Parts of 1 and 2 of Enterprise Connections focused on the benefits of a company intranet. However those benefits are not limited to internal use; brands also have much to gain by engaging with their customers via an enterprise social network. Of course, this is nothing new, brands have always found creative and unorthodox ways of learning about their customers and using this new information improve its interactions with them. A good example is Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewing Company, which learned that without them ever being marketed to by the company, its beer had become favorite of the younger, hipster crowd. In turn, it saw significant success by altering its marketing efforts to better reach that audience. (Though those marketing efforts were not what most people would have expected. Read this piece in Fast Company to see how they did it)
A public facing customer network is an excellent way to help facilitate the interaction between brand and customers, as well as the brand’s response to those interactions. A great example of this would be WeBank’s WePad project, which used a public facing Clearvale network to help get customers involved in the creation of a WeBank iPad app. www.wepadproject.it
For 6 weeks, 6 experts in fields such as social media, design and technology brainstormed every week for 4 hours, with the aim of producing an iPad application to make the interactions between WeBank and its customers social and collaborative, and to save their customers’ money. Each brainstorming session was broadcast live via a webcam and participants were encouraged to contribute by uploading comments, videos and feedback. An exciting, interactive and thought-leading initiative, the WePad Project successfully bridged the gap between company and customer. The entire project took place on a Clearvale network created and maintained by WeBank.
The WePad Project is a great example of how an enterprise social network can be used as platform for managing one-off campaigns and special events. The next part of Enterprise Connections will focus on the ongoing, day-to-day benefits of a customer network.