As Facebook Incorporated approaches its high profile initial public offering on Friday, a large number of San Franciscans are expecting to become cash multi-millionaires in a matter of minutes. This brings about several issues that could arise in the transition to a publicly traded corporation, especially for a company like Facebook.
One key issue that arises when that amount of money is put on the table is motivation. When you first start out and are working for a cause, your motivation to succeed is extremely high. The drive of those who worked for Facebook at its beginning was incredible. They stopped at nothing to get what they wanted. Now they have it and are about to be rich. What is that outside factor going to do to affect the motivation of Facebook employees?
This is how non-profits function. Non- profits gain support form outside sources by way of donations and grants, which then go to fund projects. Employees get paid very little but their work ethic is extremely high because they find passion in what they do. Money takes away from the enthusiasm and excitement that drives people to work for a cause.
Facebook thus far has run on insider trades and funding. Now that shareholders will have their hands in the company, that initial drive to produce great work will start to diminish. The motivation of the company to achieve maximum potential will now grow dim in the light of millions of dollars. The only motivation or employees after the IPO will in turn be to acquire more money for either the company itself or to return to shareholders in dividends.
Obviously, this situation is all hypothetical because Facebook’s IPO has not occurred yet, but due to past occurrences with the same idea, motivation might end up being Facebook’s next big issue.
I recently read a book for one of my advertising classes by the author Daniel H. Pink titled “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.” Surprisingly, this #1 New York Times Bestseller contradicted many of the presumptions and hypothesis that I have come to about what drives us as humans and more specifically, consumers.
This book relates many theories as to what motivates us and what “drives” us as human beings. When it comes to motivation, there is a gap between what science thinkers know and what business people know. According to the book, which indicates various case studies, most businesses in not only the United States, but also in the world, are built around external motivators, such as, more pay for more work incentives. These systems often do more harm than good in the workplace. Because of many scientific studies exemplified in the book, we now know to upgrade to using different internal incentives, especially when dealing with more creative activity (i.e., advertising). There are three essential elements needed to correct this approach: “autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives; mastery – the urge to make progress and get better at something that matters; and purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves,” (Pink, 2009).
When relating this book to developing a communication planning strategy, the first thing that I thought of was the target audience. We are the target audience for account planners to advertise to. We, as human beings, are who advertisers need to get to purchase their client’s product or service. The first thing that any account planner does is research the target market. In their research they need to find out what will motivate this particular group to buy something. Motivation is what drives us to do anything in life. Using this information in a communication planning strategy would increase effectiveness of the plan immensely. By knowing the above information, you can help your client achieve the bottom line.