Imagine that you are charged with launching a social media program for your product group. You ask your agency to develop a campaign. You think through the risks and rewards and go for it. Now, consider your counterparts in the other lines of business (LOB) in your organization who are doing the same thing. At any given point, each LOB may be thinking about or executing:

· Best practices

· Listening tools and campaigns

· Social media guidelines

· Outside and inside resources

· Platforms and social assets

· Research

· Advocate identification and activation

· Measurement

In fact, here’s the scary scenario: each LOB may be going down these paths separately and independently. At ComBlu, we’ve seen this over and over, and this practice is almost as prevalent today as it was during the wild, wild gold rush days of social media. Let’s think about what this really means.

· Scenario One: Group A wants a listening program and goes out and gets a license for a tool and trains some people to use it. At the same time, another group, licenses an entirely different tool and assigns one person to be the “chief listener”. Yet another group hires an agency to listen and respond for them and a fourth LOB contracts for a huge “listening study”. Yikes!

· Scenario Two: Now, these same four groups all decide they need social media guidelines. They each either develop their own or hire someone to do it for them. The result: four separate, sort of similar guidelines across four different LOBs.

· Scenario Three: Three out of these four groups all buy the same study from Forrester or another respected research firm

· Scenario Four: Two of these groups each buy a different community software platform and later decide they want to integrate their community experiences..

You get the picture. No standardization. No governance. No cost sharing. No knowledge sharing. No Center of Excellence (COE).

Many brands have Centers of Excellence for shared services and resources across their organization. A marketing department might have a COE for interactive, research, experiential, etc. And, a few are starting to add social marketing or social media to the COE approach. They are creating and sharing guidelines for listening and social media interaction, standardizing to a single community platform and listening tools, buying research once, and so on. Some are even meeting regularly to discuss best practices and parse their individual experiences with a vender, campaign or tool. But, here’s an interesting observation: they are not eating the social dog food. For the most part, the COEs are not using social tools to facilitate sharing and conversation about experiences, resources and approaches. They aren’t using rating and ranking systems to review venders or to get a view into planned programs that might provide insights or leverage between divisions, geographies or LOBs. They aren’t creating UGC or aggregating thought leadership information. They aren’t saying: “we’re in the early planning stages of research about XYZ that might benefit others. Let’s form a group and plan and co-fund it.”

One of the missions of ComBlu is to help organizations socialize their business model and supporting operations. We think brands would be better served by taking a COE approach, and using social tools to accelerate and facilitate adoption. The prize? Efficiency, effectiveness, bandwidth, cost savings and

Cheryl Treleaven

Cheryl Treleaven


Engaging your customers is at the heart of successful marketing programs. For more than 20 years, Cheryl has been building and executing content and thought leadership strategies designed to do just that. She is excited to be applying that well-honed skill to a help companies like Microsoft, Cisco, 3M, Intel, Capital One and Barclaycard tap into their stakeholder communities and build sophisticated content strategies.

Her experience base spans a range of industries – from technology and financial services to retail, travel, consumer products and healthcare. Cheryl has served as an integral member of her clients’ marketing teams, providing counsel on marketing and brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, product introductions, and event management.

Prior to joining ComBlu, Cheryl spent 10 years leading corporate marketing for large, complex organizations.