In this age of digital media, brands are being forced to reconsider how they interact with their customers. Companies are no longer allowed to be huge, powerful entities with faceless CEO’s and secluded headquarters. Thanks to digital media, businesses must instead be transparent and engaging voices interacting in the online world in which their customers live.
Prior to digital media and the Internet, the most recognizable brands were molded by the success of their TV commercials, but today, it’s fairly obvious that this is no longer the case. When everyone has access to smart phones, DVRs and online streaming, TV advertising has become just one of several branding techniques that a company must implement.
Given the increasing importance of developing an online brand presence, here are a few points to consider when crafting a seamless digital media strategy.
Recognizing the New Power Dynamic
“Technology is shifting power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment – the media elite. Now it’s the people who are taking control.” Rupert Murdoch said this in 2005 when he recognized what digital media technology would ultimately mean for companies.
With the ascendancy of the Internet, customers have the upper hand because they are in charge of their online experience. In order to influence customers, companies must focus less on big budget advertisements and instead provide customers a superior digital experience.¹
Building relationships online is now far more important than spending millions on a TV advertisement that most viewers will fast-forward through anyway.
Understand That Purchasing Has Changed
Customers don’t seem to trust their own judgment anymore. Rarely does anyone buy without first consulting a few online reviews. This means that much of what we know about the funnel method of purchasing is no longer relevant. As Interbrand’s Jez Frampton noted in a recent Fast Company article, “What customers 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.”
Armed with this information, companies would be wise to solicit feedback from their customers and engage with them one-on-one, post purchase, instead of simply concentrating on the pre-purchasing relationship. Loyalty is the key factor in the digital world; if customers see that you are taking steps to foster relationships and produce quality products and services, they will be more likely to want to work with you.
Don’t Think Digital Media are Just Promotional Tools
Using digital media-as-promotion is no longer good enough. If molding a seamless digital media presence is essential to forming a relationship with your customers, it stands to reason that it must also be a part of enhancing their experience when working with your company. Clever digital activities help add value to your brand and keeps customers motivated. Simply sending out emails and posting to Facebook and Twitter will soon bore your followers and flood their inboxes.¹
The key is to create content that customers will find useful. This could be an eBook or a mobile application, but it needs to be content that customers will find valuable.
Use Digital Media for Internal Business Communication
For the same reasons a seamless digital media strategy is good for your customers- relationship nurturing, providing valuable content- it is useful for internal business strategy. The age-old system of business hierarchy is changing rapidly, and power is being dispersed within nearly every organization.
More companies are using digital platforms to allow for the collaboration of ideas within their organizations. This alters the structure of the organizations and fosters more innovative atmospheres. Companies like IBM and AT&T in particular have implemented internal networks that allow employees to generate ideas.¹
The success of your brand is about more than just a big advertising budget; it’s about how well you are able to implement a seamless digital media strategy. It’s all about shifting your branding focus to digital platforms and taking the time to interact with your customers on a personal level.
While this shift may be off-putting or seemingly difficult to integrate, a seamless digital media strategy can be relatively easy to implement if you simply take the time to understand your customers and their behavior.
¹ Fast Company “5 Ways to Build Brands in the Post-Digital World”