Plan, Organise, Lead and Control

Given the plethora of tasks at hand on any given day, having a plan at hand is always helpful. Be it a daily task list or a year long marketing/campaign plan. This is especially true when unique or a “once in a generation” combination of events swarm together and disrupt the business as usual processes and activities. Think 911 or the oil price plummeting precipitously.

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Having a plan, even a conceptual strategic version which is viewed occasionally does create focus and ensures re-alignment in times of extreme stress where deliverables are complex and requires a significant amount of focus with short turn around time frames.

It effectively allows one to Plan, Organise, Lead and Control. You might remember that from 1st year varisty studies and it’s a truth repeating itself daily. Creating a plan is daunting but consider the following when crafting your roadmap.

Objective: Clearly state the purpose of the plan in a document people can easily access. This should be succinct and excite the reader. Where possible distill the objective or messaging you are trying to convey into a word or a phrase no longer than 3. Less is more.

Stakeholders: Extracting and distilling stakeholder needs clearly in all likelihood will probably be the most frustrating part of constructing an executable plan. Removing ambiguity and agreeing on granular details are key to tick off as deliverables upfront.

Excel: Spreadsheets are one of the most underutilised business tools we have in our arsenal. Not only can you elevate your wordy plan by including budgets but these can be extended to modelling and forecasts with editable variables. Enhancing your Excel skills requires practice which will raise your confidence. Many online tutorials are available and Microsoft has a number of helpful hints.

Matrix: Using a Matrix approach allows for readers to sumamrise a year’s activity easily, key to this is understanding stakeholder needs on a granular level. As an example which Social Network platforms to engage: Facebook vs LinkedIn. These should be reflected in either the horizontal or vertical columns, the opposing category should be a time period either weeks or months. The Web is littered with templates to minimise your workload.

WIP: Your plan can’t be static, use it actively in meetings and discussions. It definitely should not be placed in the bottom draw only to be reviewed on an ad hoc basis.

Meetings: Your plan should form the basis of regular meetings to track progress and change activities as the market dynamics shift. In addition it forces participants and stakeholders to remain aligned and focuses energies on key outputs.

After a few iterations of trying different approaches in crafting and compiling your plan you will find a workable solution allowing for effecting Planning, Organising, Leading and Control. Good luck.

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Keeping the X in UX & CX

User Experience (UX) and by extension Customer User Experience (CX) are cornerstones of everything we experience and as a learning discipline been with us for ages. It continues to remain mainstream as the ebb and flow of multiple product launches of wearables and more intuitive tech permeates our lives. Although some brands have traditionally settled for the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach. Hoping the average user will be satisfied, the instantaneous interaction users now have through social media platforms have changed this dynamic. It really is power to the people time!

I recently stumbled across a useful slide pack which is lengthy yet provides a punchy overview of the Importance Of Ux. The slide pack is from the Contribute Group and should definitely be followed @ContributeGroup.

UX will be an imperative component of everything we interact with especially online as this component of our lives continues to increase. Ultimately brand interaction will require continued evolution to ensure the MVP is exceeded.

SOCIAL MEDIA HERE UNTIL FOREVER

Social Media and Social Networking Sites are a collective term used to describe Internet hosted and Web powered applications and platforms allowing interactions with each other across a wide variety of social activities.

Massi

Although in our generation it appears to have been a newly minted concept the process of interaction, the human need for this interaction and the motivational drivers underpinning it have always existed. Massi summarises and superimposes the motivational drivers for Social Media & Networking usage on the famed Maslow hierachy of needs:

  • Discovery
  • Altruism
  • Social
  • Fame
  • Escapism
  • Expression

Not difficult to argue the science and this study was completed in 2010 when MySpace still featured.

What arguably has changed significantly is the speed, breadth and depth of interaction. Ranging not only from initially posting a video or a comment on one platform to multitudes of platforms with a single click. Social Media have ensured we are always connected.

