By Daniel Lee, Strategy Director, Digital Natives
In 2022, businesses need digital savviness to get noticed in culture. However, legacy ways of working and structures impede these skills and mindsets from being a central focus to the marketing function.
In the pre-digital era, businesses grow through reaching people but in the digital world not all reach is equal.
Research by attention measurement specialist Adelaide, found that an advertiser will need a 4x increase in frequency to achieve similar lift in unaided awareness compared to using high attention placements.
Work by Professor Karen Nelson-Field at Amplified Intelligence has highlighted that many models of reach calculation do not reflect the level of real, human attention provided by each channel, platform or ad format.
This is because digital media has never been more popular, yet more fragmented. More channels, more personalised feeds, more content. Everybody’s Spotify and TikTok are different. Meaning it is harder to get attention at scale.
In the past things were much easier. During the mid-80s shows like Coronation Street were getting up to 27m views. So a 30” ad spot would certainly get reach and attention. However, with the advent of digital media, multi-screening and fragmented media, a new outlook to be part of culture is needed.
Platforms like TikTok and Instagram play a huge role in both the increasing speed of the culture cycle and how we name things. In 2020 TikTok ushered micro-trends like “Cottagecore”, “Clowncore” and “Goblincore”, but by 2022 culture has fragmented further where everything is “core” and naming things has become meaningless. Everything is changing – always.
You have to really understand these apps, because these subcultures, memes, moments and digital gatherings are more often than not temporary – by the time many brands have noticed them they have disappeared.
Brands need to take what Professor Byron Sharp at the Ehrenberg Bass Institute calls distinctive brand assets (branding cues) and reinterpret them multiple ways across the fragmented media landscape. It may not seem like much at first, but the impact will be immediate. Your employees will feel relieved, and results will begin to improve.
Understanding all the technological improvements you make across iterations of a larger process can lead you to an agile mindset that is critical to digital acceleration.
KFC gets this and is perhaps why the brand is seeing phenomenal growth. Their distinctive brand asset the Colonel has been a dating sim, an 8 bit character, an influencer, a shit posting meme character and the face for a gaming channel. Each time the brand’s distinctive assets are reinforced, however done so in a way that is native to each platform, culture and audience – therefore gaining relevant attention.
Digital acceleration must create something new: it could be improving the customer experience (e.g. enabling self-service for customers), streamlining the supply chain, or using information from the data to offer new products.
This demand for creativity remains a difficult demand for business leaders to satisfy.
Most organizations don’t have a major problem generating new ideas, but many companies fail when it comes to implementing new business models or turning good ideas into organizational goals.
One of the challenges of the manager in a digital world is also to make the right choices: should you put QR codes on all your communication media? Does your service department need a chatbot? Do you have to install beacons in all your points of sale? Should you launch a mini-series on Snapchat? The same goes internally: should jackets be replaced by t-shirts, is foosball a must in the middle of a meeting room?
What makes a company “digital” is not trappings, modern premises and trendy technologies (even if that always improves everyday life). Being or doing digital is above all a state of mind, a process of curiosity, a logic of testing and learning that does not lock in the past, but prepares for the future.
The transformation must be done in depth, not with cosmetic initiatives or which are not part of a logic of value creation (improving the customer experience, optimizing operational efficiency, streamlining the flow of information and Datas…).