SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

Dell Touches the Web 2.0 Personality Spaces

Posted by Bob Warfield on September 12, 2007

Duct Tape Marketing’s Word of Mouse (cute phrase, eh?)  post got me to go take a look at Dell’s Web 2.0 efforts.  It’s pretty well done.  You need to go visit SB360, StudioDell, and IdeaStorm to get the full flavor.  This is classic stuff that represents my view of the least a big company should be doing around Web 2.0.  Big companies being what they are, Dell is ahead of most of the pack in this respect and snagged a 2007 Webby as a result. 

Let’s analyze these 3 offerings from a Web 2.0 Personality Space Perspective.

StudioDell is basically a bunch of videos you can tune in to, but there are some cool wrinkles that show a keen awareness of the Web 2.0 Personality Space concept.  First, they cater to both Interrupted and Deferred styles.  The Interrupted style prefers “push” media, and there are a ton of RSS feeds to tune in to so you can see new videos as they become available.  Deferred styles want “pull” media, and there’s a cool channel selector that lets you explore what’s available.  Customers are segregated into home users, small business, and IT Pros, so there is something for everyone.

This is already a Rich media style, so no sense working too hard at keeping the Textual media crowd happy.  The Participator/Watcher dimension is well taken care of.  If you’re in the Home User category, you can even upload your own videos to contribute your stories.  There’s also a prominent spot for you to provide your own feedback on what you’re seeing, and you can create your own tags/social bookmarks on del.icio.us right in the IdeaStorm window.  It doesn’t get much more Participative than that.  At the same time Watchers can graze through the content as they desire without getting roped in to having to do too much.  Don’t you hate those sites where you have to tell them your life’s story before they give you anything back?  Dell doesn’t do that.

For those that are a bit turned off on the Rich Media overload offered in StudioDell, SB360 is for you.  It’s a very textual oriented site that comes across a lot like a live newsletter or portal page.  It’s a bit busy to be regarded as a blog, but it’s a decent place for those who want a pretty straightforward web experience.  There are tons of articles structured along the lines of Top Stories, Technology, Business Resources, and Getting Connected. 

Getting Connected is the haven for Participators.  The descriptions of what you’d do with each tool are just about right:

-  Forums:  Share with other Dell customers

-  Studio Dell:  Videos

-  Direct2Dell:  Visit the Dell Blog

-  IdeaStorm:  Where Your Ideas Reign

Note the collaboration theme unfolding here.  This is the Web 2.0.  It is not about Shouting your message at prospects.  It’s about involving them in a collaboration that benefits both parties.  Dell does a good job providing lots of tools for everyone to play with in terms of establishing that dialog and making sure it’s 2-way.

My favorite is IdeaStorm, probably because I’m a Product Guy.  It’s a cool collaborative experience where customers share their ideas about how Dell can do things better.  You can submit ideas, but even better, you can vote to promote or demote the ideas, you can write comments to create a dialog about the ideas, and you get to see how the idea is doing.  Now that gets right into the collaborative Web 2.0 experience and lets everyone have a little fun with it.

This area is liberally juiced up with data feeds, rollover counters (7290 idea, 511738 votes, and 43509 comments), recognition for top contributors, categories for structures, data feeds, and a bunch of other cool stuff. 

Crowdsourcing innovation using capabilities like IdeaStorm can lead to all sorts of interesting and unexpected consequences.  For example, users are now banding together to create campaigns around particular suggestions.  Some would be intimidated by that, and would feel they ran the risk of losing control of their business to their customers.  I’m not sure why “losing control of your business to your customers” is a bad thing.  Imagine how loyal those customers will be after they get done banding together and find they’ve actually convinced you to give them what they wanted.  It could be the start of a whole new way of partnering. 

I’m sure Dell had to invest a huge amount of effort to create this Web 2.0 experience for their customers, but it sure looks like it would be worth it.  It’s only now starting to be noticed, but I predict we’ll here more about it over time.  Dell has always had a decent web presence given that this is their distribution channel, but they’re really trying to stretch and go further with these new sites.  Take a close look at these offerings.  If you’ve been wondering how businesses can leverage Web 2.0, Dell shows you one set of ways.  If your company isn’t doing something similar, it’s time to get started on it.

And while you’re at it, think about using Web 2.0 Personality Spaces to make sure you’re covering all the bases!

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2 Responses to “Dell Touches the Web 2.0 Personality Spaces”

  1. [...] in social media and, as a result, enhance consumer relations. I recently came across a post on the SmoothSpan site which made a really nice case for what they’re up to at [...]

  2. [...] the rest of this great post here [...]

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