This story begins with a public secret. (Yeah, we know.)
It's a secret about power. A secret organizations still struggle to understand. To a large extent they already know what the secret is, they're simply unable or more accurately, unwilling, to give up control. That's the ironic part. The leaders that give up control and replace it with letting their stakeholders in, with embracing and responding to feedback, with having conversations that build brand not confine it, are the ones who will yield the most influence.
Oh right, the secret.
We can see you.
Increasingly, the collective "we" -- clients, consumers, donors, public -- are aware of the many ways, transparent and not, that brands try to engage us. That's because, to some extent, your public shapes your brand.
And that means embracing the feedback loop. AKA: listening, hearing, acting and changing, when necessary.
Ask a local poitician if ignoring the public digital discourse is something they can continue to do. Those that answer yes won't be around to get the same question next election.
Many businesses, municipalities and nonprofits have not yet made an authentic commitment to embrace the feedback. While it's important for the guy who monitors the twitter feed, it's infinitely moreso for the gal who sets strategy. Synthesizing feedback and sharing your brand has to happen at the most senior levels. Without it, the old world top down 'relational' efforts to influence are futile.
Influence is not control and control is not influence. My way/highway is no way to evolve your brand. Thanks to a networked world, that hack'll be back Jack, every single day.
And it's not really a secret anymore.