Opting In: Lessons in Social Business from a Fortune 500 Product Manager, 1st edition

  • Ed Brill

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Winning social business techniques for product managers, marketers, and business leaders!


• How product managers at IBM are using social business to transform markets and build vibrant global communities

• New best practices for promoting engagement, transparency, and agility

• A deeply personal case study: handbook, roadmap, autobiography, and inspiration


Does “social business” work? IBM has proven unequivocally: it does. In Opting In, IBM executive Ed Brill candidly shares best practices, challenges, and results from his social business journey, and shows how his team used it to transform existing products into thriving business lines.


This deeply personal extended case study offers you a detailed roadmap for achieving and profiting from deep customer engagement. Brill shares his 15+ years of product management experience at IBM and describes how these techniques and experiences have developed a vibrant marketplace of social business customers worldwide.


You’ll learn how to use social business tools to strengthen customer intimacy, extend global reach, accelerate product lifecycles, and improve organizational effectiveness. You’ll also discover how social business can help you enhance your personal brand—so you can build your career as you improve your business performance.


With a Foreword by Marcia Conner, Author and Principal Analyst at SensifyWork.


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

Table of contents

Foreword    xv

Preface    xviii

Chapter 1  Why Social Business?    1

A Social Business Is Engaged    4

A Social Business Is Transparent    6

A Social Business Is Agile    7

Social Business and Earned Success    8

Lessons Learned    8

Endnotes    9

Chapter 2  The Social Product Manager    11

Enter the Social Product Manager    13

Analyzing an Analyst’s Report    14

Social by Policy    20

Sales and Marketing Viewpoints    22

The Social Product Manager’s Direct Feedback Loop    24

Lessons Learned    26

Endnotes    27

Chapter 3  Self, Product, or Company    27

Painting a Self-Portrait    30

Positioning Product    35

Representing the Company    41

Lessons Learned    44

Endnotes    45

Chapter 4  Offense or Defense    47

Situation Analysis    48

Timing    52

Volume and Amplification    55

Anticipation and Unintended Consequences    59

Lessons Learned    61

Endnotes    62

Chapter 5  Picking a Fight    63

You Can’t Please All of the People…    64

Entering a Fray    68

Make Some Enemies    73

Lessons Learned    75

Endnotes    76

Chapter 6  Activate Your Advocates    77

Leadership    78

Content Versus Curation    78

Identifying Influencers and Providing Recognition    81

Continuous Feedback    85

Truth in Use    88

Lessons Learned    91

Endnotes    91

Chapter 7  Tools of the Trade    93

2011 IBM CMO Study and the Importance of Customer Insight    94

Inbound Social Networking Tools    95

Outbound Social Networking Tools    103

Forums and Feedback Sites    110

Lessons Learned    112

Endnotes    112

Chapter 8  In Real Life    113

Amplify Your Message    114

Develop Community and Individual Relationships    116

Make Friends    123

Lessons Learned    127

Endnotes    128

Chapter 9  Social Inside the Organization    129

Intersecting Organizational Goals and Social Tools    130

IBM as a Social Business    132

Measuring Return on Investment    138

The Impact of Social Tools on Product Development    140

Who Needs to Participate?    143

Lessons Learned    144

Endnotes    144

Chapter 10  Risk Management in Social Business    145

Risk of Reaching the Wrong Audience    146

The Public Apology, and the Risk of Emotion    148

The Risk of Subset Population through Language and Other Demographics    151

Risk of Identity Challenges and Imitations    152

Internal Risks    154

Lessons Learned    155

Endnotes    155

Chapter 11  Putting Opting In into Practice    157

A Day in the Life    158

Using the “Lessons Learned”    160

The Social Product Manager of the Future    163

Next Steps    166

Conclusion    170

Appendix A  IBM Social Computing Guidelines    171

Introduction: Responsible Engagement in Innovation and Dialogue    172

IBM Social Computing Guidelines    173

Detailed Discussion    174

Endnotes    179

Index    181


Published by IBM Press (January 15th 2013) - Copyright © 2013