Powered and The Power of Social Business Design

A new day is dawning at Powered and its name is social business design. If you’ve heard that term before, you can thank the folks over at Dachis Group — who Powered is now a part of. That’s right, you can read that again, “who Powered is now a part of.” That’s because as of yesterday, December 20, 2010, the very same Dachis Group acquired Powered and it’s subsidiaries, crayon, StepChange and Drillteam.

Social Media Design

Over the past 2.5 years, Dachis Group introduced the concept of social business design to the world and they’ve grown their business around it. Social business draws on many disciplines. It is composed of Enterprise 2.0 thought leaders including Dion Hinchcliffe, engaging with practitioners from the 2.0 Adoption Council, and bringing technology to life through Headshift. It draws upon the visual thinking capabilities of XPLANE and formulate business strategy through the business unit they’ve grown by hand since their beginning.

So how does Powered fit into social business design? Quite nicely in fact. Because Powered and its subsidiaries are all about social business customer engagement. You may know this as social media marketing, but calling it that doesn’t do the concept of more deeply engaging one’s customers justice. In fact, the problem with many social media campaigns is just that. They are campaigns, not sustainable programs that grow over time.

Where businesses truly succeed is when they transform from the inside out by re-engineering their processes, culture and technologies to get the most out of their relationships with their employees, partners, customers and fans. As part of the Dachis Group, Powered and its subsidiaries can now provide our customers workforce collaboration, customer participation (or engagement) and business partner optimization.

Needless to say, we here at Powered are excited to be part of the largest social business consultancy in the world. That, combined with the fact that we are part of a company with over 220 employees and offices in 10 cities across five different countries, gives us the best opportunity to win. And at the end of the day, who doesn’t like winning?


Who is Powered?

Normally, it is realistic to think that a company’s website can easily answer the question, “who are we.” That’s because in most cases, companies start off as something and grow organically. Occasionally, however, companies acquire (or are acquired by) other companies. And while this adds accretive products and services to their general offerings, it doesn’t radically change the focus of the business. In the case of Powered, nothing could be further from the truth… but we see that as a good thing.

In case you missed it, last January, Powered announced that it had acquired not one, not two, but THREE other companies. To borrow a term from Bill Watterson’s well-known cartoon series, Calvin and Hobbes, earlier this year Powered Inc. was transmogrified from a company that focused on building online communities to a social media agency.

Given what we were hearing in the market, this was the right move. But at the same time, January is a tricky time to merge four companies together because in our case, all four companies had a bunch of business that they were trying to close before the year got started in earnest. So all four companies were given a fair amount of leash and allowed to continue using their own names and pitching prospects using products and services that were in their wheelhouse.

As the head of marketing for Powered, you can imagine that my job of trying to promote a business comprised of four distinct entities located across three geographies — Austin, TX, New York, NY and Portland, OR — could be tricky. Up until a few months ago, that was absolutely true. But over the last three or four months, our collective companies are starting to gel and we now have a much more cohesive story to tell when asked “who are we.” But it’s taking a little time to catch the website up (kind of like changing the tires on a moving car).

In the spirit of giving people a little bit better sense of who we are, I thought it might not hurt to give a quick drilldown of what we say we do, who we we work with and then provide a few case studies. Oh, we also have a number of folks that work here who blog and tweet and podcast. If you haven’t met those folks (or didn’t know they were all under one figurative roof), I’ve provided links to them as well.

Powered is a dedicated social media agency that helps brands fully capitalize on their social initiatives, make them more relevant in an increasingly digital, connected and social world. Now with 75+ employees in its offices, we bring our clients “best-in-class” expertise across the social spectrum by offering a combination of strategy, planning, activation and management for social presence and programs including those centered on Facebook, location based/LBS, mobile applications, influencer activation and community building, content marketing, earned media and experiential marketing.

Clear as mud, right? Well they say that a picture is worth a thousand words…

At our simplest, you could say that we actually do three things:

  • Help companies “socialize” their websites
  • Build branded presences in places like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube
  • Get prospects, customers and enthusiasts to “do stuff” on behalf of companies. The “stuff” includes evangelizing, sharing, buying, referring and educating among other things.


Powered is lucky enough to work with A LOT of really cool brands. Rather than trying to list them all here, I’ve provided links to the various industries that we work with — each one contains company names and mini case studies about what we did (or are doing) with each of the brands:

Note: for a deeper dive on some of our active Facebook projects, be sure to head over here (StepChange is one of the four companies that is now a part of Powered Inc.


