What is Your Organization’s Digital Marketing Literacy Rate?

SOURCE: Image by Roland Deiser and Sylvain Newton https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Six_social-media_skills_every_leader_needs_3056
SOURCE: Image by Roland Deiser and Sylvain Newton

According to a new report in the McKinsey Quarterly, enterprise-level digital media literacy is tomorrow’s source of competitive advantage.

Digital natives like Dell and Intel are organization’s with a sharp degree of digital media literacy.  Of course they do. Digital drives their revenue growth.

But how does an industrial age, digital immigrant like GE, an enterprise which has always been particularly good at change management, learn to manage the risk and capitalize on the opportunities associated with social media in the workplace?

That is the question Roland Deiser, a senior fellow at the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont University and Sylvain Newton from the GE Crotonville institute asked t otry and  better understand how one the world’s most respected companies is adapting its processes and procedures to move from social media marketing to enterprise 2.0 strategy.

Their big take away is what they call the six, fundamental leadership characteristics digital media literate organizations must develop, and they range from “efforts to build personal skills, experiment with technologies, invest in new tools, expand employee participation, and shape organizational structures and governance to capture emerging social opportunities.” These are good big ideas. They’re critical concepts leaders need to grasp.

Deiser and Newton break their key concepts down into six skills, grouped in two categories: personal skills and organizational skills.  Their report, while not necessarily ground breaking to those of us who have been at this for a while, does a good job of articulating these key concepts with language corporate leaders are likely to be able to relate to.  But as is too often the case, it leaves the real work of building social media literacy undefined.


In fact, it appears the authors don’t “understand cross platform dynamics and what causes messages to go viral” themselves. Sylvian Newton’s Twitter account still displays the spammy egg default profile pic and Roland Deiser is active on Twitter but points only to his Linkedin from hisdestination website.  Still, their report is another proof point of the strategic importance of social media literacy in the work place and given their impressive credentials, this is welcome air cover for social media training organizations like ours.

But how do you actually build social media literacy? How do you equip an entire organization with the applied skills they need in an environment where even the authors of study like this are unable to demonstrate even the most basic digital proficiency themselves? Where do you start?

It is great to see these organization get behind the points we in the social media space have been driving home for some time now, as a consultant who has been conducting live social media workshops and online social media training courses all over the world for nearly a decade, left me hungry for more detail on how organizations actually go about learning how to “make sense of noise through intelligent filtering” or helping those employees who are critical to achieving resonance to hone their technical skills.

The best way to stamp out digital illiteracy is through education. Which means building organizational media literacy requires more than a basic understanding of key concepts.  Integrating big ideas like these business processes in a way that’s likely to achieve measurable results also requires applied knowledge of what social networks can do from a practical standpoint as well as knowledge of case studies and best practices.

Over the the next few days, I’m going to fill in what I think this report set up quite nicely.  I’ll also tell you what this new company I founded is all about, how we’re different from our competitors and why, if you like my live workshops, I hope you’ll consider getting back in touch.

If you buy into Deiser and Newton’s argument about the critical importance of building digital literacy and agree, in general, with their big ideas, I’m going to show you how to actually cultivate these six skills. And not just among leadership. But throughout the entire organization so you can achieve true, enterprise-wide social media literacy. And I’m going to tell you how to do it without excessive time of the job, and without disrupting your daily activities.

More to come!