Ron Strauss On Knowledge Sharing As A B2B Strategy

03/23/2009

One of my joys is helping marketers understand how to use social media to build brand value. In the workshops and speeches I give one of the most Frequently Asked Questions goes like this: "When it comes to social media marketing all I seem to see is consumer products and programs that target moms. Can social media be used in a business-to-business environment? And How?!"

Toby blogher nyc 2008 That question always brings a smile since the business roots (versus the personal application) of social media began with the tech blogs and than were adopted by small business owners ..  many in the B2B space. Yes, Virginia social media is quite definitely a strategy that can be successfully used to help market products and services whose target audience is other businesses. 

For my money, one of the most effective tactics is using social media to position VIPs in your company as industry thought leaders. The heart of this initiative is built around sharing knowledge. Nothing new here. Businesses have been employing white papers for eons to set this in motion.

However, add social media tools such as blogs, live podcasts, social networks and even Twitter, to the mix and you go beyond what could be a white paper yawn. You have the opportunity for Exchanging Knowledge with your VIP as the leader of the discussion. Powerful way to enhance brand value and equity.

Ron strauss Recently my friend Ron Strauss, president of Brandzone and co-author of "Value Creation: The Power of Brand Equity" wrote an interesting post on an AMA listserve that dovetails with this concept. Ron agreed to share his ideas with us.

The Difference Between the Expert Based Approach and the Knowledge Sharing Approach

  • TRUST. LEARNING. BUY-IN. PULL VS. PUSH.

TRUST. By sharing knowledge, the company demonstrates expertise and the confidence to 'give' this power to their client.

  • Since knowledge is power, sharing knowledge shares power - to everyone's benefit.  Trust is an intangible attribute and is one of the core values of every brand - essential to building and/or preserving brand equity.

LEARNING. By helping clients understand the implications of the knowledge they shared with them, and its application, companies are teaching how to apply these ideas within the context of the firm.

And the context of the firm is described by its processes, organization, business model, how it chooses its customers, etc.  Thus, organizations are teaching clients how to 'fit' the knowledge to their company's values in a way that created effective outcomes for their served clients. So, the company must understand how to apply the knowledge in a way that aligned with their customers' values and needs.

BUY-IN. Sharing knowledge in a way that encourages the learner to take responsibility for its application and for the outcomes of those applications, creates 'buy-in' from Day 1.

There's no need to 'sell' the organization on the program, the process of acquiring the knowledge and applying it does that. They sell themselves as they use the knowledge to overcome barriers and issues.

PULL VS. PUSH. Sharing knowledge and its applications in a manner that's consistent with the Brand Promise creates a 'pull' force field through out the organization.

In today's flatter, less hierarchical organizational structures this is necessary to quickly adapt to change, and to meet clients ever-changing requirements in a timely, fashion while remaining profitable. Employees need to be empowered to do what it takes to deliver on the Brand Promise, to create the kind of experiences that create loyal customers.

Interested in learning more about social media marketing for business-to-business? I'm honored to be a guest speaker at the webinar Using Social Media & Networking in Client Conversations  sponsored by References Online. I join Umang Shah of Cubed Consulting, Duncan Egan of Taleo Corporation and Lisa Hoesel, References Online. Date: Wednesday 3/25 Time: Eastern: 12noon - 1p  Central: 11a- 12noon Mountain: 10a-11a Pacific 9a-10a Registration

One more .. catch the recent article about social media in the Atlanta Business Chronicle - Executives using social media to brand themselves as well as their companies. Guess who was quoted in her local business rag .. yup me!

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