Archive for September, 2011


Post 6-Return on Investment

Dear Readers,

Well, its time for the latest episode of The Lyons Den and today I want to talk about Return on Investment of Web 2.0 Technologies.

Return on Investment can simply can simply be defined as what a company makes and gets back from the money or resources it spends on a project or idea. In this world that is increasingly integrating web 2.0 into everything it does, more and more companies feel (quite rightly) the need to invest money into social media and Web 2.0 to reach new clients, demographics and markets. In the same token, many companies want to see some tangible results from their efforts and to get something back from all they have invested.

Unfortunately, ROI is an issue that keeps recurring, is difficult to measure over mediums and ultimately difficult to define. Some companies do this less well than others. Below are some examples (not necessarily good but not necessarily bad):

The Cadbury company brought back into production its Wispa and Wispa Gold chocolate bars after a series of online petitions using venerable social media site Facebook. The most recent petition attracted a following of 22,000 people which caused Cadbury to release 40 million units of one bar for a limited period. Prior to this, the Wispa bar was re-released and sold approximately 41 million bars in 18 weeks…..a rate of nearly 4 per second over the period.

This is an example of an excellent return on investment from the company. They used a site that is largely (if not completely) cost free and sold many more units and made much more money than they could ever have hoped to spend on social media (the most widely used tools being used these days are without cost)….and they did it all without spending a cent AND they got to see just how popular their products were.

Another example which has worked really well and shows devotion to the brand is that of world-renowned Motorcycle builder Harley-Davidson.  Its devoted riders created a social networking hub run for riders by riders (and more importantly funded entirely by riders). There is the opportunity for Harley owners to share advice and knowledge as well as the opportunity to mingle and socialise with other riders. In addition, and in a win for Harley-Davidson owners, owners can get in contact with one of 7 professional mechanics who regularly access the sites..

Again, another example of the brand having such a following that they actually haven’t had to lift a finger to generate an excellent return from an investment in social media. This case in particular shows how social media has shrunk the world and enabled companies to gain a presence they would never have achieved using regular methods.

The point of this post can be summed up in a phrase from a recent promotional campaign for a breakfast cereal that will be more well known to some of my more “local” reader; “You only get out what you put in”.
Til next time,

That’s a wrap! 🙂

More info on this post can be found here


Post 5-The Legal Risks

Dear Readers,

Well, I warned you-it’s time for your second dose of The Lyons Den for the week . This weeks post is about the legal risks to organisations and businesses who have an online presence.

Anyhoo, while I try to keep this post shorter than the last enchanting tale I shall outline the risks faced by organisations and businesses who have an online presence and then try to provide an example of these risks (and the strategies in place to try and minimise them) in practice in the real world using an example that is close to my heart…….my employer.

So, some of the risks that face those corporate types who have an online presence include:

  • Reputational risks-a damaged reputation.
  • Loss of confidentiality-ever seen a photo of a car that hasnt been released yet, that has apparently been “leaked”? Well in most cases there is some company employee behind it all who, as a result, gets his or her eyes gauged out, his or her knee caps smashed and his or her head kicked in. In the worst cases, these people have even been known to lose their jobs…….
  • Technological risks. Every time you open the window, the bad smell is going to come in and in this case, those who have an online presence can leave themselves open to increased instances of viruses and malware.
  • Breaches of trademarks, copyrights, privacy and even defamation.
  • There are even instances where some poor sod is wrongfully dismissed.

There are a number of others, and perhaps I could go into greater detail but if this were a novel, the words “thicker than war and peace” come to mind…..

So, where in the real world have I see this in action. Well, rather surprisingly, a number of these risks are applicable to my current employer. I work for an organisation which panders to the educational needs of some 20,000+ students and is diligently serviced by some 2000+ staff (I’m not going to have a go at my fellow colleagues am I?). For those that know me, my use of the phrase “the real world” is a hint to where I work.

The oragnisation has a significant online presence including, for the purposes of this blog, a large corporate website and student/staff “gateway” and even a Twitter account used to broadcast information to the outside world in a short but sweet format (a service that, in my eyes, is currently underused). You can even send emails to the organisation from outside and connect to the local network from the comfort of a recliner rocker. All of these services are in place to facilitate and allow easier communication to and from the university relating to certain areas, provide staff and students with up to the minute information on things that affect them and to allow staff and students to do more stuff more of the time

As a result, the organisation (I’m doing well not to mention a name) faces the a high instance of exposure to viruses and malware with email coming in and out and network connections being made, loss of confidentiality and every time a new tweet is posted, a risk to the reputation of the organisation. The last one is less likely to occur as, luckily, the task is not yet placed in the hands of the “slow not stupid” such as I.

Luckily, all of the above scenarios are mitigated in some way:

  • Login details must be provided to prove the person trying to gain access to contact details that must be kept hidden is in fact someone who is allowed to view the information.
  • Tweeting is very strictly controlled by only being tasked to certain individuals with the expectation that spelling and grammar is absolutely flawless and language is kept relevant.
  • Email is very strictly checked and only certain file types are allowed to be sent/received and even then they must be within certain sizes to allow them to be sent/received. Additionally, only certain files are allowed to be stored on IT infrastructure under certain circumstances.

This post has well and truly gone on log enough so my final thought on this is that while I’m not sure about whether there is strictly a social media and communication policy in operation, all of these issues are well known to staff and students and are documented in some way or form. This in turn is very heavily emphasised to all who interact with it. So while there may not be any defined social media policy, in which all of these mediums and issues should be addressed (particularly relating to tweeting, which is only done to a very low level and even then is the only form of social media used…….for the moment…… this space……) my organisation is doing ok……..

Well, for a week or so, thats a wrap 🙂

This weeks notable references:

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