There is a lot of talk about the impact that social media is having on business. And there is no question that it has changed business in both large and profound ways.
For me, the most important way that social media has changed business is that it’s made the walls of the corporation transparent. Employees and customers can freely share their experiences of an organization. And we trust their opinions about organizations because they are our friends, family or colleagues. Plus, they don’t have any reason to lie to us. Whereas an organization has a list of reasons to lie (whether they do it or not).
Gone are the days when an organization could promote one image to the public and be living an entirely different reality within their walls. If you aren’t who you say you are in the age of social media, people will expose you and then burn you down.
Transparency is no long a strategy or choice. It is a truth of business, no escaping it.
That means that an organization’s brand and culture are no longer separate things. They are one. The distance between employee and customer has been erased. They must both have an authentic and consitent experience of the organization that is reinforced by how the organization talks about itself. Or, you lose. It’s really that simple.
So, the work of marketing and human resources, historically kept neatly in their own silos, can no longer live apart. We have to wake up to the reality that marketing, branding, and culture-building are all practices of the same discipline.