Social Business: What Are Companies Really Doing?

Findings from the 2012 Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project

Social business is still just getting started. But its value is clearly emerging for marketing, innovation, operations and leadership.



Key Findings

  • Social Business Matters Today — and Will Matter Even More Tomorrow
  • Some Leaders Are Enthusiastic, but Lack Metrics to Prove Value
  • Size Matters
  • Media and Tech Are Leading the Way


The Growing Importance of Social Business

  • The Challenge of Social Business

Who Values Social Business Today May Surprise You

  • Opposite Ends of the Spectrum
  • Industry Spotlight: Media and Tech
  • The View from the C-Level

Where’s the Business Value? (Not Just in Marketing)

  • Marketing (example: McDonald’s)
  • Innovation (example: Lego Group)
  • Operations (examples: Nationwide, Capital One, Almond Board of California)
  • Leadership (examples: Luminoso, Cara Group)

Connecting Leadership and Culture

  • Vision and Strong Management Support
  • Sharing Knowledge
  • Other Requirements

Putting Social Business into Action

  • Start with a Long-term Vision
  • Assess Where You Are Today
  • Support Adoption
  • Measure Results, Not Adoption


About the Research

The Survey Questions and Responses

Acknowledgments and Interviewees


David Kiron is the executive editor of Innovation Hubs at MIT Sloan Management Review, which brings ideas from the world of thinkers to the executives and managers who use them.

Doug Palmer is a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP and leader of Deloitte's Social Business practice.

Anh Nguyen Phillips is a senior manager within Deloitte's U.S. Strategy, Brand & Innovation group, where she leads strategic thought leadership initiatives.

Nina Kruschwitz is an editor and the special projects manager at MIT Sloan Management Review, where she coordinates the publication's Innovation Hub activities.


Natasha Buckley, Senior Manager, Deloitte Services LP

Jonathan Copulsky, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Alex Dea, Business Technology Analyst, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Deb Gallagher, Director, Marketing & Operations, MIT Sloan Management Review

Martha E. Mangelsdorf, Editorial Director, MIT Sloan Management Review

Mark White, Principal and CTO, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Laura Winig, writer

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