Interbrand’s Jez Frampton offers a roadmap for success in the post-digital world, wherein digital underlies everything and consumers are co-creators of brands.
Simon Smith, our European Head of Digital, has a mantra–“Everything is digital.” He also believes that “Digital is the most misunderstood word in business today.”
In 2011 we surveyed more than 800 companies about their digital strategy. Some 16% described their company as “digitally inactive.” And of those who had a digital strategy, two-thirds confessed to implementing it in a fragmented way.
Here’s an overview of why–and how–you should catch up and build success in our post-digital world.
RECOGNIZE THE NEW POWER DYNAMIC
Digital media have triggered profound shifts in consumers’ interactions and relationships with businesses. The language of B2C and B2B is no longer relevant. At Interbrand, we use the terms business and consumer (B&C) and business and business (B&B) to describe how businesses and consumers now work together to create brands. And for brand, read: business.
Consumer-created content and conversations are driving organizations’ image, reputation and bottom line. This represents a significant shift in dynamic. As consumers become increasingly influential, businesses are becoming less powerful.
This means that you need to focus more on understanding, engaging and staying relevant to consumers, and less on regimenting or controlling them. Vitamin Water and Pepsi have both demonstrated how stronger engagement with their markets can create more successful products and services. Others would do well to follow their lead. In contrast, BP failed to engage with the debate after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. Trying to “shout” back with big budget advertising only served to alienate people and further damage the company’s reputation.
RESPOND TO THE PURCHASING REVOLUTION
It’s time to tear up the traditional “funnel” model of consumer purchasing. Consumers now go through a dynamic, non-linear decision-making process. What other consumers say about a brand is becoming the most important input in consumer choice. More than two-thirds of global consumers, young and old alike, seek online reviews or recommendations from others. And we’ve all been put off a product or service by a lone bad review.
A fluid and uncertain market is the new normal, which means traditional marketing strategies are no longer effective. In this world, responsiveness trumps efficiency. The ability to engage with customers one-on-one, particularly after purchase, is vital to long-term business success. Doing this adds value, generates revenue and–most importantly–builds customer loyalty.
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