* customer service then contacts the blogger to address the problem
June 2006, dell laptops are on fire… literally. July they launch a blog. They tried ot talk about games, servers… and people screamed “what about the flaming laptops!” Then they posted on “flaming Notebook” and told folks what was going on. They admitted they were tracking down the problem, and users thanked them for coming out on the issue.

Dell executives review and implement IdeaStorm
* the first request was linux dells
* he customers chose what version
* the customer suggested no support (it’s linus!)

Dell transformed themself
* Michael Dell was pivotal
** pushed for blog resolution team
**led the charge for ideastorm
**gave encouragement in darkest hours

They weren’t afraid to move fast and make mistakes
* launched ideastorm in three weeks

* it took a crises to get them started
* they mastered one thing at a time
** listening >> talking >> embracing
** she recommends do one thing at a time, don’t be too ambitious.
* it took them two years. it’s not fast, and in internet speed it’s forever.
** your transforming an entire organization and your customer base.
* executive push and cover made the difference
* authenticity was crucial
** couldn’t be stealthy, had to be honest aobut all the mistakes they were making

* focus on the relationships, not ht etechnology
* start wiht one objective
* think through the consequences when you form a closer relationship with customers

Q&A: inaudible question on privacy —

Great quote from Charlene “People are very concerned about privacy, but they’re willing to give it up for free shipping”

She does talk about choice of how your data is used, middle road, idea that if you do anything on the internet, it’s not private.

question (lots of self-back patting then) how do I get an electrronic medium to be more like face to face?
CL: use the tools to supplement traditional, use the tools the customers want to use. You have to listen to customers, then communicate. some companies are afraid to participate in forums because they think it’s improper to participate in a forum. But it’s wildly successful.

Q: are you measure returns? what techniques?
CI: When CEO’s ask what is the ROi of blogging, I say how do you measure ROI of PR? They don’t usually know how you do it. Measure it the same way you measure any brand building exercises.

Q; anonymous postings? is there a difference between known identities
CI: known identity communities tend to behave much better. They are nicer to each other. It’s important to have it be appropriate.. on blog comments she gets fred flintstones all the time. But on a executive group you have to know, so you don’t spill the beans to a competitor. When someone complains to her, Li says Call them up! Often it’s quickly resolved… bloggers feel proud and satisfied to be noticed.

She gets into the difference between identity and reputation– Amazon’s real names, and Predator’s false name but huge reputation from his activities.

Q: you say focus on relationships, not technologies… but it seems like technology is part of it. Is some better than others, is anyone focusing on the technology of relationships?
CI: in Dell, they measure influence, but they don’t measure level of pain– interesting idea to follow through… on a scale of 1-10 how painful is it? Text not good for sarcasm “oh, that was a really good move”

Cut off– I think they would have gone for another hour.

Next week: Guy Kawaski By the Numbers: How I built a Web 2.0, User-Generated Content, Citizen Journalism, Long-Tail, Social Media Site for $12,107.09