Cultural Branding

March 30th, 2009 by Gia Lyons No comments » a company brands their online sites, it’s a no-brainer. The Marketing folks are all that and a bag of chips when it comes to company branding. But, what about cultural branding?

In my work with clients who are rolling out social business software internally, the traditional Marketing approach to website branding doesn’t cut it in most cases (I have a bit of proof from one of my customers, who is a global branding machine). That’s because an internal SBS site’s branding needs to reflect the overall culture of your company, and not the branding you create for people on the outside. Sure, Marketing folks are definitely in charge of internal branding in most cases, but coming up with something that reflects what it is you’re trying to do with SBS needs to be a team effort.

So, who understands a company’s culture? I know you think I’m going to say HR. They are the traditional Keepers of Culture, but the folks who understand it the best are… the folks. Employees. From all over.

One thing I do in my workshops is conduct a quick brainstorming exercise: “What should we name our SBS environment?” It’s important, because it informs the tone and personality of your communications strategy at the very least. Usually, I have a few representatives from different business units in my workshop. It is amazing to hear how their interpretation of their culture sometimes differs from that of the communications, marketing, and HR folks. It’s a real eye-opener for the whole planning team, in many cases.

Now, here’s the twist.

In many cases, companies use an SBS implementation to effect change in corporate culture. Here’s my favorite example of this so far:

We wanted to fundamentally differentiate it from traditional ‘tools’ that emerged from their (rather large & MS dominated) IT department. After a lot of internal debating about names that tried to state what it did, how it worked etc etc, we just called it Oomph for testing. It’s a kind of power/speed term here in the UK (and also a rather bizarre german band).

And that’s what everyone is calling it now…..

In terms of explaining it, these are the words that employees recieve in the invite email:

“Hello x

This is an invitation to join a very special group of people helping to launch Oomph, x company’s new approach to sharing knowledge across the business.

If you’ve used Facebook, you’ll love Oomph. If you haven’t used Facebook, you’ll love it even more. You can blog, create discussions, share documents with colleagues, ask questions (and get them answered fast), create groups around areas of shared interest and a whole lot more.

We could bang on about how brilliant it is all day, so why not give it a whirl yourself? You’re going to be one of the key testers of Oomph before we release it to the entire company in September, so we’d love to see how useful you find it.


The Oomph team”

Mark Rock

Bottom line: Make certain your internal SBS branding communicates the kind of cultural change you want to see happen.

Interesting experiment, or critical to success?

March 23rd, 2009 by Gia Lyons 5 comments »’s the difference between an interesting experiment, and realizing a critical business goal?

So many approach an internal social business software (SBS) initiative with an “under the radar,” word-of-mouth, organic, viral attitude only. I totally understand this, because the thought is that, if we can get folks using it, we can eventually prove business value de facto, and the stratosphere executives and mid-level managers won’t be able to deny the obvious results.

Well, that doesn’t work in every organization.

Kathryn and I start our workshops with one of the most important things you can do to make success more probable: align your SBS objectives to your company’s strategic initiatives.

It must be obvious to all involved how your SBS objectives align to your organization’s overall business strategy. Don’t assume people will just “get it” – many won’t.

A common approach to creating your business objectives message includes the following steps:

1. Identify corporate business initiatives

Many organizations ensure that everyone knows what their key business initiatives are, and why they are important. Some are very high level, while others are quite specific.

Here are some examples:
•    Become a global thought leader in our industry
•    Become the premiere place to work in our industry
•    Significantly differentiate our products and services in the marketplace
•    Increase global sales by 5% within one year
•    Double our company’s revenue within five years

2. Define the problem and risk

Describe how your organization’s prevailing individual and collaborative work behaviors fall short of supporting one or more initiatives. Include how these “broken” work behaviors can lead to unnecessary costs or missed business opportunities. Include descriptions of how existing individual productivity and collaborative software tools are used today, if your goal is to displace one or more existing tools.

Let’s take the business initiative, “Significantly differentiate our products and services in the marketplace” as an example. Asking some of the following questions might help you arrive at a definitive problem statement:

  1. How do today’s collaborative work behaviors prevent organization-wide innovative thinking from happening? Are there silos of stale thinking?
  2. How are successful product development and service refinement practices discovered and shared across your organization?
  3. How is competitive product and service information surfaced and shared throughout your company?
  4. How are emergent market opportunities surfaced and shared? Are customer-facing employees invited into product and service development discussions?
  5. How do people discover and learn from one another’s different points of view and experiences when developing new products and services?

