The Emerce social conference 2012, Amsterdam

The social conference 2012

Last thursday, I was in the happy position to visit the social conference 2012. It was better then expected. Really a lot of international speakers and case study's. Exactly my interest.
Only negative point, but there were (with so many online people) not enough free power plugs to charge devices.

The day started with a presentation from Fons Trompenaars. I found this really interesting. Fons know a lot about trans cultural communication. He told a lot of things I recognized, but explained also with great humour a lot of things, I did not knew.

But is was nice to hear the examples from Korea, Japan, Germany etc. All very recognizable, if I think back about my travels.
I realized I have to learn a lot more quickly at this trans cultural area, so many interesting things, that can help build success in this global world. Luckily Fons gave a few tips for books to read on which : co-opetition (others to be added)

Emerce social conference 2012 in Amsterdam with a presentation from Fons Trompenaars
Fons Trompenaars kicking off the day, a great start!

Most problems are dilemma's and culture is the way we solve dilemma's.
Answers at dilemma's can differ a lot per culture. That's why corporate integrity values don't mean so much.
There are always more solutions then you think at first sight. This is important in trans cultural communication. Be aware of the differences between communication in countries and regions. Something I think is really interesting also when using social media.

Social media connects us so easily with different cultures, so we will be confronted more and more with different cultural interpretations of dilemma's.
Also Fons gave an example of Japanese people receiving an e-mail, but this e-mail is not showing really what people mean. In Japan facial expressions are (as I know from personal experience) very important. I think that is also why Japan has so many emoticons in their electronic communication.

So what do you need to do with social media? Centralise or Decentralise? If you don't decentralise you cannot centralise.  It is important to find a hybrid model. This is also what later the day in other international presentations was being told.

The complete interesting presentation from Fons:
TCS12 - Fons Trompenaars - THT Consulting
View more presentations from Emerce

Second session: KLM

KLM also had an interesting story. Of course I know, KLM is one of the most active airlines at social media, but KLM is getting further then that. They are now transforming from a social media airline to a social business. Now that's challenging!

KLM has 3 strategic social media pillars:

  • Customer Service Department
  • Brand and Reputation
  • E-commerce

With most social media campaigns, they do not have an ROI based on sales, but they often use other KPI's, like engagement and reach. Of course the campaigns have to be cost efficient. They use multiple agency's to develop campaigns. They "shop" for the best idea's.
KLM has now good experiences with using a twitter bot for selling tickets. Twitter @klmfares.

KLM now employs 40+ people in their social media hub but this will rapidly increase.

The new service from KLM , meat and seat, where people can choose next to whom they want to site for a flight is of course a real nice feature, that will make me fly KLM next time, just to try it out.
I think that's one of the goals from KLM. Beiing innovative and adding value makes people choose for your airline.
The nice thing that by leaking some information about this new service, they created a massive buzz even up to CNN. Something to remind..
KLM en Vodafone, hanteren eenzelfde SLA: within one hour an answer and the problem solved within 24 hours. Great!!!
Almost 70% of KLM"s turnover is via online, but already 25% of the turnover has some relation with social media.


Microstrategy talked about CRM in the facebook age. About the social graph from facebook and the difficulties and challenges in this field. For example:

The most important challenges (with facebook)  in social CRM are:

  • Data in facebook is not structured
  • Facebook is so innovative, they are in permanent beta.
Below some more issues in the facebook age:

There is an app, made by microsstrategy that can give you some nice social graphics information collected by facebook fans from microstrategy.

Check out

It is possible to play with the data, and I believe he said there is data from 6 million people in the application.
It looks like this:

An application to use facebook's social graph

I have entered one activity "gardening" and the application shows me that people who like gardening, also have a strong affinity with walking or cooking. All interesting information, that can be used in communication and promotions. Of course it is possible to filter much more from within the application.
They also have an app called: which enables you to broadcast segmented content to your fans. FC Barcelona's facebook page uses it. I have to check this out more...

During the day a lot of the talks went about cultural changes within organisations because of social media. Of actually because of social. Facebook/youtube etc. these are just tools , the social aspect and transparency is the movement that is being enforced by social media. Just like other movements we saw in the past decades.

Social Media is communication based, it is more PR and Marketing then direct sales, therefore so many traditional company's and especially the higher management is struggling with social media. It often won't give you direct sales, but it will help you to sell more in the end.

It is important in most cases to have a top down cultural change! Avoid political problems high in the organisations. Explain what social media is, what it does en why it is different from the traditional points of view.
Slow moving companies (for example when it has to do with social media) are often having leadership problems, mostly because of misunderstanding the power of social media.

Maybe it has to do because leaders of organisations have to share much more information then previously and sometimes they have to act themselves at social media.

One advice was: make social media campaigns based at the top 10 irritations of your customers and solve those irritations.


One of the most interesting and well given presentations was the presentation about Philips global social media strategy and practical work processes. Thomas Marzano gave this presentation.

The presentation started with explaining what a brand is. Important of course, since you have to know what a brand is, to understand how social media works.
A brand is the consumers feeling about your product, your services or your organisation, is  a good definition..

Thomas Marzano from Philips and his interesting presentation about international social media

But the conclusion at the end was: a brand is what people think it is.

I think it is important to have some kind of brand values or principles when you use corporate social media.

It is important to have cross functional teams, that can share knowledge. Internally the communication needs to be optimized as well. In some other presentation, I noticed some tools, like Yammer or Base camp. Philips internally uses social cast it helps people collaborate and this is really important when using social media at a global level.

Philips headquarters focuses as a knowledge centre, but also they provide tools for the local offices. Think about Bazaarvoice for reviews, social media monitoring (a tool that can also understand cultural differences in writing), content management systems etc.
They have guidelines for every social channel for local offices.
Brand guidelines for the local offices, a web care toolkit etc.

Philips introduced a 7 step gateway system. 7 steps that need to be followed before campaigns can be done at social media. On which targets, roi etc needs to be described. I think a good solution to make sure campaigns have a basic quality.
Education about social media is very important and therefore is provided continuously and I guess also around the clock from within Philips HQ.

New KPI's are digital sentiment and engagement.

I think one of the nice things to learn is how to deal with different social networks, like mixi in japan or renren in china for example. Or to ask questions how to make your strategy work in Vietnam, where facebook access is still a problem and people are more passive at social media. Or how to work in countries where e-commerce is much further then in home country holland, like south korea? but also the cultural differences in writing or telling the message you want to broadcast. Per country, network etc. Nice things! To bad there was not time to get more information on these questions. 

Working in such a large organisation is like getting an orchestra play in line, but also nowadays with customers that want to play as well. 
After a purchase there is now a new world. A world to keep your fans , customers. Remember keeping customers is 6 times cheaper as acquiring customers. 
Keep learning, keep adding value for customers or prospects.
Thomas gave a nice extensive example about a kitchen equipment. 
Make joint effort teams to convince stakeholders.
The whole contact line, improve it. Like offering return boxes inside parcels, customer care information, social information, and promote your brand ambassadors with for example new products. Treat them special! They are special for you!
The complete presentation can be found here on slideshare.


  1. Hi Alex,

    Great summary of the day. Good to read that you found our speakers interesting and hope to see you at The Social Conference again next year!

  2. I just spotted this today Alex!

    Thanks so much for your review!



    1. You're welcome Thomas. It was an interesting (and cold) day back in february, Your presentation was really informative and nice to watch.

      Greetings, Alex


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