Facebook Conference: Adaptation to Social & Mobile Is Matter of Survival

As Bonin Bough, global head of digital at PepsiCo, said at PR News’ Facebook Conference in San Francisco on Aug. 9, “we’re drugged out on technology while computers are getting smarter.”

We’re increasingly hooked on social and mobile technology as computers lead us along and change the way we actually think and act.

This is not a value judgment—it’s just the way things are.

Bough’s concern is actually with the widening gap between where society is with social and mobile (addicted, strung out) and where organizations are (flatlined digital evolution). The reason for organizations’ slow adaption? Fear, according to Bough.

And being gripped by fear can be fatal for organizations. “Failure to adapt to the digital evolution is written on the balance sheets of companies,” said Bough.

I spoke to an attendee after the Facebook Conference who works at a large utility. He told me that he was asked by other attendees why his organization needed to be on Facebook at all.

“Were they at the same conference as me?” he asked me. “We have no choice but to adapt. We might have a monopoly in what we do, but there are still conversations about us on social networks, whether we’re involved or not. We have to be there. And the higher-ups are finally starting to get it. They were real resistant for a long while.”

Much of this resistance takes the form of higher-ups wanting to see a quick return on their investment in social media. That’s a legitimate request, but it’s also a stalling tactic. This is not a fad. And as Bonin Bough said, it’s up to communicators to see to it that their organizations don’t go the way of the dinosaurs—or Borders.

—Steve Goldstein



  • Sharon Smith

    I think this is such an accurate account of today – many companies do direct you to a website which is basically a static business card – they cannot imagine how frustrating this is, and how much pleasure it can be when there is a simple, intuitive site that enables people to find what they are looking for – not just a list of generic FAQs. As for not being up to date in social media – Well, Bough sucinctly states that the conversations are out there – isnt it better to be managing and controlling the sentiment of the company? Thanks! Sharon