Since Google co-founder Larry Page took the reins as CEO from Eric Schmidt on Jan. 20, there's been no shortage of speculation as to why the changes were made now, what this means for Schmidt's own future and what the changes portend for the world's leading search company.
One thing that is clear is that Page steps into the role at a time when Google is being pressed by shareholders to return to its innovative roots and suppress growing competition from companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Groupon.
Most CIOs figure, correctly, that they have enough to do without developing a public relations plan in the event that a system failure impacts customers.
However, last week's debacle at Chase, where its online banking was down for three days -- apparently because of data corruption in an Oracle database -- suggests a CIO might benefit from developing a bit of a PR plan, or at least a framework.
Have you heard the tale about how one blogger-angry at Maytag for its terrible customer service-attracted 2,906 comments on her blog at dooce.com and reached one million others with her tweets? You can bet that the frustration she had with her Kenmore washer was nothing compared to the headaches her rants caused the parent company. Did Maytag learn from its mistakes? According to Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, officers at Forrester Research and authors of Empowered (Harvard Business Review Press, September 14, 2010), they did: The company now responds to tweets that its customers post online. But they would have caused themselves less grief and negative publicity if they had a strategy in place to empower their employees to reach out to their customers online. According to Bernoff and Schadler, "To succeed with empowered customers, you must empower your employees to solve customer problems.
Lucy Kellaway, the caustic and sharp-eyed business columnist at the Financial Times, picked up a complaint that Starbucks outlets in the UK have a vaguely lavatory smell and watched the company response. Of course, it helped that the Tweet came from the political satirist Armando Iannucci, who has 80,000 followers.
Her report: Within minutes, Darcy Willson-Rymer, the UK head of Starbucks, had replied: "Thanks for your feedback. Which store did you visit?"
John Gurda, a Milwaukee historian, had an interesting take in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the other day on technology and social community, something I have written about here a few times in the past. Recalling a weekly summer Sunday concert series which a street car company launched in the late 19th century to spur business on an extension of its line, he noted that 6,000 Milwaukee residents would turn out to listen to a local band. This was, he adds, in the era before widespread use of such technology as air conditioning or TV.
The park brought people together as they escaped the heat of their homes for the breeze of a lakeside park.
Think the iPhone gained market share fast? Gurda quotes Robert Putnam ,author of "Bowling Alone," on television's rise from 10 percent market penetration in the US in 1950 to 90 percent in 1959. "Practically overnight, viewing became far and away the nation's leading leisure-time 'activity.' "
Market research firm eMarketer estimates that companies will spend $1.68 billion on social networking advertising this year. That's a 20 percent increase over social media ad spending in 2009, and it will account for 6.7 percent of all online ad spending in the U.S. this year, according to a new eMarketer report.
eMarketer attributes this spending to the gradual recovery of the U.S. economy, plus the recent obsession with reaching consumers through social networking. In December of last year the company forecasted $1.3 billion in social networking ad spending. Strong spending during the first half of the year, particularly on ads shown on Facebook, has caused the company to revamp its predictions.