As a research firm, Forrester has a long history of communicating with the marketplace to solicit input into the research we produce for clients and to highlight the availability of our various research products and services. The rise of social media such as blogs and social networks has provided a powerful new set of tools that our analysts use for continuing and extending that conversation — Forrester calls it the Groundswell.
The use of these social tools is enhancing the research we produce for clients. How? Social tools give us a fast and direct means for connecting to practitioners and outside experts in the marketplace. And the strength of our research is directly proportionate to the number of smart people who provide input combined with our analysts' own knowledge and insights in the area.
Forrester encourages analysts to blog, tweet, and use social sites to deepen their engagement and dialogue with the marketplace and to inform the research we write for the professional roles that Forrester serves.
So while the tools may be new, much of our guidance is not — be professional, show thought leadership, and comply with Forrester policies. The same applies when analysts are involved in any public forum. Provided below is greater detail on the guidelines our team follows when harnessing the Groundswell.
Forrester analysts should:
- Use social media to enhance our research. Social tools inform the research products that we produce — enabling analysts to gain input into research topics, test initial ideas, find market/company examples to highlight, and provide timely reaction to fast-breaking market news. Smart use of social tools makes Forrester better attuned to the needs of the professionals in the roles that we serve. Social media is not a replacement for our research.
- Be themselves and be Forrester, too. The tools lend themselves to a more informal style — we encourage analysts to let their personality show through and enjoy themselves. We also expect them to remain professional and be good representatives for the company.
- Engage in conversations. All good social participation encourages dialogue and discussion. We want our team to stimulate debate and use the conversations to hone the thinking that goes into our research.
- Show thought leadership. Forrester analysts should add value to public conversations and help frame the discussion. We don't simply pass along news — instead, we share our knowledge and perspective. When commenting or posting, analysts should do so in a reasoned, insightful, and intelligent manner.
- Be constructive. We believe that people learn the most from exploring best practices, rather than poring over market missteps. We encourage analysts to emphasize examples of companies that do things well or that are involved in activities that will define the future. We acknowledge that criticism is also part of reacting to market news, and analysts should do so in a constructive way — pointing out how firms can improve what they do, rather than listing their mistakes.
- Have a global voice. Our conversations are global, not limited by geography. Our audiences and the professional roles we serve are global, too. Our analysts look for developments to highlight from around the world while remaining sensitive to cultural and geographical differences.
- Save our full value for clients. Forrester's intellectual property (e.g., data, research, advisory deliverables, and presentations) lies at the center of our value as an enterprise. Analysts should not give it away — we keep the full value of Forrester's research products and services for our clients.
- Work with Forrester to build a social presence. Analysts' social activities should be conducted primarily on Forrester-sponsored sites to create the greatest value for clients, raise analyst visibility, and help drive company performance. Forrester analysts are encouraged to tweet about their activities, comment on other social media sites, and contribute guest posts to sites related to the professional role that they serve.
- Comply with all Forrester policies and agreements. Analysts must comply at all times with Forrester's Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and all other company policies. And Forrester is a public company — our employees cannot discuss Forrester's financial performance, stock price, or future business plans.
These guidelines were written primarily for Forrester analysts but also hold true for any Forrester employee who uses social tools to engage with the public. And as social tools mature over time, we will revisit these guidelines periodically to make sure we are providing the best guidance to the Forrester team.