Paris rainbow

What, exactly, is the value of social?

We’re one week from the European AMEC Summit – the Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication. AMEC and The Conclave have been working hard to agree social media measurement standards for presentation at the summit, on: content sourcing and methods; reach and impressions; engagement; influence and relevance; and sentiment and advocacy.

You can read about our contribution to the deliberations on influence and the resulting WOMMA guidebook here.

The final part of this standards initiative is perhaps the most controversial: impact and value. We like to think that this aspect is a particular strength of our consultancy, so we’ve just circulated the following slidestack for discussion. It’s not for the summit per se, but to inform the direction AMEC and The Conclave take afterwards.

Image source.


Attenzi – a social business story

We’ve been asked more than once over the last couple of years for a social business case study. That’s a problem. No organization has yet made a full transition in order for anyone to write the case study… bearing in mind of course that we don’t invoke the term social business synonymously with social media.

So I’ve written a fictitious one.

Attenzi – a social business story is out today, with a foreword kindly provided by Microsoft Yammer co-founder and CTO, Adam Pisoni. It’s a narrative related by Attenzi CEO, Eli Appel, that’s designed to be accessible and enjoyable in order to mobilize everyone’s interest in social business – after all, pursuing social business is always going to be a team effort.

The ebook is free and available in HTML, PDF, EPUB, Kindle and iBooks formats at


Google Doodle for Euler

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 306th anniversary of the birth of Leonhard Euler:

Google Doodle - Euler 15 Apr 2013

Leonhard Euler is the eponym of our company name, Euler Partners. As the Guardian writes today: “Euler was arguably the most important mathematician of the 18th century and one of the greatest of all time. He introduced most modern mathematical terminology and notation and was also renowned for his work in mechanics, fluid dynamics, optics, and astronomy.”

The sketch at the bottom of the Doodle, towards the left, portrays part of Euler’s solution of the Seven Bridges of Konisberg problem, considered to be the first theorem of graph theory, which itself is a component of network science. Pure geekiness aside, you can see why his name suits our mission.

And just in case you were wondering, the formula bottom right is known as Euler’s identity and in 1988 readers of the Mathematical Intelligencer voted it Most Beautiful Mathematical Formula Ever.

Main image shows Euler on the Old Swiss 10 Franc banknote.

Dell Social Media Predictions 2013

Dell Social Media Predictions

Dell has published a small ebook with social media advice for its SMB customers. The advice comes from fourteen individuals including yours truly, and you can find it embedded below.

A couple of my favourite quotes are from Lee Hopkins and Michael Brito respectively:

Connecting with your audience is not something that happens overnight, or can be achieved in a short series of funny status updates. It is achieved through the consistent communication of values, insights, discoveries and experiences of organisations over time.

… the best way to appear ‘human’ from a brand standpoint is to ‘be human’.

Michael’s phrase reminds me of one of my own, albeit a little longer. If you want to be perceived to be a great organisation, as having great products, as being a great employer and great custodian of the planet, the only way to be perceived as such is to be as much.


The ebook quotes each of us from fuller responses to Dell’s questions. Here’s my full response.

UK parliament

UK Government Information Economy Strategy

Euler Partners was invited to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills today to discuss the UK Government Information Economy Strategy. The strategy is a critical component in the Government’s wider policy – Using Industrial Strategy to help the UK economy and business compete and grow.

Around two dozen organisations were represented, such as the likes of Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson, Accenture, Deloitte, Cisco and BT, and debate was wide ranging. Importantly, while opinions differed, it was plainly evident that everyone wants the best for ‘UK plc’.

Ken McCallum, Director, Information Economy, BIS, framed the dialogue by saying we have to think about the “Information Economy” invoked in the name of the strategy rather than the IT or ICT or TMT sector, or whichever acronym you think best describes the sector. This isn’t a sector thing. It’s about how the country makes the best use of tech.

This wasn’t the forum to articulate social business per se, but you will imagine we helped articulate primary facets of social business. We soon focused on the soft / people aspects of the information economy over and above hard tech.

Education and skills became a dominant theme, and not just in relation to school children, students, and those starting out in their careers – the need to educate company board directors, and members of parliament come to that, was strongly felt. On challenging everyone to articulate how things might be different in 2020 versus 2013, the response came back that even if technology development froze right now, there were still massive gains to be made just putting today’s tech to good use.

The need to invest in the soft / cultural dimensions of tech-based transformation in business, government and the third sector, and in society in general, became a carrion cry, and the group just started to recognise that technology doesn’t just support what we’re trying to achieve in our respective organisations and in life, but fundamentally changes the possibilities and the potential. If we don’t shape it, it will shape us.

One hard tech aspect did get appropriate air-time however – Euler Partners’ and Cisco’s call for greater investment in IPv6, a topic close to our hearts.

You are invited to have your say. Public consultation is open until 15th March, 2013.

Image source.

train tunnel

Influence the influence standards

AMEC Madrid Summit 2013 Every industry has its jargon. The lexicon emerges to aid efficient communication, but that efficiency is only achieved when everyone knows what the words and phrases really mean, and uses them consistently.

Modern PR practice and social business are nascent, fast moving and increasingly business critical, and standards setting is important to realise value sooner than later.

The Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) is pivotal to this effort, and I’m a special advisor. Ahead of the European Summit in Madrid this June, I’m particularly involved in proposing standards around the concept of influence, a topic very close to the approach Euler Partners takes to social business as you may well know.

Should you be interested in our machinations, or indeed in lending your voice, I’ve just posted a document to my personal blog detailing some of the fundamentals our working group is grappling with. We’d love to hear from you.

Now and then I’m asked how all the associations and institutes join together, so let me finish here by listing those bodies that work closely with AMEC to make up what’s informally known as The Conclave:

social media apps

Social Media Management Buyer’s Guide

Econsultancy Social Media Management Buyer's Guide 2013We kicked off our New Year speaking with the eConsultancy team about the upcoming update to their successful Social Media Management Buyer’s Guide 2011. Here’s a rundown of the questions Amy Rodgers put to us and our responses.

UPDATE 13th Feb 2013: The guide is now published and available to purchase from eConsultancy.

1) What are the most important trends occurring in this market?

Maintaining one system for external social media management and workflow, and another system for “buzz monitoring”, and another system for enterprise social networking looks increasingly disjointed. We have media to communicate, and we communicate to influence, and influence flows are the lifeblood of mutual understanding, knowledge building and decision-making. Maintaining technological islands for influence flows with one group of stakeholders (eg, customers) distinct from another island for influence flows with another group of stakeholders (eg, employees) effectively ‘misses the trick’. It fails to recognise that today’s organisations must strive to be more than the sum of the payroll.

2) Where are the biggest opportunities for growth within the social media management technologies market?

Integration. This market is maturing from product to platform with unprecedented speed.


It all has to stack up

BBC Tech news article 7 Nov 12, updated 8 Nov 12The Internet is in its forties, and aptly enough it’s having a bit of a mid-life crisis. Like many innovations, the ones we collectively label social business rely on many that have come before, not least of course the Internet infrastructure that many of us take for granted.

One fundamental quality of the Internet is the architectural premise, indeed promise, that it will enable any two things ‘on it’ to communicate directly. This is known as the end-to-end principle. In slightly geeky terms, this means that the ‘intelligence’ lies at the endpoints – like the device you’re looking at right now, and the web server hosting this website – and not in the middle of the network. This one quality manifests itself in many of the wider characteristics of the Internet we cherish – such as it being open, free and neutral.

You need an Internet Protocol address (IP address) to be ‘on’ the Internet and yet the current version of this protocol only caters to 4.3 billion addresses. This was quite a big number back when the protocol was conceived – there were only 235 Internet hosts at the time – but as visionary as its architects were they didn’t envisage the Web coming along, let alone the likes of Google, Facebook, Skype, smartphones or even the Internet of Things. Now, with 3 billion people online and another 4 billion expected in the not too distant, we don’t even have one number per person. Hence the crisis.

Yet the Internet tech community has the answer in the new version of the protocol, IPv6. This protocol has several advantages, not least of which is the fact that the number of things it can address is a 39-digit number – 340 undecillion to be more precise. The Internet as we know it isn’t broken without it, but future growth is contingent upon it. That’s why I’ve been helping to lobby for its aggressive adoption here in the UK, as you can see from this article on the BBC website, its top tech article all weekend.

Social business is at the top of an architectural stack underpinned by the Internet Protocol. For us to realise this vision, we must also maintain the foundations on which we’re building.

Image source: RIPE NCC, RIPE68 PDF


Cision webinar on social business


The Cision webinar on 8th November was dedicated to social business and I was delighted to be the guest of Jay Krall, Cision’s media research supremo.

The webinar was wide ranging – from the definition of social business to the personal traits of those who will lead the transition, from influence flows to PR measurement.

I’ve known Jay since we started following each other online several years ago now, and he took part in an Influence Scorecard workshop I ran in New York in 2010. His contributions were invaluable then, and London is better off for having persuaded Jay to upsticks from Chicago. And if ever there was a guy with the most fabulous radio voice…

The webinar is now available on Soundcloud.

Image source.


ROI and ZMOT – depends on the question you’re asking

ZMOT eBookIt’s just over five weeks since our page on ROI went live, and I got grilled on the topic during Social Media Week. Overwhelmingly, the feedback can be categorised with just one keyword, or one acronym to be precise – ZMOT.

The truth – well perhaps a fraction of it at least

For those unfamiliar with these four letters, they stand for Zero Moment Of Truth, an e-book Google published in 2011.

The follow-up ZMOT Handbook (available at the same URL) summarises the main cause for consideration here. In Section 4.2, Join The Attribution Revolution, the Handbook asks: “What do people see that makes them want to buy?”

The question is answered with reference to Google’s multi-channel attribution capabilities:

Unlike channel-specific measurements, multi-channel attribution doesn’t spit out binary results — paid search or display. It jumps silos to analyze how channels work together. At last, you can tell the CMO how your email, SEO and social campaigns helped a sale that got “closed” by paid search.

As more attribution technology has rolled out, adoption has passed a tipping point. We predict that over the next few years, attribution will become standard procedure in digital marketing departments in the mid-market and above.

Such capability is immensely powerful, of that we are in no doubt. Indeed, we help clients define, set-up and manage multi-channel attribution. But here’s two reasons why ZMOT does not contradict our assertions here.