Every product ever made is created in a laboratory. By laboratory, I mean any space where thoughts, ideas and materials converge to create a product. Earlier this creation took place in a workspace, “ The Lab” so to say. It usually had RESTRICTED access.
The Laboratory is no longer restricted. It is open to all. It is open to you and me. You do not need an id- card to get in, nor do you need permission. You know why? It is because, today, a company needs you to create a better product.
Gone are the days when Steve Jobs and Akio Morita could say that the customer did not know what they wanted until you showed it to them.
Customers are smart and know exactly what they want. The best part is, today’s customer can inform the company of their wants. That’s where Social media comes in.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Social Media – The Laboratory.
With the transformation of the Information Society, changes in consumer attitudes have become much faster. Companies need to keep up with ever increasing demands and overwhelming feedback.
A small company can maintain batter face to face communication with clients. However, as it grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain such relations. Social media offers companies a chance to interact with clients, follow discussions and online chatter. Reading between “tweets” makes it possible for companies to weed out problems in their products and meet customer needs. Launching a product is also faster via Social Media.
The flip side is the astronomical competition. Customers are spoiled for choice. What counts is visibility – although this is not a new concept, the number of competitors makes it difficult to make one’s business visible.
A couple of stanzas from Robert Browning’s poem and monologue (1844) by the same name that, for me, emphasizes the current relationship between Social media and Businesses
“Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste,
Pound at thy powder, — I am not in haste!
Better sit thus, and observe thy strange things,
Than go where men wait me and dance at the King’s.
That in the mortar — you call it a gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!
And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly, — is that poison too?”
Do take a look at this Empirical analysis of internal social media and
product innovation: Focusing on SNS and social capital.