IBM’s Great Mind Challenge, Social Business Edition is a competition that allows students to deepen their engagement in the social business arena by working on a project designed to improve the social media profile of an IBM subsidiary.
This year’s competition at USC was held through the Business Writing (Writ 340) class at the Marshall School of Business. The class was taught by USC Professor Peter Cardon with assistance from IBM’s Daryl Pereira. Five student teams participated in the competition. The teams were tasked with assessing the social business needs of their assigned IBM subsidiary then crafting a cohesive strategy to address the issues they found.
The following story on Team USC Trojans is the third in our series of articles on each of the student teams that competed in the event.
In this the third article in our series on the USC Social Business presentations, we focus on Team USC Trojans. This presentation deals directly with the problems a company can face in creating a focused narrative picture, a problem that occurs as teams rapidly expand during scaling.
Team USC Trojans found that their case study company had serious issues with their internal narrative control specifically the companies online presence was fragmented across several social networks. “They use a Facebook community page, an academic page, an internal network, a Bleed Yellow (more technical) forum site as well as an internal platform,” explained Jose.
With information spread across so many networks, it’s difficult for a company to put forward that crucial clear narrative to its employees, as well as its consumers. A lack of narrative focus around the company’s products means consumers will also be confused as they seek information through the various social networks the company utilizes for promotion and engagement.
To help bring the company's disparate voices under control, the team proposed the creation of a social platform search tool that would be integrated on the company’s main site. Daniel explained how the company would benefit from a social platform search function, “this tool would allow employees to easily search for content across platforms, which would be presented in a similar way to common search engines like Google. Additionally, the tool would allow the person searching to sort the results by specific platforms.”
The benefit of a social platform search tool would be that all information posted on the various networks used by the company’s employees and departments would be centralized and easily retrievable. The search engine would be optimized based on the popularity of articles and the most useful pages. Additionally, the platform acts as a meta-network by aggregating all posted content into one place; the team felt that this would result in “greater internal collaboration, faster response times and active social usage.”
The customer service departments of the company benefit the most from this sort of service as they will be able to search through information posted by other divisions at the touch of a button. This reduces consumer-company disconnect as reps will be able to more efficiently provide clients with niche information thanks to the social platform search.
Team Trojans considered one of the main takeaways from the project to be the importance of maintaining a diverse online presence. Yet as critical as it is to be diversified online, the team also feels that it is just as important to be able to readily access that information internally, which is why a social platform search tool is critical.
Bringing the different social media contributions of the company together under a searchable database allows for tighter control of product narratives without sacrificing the diversity of voices that comes with allowing departments to run their own social media. A company-wide social media team can then craft a message that’s built from the contributions of the departments thus giving users a clear picture of the product.
Team USC Trojans were the overall winners of The USC Marshall Great Mind Challenge. Congratulations!
IBM's Daryl Pereira (far left) along with Team USC Trojan members Mindy Tjang, Jose Maria Volio, and Daniel Inoue flanked by course instructor Professor Peter Cardon