The « Gap »

(Slide from Tara Hunt’s presentation)

Last night was held the monthly edition of 3rd Tuesday here in Montreal. Since last summer, we have the chance to have Tara Hunt, author of the paradigm shifting « The Whuffie Factor« , living here and being an active member of the vibrant Web/SocialMedia community.

One of the reasons she’s here, is to work on a new Startup, ShwowP. In moving beyond her last book and towards her new startup, in searching the web and attending many conferences, she noticed a « gap » between business and their community, no matter how hard they work on their socialmedia strategies. So the underlying theme here was « This is not about SocialMedia« . Coming from @missrogue that was quite intriguing.

So the title of her presentation was « Yes, I do mind the gap »

That Gap is all about values. Values of freedom. beauty, truth and love. Tara is finding more and more proof that companies that align with those values keep customers for the long run. She looked also at values of online community, specially generosity, compassion and authenticity and how can those two set of values can relate, putting a lot of emphasis on the quality of relationship rather than on the quantity of relationship (Think Twitter followers/Facebook friends. This quality of relationship lead to a robot vs human approach to customer service. She closed with revolutionary concepts as Gross National happiness and Genuine Progress Indicator, 2 national indicators that could change the way we look at our quality of life

As the basis for a new book, she wanted feedback from the crowd, reactions, and idea on where to go from there, what examples come to mind etc.

There was some interesting points that were brought up by people in the room.

One was, the looming quarterly results that come with having huge corporations that are tough to reach when such values are put forward…A sort discussion on the recent Toyota problems followed

Another was about « Perception ». Companies want to be perceived in a certain way to increase their sales. The recent Pepsi decision not to buy ads at the Super Bowl but to invest that money in a Philanthropic SocialMedia campaign was brought up.

Then someone talked about the Generation Gap that could be an underlying « wave » under that shift in customers expectations.

I’m sure Tara got as much from the crowd last night that we all got from her very enlightening presentation.

As far as ny two-cents on the matters, I see a few things to watch while refining those concepts.

There is also a gender gap. Freedom is pretty universal but, beauty truth and love could be coined as feminine values. Therefore facing some resistance in male-dominated economic circles and economy. In the same perspective, Quebec being a matriarchal society, the concepts will be embraced quite easily here. I’m not so sure in strong patriarchal societies how will this be accepted.

But, It is yet to be determined if the global online economy has any gender at all. The growing presence of women and the younger generation as online customers might be the tidal wave that will sweep the existing values and build the bridges between the corporation and communities, therefore filling the values gap that  Tara is referring to.