I could never take the place of your man May 11, 2009Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, conversation, strategy.
Tags: Ford, Ford Motor Company, Scott Monty, Southwest Airlines, Twitter
When I made games, every now and then I’d see a project underway where all the code was written by a single individual. That individual would invariably write it in such a fashion that it was only decipherable by them. This became an issue when the project got sufficiently far along that there wasn’t time to re-write the core code (it became, in other words, “too big to fail”. Har har). The company would then be in an interesting position – they could fire the programmer and lose the work, they could assign someone else to work along side the programmer who would no doubt have the most miserable job in the whole building deciphering and documenting the spaghetti or they could…? I don’t know.
I was thinking about this as I reviewed the top 100 brands on Twitter. Upon investigation there should be a massive asterisk which leads you to “In April. Over a few days.” – but this is not the point. The list itself is a collection of the usual suspects, and where possible their Twitter name is included and linked to.
What I find interesting here is at #21 Ford appears. Not just Ford though – Ford’s social media evangelist, Scott Monty. Nowhere else on this list does an individual appear alongside a company listing, in fact nowhere else does an individual appear at all.
We can assume, at some point, Scott won’t work for Ford. This creates an interesting dillemma wherein an individual not tied to the company potentially takes the good will built up with them when they leave. We’ve seen this previously with community managers, but it has for the most part remained within the confines of tech companies. Less risky strategies have been seen from the likes of Southwest Airlines where they encourage their employees to blog and engage in social media, but do a good job of tying it under a single site.
Personally, I’m a big fan of putting a human face on this sort of initiative, in fact I don’t think it works without it. It will be interesting to see however how it plays out once Scott no longer calls Ford home.
I really believe you can’t pay someone to engage, you can only reward them for it. In this case, the reward is a job.
But this is why you can’t just pull in the new recruit from the marketing team to take up the mantle. If they don’t already engage, they’re not going to do it because of a paycheque, not in a way that resonates.
Because that can’t be bought.