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From “digital first” to “digital everyone”

Consumers, citizens, and users now expect brands and business to offer their products, services and their information as “digital first” available. Everybody is talking about how brands should become even more digital, how processes have to be digital, and of course, how a digital way to perform has to be established.

The interesting point is that if you ask either brands’ C-level people or its users what they mean by something being digital or what they expect to get, their answers are either generic, theoretical, or even worse, a bad translation of something they have read somewhere.

At the same time, people with decision making authority in brands make huge statements on how important Facebook or Google is for their brands. Even if in their personal or corporate life, they are not digital at all, or they expect to feel and experience something by asking others to do it. How can you drive a car without sitting behind the wheel? Moreover, most of the time they want to do things, to apply principles, but in their own special way. They mix different areas, which is not that bad, but without an open mind to see their mistakes, learn from what other people have achieved, or see where others have failed.

Meanwhile, users keep asking for simplicity, but get hooked by something which seems pretty but is not functional at all.

In the mean time, new Holy Grails have appeared. Terms like “establishing a new way to describe the consumer journey” or “understanding the context” might seem exciting but they can be easily become a fiasco ready to destroy those who use them if there is no true value behind them.

For many leaders, this story may sound familiar, hearkening back to the scary days, 15 years ago, when they encountered the first wave of Internet competitors. Or even more in older days when people started playing with text editors like Word and they wanted to have all the colors and fonts on a single document just because they were able to. The result is brands to create complicated without a purpose briefs, agencies to deliver most of time something as generic as possible and experts to see to people evangelize big words and new lands of innovation.

The story might be simple and extremely interesting. Move from an old fashioned way by saying “digital first” to something which includes everyone. “Digital everyone” is the only to face and address our times challenges. As Anette Novak says, “Digitise everyone. They will remember. And they will return the favour. ROI is no longer return on investment. It’s return on involvement.”

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