Deloitte Australia. More Grateful Dead than Barry Manilow.
In a connected world, power shifts to those best able to connect.”
Dov Seidman, Ethicist
If likened to musical styles, some may think of accounting firms more as Barry Manilow than the Grateful Dead!
However I recently heard about the social media activity of Deloitte Australia, a member of the global Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu network and one of the big four accounting firms. Their activity includes Facebook, Yammer (a type of in-house Twitter), Twitter and YouTube. They’ve achieved significant results. It’s a remarkable story – and if you’re a larger organisation, it may just get you rockin’ toward social media!
After a decade of particular turbulence with fairly rapid, consecutive changes in leadership (CEO’s), Deloitte Australia was seeking new strategies.
The firm had identified the consumer shift towards accessing information when, where and how they want, and consumers’ increased use of social media.
Deloitte regard social media as :
… about socialising in communities online – sometimes leading, sometimes connecting and sometimes following … to be where people are and to participate in a way that speaks to them directly.”
Cognisant that many of their stakeholders use social media, they recognised the opportunity:
Companies are ignoring a valuable media communication outlet that targets a generation that has time and money to spend on technology”.
As innovation, relevance and connection are hallmarks of the Deloitte brand, it was a good fit to embrace social media.
Increasing brand awareness and engaging their staff to present “an authentic, user generated impression of Deloitte for prospective candidates and clients” are key for the firm.
The Strategy: An Inside Out Approach
At the end of 2008, they launched Yammer ( ‘the best inhouse sandpit available’) to shape value and develop a way of being relevant to the firm as a whole.
Initially an in-house social chat room, it soon became the platform upon which problems are posed and solved. Deloitte has found Yammer a great way to seek input, test ideas and gather feedback quickly. They also state it has been powerful in disseminating information, collaborating on a large scale globally and connecting with undiscovered communities.
More than 50% of Deloitte Australia’s 5000 people have now signed up and recent statistics show a correlation between retention of staff and the Yammer leader board.
Deloitte says that the tipping point though for Yammer was when their Digital CEO, Peter Williams, called for videos and tag lines for a new advertising campaign, known as the “Green Dot Campaign”. His call triggered 1000+ new members of Deloitte Australia to join Yammer, the formation of 38 groups and creation of 1184 original concepts.
- Recruitment : “JoinMe@Deloitte”
Deloitte has established a JoinMe@Deloitte Facebook application, which links the firm’s employee referral program to their employees’ Facebook network.
The idea came through their innovation (ideas) program.
To date more than 25% of Deloitte’s 4,000 employees have added the application to their Facebook profile and almost 3,000 (2,793) potential referees have viewed the application, generating 150 requests to be referred for hire.
Leveraging employees’ existing networks and mobilising them to act as recruiters makes financial sense for the firm and necessitates a committed, trusting and respectful environment.
- You Tube
At the end of 2008, Deloitte established a dedicated YouTube channel , which to date has generated more than 40,000 video views. (Click on the link to go directly to the channel).
The Results – Harnessing Collective Wisdom
The results have been impressive. As a firm focussed on innovation, David Redhill, Chief Marketing Officer of Deloitte cites several positive outcomes of their social media activity including:
- Revenue driving new products developed from using the media
- Tangible business improvements resulting from harnessing the collective of wisdom of their people
- Engaging 4500 people in the process of building a marketing strategy;
- They’re now the largest Yammer network in the world
- The blitzing of the competition and grabbing share of media and government mind with their innovative use of Twitter during the last Federal Budget.
Many businesses contemplating social media activity are nervous about potential risks to their business. Deloitte has addressed this.
Like marketing strategist and best selling author David Meerman Scott, who talks of the need for organisations to ‘lose control’ when spreading ideas and creating world raves, Deloitte believes in ‘unleashing energy and not trying to control it’.
The firm has developed a framework around how it manages social media risk. They’ve defined acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, monitor use and deal with any inappropriate use. Their focus is upon education:
‘The central idea is for people to understand how social media works. Their national social media council has developed guidelines that put focus on education.”
Deloitte’s social media activity internally is supported by two of the firm’s key values – empower and trust. Employees are counselled about personal and professional responsiblity for both their own and the company’s reputation.
Social Media Rock Stars
Social media as a communications channel is relevant for business if their stakeholders are online and participating. With 400 million active users on Facebook, 24 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and an estimated 5-10 thousand Twitter accounts opened per day, it is likely that for businesses, many stakeholders are active in this realm.
In addition to being described as ‘rock stars’, Deloitte has established themselves as Web 2.0 thought leaders and as a top employment brand in technology and business. As they say “not bad for a firm of accountants!”
Rock on Deloitte!
This content is drawn from a presentation by David Redhill, Chief Marketing Officer of Deloitte Australia, provided in May 2010 and their publication: Social Media at Deloitte. Participation, communication, transformation
Follow Deloitte on Twitter: @green_dot