The Worshipful Company of Insurers. It doesn’t exactly spring to mind as the vanguard of B2B social in business.
So imagine my surprise when I was asked to discuss ‘Social in Business’ at the Worshipful Company’s forum.
“Did I mention the iWIN group is for ‘Women in Strategy and Leadership’ Scot? No? Well don’t worry, but there will be about 60 or so professional, no-nonsense, highly driven women in the audience. You’ll be the only man. We’re expecting influencer thought leadership from you. No pressure. Think of it as an honour…”
A light perspiration broke out on my forehead as I hung up the phone having agreed that I would be happy to speak at the event. I made a mental note to pay attention to the details before agreeing to shoot my mouth off at any future B2B marketing events.
Last time I ended up in Wales, this time Women in Strategy and Leadership. I needed to start taking better care of my health. Still, how tough could it be, right…? [Gulp]
Not tough at all as it turned out. In fact it was a genuine pleasure. The formidable Penny Power OBE, spoke about the opportunity that social media creates for businesses to connect with customers and reminded everyone that, “These channels aren’t just about securing a transaction.” A panel of social practitioners headed by Charlie Thomas, the Managing News Editor at Insurance Insider included Abi Clark from Hiscox Insurance, Sophie Barnes from Xchanging and Amy Stringer from Lloyd’s Market Association. I think the audience heard more practical social advice in 20 minutes than I’ve heard from male dominated panels all over the world in the last 10 years.
And then it was my turn. I talked about 4 things:
1. Social in Business? Really?
2. The Speed of Change
3. The Risk of Failure
4. The Risk of Doing Nothing
Established industries, such as insurance, seem to think that their brand loyalty is secure – that there is no pressing need to adapt to a rapidly changing social customer. I think they’re wrong. The industry will doubtless continue, but the way it operates in a social world is changing, fast. The businesses and the brands need to adopt new practices or they’ll fail.
The men aren’t listening of course, because men never listen. But the women are.
There’s hope for us all.