You might have noticed Toshiba’s new TV campaign, “The Ramification of Yes” – you know, the one with the zombies. Those zombies aren’t actually real (are any?), but rather a figment of one Toshiba executive’s imagination, as he ponders the consequences of a high-pressure, go/no-go decision. (In a nutshell: an electric company employee drops his non-impact-resistant-hard-drive-equipped laptop, blows the nation’s power grid, man drinks spoiled milk and – boom! – Zombie Nation. The horrified exec snaps back to reality and decides to delay shipping of the new Satellite Series until they can install the hard drive.)
It makes for entertaining advertising, but, in reality, the scenario is every C-suiter’s worst nightmare: your carefully researched, data-driven, best-intentioned decision turns out to be the wrong one – with disastrous results. A band of zombies might be a stretch, but a band of angry customers? Not hard to imagine. The point hits home: don’t leave anything to chance.
At Communispace, we strongly advise against making go/no-go decisions based on findings from our communities, but we also strongly believe in the ability of our members – and our consultants – to augment, illuminate and contextualize quantitative data sources. In my role as internal videographer, I was privy to a recent conversation between Diane Hessan and Sally O’Rourke, newly-minted Managing Director of Europe, which touched on this very subject. Sally’s week-one crash course in all things Communispace left her blown away by the power of insights fostered in our private, intimate communities; as a former executive, she couldn’t help but feel that she might have made different decisions had she possessed this kind of deep understanding to compliment her data.
Without integrating the voice of the consumer into their decision-making process, as Sally points out, executives are essentially rolling the dice with the future of their business.