By Danielle Trejo
Stephen Surman, senior digital and social media strategy executive at MeadJohnson Nutrition, took the stage Nov. 12 at the 2014 Social Media Masters Summit in Chicago and said digital strategies make no sense.
Surman asked the crowd, “Who has a digital strategy? Who has a social strategy?” A few hands were raised. Surman then asked who has a content, wearable, TV, print or radio strategy. Again, a few hands rose. For those who didn’t raise their hands, he asked, “If you don’t have those strategies, does it make you not responsible for them?” Surman said most companies don’t have TV and print strategies specifically, but have brand strategies. Someone has written out what your brand stands for and that brand dictates what your TV and print strategies are. But is digital different?
“A lot of people will say that mobile is their digital strategy,” Surman said. “Mobile is only a strategy if you are a food truck! You chose to make your food more convenient for your customers. But it certainly isn’t a digital strategy.” Albeit Surman’s great analogy, the question that really got me thinking was “what is my digital strategy?” Think about that for your brand. What is your brand’s digital strategy?
Surman then played the 2008 version of the “Shift Happens/Did You Know?” video, which is full of astonishing stats, such as that the amount of new technological information doubles every year (here’s the 2014 remix version). The point of showing this video was to demonstrate that the market is evolving, people are evolving and the way brands communicate needs to evolve.
The bottom line is that we live in a digital world and digital is everywhere. “You’re not a digital marketer,” Surman said. “You’re a marketer in a digital world.” It’s an important distinction. The strategies we write are bad because we are forcing ourselves to write something we don’t need. It’s the time for brands to evolve. The story your brand wants to tell and the story your consumer wants to engage in aren’t the same thing, but there is overlap. Businesses need to have clear value proposition, with clear roles for the brand and consumer, and a call-to-action that’s active and compelling.
Danielle Trejo is social media coordinator and executive assistant to the CEO at Gannett Healthcare Group.