Archive for social business

Is Britain entrepreneurial enough to create social businesses?

Posted in social, Thinking with tags , , on July 25, 2011 by Joanna Lyall

In my opinion an entrepreneurial spirit is key becoming a social business.  When you consider that the big brand leaders in the social space they typically originate from the US or Asia; take Starbucks, Dell and Air Asia as just a few examples.  These brands and business have recognised that being social goes far beyond the boundaries of the marketing department and fundamentally is starting to change how they do business and connect with their customers.  The rub for many is that there is no blue print for getting this right first time so it requires an amplitude and appetite for failing, learning and trying something different in  a short space of time.  This approach take resource and takes courage for a company to re-engineer themselves to make this acceptable.  The fail fast attitude is one is that is often quoted from leading digital businesses like Google, Apple and Facebook, the idea that a project is never quite finished and is continually developed and improved is one that comes hand in hand with their business model.  There was a time where products were reviewed and updated periodically now through the power of real-time data products can change daily.  Apparently, Zynga’s business model is to advertise games before they go into production to  assess the level of popularity, this model combines focus group testing with real-time development.  In theory it should cut both cost and risk.

For traditional businesses to become social businesses they need to find a way to isolate and use the most insightful real-time data they can lay their hands on.  This insight allows brands to respond real-time to customers and to evolve their products around a need at any given time.

Culturally Asia is a natural birth place for entrepreneurs, their ability to make something out of very little is in their blood, you see it from the streets to the business world.  On the other side of the world the home for entrepreneurs in technology resides in California and it seems that some of the Silicon Valley attitude and approach to business development has worked its way into large corporations like Ford, Dell, Starbucks, BMW and many more.  In Britain there are examples of socially engineered businesses but they have tended to start out that way than have evolved from traditional models.  So I wonder if the big British companies or the global brands with significant business here in the UK have what it takes to change the model and re-engineer themselves to become social right at the centre of their being.