Guest post by David Cruice, WG’06 (WEMBA 30)
The Wharton Club of South Florida held its 2010/11 season-opening on Thursday, September 29th at the Jorge Perez Auditorium on the campus of the University of Miami’s School of Architecture. Over 90 attendees enjoyed a free-flowing 90-minute Q&A session focusing on the intersection of marketing and social media. The blue-ribbon panel of experts included: Steve Ennen, director of Wharton’s Interactive Media Initiative (WIMI), who moderated the discussion; Wharton’s very own Professor Eric Bradlow, co-director of WIMI; Bruce Turkel; University of Miami Professor Alex de Carvalho; and Jacques Hart of Roar Media.
The panelists’ consensus was that social media is having a pervasive impact on our world and communications. If used correctly, it can significantly help a company achieve its goals. Companies that choose not to engage in this dialogue will invariably forgo the many positive impacts and benefits of social media. They also run the serious risk of alienating themselves from the consumers who are talking about them while limiting their ability to respond to crises and manage their reputations online – a dangerous proposition.
Audience members voiced concerns about companies failing to protect their reputations online and mitigate negative feedback. Without doubt, all sorts of conversations about their companies, brands, products, and services are happening online – whether or not the companies want to engage in them – and smart companies are choosing to invest the time and resources to join the conversations. Many attendees shared personal anecdotes of company executives who are reluctant to engage in social media, support its funding, or embrace it as an integral part of their marketing strategy.
Feedback was extremely positive, with many of the attendees remaining well past the end of the event to speak with the panelists and network with their fellow Wharton alumni. Overall, it was a great start to our event season. We look forward to meeting many of our fellow alumni as we host future events focusing on behavioral economics, corporate growth, the economic forecast, the business of baseball, and green technologies. And don’t forget to follow the Wharton Club of South Florida via our very own social media channels:
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David Cruice, WG’06
President, Wharton Club of South Florida