The New Moore’s Law: Power Has Come To The People
By Carl Anderson, CEO, Doremus
Many of us are familiar with Moore’s Law, aptly named for Gordon Moore who predicted decades ago a trend in computing hardware in which the number of transistors placed in integrated circuits would double approximately every two years.
I’d like to suggest that today, in corporate communications, there is a new Moore’s Law, suitably named after Michael Moore, the documentarian who has taken up causes and created films on subjects that affect the common person. That Moore’s Law is: “Tell your story, or have it told for you.”
As the individual reclaims his or her voice through the advent and acceleration of social media, once separate and distinct constituencies are joining forces. These groups represent employees, customers, investors, and the public at large. There is also overlap within constituencies. Your employees are your investors. Your customers are members of your community. In some cases, the government is your business partner.
The center of control in communications has shifted from a corporate directive to a community conversation. The power, in essence, has transferred to the people.
This is just one of the findings unearthed recently from research that Doremus, the specialist business communications agency, conducted with Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. The study, entitled “Communications in Crisis,” is aptly titled as it is how CMOs from “best in class” corporations feel about the state of the communications environment.
Corporations have traditionally responded to social dialog by not responding, avoiding the conversation altogether or, just as ineffectively, trying to manage it. None of these strategies, at least not in this day and age, work.
In fact, silence is no longer golden. It’s dangerous.
The opportunity for organizations in this new environment lies in making sure that they are the ones telling the story, that everyone within the organization at every level is telling the same story and, most importantly, that it’s the truth.
How and when did this critical change in communications occur? Well, we all know about Facebook and MySpace. Within the past two years, the bloggers and the Tweeters have really gotten busy. But when did social media suddenly go on steroids?
Blame it on Bernie Madoff. Well, maybe not entirely, but he’s partly to blame. A trusting public lost a lot of money and a lot of faith in the way things were supposed to be. And when the public feels duped, they get mad as hell. They’re not gonna take it anymore. Their battle cry is “never again.”
Overnight, people started picking up The Wall Street Journal instead of the National Inquirer on supermarket checkout lines. AIG and Goldman-Sachs were suddenly household names. Then came the bank bailouts, auto autopsies and a mortgage meltdown, adding more insult to injury.
Social media not only told the story, it spread it like wild fire, gassed up by the frustrations of a hurting public that needed, collectively, to vent…a ripe scenario for the new Moore’s Law.
Companies that don’t acknowledge the extraordinary communications power of social media are destined for failure. Those who refuse to engage in the dialog are giving carte blanche to others, particularly competitors, to tell their story for them.
Now comes the silver lining.
Never before has there been such a widespread, rich opportunity for companies to source ideas, put forth opinions or engage with customers and investors in an active and intimate setting. The only price of admission is a commitment to communicating in a way that is honest, transparent and consistent throughout the organization.
Companies that take the plunge and participate are shoring up their brand’s health now, and ensuring their organization’s vitality over the very long haul.