Toronto, September 12, 2012 -- Canadian Chief Executive Officers need to use social media to stimulate consumer confidence and purchasing, in order to increase Canada’s economic metabolism and lead the country out of a dangerous economic situation, says ING Direct President and CEO Peter Aceto.
“CEOs know that social media has a transformative value,” stated Mr. Aceto, “it is an activity that can boost customer interaction, drive sales, and stimulate the overall economy. Yet very few CEOs participate in social media at all. This is an especially hazardous omission today, with our economy needing all the power it can get.
“Canadian debt levels have grown much faster than incomes, and even exceed the debt-to-income levels of Americans. More Canadians are going into retirement saddled with debt than ever before. While economic growth signals are mixed, we are certainly not matching our national growth forecasts.
“CEOs can stimulate the economy by become “Social CEOs” who tap the great transformative power of social media, by engaging in a ‘conversation of trust’ with their communities of interest.”
Mr. Aceto will urge his fellow CEOs at the i-CANADA Summit meeting in Montreal in October, to use social media to connect directly to communities of interest. “In the early days of capitalism, a CEO like Henry Ford was the brand. After that era there has been period where mass media deadened contact with the CEO, but now with social media, the CEO once again can cut through the corporate shroud and personalize the values and reputation of the company.
“This adds tremendous value to the company and its shareholders.”
By way of example, Mr. Aceto pointed out that people purchase products from Apple because of their trust in what Steve Jobs personally represented. “More than 80 per cent of people are likely to trust a brand with a social CEO, and more the three-quarters of people are more likely to buy a product or service from a company with a Social CEO,” added Mr. Aceto.
CEO’s world has turned to glass
The i-CANADA Summit is the keystone of the national movement to create a nation of Intelligent Communities, all enjoying the economic development and job growth that come with the best uses of ultra-high-speed networking. Framing the introduction of Chair of i-CANADA’s Governors Council, David Alward, Premier of New Brunswick, Mr. Aceto noted that the world of the CEO “has turned to glass.
“Your business isn’t your business anymore. There are no covers hiding your organizations…your processes and people are visible behind the curtain. Maybe not completely, maybe not yet, but the covers are getting increasingly transparent. Our companies are transparent to consumers because of factors like the sheer number of employees online, and trends to open data. This transparency is accelerating as fast as the growth of the glass fibres that form the infrastructure of our networks. The CEO -- if he or she chooses -- can take advantage of this clear window, to engage people, inform people, and listen to people. Understanding leads to trust. And trust can lead to prosperity, as experts like Steven Covey point out.
“Our question as CEO is: what do we as leaders to make Canada the model “ego-system” -- a place where a CEO’s personality and transparency leads a business transformation. The key is delivering on the promises you make every day. And if you deliver on those promises then people will believe what you tell them. People are also going to call you out on the things you’re not doing well, and you have to be willing to confront those issues and even change some elements of your business…but this can be a good thing. Seeing reality without filters is of huge value to a CEO. And if you’re not willing to do that, then social media can be a problem. But if you have values based on openness, fairness and directness, you will win.
In my case, I tweet on behalf of our organization. It’s me, it’s not fake and I do all the writing myself and I share insights I have throughout the day – whether I’m in a meeting or I get an interesting leadership article. There’s also some personal stuff in there because I have my own little agenda that isn’t really an ING agenda, but it’s about leaders, particularly CEOs and the stereotype that we have that I don’t like very much. I’m trying to break down some barriers in terms of what it means to be a CEO. I think this the future for everyone; certainly, I am sure that when corporate boards are looking for new CEOs, they will be looking at a candidate’s aptitude when it comes to social media.
“Becoming a ‘social CEO’ will help the economy, the consumer, the country, the company, and the CEO themself.”
“ING’s Supersaver Search Program is a model for how social media can be used to involve people and tap creativity,” stated i-CANADA Chair Bill Hutchison. “Leveraging social media to build trust helps achieve one of the most important Intelligent Community goals: digital inclusion.”
Intelligent Communities are defined as those having Broadband Connectivity, Innovation, Knowledge Workforce, Digital Inclusion, and Marketing and Advocacy. I-CANADA is working with some 50 communities across Canada, to help them achieve above average rates of economic growth, job creation, social diversification and environmental innovation.
The i-CANADA Summit will also hear from experts on other new social media developments in fields such as of finance, where Crowdfund Investing -- “micro-finance on steroids” -- will be examined.
About the i-CANADA National Summit
The i-CANADA National Summit is organized by the i-CANADA movement, the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), and it partners and will take place in Montreal on October 21st, 2012. Canada was selected by the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) to host the WCIT 2012 Congress in Montreal, which follows the i-CANADA event. . The WITSA event is organized by WCIT2012 Montreal Inc. For more about the i-CANADA conference and to register for the events, see: http://cata.ca/i-canada/
i-CANADA is backed by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), a 30-year-old organization with more than 34,000 high-tech leaders, and other leading organizations. Their goal is to bring at least 30 Canadian communities into the top ranks of global Intelligent Communities, as defined by the Intelligent Community Forum in New York. www.icanada.nu
i-CANADA SUMMIT: A Canada for the 21st Century
Sunday, October 21, 2012
SAT Multi-Media Centre, 1201 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal
About ING DIRECT
ING DIRECT is Canada's leading direct bank with over 1.8 million Clients and more than $37.6 billion in total assets. ING DIRECT gives the power of saving to all Canadians by offering high-value, simple products such as high interest Savings Accounts with no fees or service charges, low rates on mortgages and a no-fee daily Chequing Account that actually pays interest. Low cost, index based mutual funds are sold through ING DIRECT Funds Limited. ING DIRECT has been operating in Canada since 1997 and paid more than $5 billion in interest to Clients. ING DIRECT is open for banking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at ingdirect.ca, on mobile devices at m.ingdirect.ca or by calling 1-800 ING DIRECT (1-800-464-3743).