Here’s an example problem statement:

Locating experts and assets is difficult and a barrier to innovation and everyday problem solving. It is difficult to determine who has the skills or knowledge I can leverage, or where we have already done something before. There is too much “reinventing the wheel” happening across our organization. These pose a significant obstacle to delivering world-class consulting services to our clients.

Consider including a real anecdote that demonstrates the problem, especially if it highlights any incurred unnecessary costs or missed market opportunities.

3. Identify the possibilities

Next, explain how to positively change those work behaviors by making SBS available to your organization. This is your chance to write what one Jive customer calls a “future history.”

Here’s an example:

With a social business online environment, which is a single, easy-to-use collaboration, expertise discovery, and organizational awareness and networking environment, employees will be empowered to discover and collaborate with each other and with external partners securely and efficiently. Employees will find individuals based on their expertise, location, or content contributions, thereby increasing their organizational awareness – who exists, and who does what for our company. This will lead to more people discovering, learning from, and sharing with more people, which will result in better collaboration with more rightly-skilled teams, and provide a greater chance for more innovative thinking across the globe.

4. Identify the benefits

Now that the vision has been created, re-write the anecdote used to demonstrate the problem to show how the use of a social business environment could reduce unnecessary costs or identify and leverage market opportunities.

This re-written anecdote should become the model for capturing the eventual anecdotes participants will experience when using your social business environment. Real-world stories about cost savings and leveraged opportunities will provide the repeatable sound bites that executives can internalize and share across their own networks, inside and outside your organization.

Need more? Check out some of our case studies.

Jive 3.0: bridging, bookmarks, videos, and more!

March 10th, 2009 by Gia Lyons 5 comments »

OMG, I’ve had to keep quiet about this for TWO WHOLE MONTHS, people. Do you know how hard that is? God.

Here we go.

Jive Social Business Software (notice there’s no Clearspace in that phrase? Yep, it’s gone) is HERE, BABY! First, let’s understand what Jive is trying to do for the corporate world:

UPDATE: You can download this video as a .mov file and reuse.

If you got all teary-eyed when the the big “SOCIAL Again” showed up, totally ping me in Twitter. This is the whole reason I became a freakin’ Lotus Notes instructor and developer back in the mid-’90s. To make work SOCIAL again. And now, my personal revolution continues with the best social business software evar!

Ok. Now for some deets.

First, go sign up for our April 9th webinar to hear from our customers Nike, Cisco, and Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang. While you’re at it, sign up for the March 19 Jive SBS 3.0 demo.

What’s New?

Bridging (aka “How’s the weather outside?”)

Here’s something you haven’t seen before. What if your marketing peeps could log into their internal social environment, and see their colleagues’ stuff, PLUS – get this – see what’s going on in your external community? You know, the one where your customers are yapping about your products and services, or are talking about stuff you care about. Yep. That’s bridging. No need to log into multiple communities anymore.

Social Bookmarks (aka “Where was that again?”)

We have it now. Hooray! Oh, and in addition to the usual bookmarklet on your browser bar, we’ve made it stoopid-simple to bookmark Jive content. It’s in the Action Widget:

Video (aka “Your Own Built-In YouTube”)

You want to upload videos? Done. Are they stored in the Jive database? Nope. (We’re not that dumb, y’all.) Contact Jive for how to buy – you’ll love it, I promise.

Analytics (aka “What are people doing?”)

Oh, you want metrics? How about a huge data warehouse of captured user behavior? You’ll finally be able to see who is downloading what document how many times, who is connecting to whom (and who isn’t), and countless other points of data. We’ve kitted up the most common metrics into an Adoption Dashboard, tailored for community leaders so that they can answer that constant question, “how’s your community doing?” at a moment’s notice. And, you can export this stuff to Excel, Access, Cognos, Crystal Reports, Business Objects – whatever floats your reporting boat.

Insights (aka “What are people saying and feeling?”)

You want to know how your customers feel about your brand? Or maybe how your employees feel about your company’s latest benefits change? Then you’ll want to check out the new Jive 3.0 Insights module.

Custom Content Types (aka “You want fries with that?”)

