Chris Midgley, Strategist with Blast Brand Catalysts, on what is really different in the new digital age.

Digital, being always on, along with the endless proliferation of social media platforms and websites from which to choose. How do we approach this? With caution. We certainly do not want not to be part of the conversation nor noticeable only by our absence. We also do not want to rush in and make mistakes that cause more damage. Rather pause, re-assess and think it all through. Is ‘digital’ not just part of the media mix?

Looking back at the way new technologies were feared… “the microwave will render the stove obsolete”, “CD’s will be the death of record stores”, some even argued that “TV will kill radio”. Similar statements have been thrown around with regard to the digital media platforms and how they will bring about the ‘death’ of traditional media platforms. Digital is not going to be the death of the traditional media channels – digital will, however, continue to change the game, just as new technologies did. The change will be two-fold: firstly customers will be better educated as they can research, compare and review brands which they previously have never been able to do. They now have the ability to “see”, and scrutinise, everything the brand does as well as make purchases at any time, from any place. Therefore brands will need to become “always on” and consider international cross-border competition far more seriously. Secondly for agencies and brands – digital provides opportunities to better understand, better connect with, and better target customers than ever before.

Digital has also provided agencies with more exact measurement techniques. More importantly, is the creation of two-way, real-time communication. Digital has lead to faster turnaround times, instant reaction when needed, as well as global reach.

Therefore, digital is not a “channel” to be feared, but rather to be strategically embraced and used wherever it fits best. Through a media-neutral approach ensuring the strategic background is solid, and that the chosen channel is the best possible solution to the actual brand problem, marketers can utilise these new digital tools available to further deliver results. For any message, on any channel, to be successful, the content and the context of the communication should match the mind space of the consumer and also provide a solution to the brand’s challenge. The starting point is, as it always should be, with all targeted communications – a strong, big idea with a great concept. Take this concept, and develop good creative with relevant content. What you will realize is something you already know: a strong concept is able to translate onto any platform, and a digital platform is no different.