Spotlight: Keynote Jeff Dachis

A member of our Global Advisory Board. Former Chairman of Razorfish, the world’s largest digital marketing solutions firm. Founder of his namesake, the Dachis Group. He lives and breathes social- just check out his Twitter feed and you’ll know what I mean. And now, keynote for SMW NYC. It’s time you got to know Jeff Dachis.

Can you tell us a little bit about how and why you decided to get involved with Social Media Week?
Social Media Week’s unique approach to viewing the transformational effects of social business on the world through the lens of each regional epicenter strongly aligns with the way Dachis Group views Social Business. In particular, New York has quickly become the global anchor of social media, so it was the appropriate venue for Dachis Group participation in Social Media Week.

Dachis Group helps design, implement and measure social business solutions for companies. What interesting trends have you seen emerging from the intersection of business and social technology and where do you see it going in the next few years?
The evolution of social has reached a critical inflection point. Brand Marketers have historically dabbled in social, funded largely out of discretionary or experimental marketing budgets. Most organizations have quietly been tasting, testing, and trying social, trying to understand the potential social has for their brands, its unique characteristics, and how to best integrate it into the overall marketing mix. At Dachis Group, we have witnessed a transformation in the latter half of 2011 as 2012 budgets began their planning cycles. For a significant percentage, social is a material and strategic component of their 2012 marketing strategy. For some, it is at the strategic center.

This has resulted in some interesting trends:

1) The rise of performance brand marketing: Organizations are moving from likes and followers as a metric for the value of social spend and getting more sophisticated about measurement. They are talking about socials ability to quantify meaningful business benefit in terms of brand marketing business outcomes like brand love, brand awareness, mindshare, and advocacy. Social’s unique attributes of deep, meaningful two-way engagement and the quantity of data available for analysis is powering this transformation.

2) The intersection of social media insight and engagement and the connected company: Companies are harnessing social’s capacity for deep customer insight and marrying it internally with social’s ability to self-organize employees to act on insights. They are using these same social organization strategies to mobilize diverse constituencies like employees, advocates, and partners to drive large scale mobilization for social media engagement.

Let’s talk a little about the Social Business Council, the largest peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing community for active social business practitioners. How does Dachis Group run this- and how are you able to move businesses beyond competition to collaboration?
The Social Business Council crosses organizational boundaries to help peers cross-pollinate best practices and crowd source social deliverables like policies, procedures, and frameworks. It also acts as a private meeting space for the pioneers in social to network, collaborate and build connections between organizations. Finally, the Social Business Council produces pioneering research that simply isn’t possible to create through traditional mechanisms and techniques.

A strict vetting process and robust rules of engagement have created a unique estuary where competitors, partners, and highly diverse industries can come together to accelerate social business adoption.

Dachis Group develops and maintains the Social Business Index, providing the only ongoing real-time ranking, analysis, and benchmarking of Social Business adoption and performance. What surprises have you seen from the Index and how is it affecting businesses listed?
The Social Business Index is the world’s largest quantitative analysis of social business performance, measuring real-time social of 30,000 brands.

One of the most interesting observations from scale of analysis is the sheer number of effective strategies that yield successful business outcomes for large, global organizations. Some organizations use tightly orchestrated marketing campaigns with brilliant and creative social integration. Others fuel massive participation, gently injecting brand attributes and messaging into the conversation. Without the large scale analysis of the Social Business Index and the rich organizational analysis capabilities to look for trends and patterns in specific regions of the world, industries, and engagement tactics, it would be impossible to detect these emergent trends.

Where do you personally go to inspire yourself and then to inspire your company?
I get the most inspiration from some of the amazing innovation of our customer base. With over 40% of the Fortune 100 as clients, we are honored and privileged to watch the transformative power of social as it unfolds. Our internal social tools buzz daily with anecdotes from our partnerships with these organizations.

How do you personally use social and digital media and has your work influenced that?
When you look across the hundreds of Dachis Group employees, you see a similar sight. Everyone has TweetDeck, Hootsuite, and other Twitter power tools open. They all have a set of browser tabs open to the large social platforms like Google + and Facebook and well as a more personal collection of smaller or niche networks like Pinterest. That is paired with an array of internal social tools used to bind together our team, that is distributed between over a dozen offices globally and a host of mobile solutions as they flow between offices and client sites. We are an extreme example, but every Dachis Group employee lives and breathes social daily.

This year’s theme for Social Media Week is Empowering Change Through Collaboration. How are you seeing this played out locally and globally?
Social Media represents a paradox. Social provides deep intimate engagement, but an audience at Super Bowl scale. Early collaboration strategies in social for organizations to engage with their markets have been simplistic. Hundreds of tools have flooded the market to help these small social teams maximize their ability to coordinate their activities. The challenge is that they are attempting to engage with millions, tens of millions, and in some cases, hundreds of millions of fans/followers/subscribers. To engage at scale, organizations are going to have to bring other constituencies to bear. They will need to activate their employees. They will need to coordinate with their partners. They must engage their advocates. These mandates require collaboration strategies at a massive scale and are spawning innovation at a fantastic rate.

SMW NYC is fortunate to have you keynote this February. What is in store for attendees?
I’m honored to be able to participate in SMW NYC. Attendees should look forward to seeing a vision of social, inspired from the front lines of innovation and thought leadership with hundreds of the world’s leading companies. We will follow that keynote up with a pragmatic workshop to couple that insight and inspiration with tangible education to make it real for the attendee.