The nature of the internet and inbound marketing has changed how we need to be looking at intellectual capital today.
You build trust and followers by providing information of value. Information that 10 years ago you may have considered proprietary is now integral to gathering the attention, and earning the trust, of your prospects.
Content is the new medium of exchange between companies and buyers.
There’s an article in the current edition of Communication World entitled, “Managing Information on the Porous Web” with seven suggestions for companies today:
- It’s not new so get over it! How much of your information is really proprietary? How long do you think it will take a brochure or price list to reach your competitor once you send it to a distributor or manufacturers’ rep?
- Nix the secrecy mindset. Your “secret” can be improved upon with feedback from your customers and your prospects.
- What’s internal will be external. Locking down content is futile. Remember that anything you write in an e-mail or post on a website is there forever. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want to see on a billboard on your way to work.
- Collaboration, not dissent, makes us smarter. The White House has a wiki due to the belief “that everyone has expertise, experience and enthusiasm which, if shared in manageable ways, will help us make smarter decisions together.”
- Consider a “strategic press leak.” If some bad news is about to come out about your company, wouldn’t you be better off beating the press to the story and presenting your side first? We’re in a very understanding and forgiving society if we “come clean” when we make a mistake and make an honest effort to correct it.
- Empower your employees. Your employees interact with your customers and prospects every day. They know what on their minds and what their “hot buttons” are. If you don’t feel comfortable empowering your employees to address those “hot buttons,” you’ve either got the wrong employees or you’ve done a poor job training and developing them.
- Protect what is “mission critical.” Be clear about what is confidential and how that information should be managed. When you really think about it, there’s not that much information, other than your financials, that are that proprietary — unless you have something to hide.
How do you and your firm handle content and confidentiality in the age of transparency?