Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Too Many Old People Running Companies - Canadian Businesses Slow To Act On Social, Study Finds

People often ask me:
"VC Whisperer, why don't big (Canadian) companies understand social media?"
The following study is worrisome. And the problem is likely not uniquely Canadian (but definitely worse in Canada).

Canadian businesses slow to act on social, study finds

The problem is two-fold.
  1. Most companies just aren't acting or taking advantage of social media. 
  2. And the ones that are, just aren't engaging sufficiently or correctly to make it effective. 
The first problem is an issue with many big companies. They usually don't act or take advantage of social media out of fear. Social media is "new" to these companies and they fear anything that's new. They fear the impact on their brand, and they fear loss of control.

The second problem is also a common issue. The root cause of this ineffectiveness is usually process. Big companies just aren't set up to allow for new ideas or new processes. Everything has to be done according to a long-established process. A month to approve a newspaper story might be acceptable, but requiring that same time to approve a blog post or a tweet would be debilitating.

The solution in both cases is to get rid of the old people. This doesn't necessarily mean the people who have been around 20 years (although it might). It means get rid of the people who have old thinking. Get rid of old processes. Start thinking young, start thinking new.

If Canadian companies (and all big companies) don't get younger, they will die, or become irrelevant. 

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