The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Customizing strategy in a digital world
Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc
Robert Passikoff

Knowing the right thing to say isn't something only people have to worry about. Brands think about it quite a bit. In fact, they have entire departments focused on figuring out exactly that. Communication has possibly never been more difficult to understand than it is now, when digital has entered the brand-communication game and changed the rules. Not all of the rules of course, but knowing which ones, and with who, and exactly how, has thrust brands back in time to where television advertising was at its beginning – bravely going forth and trying things.

Brands certainly have better tools available today, but that can sometimes just muddy the water. Knowing exactly where the fish are, as any experienced fisherman will tell you, doesn't necessarily mean they are going to bite. You have to know specifically what they want. And it doesn't get you much to stand there and count them. Especially as they are swimming by, in search of something else.

This challenge in the digital platform pond deeply interested us, and we set about to help brands figure the tricky part out. As firm believers that a consumer-centric strategy should drive all that a brand does out in the world, we started there. That, it turns out, was the key to linking strategy and technology.

We have demonstrated what many CMO's suspected was true: there is no one-size-fits-all for communicating in the digital space, or with people highly involved in digital. We have named those folks "Higitals", for their high-involvement with digital, and because saying "the people who represent the future" was too long. And we liked the sci-fi techie sound to it, to be honest. But what we really care about is seeing how vastly differently they behave and approach brands – not simply a demographic generation gap, but one linked directly to digital usage.

A brand must determine how engagement with digital intersects with brand engagement in order to strategically direct its efforts there. The retro-look is over for brands who are stuck in counting clicks and calling it a day. We've all seen enough of brands posting pictures and updates on Facebook, imitating a person. For many consumers, that imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery, or winning any real friends.

Subjects: Digital, Consumers

20 March 2012 09:28

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