As consumers, we lap-up all things digital. But the rise of digital in business has been both the making and breaking of brands, leading many to see it with some trepidation.
A key problem we have when talking about digital is that we tend to hear about two types of brands: the ones that are at the cutting-edge of all things digital, and the dinosaurs that are dying out from a lack of adoption.
We are constantly comparing the likes of Blockbuster and Netflix, HMV and Spotify, MTV and YouTube, but there is a whole separate market that lives between these opposing brands—and it’s a key one to focus on.
The strategic middle
The world is not only made up of digital native brands that exist because of digital and those that bury their heads in the sand and fail as a result. There are a huge number of businesses that see digital as an opportunity and are ready to adopt it. These are the kinds of businesses that are not digitally native but are smart in their approach.
A good example is that of Shop Direct, a brand established in 1893 that was able to successfully transition from a traditional retailer into a digital big hitter, bringing continued growth and profitability to the business in the digital age.
“Often, we fail to champion brands that have reshaped their business to succeed in the digital age”
Shop Direct adopted digital across the whole business, gradually closing its bricks and mortar stores and shifting entirely to online. By setting strategic goals that focused on a shift to digital, Shop Direct was able to adapt and succeed. Today, it is the second largest digital retailer in the UK behind Amazon.
Often, we’re so busy focusing on the best and worst of digital adoption that we neglect to champion those that have seen digital as a blessing rather than a curse, and reshaped their business to succeed in the digital age.
Broadcast is one industry that demonstrates the point. Some broadcasters reluctantly build platforms that allow them to push out content, seeing digital simply as another channel for consumers to watch. The smartest broadcasters, though are discovering that digital platforms provide a valuable opportunity to engage with new audiences—particularly younger or less-typically ‘loyal’ ones.
New methods of data capture are allowing brands to deliver highly personalised promotional messages to audiences, enabling audiences to engage more easily with branded content. Despite the recent negative news surrounding data capture, if used correctly, it can actually heighten the relationship between brand and consumer—for example by delivering more contextual marketing messages.
“In order to embrace digital, the whole business needs to be aligned with the ambition”
Getting ahead of the curve
So, what can broadcasters do to ensure they are at the cutting-edge of digital? Generally, we need to embrace change and look for opportunities, not problems:
Set objectives: Digital success must come from the top. In order to embrace digital, the whole business needs to be aligned with the ambition. Investment decisions must be made with digital in mind.
Harness data: Data is the by-product of digital—use it. But more than that, understand it, make it accessible to the business, and integrate it with viewer touchpoints. Remember, digital data can help brands to understand viewers and make marketing more effective.
Understand audiences: In the digital world, there is no such thing as a typical viewer. Audiences are made up of many individuals who all have different behaviours, passions and interests that influence brand engagement.
Embrace technology: Let it do the hard work for you.
A digital future
For broadcasters, future success can be helped by unlocking digital capability. In turn, digital will help to deliver more viewers to portfolios, engage audiences and increase promotional relevancy and viewer experience.
None of us want to get left behind. When we begin to see digital without fear, it’s an exciting view.