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January 10, 2013

A few years back the CEO of a major food retailer told me about the problems he had communicating through his large company. Despite his best attempts at sending direction, he found his attempts resembled the old kid’s game of telephone.  The messages he sent out were continuously warped and reshaped step-by-step on their way to the front lines.

The explosion of social media should rectify that problem in two directions. Top executives can now easily communicate without filters to their entire team. And just as easily, executives can use social media to listen to the real world discussion of all levels of associates and even customers.

Yet it’s not happening.  A recent study in Fortune magazine and a follow up at CEO.com found the sad truth: CEOs of large companies are the slowest adapters to social media and in the process are missing out. But breaching the gap to the C-level suite may soon get easier.

This month, the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America www.ccrrc.org will release the next two parts of its in-depth study of the entire social web experience. These new parts—the sixth and seventh in the report—detail the steps companies need take to create a structure for using the social web to communicate internally and externally.

Each part identifies specific steps that companies need take to focus their communication, learn how to best use the social web to create a sense of purpose and find ways to measure the results of social web chatter.

In addition, the Council’s work will be featured in a special workshop http://bit.ly/CCRRCSessionatNRF Monday, January 14, at the National Retail Federation Convention in New York City. The session will focus on the realities of building a successful social media operation.

In short, many of the issues the C-level needs to get social are going to get attention. Apparently, it’s an effort that’s long overdue.


Michael Sansolo

Research Director

Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America