Tagged: influence strategy

Sixty four


We outsource a lot of stuff we don’t consider to be our ‘core competence’, as management speak has it. The Influence Scorecard and those activities critical to executing our influence strategy must be core, and we’ve needed to bring some of our public relations, customer service and analytics activities in-house. And customer service and internal communications are public relations so we’ve joined these teams together, physically and digitally. While marketing is run separately, we’ve tried not to clump everyone together by discipline.

A new vista on media has helped. The ‘paid, owned, earned’ way to categorize media appears to have emerged from old silos and reinforces such divisions, so we’re trying to think in terms of something called ‘the influence view of content’. Basically, an influence professional must seek to understand what influenced the creation of relevant content, and might then influence it in future, and what influence its author intended it to have.

Deciding where stuff gets done, externally or internally, wasn’t wholly an either-or choice. We’ve worked closely with one supplier to test a hybrid whereby their people work with ours on our premises. We’ve done this kind of thing before in IT but never in marketing and PR. We want to amalgamate the best of both worlds – “full-time immersion at the Attenzi water-cooler” as Michelle puts it, pun intended, while maintaining continued access to the supplier’s particular know-how and resources.

The idea of Attenzi being a network that extends beyond its payroll isn’t yet fully established. There remains a clear delineation in people’s minds with respect to the person’s employer. In fact, I just wrote, “their people work with ours”. Such things will take a long time to blur, and won’t happen at all I’m sure without appropriate policy, process and determination.

We’re exploring ways to combine B2B post-sales service with production, based on the product-as-a-service concept. We’re on the third iteration of this revised structure, and at the time of writing we’re ten weeks from launching our first commercial product that will include the sensors and communications gadgetry to keep us connected to it 24/7. We have some ideas for how we might wield this data, but we’re aware that some applications will emerge with time and use.

We’ll be collecting and managing the data to begin with, but with the clear promise to customers that we consider ourselves custodians working on their behalf as well as our own until such time we can feed the data into their chosen service.

Sixty one

It’s nine months since that lunch with William and chat with Saket, and nearly a year since the pivotal away day. Of course, a large part of events has been change management. I won’t dwell on change management here but suffice to say our biggest challenges and opportunities in that respect have been people, people and people. And tech. As my old plant manager would say, we’re all in change management.

I’m wondering whether an organization designed around influence flows might find change management easier. It’s too early for me to conclude with certainty but it looks like it could.

Marcus, John, Georgio, Michelle, Yvonne, Tom and I form the steering team. We invite Saket in once a month to challenge our analyses, assumptions, conclusions and plans. He’s rather good at that, as you’ve seen.

We outlined a project plan to execute the influence strategy. We qualified the investments required in people, process and technology courtesy of our strategy maps. And we identified the dependencies and the timeline.

We developed a role and person specification for an individual to lead the transition, and it rapidly became clear that it had Marcus’ name all over it. We promoted two of his operations team to take up much of his existing mantle, leaving him with the majority of his time to crack on with social business. He has a team of four working with him in The Nerve Center, as it’s been named, and they obviously lean heavily on the steering team for our respective disciplinary expertise.

Note that I don’t write ‘functional expertise’. It has become increasingly clear that the typical functions in organizations really are a manifestation of the 20th Century perspective of business, a result of the tectonic forces of that period, and not necessarily the organs demanded of a 21st Century entity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there’s a radical departure necessarily, just that the norms we associate with today’s functional labels narrow our view of how the business might operate.

Interestingly, Marcus’ team had been seconded to The Nerve Centre as if they would return to their previous departments at some point. It took a week to put ourselves right about that.

Marcus owns the Influence Scorecard. He maps influence flows on to our strategy map and, to paraphrase the Balanced Scorecard creators, helps us define the marching orders we need to become a social business.

Fifty five

It was exactly two months since the away day, and we all reconvened. I could sense the anticipation.

We started by reviewing our business goals and testing the strategies we were currently executing to see how they might benefit from our new vista. And we defined our influence objectives:

  • Whose opinions and behaviors are we seeking to influence and how?
  • What opinions would we like them to hold and how would we like them to behave?
  • How are we seeking to be influenced and by whom?
  • What does success look like and how do we intend to measure it?

We answered the first three of these at a high level at first. Obviously, we couldn’t answer the last in full just yet as metric design requires an understanding of the tactics to be employed, and we couldn’t define the tactics until we’d developed the strategy.

We distilled our influence strategy, namely the influence processes we felt would give us serious competitive advantage if we became prodigious at them.

Interestingly, our recently acquired appreciation of the nature of complexity and big data meant we had to recognize that if prioritizing some influence flows meant entirely neglecting others then we were heading down a rocky road. Therefore, one of our strategies involves our striving to collate and synthesize insight and knowledge from all influence flows in combination. And I can tell you now we won’t have this down pat any time soon!

Without giving too much away (although we have presented all of this to our partners and suppliers and channel, we’re still adjusting to being open in the fullest sense), other strategies encompass social analytics, CRM, internal communications, greater collaboration with our suppliers and partners and resellers and customers and anyone else come to that, improved digital capture of workshops and meetings, improved capabilities and revised policies for data and digital asset management, and expansion of our enterprise social network.

Having said “without giving too much away”, you shouldn’t be greatly interested in the detail here anyway simply because your business isn’t Attenzi. As you’ll know, no part of our influence strategy is necessarily relevant to your organization.