Rocking Social Media Across the Organization

November 15, 2013
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Written by Mary Tarczynski

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, Arizona features musical instruments and performance videos from every country in the world.  The collection shows that we all innovate and learn from each other to create music – the universal language.  One of the key themes of the “Women Who Rock in Social Media and Marketing” panel during the Network of Executive Women (NEW) Phoenix Regional Event held at the museum was that we can all listen and learn from each other and professional bloggers when it comes to success in social.

Cathy Chess of Apollo Consulting moderated the lively panel discussion with myself, representing Collective Bias; Sharon Hart, Vice President Information Systems, PetSmart; Susan Mudd Powell, VP Retail Marketing Execution for the Safeway Phoenix Division; and Karen Werner, Media Consultant at MIM.  Together we participated in a discussion with these and 100 other leaders in the Phoenix CPG and Retail Community about the use of social media in our personal and professional lives.

Sharon talked about how PetSmart uses Social Media to build relationships with employees and candidates and her personal commitment to going paperless and how that has inspired others to do the same.

Susan, who recently celebrated her 40th anniversary with Safeway, shared how Safeway uses social media to engage shoppers with the Just for U personalized savings and mobile app and how she personally leverages social media to keep up with her grandchildren.

Karen shared how MIM uses social media to engage with visitors and encouraged them to share their experiences at the museum.  I can attest to the excitement of reliving memories of my first concert, Pat Benatar, as I walked through the “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion and Power” Special Exhibit created by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland which features 70 female artists ranging from Billie Holiday to Lady Gaga.

The 2 ½ year old museum reminds me of other brands I admire (Barefoot Wine, PopChips, and Evolution of Smooth) who, like millennials, are true digital natives  – never having had to transition from “traditional media.”  They built their brands by building relationships starting with employees and early customers and then radiating outward, facilitated by word of mouth at scale via social platforms.

For mainstream retail and CPG, the adoption of social media has been slower – but just as important to remain competitive in today’s landscape.  Social Media functions as a relationship facilitation and collaboration tool across all functions of an organization. As IBM reminds us, businesses move from liking to leading when they look beyond social media to see how social technologies drive real business value.

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