Sounds very rockstar, but this month’s Green Room is literally a bit of a blur. We’ve had an extended period of pandemic lockdown and the separation between home and work has become blurred. We asked six of our rockstar CMOs for their advice.
With lockdown, our work and home lives have become blurred. We no longer get home from work, we work from home, or do you sometimes feel we are doing home at work? Something that’s been playing out on social media, that to a greater or lesser extent we blend our personal lives with our professional passions and the work we do.
As marketing leaders we recognize the value of employee engagement and having our people ignited to be mini influencers and advocates of the brand, it’s hugely powerful and a trait of many of the best brands. While we need to be respectful of each individual’s relationship with social media and how they feel about their relationship with work.
And, as I asked this question of our panel, Tom Goodwin, an outspoken social media personality and (now former) Head of Futures and Insight was fired by Publicis as the views he expressed about Coronavirus were not aligned with the companies.
So, the question posed to the panel this month:
In separating you and your work either in lockdown or on social media, where do you strike the balance yourself, what do you expect of your people?
Social media already blended our work/home lives and the lockdown has accelerated this. I’ve long been an advocate of employee advocacy and I’ve seen first hand that I get 20x more engagement from my personal LinkedIn posts versus our company posts. I actively encourage employees to be vocal on social media because it strengthens their personal brand and amplifies the company brand by association.
But while it’s OK to bring your ‘whole self’ to work, unlike a Rockstar tour, “what goes on social media stays on social media!” Never post anything that you wouldn’t be happy to say in person to your employer. If an employee exercises really poor judgment in their social media posts, I would question their judgment in other areas.
Dr. Christine Bailey is CMO of Valitor, an international payment solutions company headquartered in Iceland. Forging a career in the tech sector, she’s led European marketing functions for Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems and was recently voted #1 woman in tech by B2B Marketing.
Learn more about Christine in backstage Q&A here.
We as leaders have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of and preserve the respect for our brands while staying true to our own beliefs. We are beholden not to some monolithic corporate propaganda but to the people who comprise the organization and the tremendous amount of work and dedication they invest each and every day. To this end, we should “do no harm” in our actions and deeds personally as well as professionally…including in how we navigate the social media landscape.
But this shouldn’t restrict anyone from expressing an idea or opinion – hate speech notwithstanding – it’s the “how” that matters. For those who seek to lead or join a broader discussion, this needs to happen in a constructive manner as should be the case for any and all communication.
In the example you provide (Tom Goodwin, being fired by Publicis), aspects of the message behind Tom’s tweets are relevant and important for us to address: the pandemic’s impact on our global healthcare system is real and we should not lose sight of the inherent tragedy in the loss of life, whatever the cause. However, to criticize the focus on the pandemic is disrespectful and reckless in light of the tremendous effort to curb its spread and to engage in a Twitter feud is juvenile…both represent an inherent lack of sound judgment.
Every day, in word, deed and tweet, we represent more than just ourselves: we represent our families, our culture, our company, our passions and more. Character counts.
Even before COVID, our professional and personal lives have blended. As a leader, you never quite turn off your work. When you love what you do, your passion drives your thinking which inevitably crosses into your personal time.
I’ve been in social media since the early days and have watched it mature. For me, in some channels, social media is intentionally focused on certain types of content. That’s how I strike a balance. My Twitter feed is focused on marketing and business content. I still find articles and content that peak my interest and provide me with the ability to connect with others. Many people I have met via social I would not have met or connected with otherwise. And that was a major reason I believed in the power of social media when I started using it over 10 years ago.
Instagram is a feed for my art, while Twitter remains my main marketing and business feed. LinkedIn is purely business but it’s becoming an interesting social platform with its own niche. There I primarily share our company’s content and occasionally other news. Reddit is important – it’s where I see what our customers need when it comes to financial wellness.
For my team, their individual roles shape my expectations. We have identified brand advocates, who have guidelines to follow. Outside of that, it’s really up to the individual. My rule for social media remains what it’s always been: “Publish what you’re comfortable with your grandmother seeing. If your content was picked up on the front page of the New York Times, are you okay with what you’re saying?”
If you want to express your opinion, then do it. Don’t express an opinion on social media that you would not express in person. That’s hiding behind a digital facade and goes against everything that has made social media powerful and purposeful.
Wendy Bryant-Beswick is an award-winning marketer with 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry. She is currently VP of Marketing at Service Credit Union. Go backstage with Wendy.
Working from home has always been a niche play – most employees and managers have not been doing it. So the tools that keep a work-from-home situation tenable in the long run need to be developed. Specific space for working; rituals of “work-time” and “home-time” like shutting an office door when you sign out for the day; making sure you don’t let office hours become 24-hours.
But probably the piece that’s easiest for leaders of remote teams to miss, is the human interaction and social support that we need to provide for each other.
That’s why we’ve moved to hour-long daily standups with my team: to make sure that we’re constantly in contact with each other and hearing what each other is working on. Slack, email and other virtual communication tools are great, but nothing beats getting in a room together and hashing things out.
Today, the room is a Zoom conference, but that’s the best we can do until we get back to face-to-face living.
Ian Lowe leads marketing technology software provider Crownpeak’s marketing and communications and is responsible for generating demand and creating awareness. He’s a marketing executive with 20 years of marketing and technology experience, with most of the last 10 years in the web content management space.
Learn more about Ian in our Backstage Q&A
Also in this issue
Sometimes a topic inspires a little more from our Rockstar CMO band and we go a little longer, take a look at these articles inspired by our Green Room question this month.
The most popular CMO on social media gives us some straight-talking advice on blurring the lines.
“Who made anyone but you the arbiter of what does and does not belong on your personal Social Media channels… or anywhere you communicate?”
Jasmine Martirossian, PhD
Authenticity is key when blurring the line between personal and the organizations brand
Jasmine Martirossian, Ph.D., VP Marketing at TÜV SÜD Americas, shares her advice on balancing personal brand and representing your employer and a great example of how to lead when balancing freedom of speech and connected employees.
More of the good stuff from our Rockstars…
Every week we catch-up with one of our Rockstar CMOs and other people we find interesting, including Christine, David, Robert, Wendy and Ian on the Rockstar CMO F’in Marketing Podcast.
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