The third in my elsewhere series of important content from other sources, this post highlights the entire December 2010 issue of the Harvard Business Review. Because HBR is a business and has to pay the bills, not every article is available online. I'd implore anyone reading this to find a print copy and read it, cover to cover. I'm obsessed. If we've chatted about social media recently then you know about my obsession with the December 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review. The majority of the issue focuses on social media and branding. I'll sum up my reaction simply by saying the entire issue is a profound validation of the new model for community engagement. Along similarly profound lines, Dana Lewis recently posited, "social media is more art than science." If that is the case, then the HBR outlines the form of the art, its importance and place in the world.

That later point is not to be understated. As barriers to communication disappear, the expectations on meaningful interactions rise. Today, social has to touch nearly every business line and strategy before it goes out the door.

According to the authors:

Many consumer touch points are owned-media channels, such as the company’s website, product packaging, and customer service and sales functions. Usually they are run by parts of the organization other than marketing. Recognizing the need to coordinate these channels, one of our clients, a consumer durables company, has moved its owned-media functions into the sphere of the chief marketing officer, giving him responsibility for orchestrating them. Along with traditional and digital marketing communications, he now manages customer service and market research, product literature design, and the product registration and warranty program.

Here is the take away: its not a silo. I don't agree with the quoted case study saying it has to be under marketing, in fact I'd suggest that there is a new breed of communications department, or as we call it, Community Engagement. But the salient point is regardless of what you call it, it has to be empowered and positioned to include responsibilities for customer service, market research, business development, communications, branding, outreach, sales and more.