Damon Mangos of Delete: striking the right balance between brand and digital transformation

Disrupt, innovate and transform are all terms which seem to define the digital landscape and it is the quest for these which drives digital forward. But disruption isn’t new. Neither are innovation or transformation, as organisations of all sizes constantly face new competition and developing market conditions. Since change is the only constant, digital transformation has become imperative for all businesses, small, medium and large.

As digital transformation continues to fuel the innovation fire, CEOs and CMOs within organisations are racing to stay ahead of the competition, constantly looking for new ways to improve operational efficiency and deliver more compelling customer experiences. This drive for digital innovation is by far the biggest cultural influencer today, changing the way we do just about everything – from shopping to communication to transport to engaging fans to running businesses and even how we do politics.

Everyone wants to be innovative, but very few brands seem to know what that innovation should really look like or mean. In today’s business environment, organisations either evolve to stay relevant or they are forced to change to remain competitive. But true digital innovation in itself needn’t necessarily mean jumping on the latest bandwagon or completely reinventing the wheel. Nor is a continual quest for the new and transformative always right. A recent study by IBM found that some 70 per cent of consumers are frequently left disappointed by digital brand experiences, including VR and AR.

True, the digital pace of change is faster than ever, but consumers will only embrace brands and businesses which can give them the experience they want. And this doesn’t mean completely reinventing the wheel – rather, it’s an opportunity to transform the purpose of that wheel into something greater and more effective, to disrupt the way businesses engage their fans and customers in the digital economy. This is where the real customer potential and value lies.

Successful and effective digital businesses take an outside-in view of their business – they look at the business from the customer’s perspective and constantly reinvent what they do and how they do it to meet these needs. They then apply the right balance of content, brand and technology to achieve the transformation the user wants.

The best innovation strategy is not a collection of one-off campaigns, quick customer acquisition ideas or growth hacks. Sure, those might get you some quick wins but they will not stand the test of time. Rather, your strategy should provide strategic tools, concepts and perspectives that will allow you to develop a response to any new digital possibilities and to then align your organisation for effective execution.

It will allow you to become more proactive in the digital domain, help you turn digital threats into opportunities, and allow you to leverage digital to create a competitive advantage and enhanced performance. Most importantly, it will provide the user with a long-term valuable experience.

Ultimately, the customer experience is fundamental for any digital transformation and maintaining a top notch user experience is a fantastic way to keep customers engaged with your brand. Anywhere customers can interact with your business the experience must be consistent and positive. For me, being a digital business means being a joined-up business and with digital comes the opportunity for enhanced relationships with customers.

To survive and succeed in the digital world, businesses need to be agile – they need to be able to respond quickly and easily to changing market conditions, customer preferences or competitor activity. They also need to be prepared to take risks, try new things, and test ideas in order to thrive in the digital world. Finally, as digital markets move more quickly, it’s important to remember that they are more dynamic than traditional markets, meaning they can be disrupted more easily. Audiences and customers no longer sit still and businesses cannot afford to either.

Damon Mangos is strategy partner and creative director of London digital agency Delete.

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