As I mentioned before, we have the benefit of working with some extremely smart people here at Powered… many of which try and practice what they preach (myself included). You can find the blog and twitter activity for many of us on the Powered.com home page. But for a slightly more comprehensive list, here are the folks that are regular content creators (alphabetically):

So what did I miss? What more can I tell you about Powered? Just let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!

Weekly Social Marketing Links: Week of 10/28


Cross-posted on Citizen Marketer 2.1


Yup. It’s been a few weeks since we last posted our team’s weekly social marketing links. As some of you know, I try and do a weekly digest of the links that my team (marketing, sales and product) come up with for our recurring staff meeting. Unfortunately, (work) life just gets in the way sometimes. Here’s what we’ve got for this week:


Beth Lopez (Marketing)


Found How to Do Social Marketing in Heavily Regulated Industries to be an interesting read on how regulated industries such as Financial Services, Healthcare and Pharma should tap into social marketing and how best to do it. The thinking is that since social marketing is a “pull” technique and not a “push” technique (where traditional regulations apply), advertisers and marketers in regulated industries should focus on…wait for it…wait for it…listening to consumers on social networks to gather research and insight (doesn’t everyone say that these days?). The author also goes on to state that for pharma (look in comments), marketers should be thinking about conversations around the disease versus the actual drugs (which is where they can get into trouble). All in all, an interesting perspective.



DP Rabalais (Marketing)


This article from Adweek, The Revolution Will Be Mobile, talks about how the worldwide adoption of mobile phones (61% of the world’s population has access to a mobile phone) is influencing how marketers connect with consumers. Mobile Internet usage in the U.S. has more than doubled in barely two years, and mobile communities are emerging. 

According to the article, "For a brand that would like to learn more about what its customers and potential customers want, social networks via mobile are the perfect platform with massive scale. The Japanese mobile community "Mobage Town," for example, includes 12 million people. Anyone who wants to can listen in or join discussions, and anyone who wants to sell a product or service is enabled to do so."


Bill Fanning (BizDev)


This week’s post was written by Francois Gossieaux titled, Why Brand Communities Don’t Exist. Notice he refers to “Brand” communities, not “Branded” communities. To be clear, when we say “Branded” communities we are referring to where the community is hosted (on the brands site as opposed to Facebook or other external communities) not to the Brand being the topic of the community. 

Francois makes a very important point (one that we at Powered built a business on) that people don’t participate in branded communities simply because they like the brand and enjoy their products. They participate because they are passionate about the lifestyle associated with the brand. The community gives them a place to get valuable information, interact with other people with similar interests and engage with the company. He notes several examples like the communities hosted by Harley, Jeep, Mini Cooper and Fiskars….we could add several others as well.

Good post!


Doug Wick (BizDev)


[Okay, so Doug has been up to his eyeballs with RFP’s, contracts and keeping his blogging hat on. So I’m going to include his most recent post on Powered as his entree of the week…]


Almost anyone who knows anything about interfacing with customers or prospective customers through the Networks (Facebook, Twitter, et al.) will tell you that you should start by listening.

So most marketers’ first step is to set up a monitoring tool (maybe expensive, maybe as simple as a free keyword search on Twitter). Then, the first experience that almost every media marketer (or marketer, period) has after listening to the Networks for a bit is that the brand, product, or company they are representing will be mentioned. When this happens (“just bought a Honda at Carmax, great experience!”), it will make a positive and socially important impression on everyone who views it. This is exciting because it is essentially a free media placement, a nugget of gold dropped into people’s news or Twitter feeds that didn’t cost you anything! This type of mention is often called “earned media,” earned because your company created a great customer experience that made someone tell their friends. <rest of the post continued here…>

Jay MacIntosh (BizDev)


The Tribalization of Business Study (2009) by Deloitte and Beeline Labs. 

Disclaimer: I don’t understand why anyone would refer to a group of people sharing an interest as tribes. I’ve always thought of tribes, similar to the clans of my Scottish background, as having to do with ancestry (i.e. people who came before us like forefathers/mothers). Do we really need to “dress-up” social media to get more people to pay attention to the significance of the online social phenomena? I guess so…

Anyhow, this recently released study from Deloitte paints a broad picture of where companies are at with their adoption of social media. As suspected, backed up by the conversations I’ve had with over 50 such companies the past several months, I’d say they’re at the preadolescent stage. Characterized by – beginning to care somewhat about if/how they fit in, have a rough idea of some goals, more focused on the future, beginning to care about how their appearance, etc. 

