Social Network? Social Media Marketing?
Social CRM? CSR 2.0?
Our proposal to face today’s markets and consumption crisis is called Socialing.
The crisis we are experiencing is a structural one, both in Italy and Europe.
It represents an important opportunity for a deep reflection on the social and cultural roots, before the economic ones, driving this regression. If our strategy is to weather out the storm and then deal with the following modest economic growth in the same way we do today, we are deeply mistaken.
Socialing‘s main goal is to encourage new ethical approaches to consumers and markets. The real needs of the people, intended as consumers, investors, entrepreneurs or managers are at the center of the Socialing policies. The new media and social networks can become a useful sharing tool.
Socialing as a path towards a new culture
The debate, which began as early as the late sixties, on the “environmental” sustainability of the capitalistic model has led to the theory of a new economic humanism, founded on the mediation between economic demands on the one hand and psychological and social ones on the other. Empirical evidence and the most qualified literature on the subject show that there are several models of capitalism and, consequently, there can be several models of Socialing.
This is the so-called “third way“, originally formulated by James Meade and celebrated, in the early 2000s, by prominent politicians such as Clinton, Blair and Schröder. It must, however, be contextualized in order to achieve a sufficient degree of plausibility. More recently Castells and Rifkin, with their specific assumptions and approaches, have given new life to the international debate. There was, therefore, a gradual shift of the cultural and political debate: from the ideological opposition of the class conflict to the accessibility of the opportunities offered by new technologies and the “community thinking“; from the centrality of the unions to “mutual responsibility“; from the debate on the injustices of exasperate liberalism and the rigidity of social democracy to a lighter, positive and participated welfare. The political class is starting to face requests coming “from below” and “from the new“, rising from social movements that are expression of the need for a new model of active civil society where citizenship is a right that is obtained by undertaking civil and social responsibilities.
Today, a new approach drives business operations: the sources of competitive advantage are creativity and innovation and, more generally, all the services aimed towards creating value for the customer. These advantages can be built only by merging and enhancing high profile professional talent. The competitive scenario revolves around the ability to create long term, vast and heterogeneous relations both inside and outside differentiated companies. We find that not only the relationship with the consumer / purchaser is at stake, but the various forms of collaboration with partners outside the company too.
Reflecting on the pioneering contribution of Meade, in 1937, on “The Nature of the firm” and the subsequent literature on managerial capitalism, it should be pointed out that, today, the nature of the company has changed as its borders transform. The very concept of ownership changed, focused more and more on the intellectual aspects, as a more responsible consumerism generates a useful premise for a new vision of the nature and purpose of economic and social enterprises.
The company structure is increasingly shaped in an open, collaborative fashion, sanctioning the end of the closed, self-regulated Marris-style firms. If the market tends to be seen as a system of relations rather than transactions, the psychological and emotional dimension of the relationship becomes of preponderant importance. The stakeholder is not a customer whose experience ends with the consumption of the product / service offered, but a person whose psyche is the product of the interaction between emotion, reason and ethics.
It is significant in this debate that Harvard University has recognized in recent years the inadequacy of our paradigms on these issues and has created the Mind Brain Behavior (MBB), interdepartmental center for the analysis of the deep causes of social and economic behavior. Likewise, together with the traditional commercial activities there is an increase of the of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, testifying the growing sensitivity of companies on the social and environmental impact of their business activities.
The ethical commitment that companies are increasingly willing to take on is functional to the process of social legitimation, an increasingly important condition to achieve competitive goals. It is almost superfluous to point out how many of these initiatives are not genuine, in the etymological sense of the term, but are rather exploiting the ethical, environmental sensitivity to their own benefit.
Socialing is a cultural and managerial initiative embedded in this mosaic between old, ideologized concepts and new paths of culture and values.
The initial momentum on which we can build on is given by the current scenario of deep crisis and reinterpretation of the capitalist models in the advanced economies. Within this cultural evolution, which has given rise to a more aware consumer that is informed and critical of a market economy that is too much focused on the offer, perhaps a new way of thinking about the company and its relationship with the environment can be born.
A socially responsible company establishes itself as an economical subject that, through Socialing – the socialization of its identity with target audiences – contributes to the improvement of the quality of life in its community.
The resulting sense of community is due both to the strengthening of the ties with the territory and to the increasing opportunities and methods of exchange between the various actors. In a general lack of confidence and uncertainty about the performance of the markets, counterbalanced by the institutional inertia, the duration of the relationship with the demand depends on the effectiveness of the policies of communicative and commercial socialization of the company’s commercial offer.
The Socialing oriented company, by definition, systematically improves the price-quality ratio of its offer, develops its social and environmental responsibility in the territory where it operates and contributes, through the intellectual and organizational innovation, to the growth of social capital.
The Second European Socialing Forum has been held in Expo Milan on June 3, 2015, 14.00-16.00 Cascina Triulza. It has been an opportunity to reflect and discuss on the most significant Socialing experiences in our country and in the international context.