The Need for Cultural Thinking in the C-Suite – A Manifesto

This post first published in 2013 shows the effect of social media on the customer experience. It has been earth-shaking. Further, the manifesto illustrates the relationship between culture, marketing, technology, and public relations.

Culture is a word with fuzzy meaning. As a consequence, the purpose of this declaration, on the one hand, is to further the discussion of the way that culture bears on public relations. On the contrary, the purpose of the manifesto is to provide a platform of understanding for the multiple new executive roles that are developing in the nascent age of the networked society.

The social conversation has transformed the practice of social media marketing, professional communications, and brand management. And indeed, much has been written about the marketing funnel being flipped, how markets are conversations, and how stories matter more than ever.

Our belief is that the cultural approach underscores these ideas. Moreover, cultural ideas are crucial at this point in time, when practical questions about risk management, information privacy, and public disclosure are so closely linked to public conversations on social networks.

Whereas this manifesto touches on privacy, security and the need for policies for digital marketing, the aim is to speak more about new and rising executive roles in the c-suite, such as the Chief Culture Officer, Chief Digital Officer and more. On this topic also, the content creator and user-generated-content both represent a new type of techné  or must-have skill for businesses. For that reason, this manifesto adds to the conversation about the way professional communications is changing. And, it highlights why cultural considerations for brands must be elevated on the executive agenda.

The way in which brands seek community influencers, along with the way in which messages are broadcast on social platforms are strategies focused on the effort to tell a particular narrative. And, because customers are listening and responding, and brands are doing the same, storytelling is a cultural brand initiative. The time is now to start thinking about culture, public relations, advertising and marketing in novel ways.

A Manifesto on Cultural Thinking in the C-Suite

1. The Chief Culture Officer, the Chief Customer Officer, and the Chief Digital Officer are new executive roles that recognize the social conversation has transformed old and created new social norms with a new set of challenges and opportunities.

2. This manifesto defines culture as rules and meanings.

3. Engaging in the social conversation is not something everyone misses out on.

4. Content marketing is now more important than ever.

5. Recognize the character of social media conversations, sentiment tracking and semantic keyword analysis are not mutually exclusive. They complement each other.

6. The Trust Barometer by Edelman provides valuable insights relating to the public opinions and the changing nature of customer service.

7. Surveillance culture is as much a consequence of the social conversation as is the rush to promoting an app and IoT toy.

8. The definition of culture as rules and meanings helps to shed light on a useful cognitive frame for marketers: We always must ask questions about our audience.

9. Brands listen to what customers and competitors are saying.

10. The expectations of a modern networked audience place increased pressure on private and public brands, to adapt to the awareness that brands create culture.

11. Brands participate in the production and reception of culture telling stories to internal and external audiences.

12. Cultural leadership benefits from social media and traditional in-person outreach.

13.Global collaboration – crowdsourcing, crowd funding and crowd sharing – is part of change management.

14. The convergence of social, local and mobile has produced distinct innovations.

15. Getting CEOs to blog regularly is a vital first step for brands still seeking more efficient transmedia storytelling for such objectives as community building.

16. Open data provides a window into the way that proactive disclosure is changing techno-culture and society.

17. Open government – transparency, accountability, and collaboration are critical factors relating on a higher level to the main poles of this manifesto.

18. The Cluetrain Manifesto continues to inspire. This Chief Culture Officer Manifesto considers technology, culture, and agency

19. Sentiment analysis and content aggregation engines like Google Trends and Facebook Audience Manager enable the means to evaluate interests, in-market segments and less mathetical information per se, like reviewing individual and demographic categories.

20. The C-Suite must embrace and make decisions to benefit the organization and the customer base.

21. C-Suite buy-in effects real change in the workplace environment.

22. The Chief Culture Officer and the Chief Customer Officer are executive roles that signify when HR is given greater decision-making powers, the benefits accrue to the internal brand and to external ROI over the long haul.

23. The Chief Culture Officer and Chief Customer Officer are roles that embed innovation in organizations by cross-pollinating networked intelligence from internal and external cultures.

24. The CCO symbolizes changes to public relations and customer service.

25. The incidence of the CCO illustrates that brands need to listen more carefully to what customers have to say.

26. Customers are real people. Talk to them and message them like you’re talking to your partners, friends, and colleagues.

27. The process of public decision making has been pushed to evolve to a more collaborative model, by the social conversation.

28. The social dialogue has enabled new forms of cultural production, public expression, and storytelling.

29. Reputation management, public safety, and crisis communications are essential from the perspective of effective brand management.

30. The culture officer increases the nimbleness of organizations.

31. Brands participate in cultural production with target audiences.

32. Granular data is high value.

33. Brands, individuals, and the public all create culture.

34. The rules of cultural production have changed.

35. Remix culture is to the old media what hashtags are to the new media.

36. New payment services like Square represent disruptive Schumpeterian innovations.

37. The culture officer adds value by enhancing the telling of brand stories and building relationships with the right influencers.

38. Staying on message relies on strategic planning.

39. Test your message to ensure it resonates with your intended market.

40. The pre-test for messages and campaigns is crucial. Assurance on ROI originates doing the proper research.

41. The following comment is central to the manifesto and is owed to Dan Tish, of Argyle PR , “We have the balloons, they have all the pins.

42. Networked organizations are innovative organizations.

43. Networked organizations foster better employee engagement.

44. We live in a networked society.

45. Social platforms represent the baseline for content marketing and digital collaboration.

46. The cultural angle helps to throw light on the value of a closer relationship with the CIO and CTO.

47. The culture office leads the charge to strategic engagement with the major influencers.

48. Influencers are paid and unpaid.

49. Key influencers today are the true cultural intermediaries, gateways to audiences.

50. TED talks show the value of public speaking for brand leaders.

51. The cultural intermediary concept is similar to Gladwell’s concept of the connector.

52. Demand audiences are culture markets.

53. The chief cultural officer facilitates the identification of novel business models and approaches growth by identifying unique value offerings.

54. Reputations depend on listening & responding to audiences in a timely manner.=

55. Brands that choose to build innovative and creative social workplaces succeed and thrive in today’s hyper-connected world.

56. Connecting social media and digital assets, campaigns and interventions with face-to-face initiatives is what the culture officer specializes in, the enabling of social innovation.

57. The convergence of social, local and mobile – hyperlocal trends or FOMO are of high-value for the cultural executive.

58. The growth of mobile, as a channel of record, drives innovation within the fields of transmedia storytelling and cultural brand management.

59. Mobile media marketing, as a component of social media marketing, will continue to grow rapidly.

60. Content marketing pales in comparison to the value of conversion optimization.

61. Interfaces matter.

62. Leading communications design tends towards mobile experiences.

63. Make a lasting impression. Hire us.