Social Media: Revealing the Iceberg

That's only the tip of the iceberg.

The saying that there is more to something than meets the eye is a cliche that besides appealing to our paranoia, is grounded in reality.

What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) may be true of computer interface applications, but people and businesses are complex.

Their "face" or brand represents a fraction of who they are. And, like an iceberg, the remaining amount provides the ballast that keeps the company (or person) afloat and stable.

I was thinking of this analogy while researching  various business models.  I wanted to understand why some companies seem totally unaware that the 90% of their business that lies below the surface is the foundation of the company's public "face" - Think Cher's cheekbones.

When business get tough, bad managers panic. They go into micromanagement mode and start chipping away at that the bottom 90% of the iceberg believing what isn't visible is dispensable.

What do you think happens next? Let's continue the iceberg analogy.

If it were a substantial iceberg, it would begin to sink until there was enough of it submerged to regain its balance. It would probably remain standing, but the proverbial tip of the iceberg would be much smaller than it once was.  And the iceberg would certainly become much less stable, and much easier for the changing tide to displace.

If it were a small, thin iceberg that had its underwater base removed, the tip above the surface would most likely fall over. And, without a solid foundation, the iceberg would become slave to the ever-changing ebb and flow of the tide. In fact, without a foundation, a small iceberg may cease to be an iceberg altogether.

By hacking away at the bottom 90% of the company, the business destabilizes it by compromising the talent and personalities that give the company it's most valuable asset; it's trust factor.

Consumers in social media land have become very adept at seeing beyond the tip of the iceberg. They trust people, not brands.

Because social media tools exist to facilitate interaction through engagement, a company would do well to always remember to have enough ice on hand.

Marketing Beyond Your Website - Social Media Marketing