Who is What a Concept! and What Do They Do?

(side note Concept Hub was originally called What a Concept! originally posted on that blog.)

That question has been asked often.

Glad you asked!

Let’s start with who we are not. We are not an Interactive Marketing Agency nor a Traditional Marketing Agency. We are not a PR Agency. We are not developers or designers.

So who are we?

We are a Social Media Agency. We fill in the gaps that social media has exposed within organizations both in regards to internal communications and culture as well as external communications and messaging. Because of Social Media, PR and HR need to be working more closely together and Customer Service needs to be more involved in what PR and Marketing are involved with. Messaging needs to start with conversations that are already happening within online communities as opposed to brainstorming sessions in a closed conference room.

The walls have come down and we help our clients understand what that means, how they need to restructure in order to manage their messaging and image as well as maintain a competitive advantage.

What do I mean by the walls have come down?

First, let’s start with why HR and PR need to be working hand in hand.

HR is responsible for corporate culture. They provide needed training, oversee performance reviews, are the intermediaries between employees and management and help to ensure that the right employees are in the right positions. They also set company guidelines and policies and are involved in recruiting.

PR is responsible for corporate image and messaging. Corporate image and messaging are now being provided by the employees inside the corporation through their active participation in social networks, blogs, and online forums. On my personal blog, I recently connected how LinkedIn directly affects the reputation and recruiting efforts of an organization. The world now has the ability to get a very transparent view of many things that are happening inside of an organization.

Organizations also need to be aware of what is happening within online communities that will have a direct effect on them. While working with a previous client, we were encouraging them to comment on blogs that mentioned their site as a way to acknowledge their customers, say thank you, and provide additional value. Our client faced the challenge of brand loyalty in that customers could and often did use and mention their service alongside their competitors. We felt that by interacting with the customers within their communities our client would gain the competitive advantage. And in fact, they did. They began to receive feedback from their customers about what they did and did not like about their services. We were working directly with PR on these efforts, but the results of the efforts affected product development, customer service, advertising, and sales.

Unfortunately, each of these departments had not been interacting with each other. They still had their siloed walls up and it took several days of conversations to figure out how to respond to the very valuable conversations we had sparked.

The same tools that enable online communities and collaboration effectively also enable internal collaboration and just in time relevant information to each department. We help our companies restructure their internal communications to effectively respond to what is going on within the external communities. The internal communities also allow for the ongoing collaboration of ideas and innovations and to empower each employee to participate in their areas of interest. Such transparent internal interactions allow managers and HR to find the Hidden Talent within their Organizations.

Although the agencies and organizations that have traditionally provided Interactive Marketing, PR, traditional marketing and design and development services can and should embrace social media in the way that it impacts their business, we have positioned ourselves as the agency to help organizations adapt holistically to the changes that seem to have come out of left field.