[Read] The role of social and digital media in business consulting: Dachis acquires Headshift

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September 02, 2009

The role of social and digital media in business consulting: Dachis acquires Headshift

Some of my industry peers are talking online this morning about the significance of the acquisition of Headshift, the social business consulting firm, by Dachis Group, the one year old US based acquisitive social technologies company.

Some facts about this move, as I think it’s significant for any consultancies operating under the influence (of social / digital media). Dachis is headed by former CEO and founder of Razorfish. It is a very young company, using a $50m pot of money from Austin Ventures to acquire companies that fulfill on its promise “to unlock the value of social technologies for large corporate enterprises” through design, advisory and technology implementation. The size of the deal as yet has not come out.

Headshift is a very smart firm in my view. I’ve been impressed with their people and their approach, and they have worked into other parts of their clients’ business, not just marketing and communications which is the most common place to see social and digital media work being done.

I see this happening increasingly – consultancies advising parts of the business outside of just the media departments. Naturally media facing departments react to the changing media ecosystem, but businesses want business consultancy too, and it’s plain to see that a company’s behaviour in these digital times is not just communication. It’s customer service, research & development, decision-making, even accounting. It is certainly our experience here at #33 that partly because relatively few people know how to navigate the changing digital landscape intuitively and partly because business disciplines are overlapping increasingly in these social media times.

To go back to my first point, some of my peers are talking about this deal today (here, here and here). ‘Social Business’ is the moniker being bandied about. I think that to take the word ‘consultancy’ out of the Headshift tagline removes its true meaning. Social business is not what this is. Business consulting with a deep knowledge of social media is different, it’s in high demand and I hope the new Dachis Headshift partnership will continue to prosper in this sector.

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Posted on September 02, 2009 | Permalink

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?? Is social business the new black? from NevilleHobson.com

What does ???social business??? mean? I???ve been wondering this since reading about the acquisition of Headshift by US agency Dachis Group announced this morning UK time.Among the flowery prose in the press release is this phrase that strikes me as the mos… [Read More]

Tracked on September 02, 2009 at 11:01 AM

?? Is social business the new black? from NevilleHobson.com

What does ???social business??? mean? I???ve been wondering this since reading about the acquisition of Headshift by US agency Dachis Group announced this morning UK time.Among the flowery prose in the press release is this phrase that strikes me as the mos… [Read More]

Tracked on September 02, 2009 at 11:01 AM

Comments

I like the distinction between “social business” and “Business consulting with a deep knowledge of social media”. Overselling the brave new world meme just annoys businesses whereas helping them do stuff in smarter ways helps!

As I said on my own blog:

People have always needed help on how to best run businesses taking into account the prevailing social and technological environments and that is all we are doing now. Not a movement, not a fad, not a revolution. Just the ongoing evolution of how to do stuff well given the tools currently at our disposal.

Posted by: Euan | September 02, 2009 at 10:38 AM

Many thanks Drew for a thoughtful post – it makes a very welcome change from most of the noise the announcement has created! I totally agree that this is about consulting (including research, strategy and execution) first and foremost, with social computing tools and techniques providing a new and challenging landscape which businesses need to negotiate and ultimately thrive on. It’s not about ‘social media’ (whatever that means) and certainly not about new technologies for their own sake.

Posted by: Livio Hughes | September 02, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Agreed. There’s a lot of talk in our circles about ‘social media’ and how it’s becoming fused with search and with PR. Headshift are moving into very interesting territory by embedding social thinking much deeper into an organisation. I think interesting things will happen when corporate culture change consultants start working with social media folk.

‘Social Business’ is definitely the wrong title for it though since this already has a widely established definition which is much more about purpose.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_business

I wonder what a better title might be – “Network Business” perhaps? hmmm, not sure… “Post-industrial network organisations” – that’s more like it 🙂

Posted by: Tom Nixon | September 02, 2009 at 01:55 PM

Thanks Livio. It is heartening to see your approach. My perspective too, having seen the technology and media side of this market evolve quicker than the consultancy.

All the best with your venture.

Posted by: Drew B | September 02, 2009 at 02:34 PM

To me “social business” sounds like partying after work with colleagues and clients.

Posted by: JAK88 | September 02, 2009 at 02:55 PM

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