A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive


Just like the meteor that likely precipitated the end of the dinosaurs, social media is having a monumental impact on the world’s economy; a change so dramatic that it has created a new business era: the Social Age.

What does the Social Age mean for your business? Containing stories, analysis of real-world scenarios, and indispensable guidance, A World Gone Social gives you the tools and information you need to survive—and thrive—in a business climate in which customers hold all...

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A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive

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Just like the meteor that likely precipitated the end of the dinosaurs, social media is having a monumental impact on the world’s economy; a change so dramatic that it has created a new business era: the Social Age.

What does the Social Age mean for your business? Containing stories, analysis of real-world scenarios, and indispensable guidance, A World Gone Social gives you the tools and information you need to survive—and thrive—in a business climate in which customers hold all the cards . . . job seekers have the power to easily find out what working at your company is really like . . . and expertise has become more democratic than ever as employees collaborate with each other, as well as with vendors, customers, and even competitors.

You’ll discover what the “Death of Large” and “Flat: The New Black” mean for you and your organization, how to build a socially enabled team that puts the customer experience first, and what it means to create an “OPEN” network of partners, collaborators, and brand champions. Filled with fascinating stories of success and failure at organizations including Barilla, Zappos, Bank of America, Lululemon, Abercrombie & Fitch, Southwest Airlines, and more, the book reveals how to avoid the dangers of insincerity as well as what it takes to become a “Blue Unicorn”—the social leader. Finally, you’ll learn how to objectively assess the fitness of your company’s current culture and social presence.

In the Social Age, companies unwilling to change will play the role of the dinosaurs: destined for extinction. A World Gone Social gives you the keys to avoid this fate—and lead your organization into this exciting business climate.

Advance Praise for A World Gone Social

“Finally, a book that not only provides a realistic account of our world fundamentally transformed by social media but also very valuable tips on how to succeed in the Social Age. This one’s a MUST READ for any person or company who seeks to remain relevant.” — Vineet Nayar, former CEO, HCL Technologies, and Founder, Sampark Foundation

“It may feel as though the world of business and work has gone mad, but it has simply gone social. If you’re looking for some cogent insights to help make sense of it all, read this crystal-clear and practical guide.” — Tom Asacker, author of The Business of Belief

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Social media has changed the way the world operates, and companies need to modify just about every aspect of how they do business to remain efficient and profitable. Coine and Babbitt, self-described "successful veterans of the social revolution," offer an insightful and thorough exploration of how to implement these systemic changes. They delve into the new company/customer power dynamic, where customers hold many of the cards, and show how, thanks to social media, employees are also emerging as a new power group. The authors go on to provide examples of companies that use social media to their advantage, such as Southwest and Verizon, and those which have learned the hard way, such as United Airlines and Bank of America. Coine and Babbitt also describe the disruptive changes social media has spurred in employment recruiting, and predict that social media will permanently change how legacy enterprises act, lead, and operate. Of particular interest to executives will be the book's consideration what it means to be a social leader and what to do if you're just not a good social representative. In-depth discussions of teams, customer experience, and social media marketing round out this comprehensive examination. Illuminating and insightful, this book is essential reading for all levels of the corporate ladder. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

"Illuminating and insightful, this book is essential reading for all levels of the corporate ladder." --Publishers Weekly

"…must read for every leader and manager wanting to move past the trend and into the truth about social media’s purpose, influence, and outcomes." --Kate Nasser blog

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814433263
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 9/17/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 445,648
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

TED COINÉ is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership Expert. He is cofounder of Switch and Shift, a blog focused on leadership, culture, and change. MARK BABBITT is CEO and founder of YouTern, a social community for young careerists that Mashable calls a “Top 5 Online Community for Starting Your Career.”

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Read an Excerpt


The Industrial Age is dead.

Welcome to the Social Age.

Social media has proven to be an insurmountable market force, changing how we innovate, collaborate, serve our customers, hire and develop team members, motivate others toward a common mission, communicate with stakeholders, display our character, and demonstrate accountability. This isn’t change for the sake of change. Neither is this change to fine-tune the status quo, as we saw in the twentieth century with Six Sigma, Total Quality Management, and the Lean movement, which simply helped bureaucracies function at a more efficient, profitable level. This is real, systemic change.

Human change.

Which isn’t easy.

We two authors—ourselves successful veterans of the social revolution—will help you initiate that change. By discussing the next major era in business, A World Gone Social will enable you to adapt quickly, so you can thrive in the Social Age:

▶ We’ll help you, your company, and your industry get out in front of the social revolution.

