Monthly Archives: March 2010

How Microsoft Used Community to Manage Reputation and Drive New Business

Live tweeted from Hit Me Social Media Event re Mel Carson from Microsoft Advertising Live at Hit Me Social Media Event

So Microsoft invest in social media and advertising… are we surprised?

What surprises me and many is how far Microsoft have come in turning around their previous incarnation.  They are increasingly acceptable and, crucially, responsive.

Mel Carson works for the Microsoft Advertising Community.  He enabled the TV program “The Monastery” to recruit their potential monks by positioning the program within search enquiries.

Try Bing ing Social Media White paper for a bit more on their approach which he calls “Learn and earn”.  He seems to suggest that Microsoft have an interdependent relationship with their advertising and search clients – we learn from them as we work with them

A brave question from Mel – “What is the first thing that comes into your head when someone mentions Microsoft?”, alluding to my opening point I suspect.  But the point he is making is that Microsoft Advertising is a specific part of Microsoft.  It evolved out of a negative reaction to earlier advertising efforts on the part of Microsoft.

That reaction was to establish a community and forum – a responsive approach which steps into, faces up to that conflict and criticism. That was back in 2006, and the feedback they invited (and received) was then distributed to other departments.  This feedback has enabled Microsoft to identify changes and possible improvements.

Now, of course, that means more response, more profit for Microsoft and, says Mel, for their advertising clients.

But, the community saves cost as well.  On the forum, Microsoft can rely on contributing experts, not paid by Microsoft, to help other users.

People get recognition if they answer questions and contribute and so they raise their own social capital or profile.

So, an interesting example of an organisation using community to turn its profile around and respond to users.

Is there a role for forums on law firm websites?  We’ll fret about regulation and negligence but I suspect that is not insurmountable.

The biggest worry might be the demonstration that we, as the lawyers, are not the exclusive domain of knowledge any longer, but it really is time that we came to terms with that…

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Filed under An End To Silo Thinking, General Technology

From Tesco Estate Agency To Tesco Law

Thanks to @paulhajek for flagging up this article;

“NEWS FLASH: Tesco bounces back into property market

Thursday 4th March 2010

Tesco is back in the estate agency market with the launch of Spicerhaart’s brand new offering, called iSold.

The new brand, whose slogan is ‘We simply sell homes’, has chosen Bristol for its national launch. Actual launch day has not been announced but is expected this weekend with local newspaper advertising apparently booked.”

Only recently I was being reassured by someone that Tesco had failed in Estate Agency and their forays into law would be similarly doomed.  I thought that was complacent at the time.  This form of complacency is ofen repeated and I have blogged on it once or twice already.

The Complacency Of Failure

There is a phenomenom that runs like this this.

A new initiative in providing professional services fails.  The failure of that particular initiative is then seized upon as demonstration that intiative as a whole is not required, will never succeed and that “The way we have always done it” will be the way we always will.

That, dear readers, may enbale the conservative (small c) wings of our professions to sleep at night, in complete denial of massive impending change, but it does not hold water.

Tescos have had previous forays into estate agency.  They failed. So what.  Fail quickly and move on.

I still think the brand name iSold is awful.  The bandwagon jumping lower case I prefixing an adjective or verb is so hackneyed already.

And that logo “We simply sell homes” is like something out of branding kindergarten.

Reader’s Comments

The comments on the post are interesting also.

Try this from Harry Shitemove, probably not his real name.

“you get what you pay for when it comes to personal service”

or this

“This is like the dotcom bubble all over again. I give them 18 months max. The only time you should be worried about a competitor is when they charge more than you. Tesco’s management are well respected, but this is a massive error on their part. They should stick to what they know, flogging me donuts and tasty sandwiches”

but perhaps, most odiously, as in a really rancid stench, is this very proud and handsomely paid estate agent who loudly proclaims;

“Ha Ha Ha Every Little Helps… If I got a 1k fee for selling a house then i wouldn’t get out of bed. VERY TRUE. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR ! ! !”

What do I pay an estate agent for? To sell my house, not for a relationship.

Now, if the model gives me full online access to records of all enquiries, written comments on viewings, records on all follow-up calls and feedback from viewers, then I do not need to be kept holding on an estate agent’s phone line or waiting for calls to be returned.

The future is coming.  Please try to stay awake while it happens.

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Filed under General Technology, Law, Lawyers and Social Media