Soundview Executive Book Summaries


How Businesses Are Using Video

I recently ran across a great article written by Jimm Fox of One Market Media on the many business uses of video. I’ve listed his main categories below, and you can check out the full article for more details.

  1. Customer Reference – video helps with collecting and showing customer testimonials, case studies and interviews.
  2. Product & Service Promotion – companies use video for product presentations, demonstrations and reviews.
  3. Corporate – corporations provide their company overview, executive highlights, facility tours and more with video.
  4. Training & Support – video is the latest thing in employee training, sales presentations and maintenance support.
  5. Internal Communication – video is now being used for business plans, company achievements, event coverage, employee orientation and health & safety education.
  6. Marketing – video promotions can take the form of commercials, viral video, content marketing and landing pages.
  7. PR/Community – video press releases are becoming more popular, along with video PR materials and community relation pieces.
  8. Events – at an event, presentations, roundtable discussions and Q&A with experts can all take place in video.
  9. Other – videos are also being used for recruitment, vlogs (video blogs) and research/surveys.

On the internet search side of the equation, research shows that a webpage with video is 30% more likely to end up on the first page of search results in Google then the same page without video. Google is now giving preference to video content in their search algorithm.

At Soundview, we are following this trend carefully, and have expanded our own offerings to include video. Our iPad format of each business book summary includes a video introduction from our Editor-in-Chief Sarah Dayton.  We now produce Executive Insights, a series of videos which interview active executives regarding key business skills. And we’re developing additional video content to be released soon.

Video increases engagement time, deepens emotional connections, and gives your company more trust and credibility with your customers and other stake-holders. And the cost of entry is becoming less every day with new technologies and web tools. If your company or organization is not currently using video, now is the time to jump in.

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Trends in Customer Service

As social media has taken hold in all areas of business, and as the mobile device has become our primary vehicle of communication and interaction with companies, this phenomenon has brought with it a resurging emphasis on customer service.

The reasons are obvious. Now when I’m not happy with a company’s service, I have more options than calling them or filling out a survey. I can now post my complaint on Facebook to all my friends, Tweet about it to my followers, and even put together a video for Youtube. Viral complaints are the new catastrophe looming over company executives. Just ask United Airlines.

So it’s no surprise that business authors have caught on to this trend and are highlighting those companies that do customer service right. Here are just a few recent titles:

Among the lessons that companies are learning is that they must keep their finger on the pulse of social media. Someone needs to constantly monitor the major social media networks for mentions of their respective company and products. In this way catastrophes can be averted by a quick response to any issue that arises. Ford, PepsiCo and Southwest Airlines are among those companies with staff dedicated to monitoring social sites and handling issues as they come up.

Do you have stories about companies that have handled (or mishandled) customer issues aired through social media? If so, we’d love to post your stories with this blog. Please comment below.



How Is Your Company Using Social Media?
December 14, 2011, 1:46 PM
Filed under: Brands, Social Media, Technology | Tags: , , ,

Several months ago I wrote about one of the book trends we’ve seen in 2011 – social media. I referred to the work of Chris Brogan & Julien Smith with Trust Agents, and Brogan’s latest book Google+ for Business, Shel Israel and Robert Scoble with Naked Conversations, and Adam Penenberg with Viral Loop.

How is your company using social media? Do you see it as a distraction, a necessary drain of resources, or a budding source of great customer interaction and potential for leads and revenue?

At Soundview we’ve been working with social media for several years and are beginning to make some headway. Unlike a retail company, we don’t have the same customer issues to deal with, so our interaction is more informational.

Our SoundviewSummary blog, as you can see, gives readers a taste of the books we’re featuring, looks at various book topics and trends, and points to our other sources of information for business executives. We use Twitter to highlight articles and trends around upcoming books, e-book issues, book publishers, authors and sellers in the news, and from time-to-time we look at how books and life intersect.

We host a group on Linked In with book features for people to pass on and to help with those seeking to move up or find a new job. And last but not least, Facebook is for us a consolidation of the above resources, plus a few more. We highlight each book we cover, provide a feed from this blog, and include videos and other content to help our fans keep up on business content.

We’d love to hear what your company is doing. Please comment, and provide a link to your social media resources as well.



Apple vs Google vs Amazon vs Facebook

This month Fast Company published an issue with an extensive article on the competition between Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook, and they did it in an innovative way. They actually published four separate covers, each one declaring why one of the companies will win. I got the one declaring Google the winner, perhaps because I’m on the east coast (if the cover distribution was geographical). The latest Fortune magazine issue also depicts Larry Page of Google and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fighting it out martial-arts-style on the cover.

The competition between these four companies is definitely heating up as each reaches more and more into the others’ traditional territories. The lines are now blurred as all four companies fight for a larger share of the dollars and time of the world’s population.

In celebration of this epic battle, I thought it would be enlightening to look at the business books being written about each company and its founders.

Apple – we should begin with Apple because Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is projected to be the best-selling book on Amazon for 2011 even though it was just released in October. Jobs has had many books written about him – in fact my count shows as many books about Steve Jobs as have been written about Google, or about Amazon and Facebook combined. We just published the summary of The Steve Jobs Way by Jay Elliot, a Senior VP under Jobs at Apple. And Inside Steve’s Brain by Leander Kahney has received a lot of attention as well. Really, Apple can’t be separated from Steve Jobs when it comes to covering their success over the years and probably well into the future.

