Recap: 10 Digital Communication Phenomena that Impact How Brand Building Works.



Communication in the digital space is often described in terms of platforms, formats and certain media touch points. (See illustration on the left - which I found here.) But what are the forces created by those platforms that impact brand leadership in the digital space?



1 Emancipation

Passive audiences become rather agents & producers (though by far not all of them!). People are better informed & media savvier than ever before & accept less bullshit (at least from corporations). 

It's not true that brands cannot communicate messages to audiences any longer - they still can. It's just that their messages lose unopposed credibility & share of voice in this emancipated world. Communicating one-way messages TO people becomes more difficult.




2 Voluntary Choice

The vast variety of media & content makes people free to choose but also overloaded by available options.  

Brands – in the digital world – should rather deliver content / utility that will be chosen by people voluntarily. On the other hand they have to be found - since people use all sorts of filters to make their choices (social filters, search engines, ...)




3 Transparency


Little can be hidden. All sorts of information can be found, compared and shared in the digital space.

Brands can not just rely on "lean messaging" that highlights certain positive aspects. Other aspects will come up even if they don't want them to.


4 Humaneness

Digitally mediated communication happens between more and more between people - although not exclusively so.

Brands in the digital social space rather should acquire a more human, personal touch and tone: less abstract, less perfect, less efficient, less "official", often more rooted in actual employees. 


5. Collaboration

There's not just communication but also conjoint value creation going on. Between brands & people even less than between allied people. E.g. when they start sharing things instead of buying them.

Brands could use people as cooperation partners not just consumers. I'm not very fond of this notion (I think there's too much democratic ideology to it) but I believe that at least on thing is definitely true: "people out there" often produce far more interesting & beneficial stuff than brands do. So brands need to cope with that or benefit from that somehow.


6 Social Diffusion

Content travels - through peoples' hands.


Brands have the possibility not just to attract people but also to distribute their communication through being interesting or useful to people. - instead of buying media space. 


7 Users


"Content" or "format" of communication used to be rather text, pictures, sound, moving pictures. Now "Software" is a new kind of "content"/"format". Apps, Games, etc. Instead  of being read or watched of listened to, these media objects are being used.

Brands can engage in software creation (in it's broadest sense, of course). 


8 Mediatization of Everything

Before there was "life" (and consumption an that kind of stuff) and there were media. Now life and media are much more interwoven. Think of mobile internet, augmented reality, eCommerce as such)

Brand communication could start caring more about the different contexts of life in which communication occurs.


 9. Speed

Communication in the digital space is faster.

Brand & organizations should develop a capability of deciding, reacting & communicating faster. (Being reactive in this field is a far less negative term compared to the world of classical brand comms.)



10. Hypes

Social mechanisms and speed of innovation generate "hot stuff" every second. They mostly come and go. New formats become talked about, then disappear. People talk of the "Age of so and so", but most of those "Ages" can be replaced by another one within 2-3 years.

Brands should not panic. Most things don't work for them. No ned to participate in every hype out there. Entering a game late does not necessarily mean losing the game.