▶ We’ll ensure you have the voice, influence, and power to lead engaged, innovative teams.

▶ We’ll help you learn from the successes and failures of the early adopters and companies that have already taken to social (some in a good way, and others that have made community-killing mistakes).

▶ We’ll discuss the power of OPEN, where ordinary people intersect to form extraordinary networks.

▶ We’ll introduce you to some of the fascinating change makers, innovators, and mistake makers in the vanguard of the Social Age.

▶ And, along the way, you’ll learn our secret to social: More social. Less media.

In Section I of A World Gone Social, we’ll talk about the surface changes currently under way—business issues that have caught much attention. We’ll discuss how some old-school leaders seem dimly aware of the new era upon us and so are left grasping in the dark, while others remain unconvinced of the power of social, so they fail to take action. We’ll also take on those who resist for another reason: the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” crowd, oblivious to the imminent change—and the turf protectors who perhaps have a vested personal interest in resisting social’s influence.

We’ll then delve deeper into those seismic changes that have already occurred in the Social Age: how the balance of power has shifted from message-controlling corporations to customers and employees who can now voice their opinions—both good and bad—through social. We’ll show how one customer, or employee, can disrupt operations and the focus of an entire corporation based on one seemingly simple decision. And we’ll discuss how those voices are amplified, and create real impact, through social.

Next, we’ll demonstrate how social has already disrupted critical aspects of every business: the very way we’ll build our teams moving forward, how we’ll engage with (rather than broadcast at) stakeholders, and how five-star, 100 percent transparent customer service will lead to a community of evangelists organically supporting your brand.

In Section II, we’ll take on the “death of large” and show how even the biggest enterprises need to get—or at least think and act—small to survive and that nimble, engaging, focused teams are how business will succeed in the Social Age. We'll ask if “flat” is the new black—a trend that, as social management takes root and grows exponentially, will become our “new” form of collaborative leadership (even though its roots are decades old). Finally, we’ll introduce OPEN (Ordinary People | Extraordinary Network) not just as a method of building lifelong personal relationships but as the foundation of organizational success and as a catalyst for entire business models. Along the way, we’ll introduce you to some people and companies that have already jumped into social, with varying degrees of success.

In Section III, we’ll turn to how you can lead your organization to success in a world gone social. You will discover how to objectively assess the fitness of your organization’s culture and social presence and how to improve every aspect that might be failing while leveraging what works well. We’ll discuss the best possible approach to building socially enabled teams, turning customers into ambassadors, and cultivating passionate advocates and champions for your brand. And, with a world-class collaborative team and customer-centric culture in place, we’ll dive into the dynamics at play in digital marketing—and how best to position your company in a world gone social.

In Section IV, we take a look at the future of social business and discuss how we might measure return on investment (ROI) on what is likely to remain more art than science. Finally, we’ll look at what might be next steps for social media in general and for you as a leader in our new, socially driven economy.

In fact, that’s our primary goal throughout this book: to enable you to lead your organization confidently and successfully through the Social Age.

We’re sure you’ll enjoy what you are about to read. After all, we have a passion for the subject that goes beyond social—to personal. As admirably as it served the first-world economy, we want the Industrial Age—and the autocratic leadership practices and soul-sucking working conditions that came with that era—to die. We want organizations to become more transparent, more accountable. We want teams to continuously innovate and collaborate, rather than be throttled by hundred-year-old “best practices.”

In a world gone social, we want business to become more human.

Let’s get started . . .

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Table of Contents


Foreword by Peter Aceto, CEO, Tangerine • xii

Introduction • xv


CHAPTER 1 | Welcome to the Social Age 1

CHAPTER 2 | The Customer Holds All the Cards 10

CHAPTER 3 | The Social Employee: Good, Bad, and Way Past Ugly 22

CHAPTER 4 | The Evolution of Social Recruiting 36

CHAPTER 5 | The Engagement Era 50

CHAPTER 6 | It Takes a Community 64


CHAPTER 7 | The Death of Large 78

CHAPTER 8 | Flat: The New Black? 91

CHAPTER 9 | The OPEN Challenge (Ordinary People, Extraordinary Network) 110


CHAPTER 10 | The Social Leader: A Blue Unicorn? 124

CHAPTER 11 | Building a World-Class Team for the Social Age 147

CHAPTER 12 | In the Social Age, Customer Experience Comes First 163

CHAPTER 13 | And Stop Calling Me “Social Media Marketing!” 181


CHAPTER 14 | Investing in Social: Is What You See Real? 202

CHAPTER 15 | The Future of Business in a World Gone Social 216

References • 227

Index • 233

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