And for you developer geeks out there, we’ve made it ridiculously easy now to create your own content types. You want to create a custom “Idea” content type? Do it. You want to add a custom photo content type? Do it.

What Else Is New?

We dropped “Clearspace” as a brand, and we’re leading the way in the new Social Business Software category with Jive SBS 3.0.

We’ve also kitted up our Foundation capabilities with one or more of the new Modules, plus professional services and strategic consulting (that would be where I fit in), into solutions that target specific business needs:

I spend most of my time helping customers with Jive SBS for Employee Engagement, natch.

So, go try out Jive SBS 3.0 and let us know what you think. We’re listening.

I slay dragons. So do EMC’s community leaders.

March 9th, 2009 by Gia Lyons 5 comments », I’ve been working my ass off at my new job. Didn’t I tell you? Oh right. Been too busy. I’m now part of Jive Strategic Consulting, along with Kathryn Everest and Barry Tallis. The three of us (and others) work with customers both pre- and post-sales to slay the Business Dragons that come with justifying, adopting, and growing a social business software environment.

Yes. I slay dragons for a living.

The biggest bummer, though, is that I can’t really share what I do anymore, because it’s such a competitive differentiator for us. But, our customers can share, and when they do, we freakin’ listen. You should, too.

How EMC Slayed Dragons

I’ve lost count of how many of my customers have circulated Chuck Hollis’ whitepaper about EMC’s lessons learned when they rolled out social business software. These 35 pages detail EMC’s journey through business justification, vendor selection, governance, design, rollout, adoption, communication, education, metrics, enterprise content management integration (they do, after all, have Documentum), and positioning with a slurry of other software solutions they’d already deployed.

Here’s a great snap of EMC|One, courtesy of Chuck’s blog post:


If you’re looking for something that gets everyone in your organization on the same page re: social business software, then please read and circulate this whitepaper.

And get ready to start slaying those business dragons.

Jive beats Telligent in the T-shirt Magic Quadrant

February 28th, 2009 by Gia Lyons No comments »

My buddy Ken over at the Swoosh factory apparently received a Jive T-shirt that doesn’t quite fit him. As a result, he’s taken it upon himself to analyze T-shirts from various vendors, which he presents in his Magic Quadrant:

T-Shirt Magic Quadrant

Ken says:

Half-shirts are making its way back into the main stream. Last week an independent poll showed that Build-A-Bear had the tightest and shortest half shirts available on the market. Unfortunately, they are made for Teddy Bears.

Jive has created a niche with its tight half-shirts. “Developers and integrators are seeing half shirts as a way to express themselves” said an anonymous QA Engineer who tends to overheat during testing cycles.

We need a reform of the t-shirt market and Jive has done it with the introduction of half-shirts.

We at Jive Software are leading the market in half-shirt innovation. And we are proud of it. Thanks, Ken!

If you’re interested in how Ken’s company uses Jive software externally, check it out.

Random Facebook discussions that make me laugh

February 17th, 2009 by Gia Lyons No comments »

I get tickled at my friends many times. So, in honor of how much they make me laugh, I’ve posted some of my recent Facebook discussions here.

Car Pants

Time Continuum

Cat Typing

The Centerprise

February 4th, 2009 by Gia Lyons 25 comments »

  1. If you want to sell something online, what site do you go to?
  2. If you want to connect to long-lost friends online, where do you look first?
  3. If you want to micro-blog with potentially the world, where do you go?
  4. How many phone systems do you use at work?
  5. How many email applications do you use within your company?
  6. How many instant messaging apps are used where you work?
  7. If you want to ask a question of everyone in your company or geography or division, where do you go?
  8. If you need to warn your colleagues and their colleagues about a lesson learned, where do you post it?
  9. If you have a superiffic presentation and you want to share it with anyone who might need it, where do you upload it?


  1. eBay
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. One
  5. One. Unless you’ve recently merged with a company that uses the other one.
  6. One. Unless you’re company doesn’t believe in IM, and you’re all using AIM and MSN Messenger behind their backs.
  7. Either that wiki site, or maybe it’s the blog thingy. Oh wait, put it in that one forum. No, the other one.
  8. That one private teamsite. Wait. No, uh, the blog thing again. Nope, hold on. Which colleagues are you talking about again?
  9. Easy. The SharePoint site. But, the one that IT has given everyone access to. What the deuce? Only my division has access? Crap.


I have more questions.

