Digital revolution brings us back to basics

back to basics

By Gregory Pouy, {grow} Community Member

A lot has been said about the digital transformation and in fact, newspapers, magazines and blogs are writing about this revolution every single day.

I don’t think it is revolutionary in at least one sense.  I think it is helping us connect with customers in a deeper way and re-discover our marketing basics. I think a lot of people are making this more complicated than it has to be (maybe to get you to pay them for their help!) but I am a blogger who likes to put things in a simple way.

Let’s look at the basic truths we have re-discovered with our digital marketing:

1. Brand value

We are living in a world where people have lost many of their real connections to each other!

We are not going to church as much as we used to, we are not concerned with family as much as we were before, and we are living in huge cities that make us all anonymous.

But the truth is that people do want to be part of something … and in part, they are seeking this in brands.

Harley Davidson is a great example of such a brand as they are working hard to always be true to themselves and connect deeply with their customers.

The problem is that most brands can’t really tell what their true personal values are (please don’t check in the brand book that an agency wrote for you).

2. Sense of Purpose (What are you trying to achieve?)

Sense of purpose is something that needs to be behind every single thing you do.

The definition that you can find on the Internet is “the quality of having intent, resolve, or ambition which results in great value or significance.”

In order not to lose customers, it is crucially important to remain connected with who you are.

3. The utility of the brand

This is a tricky one, because if you say “my utility is to produce _____ (fill in the blank),” you might be very wrong.

In 2013, people don’t expect you to tell them that you know how to build a product … they assume that already.

Your brand mission should be way beyond that.

Think about this “Kodak example”– the brand utility was defined in the 19th Century: “make the photo accessible to a maximum number of people.”

So what happened when Kodak (having 90% of worldwide marketshare) invented the digital camera in 1975?

Well the answer at that time was: We are serious photographers, we have nothing to do with the digital camera … that’s not us….” How can you be more wrong?

4. Eliminate friction

So what is the true nature of “digital?”

If your answer is, “it’s a great tool to communicate,” I will send you back to 2004. Same with “being social” (anyways, how can communication not be social anyway?).

If you tell me “we are on our way to develop an amazing mobile app,” I will tell you “do you know that 80% of brand apps are downloaded less than 1,000 times?”

In 2013, digital is more than anything a great tool to erase consumer friction. A consumer friction is a tension, and that is not always easy to find.

You should think about digital as a consumer tool that you can use.  Uber is deleting the friction of searching for a taxi; Nest, the friction of adjusting your Thermostat; Spotify puts all music in your hands

That’s what digital is really about!

Establish value. Connect with a sense of purpose. Provide utility. Eliminate friction. See, it’s not too hard, is it?

What are are your thoughts on getting back to basics?

Note: Gregory has graciously provided to {grow} readers a slide show illustrating his ideas about digital marketing:

How digital is modifying marketing from Gregory Pouy


Gregory Pouy is based in Paris and one of France’s leading marketing bloggers. You can learn more about his work on Slideshare and by following him on Twitter @gregfromparis . He founded @LaMercatique, helping brands to better understand and integrate digital in their marketing strategy

Illustration courtesy Flickr Creative Commons via wvrobyn

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