I won’t go into the details (which you’ll get in the 10 minutes it takes you to look through the 28 slides), but here are a couple of the most interesting findings:

  • It looks like only about 20% of these communities have members in the thousands.
  • Approximately 60% of their company’s oldest community have been in existence for less than 1 year.
  • Stated goals (i.e. what they want to achieve) and metrics (i.e. how they keep score) are out of whack.
  • 45% plan to increase their investment in social media and online communities while only 6% plan to decrease investment.


Don Sedota (Product)


Good perspectives by Jeremiah Owyang on the Google/Twitter/Bing deal announced earlier last week. Basically Google and Bing will now start incorporating URL tweets/re-tweets and the influence/reach of corresponding tweeters into search rankings (i.e., consumers now have a direct impact on search rankings). 

His key takeaways include:

  • Companies must focus even more on listening to make sure PR flare ups and the like on Twitter are quickly extinguished
  • It’s becoming increasingly important for companies offer easy social sharing (e.g., via Twitter) for site content. (Also of note is that Facebook will be offering public status updates to Bing so sharing via FB/FBC becomes more valuable to companies from a search results perspective)
  • Companies must continue to develop in-house influencers on Twitter in order to juice the search rankings of corresponding tweets (URLs)



How about you? Any good articles/posts/research to share? We’re always looking for fresh inspiration.


Weekly Social Marketing Links: Week of 9/21


Cross-posted on Citizen Marketer 2.1


Oh how quickly the time passes. As some of you know, I try and do a weekly digest of the links that my team (marketing, sales and product) come up with for our recurring staff meeting. A series of all day meetings and the usual travel have conspired against me. Fortunately for you, that doesn’t change the quality of the content/links that the team found.


With that as a backdrop, let’s see what we’ve got…



Beth Lopez (Marketing)


(9/16) My article submission for this week is called The Great Trust Offensive. It appears the top 100 brands (as ranked by Interbrand) have fallen out of the trust tree with consumers. Edelman conducted a phone survey and found that only 44% of Americans stated they trusted business, down from 58% in the fall of 2007. As a result, many of the top brands are now focusing their advertising and messaging on re-building this trust with consumers and joining the “conversation”. The article goes on to provide case examples of McDonald’s, Ford and American Express and has CMO’s of these companies quoted throughout.


You can also view the 100 Best Global Brands 2009 in a slideshow format which provides a snippet of their marketing strategies. I’ll see if I can download the full report and provide to everyone. Here’s the link to the slideshow.




(9/4) Joe Marchese throws down the traditional vs. social marketing gauntlet in the blog post,

The $1 Million Social Media Marketing Challenge, which starts with “I think there is an inherent conflict in the following statement: "We can’t measure social media ROI. But when we buy television in large amounts, we know it works." He goes on to state the problem with marketers comparing social media and TV and issues a challenge: If the ROI from social media is not equal to that from traditional media, his company will deliver free media until the difference is made up.


Interesting read to say the least.



DP Rabalais (Marketing)


(9/16) As I mentioned in our meeting, I thought it would be of value for all of us to become more familiar with Net Promoter Scores, since many companies place such a high value on them.




(9/4) The title is Social Net Branding Fails to Sway Women and the article was published toda
y on brandweek.com. A study by ad:tech Chicago and Q Interactive that analyzes how women engage online with brands finds that 75 percent of women reported that social networking sites have little bearing on their purchasing decisions.


Sites have "somewhat" of an influence over 21.9 percent and greatly influence only 3.3 percent of users.


Only 10 percent of women said that participating in brand-related activities, such as finding information (8.7 percent) and writing reviews (1 percent), was their most common social media activity. Sending private messages to peers (34.6 percent), sharing photos (13.4 percent) and chatting (12.8 percent) ranked as women’s top-three social media activities.



Bill Fanning (BizDev)


(9/16) I actually have two articles to share. The first is post on Eyecube blog titled, Congratulations TGI Friday’s, Now the Work Begins and the second post was written by Greg Verdino and posted to his blog titled, Social Media Marketers are a Shallow Bunch. Both posts highlight the latest campaign byTGI Friday’s to drive Facebook fans but are curious about what’s next. Now that they’ve blown out the goal of reaching 500,000 fans (875,170 fans as of this morning) how do they plan to keep them engaged.  They’ve got a real opportunity to drive ongoing lasting relationships with their consumers and, quite frankly, revitalize an otherwise stale brand. Will they capitalize on it? We’ll keep watching and hope for the best. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to my free burger… I think.




(9/4) This week’s shared post is from Jason Falls’ blog Social Media Explorer, titled, Brands Are People.  It’s short and simple but powerful. He refers to a message he received from a friend who worked in the Golden Age of the Advertising Industry and a WWII fighter pilot. He says “It seems we got into the idea that ads were a lot easier than relationships.” I’d agree and we’ve been saying this for a while, but it just seems more credible coming from someone who actually lived and worked during that time.


