A Q&A with Jesse Swash, Co-Founder.
What is a digital brand in 2021?
A digital brand is one that lives and primarily functions on every screen you own from your monitor to your iPhone and everything in-between. What would we do without alerts on our iWatch?
In reality, almost every brand is a ’digital’ brand. What is different is how digital a brand is. This is, or should be, driven by the needs and demand drivers of the core users and target audiences.
After all, we’re all digital now.
A digital brand, like any well thought through brand, has to be standout and distinctive for the right reasons. Digital or not, the brands that succeed and survive are those that are sure of their purpose, of why they exist.
Solve a problem and you will always succeed.
A truly digital brand looks and thinks about everything it does through a digital lens, embracing digital channels and methodologies to communicate with and engage with its target audiences.
Succeed by being digital-first.
The great digital brands are at the forefront of transforming how we work and live. Their offer, driven by better UX and well thought through service lines, spread through organisations rapidly, changing the way companies behave and operate.
Join in or be left behind.
What are the current innovations in digital brands?
The innovation is where these brands are seen and found, in new channels, with new ways of reaching consumers and prospects with new forms of content and messaging.
Being new now is what matters.
The leading digital brands are driving profound behaviour change. We work, collaborate, and live online. We may be at multiple locations, but we’re increasingly accustomed to working together in this way.
Change is one step at a time.
The real innovations are only just starting. There is a tsunami of AI, AR, and VR developments just around the corner, waiting for us to accept the next stage of virtual connecting and working. Hold tight it’s almost here.
With the impact of COVID-19, what trends have you seen in digital brands?
We have seen huge shifts in the willingness to engage with people we have only ever met on digital channels. The power of the handshake has been replaced by a smile on a video call. We have quickly let go of the need to meet people physically to work with them.
Technology and access to digital brands is now seen as more than a necessity. It’s increasingly a fundamental part of our lives, delivering the tools we need to get on with our job.
Digital is now a must-have, a human right.
In the first two months of lockdown, we believe we saw two years of change. Businesses and organisations adapted to the new blended digital and physical normal to survive. This trend will continue beyond this moment. Who wants to go back to the daily commute?
What are the benefits and challenges of having a digital brand?
Digital brands and services can transform experiences. Just think of something as simple as booking a restaurant via an app, all from the comfort of your sofa. This is the benefit of convenience, something everyone likes and wants and possibly demands and craves.
This is never going away.
The ease of use comes with the requirement to log in or supply data. The data in turn gives brands the ability to target their audiences with pinpoint accuracy. This is the ability to create markets and segments of one.
Making everyone feel like a VIP.
Digital brands also have the power of agility and responsiveness. Be in total charge and control. But open that door and the energy and pace required to sustain the communications and reach is a full-time task.
The best digital brands employ Jeff Bezos’ ‘Day 1’ strategy to stay ahead. They behave like a start-up even when they are years old. Because the side effect is that new isn’t new for very long anymore and the disruptors are being disrupted faster than ever.
When it comes to digital brands what is the best strategy?
Digital brands, like all brands, need to respond to pain points and challenges that need solving. The best solve a problem for a poorly serviced audience who can and want to be reached in a new and meaningful way. Find a problem, show you understand it and deliver the digital solution.
Many of the brands we speak to have grown so fast, they have lost touch with what their customers need. For digital brands being ruthlessly user-centric is key. Do this by following the data and constantly trying and testing things to see what works. In the world of digital brands, the data never lies so take all the insights and use them to give yourself a competitive edge.
Money is a precious resource, but time is more valuable. Brands need to be effective in where and when they invest their time to get their biggest return. As digital channels grow, all brands need to be strategic in where they deploy their effort.
How can organisations get the most out of being digital?
For organisations to get the most out of digital they need to be truly immersed. The senior leadership team needs to get behind the digital strategy and be seen to be truly living it.
The best organisations encourage adoption and don’t force it. If everyone comes to it open-minded it always has a better chance to succeed.
Finally, embrace the idea that digital is a continual journey to improvement. Understand that it never stops, be open-minded and it will always be a success.