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The internet + (- faux pas / (listening x communicating)) = tangible result

posted by Alex Hens
5 December 2008

What I especially love in this game is when something happens that brings home the real potential and actual value of a particular technology/platform. Today’s example: the internet and the potential to engage, influence and convert opinion – AKA e-brand management (and I honestly think this formula might hold water too - clearly I did pay some attention in that Economics degree!).

The Internet + (-fauxpas / (listening x communicating)) = tangible result

I started the day picking up an RSS feed from the Bairdyblog – highly amusing find by Andrew of one of the worst types of corporate “engaging wiv da yoof” / trying too hard that I’ve seen in a long time (video below too). It was too good to let go without sharing so I posted a Tweet (a posting on the Twitter microblogging network) that commented: “in case you missed it - this from the Bairdyblog - http://is.gd/ak75 Toe curlingly bad from CapGemini US! Or is it Sacha Baron Cohen?” So the comment’s out there. I know a couple of people picked it up and probably passed it on enjoying it too – but then a couple of hours later I get a Tweet back from @capgemini saying “I have to agree. We've discussed this internally and it makes many people cringe! – Richard” So let me explain what excited me so much about this. They can’t retract the original video – it’s done & it’s out there. Hey, we all make mistakes, and clearly this Sacha Baron Cohen lookalike may be thinking his was to press the record button. But now it’s out there people will chatter about it – it’s human nature. But rather than doing so just down the pub, in the student union or wherever else people may gather, it’s now going on louder than ever online too. But it doesn’t take a lot now for brands to hear what people are saying and by taking part then to at least to some extent put themselves in a position to positively influence the conversation. And are they going to stop me laughing at this guy? No. Am I now going to apply for a job with them? No. Am I now going to buy a product or service off them? No. But if I’m ever in such a position where I might be in a target audience for either of the latter then my first recollection will not be of Jonathon “getting wid da kidz” (although it will take a while for that to fade completely), but how CapGemini then engaged with me and in that one act of listening and communicating showed their empathy and human face – and the fact is that as humans we all prefer to do business with humans. There’s a lot of talk about “listening to” or “joining the conversation”, this is certainly not the first (nor the last) post on this subject – but here is an example that I felt made it all very real. Well done Richard – and you never know, thanks to him/his teams work then Jonathon’s recording faux pas may actually be turned into a positive, or at the very least something less negative (although I think it’ll test Jonathon’s personal skills of Internal Comms management if he manages to turn this into a CapGemini career enhancing positive – I’m sure already he’s writing a white paper on how he planned this whole thing right down to the follow on digital engagement and PR benefit of his “out there” personal style humanising the CapGemini brand).