How Social Networking and User Generated Content are changing Customer Communications

On May 22nd, censhare AG, a software provider of business communications solutions for a variety of industries, organized its third Futureday conference (Futureday 2014) after two successful Futureday conferences in 2010 and 2012. More than 400 international experts, analysts, and entrepreneurs traveled to Munich, Germany, to discuss the role of technology on customer-centric corporate strategies and business models.

The conference started off with several presentations showing how social networking and user generated content is changing today’s communications and is more and more influencing corporate strategies and business models. Following the presentations, a panel of experts discussed about customer engagements and marketing automation. Here is a brief summary of the observations made by Infotrends.

Transformation of Businesses and Society

Paula Camporaso, CIO at GoPro Inc., a company that develops, manufactures, and markets high-definition cameras for personal use in (extreme) sport activities, travelled all the way from San Francisco to Munich to talk about the business challenges GoPro is facing nowadays. It is obvious that these business challenges are associated with the preparation for its IPO to get listed. But even more interesting are the business challenges associated with “…the transformation from being a product company in becoming a media company…” as Paula explained or as Dieter Reichert from censhare talked about it later during the conference: “…from a manufacturer to a publishing house…”.

This transformation at GoPro is driven by the opportunity to leverage the viral power of the videos and photos shot with its cameras. GoPro has media-assets of about eight million photos and videos, which are expected to rise to around 100 million within the next years. This is a huge amount of data that poses challenges for any information system in terms of storage, exchange, processing, and analysis. GoPro will run censhare software as their Digital Asset Management (DAM) system and Apache Hadoop software as their Big Data Analytics system to manage this huge amount of data.

Horace Dediu, an industry-analyst and famous for his analyses on Apple’s corporate strategy, took his audience back into time analyzing past transformations of businesses and society through technology. Through this analysis he was trying to identify a model for predicting the next future technology harvesting the potential to transform existing businesses or societies. His conclusion: almost impossible to do

Social Networking: A Business Opportunity

Two very interesting presentations showed the effect of social networking on society and how this can be captured into a business opportunity. Sascha Lobo, a famous German author, blogger, microblogger, and strategic adviser focussed on Internet and brand communication, talked about “The Real Definition of Social” and provided numerous cases where social networking not only changes our way of communication but also changes business models or even complete markets. I.e., imagine that purchase decisions for cars depend on the software-platform residing in them similar as what happened with mobile phones… What would that have for implications in the car industry?!

Another social networking enabled business opportunity was presented by Catharina van Delden, CEO at innosabi GmbH. Catharina talked about the integration of consumers into the manufacturers’ innovation process by using crowdsourcing. According to Catharina more than half (>50%) of consumer-goods manufacturers will use crowdsourcing as part of their R&D innovations by 2017. Also here, numerous cases were provided illustrating crowdsourcing as key to excellent consumer products.

Censhare highlights

Dieter Reichert, CEO at censhare AG, announced not only a complete revised company website, but also a new version of its all-in-one software solution for smart business communications. Or as Dieter explained: “… all products are conversations… censhare provides software to manage these conversations…”. New options include:

  • A revised user interface that can be customized and personalized
  • An integrated censhare store to instantly purchase and use additional functionality offered by censhare
  • A software development kit (SDK) for its partners and customers to enable custom implementations of project-specific functionalities and features.
  • A cloud solution – censhare SaaS – together with Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Infotrends’ opinion

Manufacturers, such as Red Bull and GoPro are under pressure to utilize digital content effectively for their web, online, or social media marketing activities. Increasingly, brands are looking for ways to entice end-users to share, promote or publish content  that features their products. While social media campaigns are risky and can easily spiral out of control, brands that manage it well can see big success at favourable ROI.

Infotrends is closely following the developments and trends with its Digital Market & Media (DMM) Consulting Service and provides insights and research within this marketspace.

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