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Opting In: Lessons in Social Business from a Fortune 500 Product Manager (IBM Press) Paperback – January 15, 2013
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“A must-read for anyone in business today. Ed does an incredible job at articulating the cultural shift driving social business today and the need for companies to embrace social business practices in order to thrive in today’s changing digital world.”
Chief Marketing Officer, OpinionLab
“Ed gives us a highly actionable, from-the-trenches view of social business, how it works, and why it will reshape how we do business.”
Chief Strategy Officer, Dachis Group
Columnist for ZDNet and InformationWeek
“I have been teaching Internet Marketing classes at DePaul University since 2006, and the IBM Social Computing Guidelines have been indispensable in providing direction to students looking to meaningfully engage in business social media. To this excellent resource I now add another, Ed Brill’s Opting In. The book is an honest and open combination of history and insight, in which Ed shares how he and IBM have used social media to make a technology giant more approachable and relevant to the lives of its customers and prospects. No small feat. The publishing industry abounds with social media guides at present. Opting In distinguishes itself from the completion by sharing real-world examples of what has worked (and what has not), with a clear explanation of the critical factors and lessons learned. Perhaps the new IBM meme will be ‘Nobody ever got fired for ‘Opting In’.’”
Director of Online Learning, DePaul University, Driehaus College of Business
“Many organizations are struggling to find ways to connect more effectively with their customers, partners, and their own employees. As an early adopter of social business solutions, IBM’s Ed Brill has been excelling at this for more than a decade. In Opting In, he shares his experiences and insights on how to engage with communities and use their feedback to help guide critical business decisions. Anyone looking to learn how to leverage community feedback should put this on their reading list.”
Vice President and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
“Social business is an organizational imperative. In Opting In, Ed Brill demonstrates how IBM transformed our culture and tools to connect people with people and insert social into business process. This book represents the best practices and lessons learned in an extremely effective, personal narrative. Must reading for any product or brand manager.”
Vice President, Social Software, IBM
“Ed has been involved with social software since its very early days, driving his personal, product, and corporate brand forward as the social landscape began to take shape. This book gives an insider’s view of the evolution of the social business from a personal perspective and how brands needed to adapt to the changing way of communicating. He shows how the use of social media has enabled the growth of transparency in business and gives practical advice for aspiring social product managers. It is an excellent resource for any business wishing to activate its advocates and grow its agile social business.”
Contributor, Social Business column at ZDNet and author of Working the Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business
“Clearheaded, actionable, and hype-free. As an IBM product manager who has successfully navigated the social business waters for himself, Ed demonstrates a remarkable ability to marry data and experience into a framework others can use to build, lead, and actualize social product strategies. This book is a must-read for any product manager with questions about navigating social business!”
CEO, Ajax Workforce Marketing
“‘Opting in’ to become a more social business is imperative whether your business is large or small. This book gives you the roadmap you need to get there.”
Partner, SMB Group
“Ed Brill’s Opting In is an important book that takes social business beyond external marketing to provide practical guidance on how to drive significant business value through enhancing human interactions within the enterprise.”
Partner, Merced Group
“Product management is a relationship business. It is about resonating with the user. Opting In shows you why and how social tools can accelerate relationships so you can sing to your consumer and make an extraordinary difference to the world.”
—Kantha Shelke Ph.D.
Principal, Corvus Blue and developer who helped create and launch more than 100 food products that are still on the retail shelf today
From the Inside Flap
Using today's social business tools and approaches, product and brand managers can bring new products and services to market faster, identify new opportunities for innovation, and anticipate changing market conditions before competitors do. In Opting In, IBM's Ed Brill demonstrates how product managers can fully embrace social business and leverage the powerful opportunities it offers.
Brill explains why social business is not a fad, not "just people wasting time on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube," and not just for marketers. He shows how to drive real value from crowdsourcing, interactivity, and immediacy, and from relational links across your organization's full set of content and networks.
Drawing on his extensive experience at IBM, Brill explores powerful new ways to apply social business throughout product, service, and brand management. Using actual IBM examples, he offers candid advice for optimizing products by infusing them with the three core characteristics of social business: engagement, transparency, and agility.
Drive breakthrough product, service, and brand performance through:
Engagement: Optimize productivity and efficiency by deeply connecting customers, employees, suppliers, partners, influencers... maybe even competitors
Transparency: Demolish boundaries to information, experts, and assets--thereby improving alignment, knowledge, and confidence
Agility: Use information and insight to anticipate/address evolving opportunities, make faster decisions, and become more responsive
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Many of Ed's "lessons learned" are applicable even without the benefits of the social business environment, but today Ed shows how using that environment can add great value to the product management role.
The ideas and guidance Ed gives can be used in many areas apart from the product management role. His chapter 6 "Activate Your Advocates" resonated strongly with me and I can see when I can apply that advice today.
Thanks Ed and well done!
But the book is more than that. Brill makes the case for social business regardless of the organization and regardless of your role.
It’s one thing to hear the best practice or the theory of how things should work. It’s another to read about how they’ve played out in the real world. Brill practices his messages of transparency and engagement by sharing stories - some of which make him look good and some…not so much. But it’s that willingness to be authentic that makes the book a good read and a set of lessons that others can learn from.
Here are some favorite passages from Opting In.
“Being transparent often introduces a new cultural element to many organizations - that of admitting and discussing when something goes wrong. Transparency often encourage a culture of continuous improvement rather than striving to get things right the first time.” - Ed Brill
“Social business is not just about adopting technology and tools, although these are obviously important elements. Just as important are the policy and cultural requirements that must exist, or be adopted, as transformational elements, from the very top of an organization. This is certain for internal use as social business tools as it is for external.” Ed Brill
“The value of an individual’s role to the company is no longer defined by the knowledge that person accrues, but instead by the way in which the individual shares it. People become identified for their expertise and influence, not just their title or reporting structure. Management must be prepared to grant and encourage visibility and participant for their employees, at an individual level.” Ed Brill
“Part of the culture of participation must establish that individuals represent the company responsibly and authentically.” Ed Brill
“Humans listen to humans.” Ed Brill
“Some believe that, even as a social business, external communication must retain a positive, almost-cheerleading tone of voice. Every blog post, tweet, and LinkedIn comment should reflect the company “party line.” Never admit weakness or mistakes.
I think this is an outdated point of view.” Ed Brill
“ The public apology has an important place in building digital reputation and influence. In a social business, it is important to be seen as fallible, human, and transparent.” Ed Brill
I recommend this book to smart business leaders who realize all business is social. It will help you see what that that means and looks like for you.