Chapter 4 of Groundswell covers an interesting method for tapping into the groundswell, the POST method: People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology. As this is an accounting focused blog, I thought we’d try this method out on one of the accounting designation governing bodies, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta (ICAA). As a little backstory for those who do not follow accounting news (*gasp*), the ICAA are the only governing body of CAs in Canada that has removed themselves from the accounting designation merger (CPA) talks.
As I stated in my blog entry about the Social Technographics Profile, I would classify accountants as Critics. Accountants and hopeful accountants are the target market for the ICAA, but they have been too focused on pleasing the older crowds of baby boomers who are now approaching retirement. They have only recently realized that their future people are much younger than they used to be and with the changing times of technology, ICAA has let themselves be left behind. By ignoring their people’s changing demographics, needs and lifestyles, ICAA has put itself at a disadvantage.
ICAA’s main objective needs to be talking. Considering they have removed themselves from the merger talks, they believe that they have done all the listening that they think they’ve needed to complete. Now they must focus on promoting the CA brand in Alberta, and getting the word out about how great CA is over CMA, CGA or soon-to-be CPA. They need to start interacting with their people, and showing that they are a living being who wants new people to join, and not just some faceless old-timers organization.
ICAA realizes that by backing off from merger talks, they need to find a new way to communicate with their people and promote being a CA. They need to use their current members who are involved in the groundswell already to share the message of the CA lifestyle. They need to become more engaged with the masses in order to show why being a CA in Alberta is the best choice for every person.
Considering their target people are younger, but are still working people (meaning time is limited (and means money)), I would suggest that the best technology would be social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. ICAA has very recently opened accounts at both of these sites, but has had very little success of interacting with their people. They do a lot of talking, but by not having anyone out there interested there is very little interaction. One of ICAA’s downfalls is that they expect their people are checking the ICAA Facebook page and Twitter page daily so they know what is going on, or they expect that people will drop everything to come out and meet employees at events. They have made posts such as “Come visit me today at the [school] career fair to get info about the CA designation!”, but no one knows about the event beforehand so how can they expect anyone to show up?
So what do you think, is the ICAA at the ready? Are they prepared to jump out of the starting gate and win the race, or will they buck their jockey halfway through and have to be put down?
Li, C., Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Wining in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA, USA. Harvard Business Review Press.