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I’ve been talking to a lot of very big companies lately about how they can participate in social media; what the viable business models are; and the futility of trying to tightly control a corporate message.
And what stands out above all, from company to company, is that the competitive nature of big companies keeps them from innovating, and often, from joining the online conversation in a meaningful way.
hugh_afraid.jpgNot only does one division compete with another, but marketing competes with PR, and customer service competes with sales. In many cases, the marketing director of one division has never met the marketing director of another division in the same company!
How can a company whose own people don’t even know what others in the company are doing ever excel in community development?
To get something, you have to give something. But in big companies, people fear for their jobs. They are forced, by the corporate system, not to collaborate with other departments. And many times, that means that two departments will be working — and spending money on — a similar system but not know it.
Cooperation IS the sea change. Fear is no longer the kind of aphrodisiac it once was in the business world. Will cooperation ever become a reality for publicly traded companies? God, I hope so. We all have much to gain when it does.