We believe that authentic, effective social dialogue demands that brands and organisations engage with people directly and transparently – not just through agencies or other middlemen.

Six principles inform how we operate and advise our clients:

Authenticity is not optional

Brand ‘personality’ cannot be faked on the social web
The penalty for fakery is can be serious
Authenticity is the new baseline
Truth and transparency may be awkward but are not negotiable
Being genuine = competitive advantage

Genuine social value is essential

Social is personal … who are you and how do you add value?
Legacy and size no longer define authority in online communities…
…but they do create a presumption of contribution
Past initiatives are not laurels to rest upon
NB. The crowd is not always wise short-term

Listening is the new #1 priority

It has never been easier or more important
Learn something but also be seen to do so
Not listening is arrogant
Active listening = engagement
Integration with other research essential

Demand and plan a ‘Return on Social’

Know how social marketing assists/affects organisational objectives
Identify the short, mid, and long-term return
Measure it against real KPIs using appropriate metrics
Integrate ‘social’ with everything – functions, processes and channels
Put the right internal and external resources in place

Become sustainably social

Sustainable social organisations contribute to the social media environment consistently and with real purpose
Policies and plans need to encompass the many changes still to come
Social policy and practice must be fully integrated with organisational policy and practice
Long term dependence on agencies for social media support is unsustainable

Social is global and local

We are all both world citizens and members of niche communities
The long tail is local – around the world
Usage of media and platforms varies widely – nobody knows it all
Different cultures and languages can be barriers – or opportunities
Organisations need to think big and global but often act very small and local