It’s not ROI, it’s ROA!

Continuing my live blog from Social Media Influence in London. We’re back after the morning coffee break and I’m back in the Social Business Design stream. Up on stage is Julien Le Nestour, formerly of Schlumberger. He is going to tell us all about his idea of ROA (Return on Attention).

11.40: Julien asks us to solve a problem: the issues are framed slightly differently in two differently worded questions – they are essentially the same problem and the same choice of solution. Our reaction to the two questions shows us that “choices involving gains are often risk averse and choices involving losses are often risk taking”.

11.43: Macro-trend: attention is an increasingly-scarce resource. An organisation is not like “Care Bears” community – some people are going to hate you.

We need to understand ROA at individual level: Employees are putting up their own goals, based on their perception of the organisation. People are going to pursue their own goals, whatever they are. “The physical effect on the individual of the idea of death suggested by the collectivity”.

Usage, adoption, value creation through social media is simple: the employee will use it if he gets return on attention (as part of a defined workflow or not). In a lot of organisations, the hardware is often the weakest link. The ROA for the employee checking emails with Microsoft browser is worse than for those using Blackberry and iphone. In terms of management, what we should use is the aggregated and weighted ROA.

We should base the business case for social media on ROA not ROI.

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