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[New Report] Social Business Governance: A Framework to Execute Social Business Strategy

Ed Terpening

Charlene Li and I are pleased to offer you Altimeter’s latest research report focused on Social Business Governance.  In the course of our research, governance was described as everything from social media policies to organizational structure.  To paint a complete picture, we took a broad view that resonated with the many brands and thought leaders we spoke to. In the absence of a common definition, Altimeter studied the key building blocks of social business governance to define it this way: 

Social Business Governance (SBG) is an integrated system of people, policies, processes, and practices that defines organizational structure and decision process to ensure effective management of social business at scale.

The 4 P's of Social Business Governance

Ambitious, creative strategies can be big on ideas, but often fall short on the means to execute. Hidden between great strategic ideas and business results lies the messy mechanics of governance, which according to our research only 16% of organizations feel is well understood and deployed. I’ve worked with many brands that have relegated governance as the stepchild of strategy. What many strategists eventually learn is that governance is key to scaling social business outside traditional silos, and it’s incredibly challenging to offer a holistic, integrated customer experience without the coordination that governance can deliver.

Top Four Governance Drivers

In our research, we found these top 4 catalysts organizations are tackling today:

  1. Scaling Social Business: The need to scale use of social media across the company;
  2. Customer Experience: Use of governance to ensure an optimal customer experience across digital/social/mobile;
  3. Empower Employees: Need employees to use social for sales, advocacy, recruiting or other official business; and
  4. Manage Risk: Use of governance as a risk control.

Do any of these challenges resonate with you? As social spreads beyond traditional boundaries in marketing/communications, governance acts as the conductor to orchestrate execution of social at scale. Developing holistic governance is a key step if you wish to move beyond isolated social media engagement to engagement that leverages social broadly, across all functions. In other words, a social business.

Key Report Frameworks and Resources

This report will help in a number of practical ways:

  • Strategy Relationship. We share a model for how strategy and governance are connected. After seeing the connections between the two, we hope you’ll be in a better position to keep them aligned.
  • Governance Framework. For each part of our “4P” model of people, policy, process and practice, we share best practices and a checklist of questions to consider, helping you evaluate your own organization’s maturity in each area.
  • A Plan. We provide a path for developing a governance system, such as how and when to work with leadership and to get cross-functional alignment.
  • Maturity Model. Our Social Business Governance Maturity Map lays out 5 stages of maturity, to help you assess where you are and what future stages could look like for your organization.
  • Policy Checklists. Our policy checklists may help you identify gaps in your own organization’s policy to think about. We write about both employee policy and internal policy used to control the spread of social.
  • Case Studies. In our case studies, we demonstrate how leading brands have addressed governance.

What about you? We’d love to hear how your governance journey has evolved and how you view the relationship between strategy and governance. What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?

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Additional Resources