Google In the Plex is the latest book about Google, and was written by Wired’s technical journalist Steven Levy. This book is on Amazon’s top 10 list of best sellers for 2011 as well. Among the other top books is The Search by John Battelle, and of course the obligatory The Google Way by Bernard Girard. You haven’t really made it until you have a “The ____Way” book written about you or your company.

Facebook – We get a little thin here with only a handful of books about Facebook or its founder Mark Zuckerberg. There is The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick and The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. But Zuckerberg makes up for this poor showing by being the only one of the four company founders to have a movie made about him called The Social Network. Note: there is no The Facebook Way book yet, which may or may not be a prediction of their future success.

Amazon – For a company that started out selling books, they haven’t had much written about them or their founder Jeff Bezos. One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon by Richard Brandt describes the basic and simple premise of the company – make it easy for people to buy. Other titles about Amazon include Amazon.com by Robert Spector and Inside the Giant Machine by Kalpanik S., a pen-name for a former employee of Amazon.

So if you’re watching this tech battle and would like to read up on the companies, I hope this will get you started. I’m sure there will be many more books to come in the future as the fight continues.



Book Trends Part II

Leadership and communication are trends that have been and will continue to be with us, but some business book trends come and go with the hot topics of the business world.

Not too surprisingly, social media is one of those hot topics that are currently generating new books. Everyone wants to know how to make money with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Coupled with this subject is that of customer empowerment, that through the use of social media the customer has taken the reins and is telling companies what they want.

Chris Brogan is among the authors filling the need for information in the social media arena, with Trust Agents which he wrote with Julien Smith last year, and Google+ for Business coming out in November. Shel Israel and Robert Scoble discuss blogs in Naked Conversations, Adam Penenberg demonstrates the power of viral media in Viral Loop, and Robert Bloom explains the new power of the customer in The New Experts.

In tandem with the green movement, we’re also seeing an emphasis on corporate and personal responsibility. Customers are making product, service and investment decisions based in part on how good a “corporate citizen” a company is, rather than just on how good the products are.

Carol Sanford just released a book entitled The Responsible Business, about which we’re hosting a webinar tomorrow. Daniel Goleman recently shifted from emotional intelligence to Ecological Intelligence.  Joel Kurtzman emphasizes having a Common Purpose that looks beyond the bottom-line. And Tim Sanders discusses the responsibility revolution moving through corporate American in Saving the World at Work.

One more trend that needs a mention is innovation. Although this topic isn’t new, there has been a strong emphasis in the business book world on recreating companies to be innovation powerhouses. Clayton Christensen is a leader in this arena, with the concepts he introduced in The Innovator’s Solution, and then is applying to other fields like healthcare, with The Innovator’s Prescription. Josh Linkner explains how to empower employees to be creative in Disciplined Dreaming, and Norihiko Shimizu describes the continuous innovation practices of Toyota in Extreme Toyota.

One great thing about these prolific business authors is that they are ready to fill in the information gap when a new trend comes up on the horizon. Our challenge as businesspeople is to find the time to read and apply this information before the next sweeping change takes place. That’s why Soundview is in business – to cut down the time from book to application.



How Much is Too Much?

Here’s a topic that should spark some debate: Is there such a thing as too much personal disclosure in the realm of the Internet?

Apparently, someone thinks so. However, his identity may surprise you. Check out this quote:

“I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time… I mean we really have to think about these things as a society.”

This same person went on to suggest that the youngest members of society may one day seek to change their names because they’ve left a trail of embarrassing personal moments scattered across the Internet. The fact that a quick search can produce volumes of data about the average young person means that potential employers may have a filtered perception of just who they are considering for a position.

So, who is the mystery man who thinks there may be too much personal info online? Believe it or not, it’s Eric Schmidt … the CEO of Google!

Here’s the article from BBC.com where we were able to source the above comments. As the article indicates, there are those who believe that Schmidt is overstating the problem of willing disclosure of private information. However, the point about potential employers viewing candidates’ social networking sites is one that is discussed from time to time in books we review at Soundview.

Part of the problem is that the lack of filter creates a constant stream of communication with very little emphasis on connection. Soundview currently has a new summary from John Maxwell that attempts to respond to this issue in the physical world (although some of its concepts could easily be applied online). Visit us at Summary.com to learn more about Maxwell’s new book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently.



China, India … Facebook?

Houston … we’ve reached Zeitgeist.

On Wednesday of this week, I read a few stories online about social networking site Facebook reaching 500 million users. Later that day, I watched ABC World News devote the bulk of an entire episode to the company. That evening, I went to a movie where one of the preview trailers was for the film The Social Network, a “based on a true story” account of the company’s founding. I devoted so much time that day to reading and hearing about Facebook that I was only able to check out Soundview’s Facebook page six or seven times.

All kidding aside, the social media site’s growth is awe-inspiring. Several like-minded media outlets wrote that if the site were a country, its population would make it the third largest on Earth. While everyone else is chipping in with their two cents about Facebook, we thought it was an opportune time to profile David Kirkpatrick’s new book The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World. You might be surprised at what we found out when we spent some time with this book.

Of course, the only place you’ll be able to see our exclusive coverage of The Facebook Effect is in the next edition of our e-newsletter Soundview Executive Book Alert. Never read it? It’s the best place to read reviews of books that are making waves, upcoming must-read titles, and books that may have escaped your radar. Here’s a link to a previous edition of Soundview Executive Book Alert.

Soundview Executive Book Alert is one of three e-newsletters currently offered at Summary.com. Best of all, they’re all FREE and you do NOT need to be a subscriber to read them. The Soundview Executive Book Alert featuring The Facebook Effect drops in less than 10 days. Sign up now and make sure you’re on the list!