  1. Where do you go to look up someone’s current and past work so that you can figure out if they’re smart or a doofus? Their profile is probably sadly out of date, so I’m guessing you have to flush out their competency from who knows how many repositories. It’s like hunting pheasant. Or snipe.
  2. Where do you go to find best practices and lessons learned from your as-yet unknown colleagues from across the pond? Oh, you have to know them first, probably.
  3. Where do you go to accidentally discover that superiffic presentation just in time for your big client meeting? Not gonna happen.


There’s a reason a single site for this kind of stuff works.

I need Mom lessons.

December 22nd, 2008 by Gia Lyons 11 comments »

Anyone who knows me well understands that I’m not um, a natural at the whole mom thing. I’ve got the food/shelter/clothing/snuggle/kiss-the-boo-boo thing down, yes, but beyond that, I’m at a loss. My mother blames it on my father’s side of the family.


Kirsten, my four-year-old, is staying home with me this short week. She just returned from Grandma Lyons House of Fabulous Toys, Non-Stop Attention and Cheetoes for eight days. I asked my husband – who has this whole mom thing down like you wouldn’t believe – to please make us a list of things to do. He even used holiday colors. See? I wouldn’t have thought of that.

(Just so you don’t think my hubs is a sissy boy, you should know he worked as a bouncer in college and can bench press like 800 pounds or something.)

Generalissimo Kirsten’s first act today was to impose a Forced Dance (see #1 on the list). Laurie Berkner rocks, by the way. This was quickly followed by the construction of a mermaid garden, performance of an ad hoc play (“Mommmm, just make it up as you go!”), and about two hours of cookie baking. Then it was lunch time. The rest of the day was a blur.

I’m exhausted.

I totally copped out for tomorrow. Hubs will work from home, and then we’re going to the Mall of America (#6 on the list).

UPDATE: Chris pulled a fast one on us. He dropped us off at the Mall, then “went shopping” – at another mall – for like two hours. I was pwned. Nice move, Lyons, nice move.

Give a little bit of my love to you

December 19th, 2008 by Gia Lyons 1 comment »

My grandma always said, “It’s always a good idea to use Supertramp lyrics in a blog post title.”


I have enough stuff, so I’ve asked my family to give to Epic Change instead of me this year for the holidays. Sanjay and Stacey over at Epic Change kindly posted my donation badge on their site, mainly because I have no idea how to put it on my own site.

Thanks, guys!

When you donate, you get to help out Shepherds Junior School in Tanzania, among other projects. Here’s what some of the volunteers over there sent me as a thank-you:

Thanks from Junior

This is Junior. Awwwww!

If you’d rather just buy stuff, try the Epic Change Gift Shop.

There’s so much that we need to share. So send a smile and show you care. Supertramp said so.

Wrecking your car sucks.

December 17th, 2008 by Gia Lyons 13 comments »

It’s friggin’ cold, snowy, and sunny here in lovely St. Paul, MN. And when the sun melts stuff and freezes it into black ice, well, now we’re talkin’ about something much more interesting.

When I fishtailed into the I-35 median this morning, then shot across to the snowbank on the other side, I swear to god my first thought was, “wheeee!” but then I did the obligatory “holy shit!” and checked that I was ok. I was alone, and I didn’t hit anyone else, so whew. The lady who knocked on my window to see if I was ok scared the crap out of me, but I smiled and mouthed “I’m fine!” while dialing my husband to come get my shaken ass off the side of the highway.

Then I called State Farm and then immediately text-messaged Angela to tell her I was in an accident. This is because she is one of my closest friends, and she lives in my timezone, so I knew she was awake and would give me the proper amount of solace and sympathy. I love Angela!! My other close peeps were there for me, too. You know who you are. I heart you!!

It’s a Hoopty!

After driving my newly-made hoopty to the repair shop and then catching a lift home with Hubs, I immediately poured myself a one-finger tequila shot and knocked it back. It’s just as yummy at 10:30am as it is at happy hour, folks. I tweeted my experience, of course, and then went about my daily work.

Now, here’s the interesting thing.

Right around 5:00pm, I started crying, because I COULD HAVE FUCKING DIED this morning. One more holy shit moment, one more tequila shot.

This delayed reaction stuff really works. Amazing how your brain knows just when to spring it on you, right when you are just able to handle it.

I’m totally going to drink tonight.