Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Mark Burgess, Co-founder and President, Blue Focus Marketing; Author of The Social Employee

Mark Burgess, Co-founder and President, Blue Focus Marketing; Author of The Social Employee

By Mark Burgess

It is every brand’s responsibility to leave as large a footprint as possible in the digital village. There must be no mistaking that, yes, your brand was here, and yes, its presence is worth paying attention to. This is a process undertaken in thousands of small steps. The challenge is to make sure these steps look deliberate and coordinated. The more focused the effort, the greater the impact, and the larger your brand’s digital footprint will become.

Social businesses are ideally suited for this task. During our interviews with IBM for our book The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, 2013), we had a chance to speak with Ethan McCarty  (@ethanmcc), Director of Enterprise Social Strategy, about the company’s own digital footprints. In the course of our conversation, he provided a very useful analogy that I think typifies the value of social employee engagement strategies.

The analogy goes something like this: Let a baseball represent a traditional, command-and-control organization, and let a bag of marbles represent a social business. Both of these objects have roughly the same amount of volume. However, because the bag of marbles is comprised of many smaller, independent objects, its total surface area is considerably greater than that of the single baseball. Not only that, but these marbles are capable of freely moving around within the bag, making new connections and forming new configurations from moment to moment.SP Social Book Cover 2013

Following McCarty’s analogy, in order to leave a big footprint, brands must leverage their employee bases to create as much surface area as they can. It’s not that brands need to have bigger feet than Bigfoot, it’s that they need to produce greater surface area through the cumulative impact of their smaller, individual footsteps. By engaging more frequently through smaller, user-focused interactions, a brand can cover more ground in the same amount of time, thoroughly explore and understand that ground, and create more opportunities for creativity, collaboration, and innovation in the process.

A brand might leave a footprint in the mud every once in a while, but once everyone has had a chance to examine that single, ambiguous depression in the mud, they will realize that they’re no closer to understanding the brand, what makes it tick, or where it’s headed. This is not the kind of impression today’s brands can afford to make.

In the world of social business, we should aspire to be less like Bigfoot and more like the millipede, which is ultimately better equipped to leave the larger cumulative footprint in the digital bazaar. The millipede, after all, coordinates hundreds of individual parts to propel itself forward, gets where it’s going without much of a fuss, and quickly and decisively changes direction without wasting too many costly, errant steps.

As Cheryl Burgess, my co-author of The Social Employee said last month on this site, before a brand can communicate externally it must first engage internally.

So it is with leveraging social employees in the digital bazaar. While each individual act or engagement may not seem like much, when taken as a whole, they create a rich network of connectivity, knowledge, and authority can’t be matched. For a social business to move like the millipede, a social employee culture must be established early and reinforced regularly. That way, moving forward will always feel natural, effortless, and instantaneous.


Mark Burgess is co-founder and president  of Blue Focus Marketing and co-author of The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, 2013). He has held senior level positions at McCann, PwC, and AT&T and ranks as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter, currently serving on the adjunct marketing faculty at Rutgers University and as a Professor of Marketing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Follow him at @mnburgess @SocialEmployee and @BlueFocus.

Follow IBM Smarter Planet on Google+

Bookmark and Share

Previous post

Next post

July 6, 2015
3:16 am

Interesting article. The idea behind branding, marketing, and placement is essentially to leave an impact. Capture and maintain attention; have people mention your brand even when they are referring to a competitor brand.

Posted by: UON LIB
October 19, 2014
6:01 pm

We have now got wireless CCTV instead of normal CCTV with cords.
Whereas the Sling is an Application for Apple i – Pad which
is utilized to control watching your DVR and any form of Tele Vision on your personal and advanced
i – Pad. Q-see cctv dvr system Dish Network will
give you 120 channels of satellite TV programming, plus you will get
a free DVR and also a free HD receiver.

An outlet socket for the video recorder was provided, although reviewing could possibly be a little tedious in the event
the cameras was set to sequence. Many types of cameras can be found
like USB dvr system, complete system,IP cameras.

Posted by:
June 23, 2014
11:24 pm

You can simply go online and check for more information on this
issue. Nonetheless, the difficult section of handicapping
the arena still rests around the player

Posted by:
June 19, 2014
4:43 pm

Aside from catalogs, newsletters are oone of the reasons we live here!
So, we think that these mailing services are usually in bulk and so can pass these savings
on to you. You hve read the three points we have
discussed, and it has one great advantage over the internet: if a direct mail list.
If you are in Houston and already considering looking for a deal.

Posted by: Leoma
April 12, 2014
8:04 am

When someone writes an post he/she retains the plan of a user in his/her
mind that how a user can know it. Therefore that’s why this post is perfect.

Posted by: cara memutihkan wajah
March 20, 2014
1:01 pm

University students when needed help to solve term paper, must get help here with trust.

Posted by: Aliza
December 20, 2013
6:12 am

Although they may work on a male striptease shows their true occupations
might totally surprise you. First, they might take a commission from the service or product that they sell
you. Look interested in all facets of the task.

Posted by: opinionibinarie
4 Trackbacks
July 27, 2015
5:25 am

[…] the process. Additionally, a plurality of social employee voices engaging through various creates a more dynamic digital footprint for brands, creating more opportunities for external customer […]

Posted by: Rise of the social employee | HR World
May 12, 2015
12:04 am

[…] weighty strides of the mythological bigfoot, today’s social business should strive to be more like the millipede—where the coordinated efforts of each employee helps create a brand that is both nimble and […]

Posted by: The New Employee Experience (EX) @MNBurgess to Deliver @Conferenceboard on 5/28 #SocBiz | Blue Focus Marketing
February 26, 2015
12:58 am

[…] the process. Additionally, a plurality of social employee voices engaging through various creates a more dynamic digital footprint for brands, creating more opportunities for external customer […]

Posted by: Rise of The Social Employee – IBM Webcast: Changing the Learning Culture #HR #SocBiz | Blue Focus Marketing
November 2, 2013
4:56 am
Post a Comment