Digital Addition

Digital Addition

modular digitalI thought we were over this… I thought we had already had this little talk; that we were all on the same page… It seems that I was mistaken… I am of course talking about the digital evolution. The incorporation of digital in marketing and communications.

The beauty of digital is that it is modular. It is the Ikea of marketing communications. You can cut and paste any variety of combinations together and work out a good strategy. The thing which I am not sure all of us understand yet is that; as much as in brand communications we need that “golden thread” that ties everything together; so must digital be a thread…. A platinum thread, if you will!

I have been called into a lot of pitch meetings and client meetings where the strategy is all but decided and the concept ironed out; when someone at the back (usually me) chirps in with, “where is the digital execution?”. This usually gets a round of “guffaws” and other assorted sounds of astonishment until the inevitable happens. The inevitable, ” we can just apply the same strategy” strategy…….

digital is not a department

Once I have picked myself up from the floor. The conversation becomes one around effectiveness. While brand and communication execution strategy can very well be applied to a digital medium; that’s all it is going to be. A translation. A patch job. A band-aid to a bigger problem.

The digital execution and planning needs to be done at the same time as the rest of the strategy. It needs to be allowed time to develop and become something bigger than an afterthought.

As much as development of a website or a software system has taken a “mobile first” and oft times “mobile only” turn; so does the development of brand and communications strategy need to take a “online first” and “online only” stance. I take the point that there are large segments (especially in the South African market) who are simply not online; and that’s great. I get that we need to plan for them and ensure that they are not excluded from a plan which is ultimately trying to target them.

But that’s the exception to the rule. The rule; simply put; should be that the platinum thread of digital execution and strategy should flow through everything that you do. If you are not; you are frankly doing it wrong and asking to be left behind…

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