Week 9: Businesses are to Individuals as Apples are to Oranges

(Post 1 of 2 for the week – they are fairly unrelated)

I don’t own a business, but sometimes I like to pretend I own the company I work for because it helps me learn more about running a business and therefore, makes me a better employee and expands my knowledge base.  What I’ve learned while pursuing this pseudo-goal is that companies have different considerations than individuals have.  Individuals have a lot on the line, but businesses have more on the line, because bad decisions can have a negative impact on the lives of many people.  My opinion is that businesses are the “laggards,” as Moore says in his white paper, for good reason.

Or, wait until someone else breaks it and see how they fix it.

First of all, if business is good, why rush to take chances on new marketing and technological endeavors?  An established company has a lot to protect – its existing customer base, trade information, employees, reputation.  If the company is to begin openly and freely giving information to everyone, they are really giving that information to everyone, including the competition.  Of course, the extent to which this is a concern is highly dependent upon the industry involved.  Think of the companies that pride themselves on being thought of as stable, or the standard in their business – insurance or investment companies, for example. Jumping into new arenas is a big deal. My head is spinning thinking of all of the guidelines that might need to be put in place for employees entrusted with an organization’s virtual identity.  Virtual identities aren’t that virtual anymore.  The general population is going to form an impression of the company from its website, Facebook page or Twitter feed, and likely assume all of the information presented through those sources is representative of that company.  There would need to be at least a second set of eyes on everything in order to mitigate the issuance of misinformation and faux pas.  Why not wait and see how the competition goes about it, and analyze the response they receive?  I firmly believe in letting someone else make the costly mistakes and learning from others’ experiences for free.  This may make the company seem like they are behind, but once they are up and running, I don’t think people care.

Posted on October 27, 2012, in Society, Workplace. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. “The general population is going to form an impression of the company from its website, Facebook page or Twitter feed, and likely assume all of the information presented through those sources is representative of that company.”

    Hi, Laura. I agree with this statement, and also agree with the point you make in your post. It’s true it can be detrimental for companies to jump into new technologies–particularly when they don’t have a clear strategy or plan in place for implementation and maintenance. In the interest of playing a little devil’s advocate, though, at what point is it detrimental not to adopt new technologies? I believe that point exists for every company with any applicable technology; and I imagine there’s a different answer for every industry and company.

    In the case of social media and a connected world, companies have an online presence whether they want to or not. (That is, people complain, rave, or otherwise voice opinions about products and services.) I agree that a social media strategy shouldn’t be rushed into or taken lightly, but I also think for a lot of companies, lacking a presence in this arena is a disadvantage, particularly when the competition is already up and running.

    • Lana, you make a great point that most companies “have an online presence whether they want to or not”. I never thought about it this way. But you are right, most organizations are being observed by consumers. People give feedback about a company’s products on many different platforms. Additionally, if you decide not to be active in social media, that also will be part of your company’s image to the public. A company that doesn’t appear on these sites might be seen as one that doesn’t care about the consumers of their products. However, in other cases – like the company Laura works for – their non-appearance on social media sites emphasizes their credibility.

  2. This is a very well written post and I think the images you chose to accompany your text were ideal!

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