It is important to remember all Social Media users are active Web users but that not all Web users are Social Media participants! Similar to the evolution of the Web, Social Network sites have over time evolved allowing users and publishers to push and pull content form each other. This not only was underpinned by the technology evolution causing the Web to transform from being one directional but was hastened predominately by the the sharp and sustained rise in in mobile device adoption rates and technology advancements.

Today we have the tools to co-create, collaborate and partake in immersive experiences from across the world without leaving our chairs. For Brands and Businesses this has significant meaning:

  • Social Media is here until forever
  • Social Media ensures depth and breadth of interactions are increasing
  • Timely, consistent messaging & content across platforms are crucial
  • Ensure content consumers are engaged transparently or you will be caught
  • On and offline experiences should complement each other not be an obstacle

Web 2.0 and beyond

The Web and the Internet are often used as interchangeable terms and viewed as one inseparable utility. The Web should be viewed as the interface to browse and interact across the Internet effectively a hypertext linked set of documents. The Internet on the other hand is the infrastructure or network the Web utilises. It facilitates the transfer of data across its globally interconnected network.Source: Radar Networks

The  accompanying chart sourced from Radar Networks and Nova Spivack, illustrate that since 1980 underpinned by the mass rollout of computers, major Web development cycles have averaged about 10 years.

Delving a bit deeper

Web 1.0 is characterised as an environment where information was predominately pushed online to consumers who had limited means or functionality to share it with others. Web 2.0 provides the capability for increased content co-creation and sharing online by producers and consumers within a truly global context. Sir Tim Berners-Lee views Web 3.0 or the Semantic Web as an extension of Web 2.0, not a separate new Web. It is based on the existing functionality and ensures information is given a well-defined meaning better enabling computers and people to work collaboratively.

The enhancement of the Web has facilitated a world which is the most interconnected it has ever been. As Web 3.0 is implemented and data is given increased meaning users can expect a more personalised experience at greater speeds as computers and humans are able to co-operate more efficiently.

Web 2.0 applications and Social Media have further permeated our lives providing platforms of always on and connected communication channels. Increasingly companies are integrating Social Media into their Client Relationship Management strategies. As smartphones and other mobile devices increase in functionality and decrease in price, user adoption rates will continue to surprise on the upside and positively impact Web usage. The era of the Internet of Things is upon us and we should expect deeper and broader connections being made in unexpected places.

The Alpha Post

TIoT from Shutterstock

TIoT from Shutterstock

In this series of posts I’ll be discussing how social media as a channel continues to shape and impact our lives and how within a business context one can take advantage of it. Essentially it will use extracts and thoughts from my thesis and will weave in current and relevant trends and observations.

First though is a comment about the medium or platform social media sites uses to interact with us not so much the device but the network of machines which enables us to instantly communicate with each other. Effectively shrinking the world.

Since its creation with roots in the 60s, the Internet and World Wide Web (Web) continues to permeate our lives. It has become an instantaneous platform of interaction. Not only are we able to send and retrieve emails, transmit large volumes of data wirelessly but also communicate verbally and visually. Increasing user activity and Web functionality has underpinned the usage of social media as a communications tool. It is imperative we understand the trends and its implications, as this knowledge can be used to derive more effective interactions personally and professionally.

The Web continues to evolve into a multi-directional model of interaction. As this evolution continues we’ll increasingly be in an era of “The Internet of Things”. Effectively a period where increasingly everything will be connected to the internet. This next phase of development is underpinned by the implementation of Web 3.0 or the Semantic Web. It is about having data as well as documents on the Web so that machines can process, transform, assemble, and even act on the data in useful ways (Yu, 2007). This sequential development follows previous iterations of the Web defined as Web 1.0 (predominately consumption only) and Web 2.0 (increased interaction across websites).

Hope you found it informative.

The next post will discuss Web 2.0 and social media sites, see you then.

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