The rise of TV as a mass marketing media was certainly a major contributing factor that widened the relationship gap between consumers and companies. We live and work in an amazing time where the rise of the internet has provided consumers a media that will require companies to break down the walls that divided them and re-learn how to build real relationships with consumers. The companies who choose to embrace the new media and master it will have a leg up on those who don’t.


Who knows…maybe in 30 years our kids will be watching a show like Mad Men where they act out the lives of today’s Social Media movers and shakers. If the characters are based on the folks I’ve seen speaking on Social Media panels over the last couple years, it’s bound to be funny but not nearly as classy!



Jay MacIntosh (BizDev)


(9/16) What Powered does is game-changing for marketing.


At the end of last year as I was becoming more familiar with social media marketing and our company, my intuition was that speaking with customers on their terms (i.e. things that they care about, when they’re interested and with people they trust) was the golden ticket for marketers. The disconnect for me was the lack of available data to support my intuition. What I had from our client programs, or third party sources, wasn’t quite complete or reliable enough so the results story often came up short. I think that’s recently begun to change due to a number of factors including our improved measurement &amp; reporting capabilities as well as other practitioners publicly sharing their results.


Let’s look at one key marketing metric related to engagement – click through rate (CTR). This article from MediaPost Tuesday Super for Facebook Brand Pages talks about a study that found the average CTR on Facebook brand pages to be 6.76%. It goes on to say that certain days of the week perform multiple times better than other days of the week. Tuesday being the best and Friday being the worst. It’s encouraging to see that the Facebook 6.76% CTR kicks b*tt on other forms of marketing such as email (CTR 3.9%) and banner ads (CTR 0.2%). And what about Powered’s CTRs? For content our CTR is 50 friggin% – talk about kicking b*tt? For HP’s HHO site the CTR to their ecommerce is 7%. That’s kicking some serious booty.


And what about other ways marketing is measured like conversion, net promoter score (loyalty &amp; advocacy), customer insight? What we deliver in these areas is also game-changing. So why aren’t more marketers going for the golden ticket? Is it lack of knowledge, understanding, familiarity, budget or something else they fear? I’d love to hear y’alls thoughts on this.



Don Sedota (Product)


(9/16) Although this probably isn’t groundbreaking insight to the team, I thought this article “When Facebook Fans Turn Ugly: Examining The Honda Accord Crosstour Page” was an interesting synopsis of a recent PR snafu that Honda had to deal with regarding their new FB page to promote the Accord Crosstour. After numerous comments from users about the ugliness of the car, a Honda rep (posing as a regular Joe) chimed in to give his support. Once he was outed, Honda had to do some quick damage control (some good, some not so good). The bad – removing the comments from the Honda rep which further enraged fans. Anyways, a good quick read that hits on some of the do’s and don’ts of containing a negative social media storm.


On a similar note, I have to feel kinda sorry for the Intuit reps that are trying to keep up with a hoard of unhappy Mint customers after Intuit acquired the financial site earlier this week. Ouch!




(9/4) Here are a couple of pretty entertaining articles that I found this past week.


The first one from David Berkowitz’s blog called, When Augmented Reality Goes Social talks about a few applications of augmented reality (when digital is layered over real-world experiences to “augment” the experience) and social. My favorite example is a Yelp application for the Android platform which is apparently still pretty buggy but allows you to walk down a street and through your camera lens you can view Yelp overlays in the appropriate spots to show different restaurants and their ratings (really cool). Apparently more applications like this are coming down the pipe.


The second one is social related but entertaining more than anything else. It’s a blog post by Jonathon Fields called PR Gone Bad. How to Anger Bloggers and Hose Your Client. Jonathon details a back and forth exchange he had with a PR firm who was trying to get him to review a new book for their client. The PR tactics are extremely traditional and impersonal and the ensuing exchange of emails between Jonathon and the PR rep is a classic example of how certain people still don’t get the fact that social marketing is changing the way PR firms and the like have to conduct their business. Well worth the read if you have a few minutes.


The Gratitude Effect: Building Consumer Loyalty

Powered recently updated our web site. This update includes a series of videos detailing things such as social commerce, consumer engagement and the gratitude effect. These videos can be viewed on the Powered web site or at the Powered page on YouTube.

Here’s a sample video about the Gratitude Effect.
Learn what the gratitude effect is, where it originated, and how Powered has implemented it into its social commerce programs.