The Human in Digital – why digital gets personal

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digital gets personal, digital tool, The Myndset digital marketingIn French, the word “digital” means “of the finger.”  The French generally prefer the term “numérique.”  In English, digital is basically the most accepted term covering all that which deals with the computer technology and/or binary code!  Finally, I am beginning to think that the French definition of digital is more appropriate than first meets the eye. The more I look at companies wishing to “integrate” or “boost” their digital activities, the more I see the burgeoning importance of the human component.  It sounds counter intuitive, but the deeper one goes, digital gets personal.

Digital = Transformational

Whenever the “digital” subject arises in business, regardless of the initial scope, the inevitable realization is that it means change.  A company that wishes to become more digital (whether that is in marketing, retail, sales, customer service…) typically needs to rethink the way business is being done.  At its heart, digital has a way of bringing the company face to face with the customer.  This means being able to operate as a team with greater transparency, in real time across multiple platforms.  And that is generally where transformation starts to be needed.

Digital = Tool

digital gets personal, digital tool, The Myndset digital marketingMachines and brands don’t talk.  People do.  Digital devices and platforms are merely tools.  When companies want to “get” digital, they must first “be” digital.  In other words, the individuals in the company must be appropriately trained, guided and empowered to use the digital tools.  When brands or retailers use digital in retail locations, the most common oversight is the lack of training for the personnel who are on the front line, interfacing with and accompanying the customers in the shop. I stress this point in the Digital in Retail infographic I recently published.

Digital = Interaction

In the first wave of digital, the tendancy was to use the digital tools to continue to broadcast.  In the first cases of using digital in retail, stores might use a flat screen TV or computer screen to provide dynamic information that could be centrally controlled.  However, the great opportunity with digital is to create connections, capture data and enrich the experience.  Inevitably, it is an extremely human and personal experience.

The human ball rolling!

In my network, I have met several agencies working in the digital space that have latched onto this notion.  These include Human Inside (in Paris), People-Made (London) or PeopleWeLike (Paris).  Looking among bigger players, the media buying agency, MediaCom’s slogan is People First, Better Results.  For myself, it is what is meant behind the tagline “branding gets personal.”   It is my fundamental belief that the ability to attract, galvanize and mobilize talent will be absolutely critical to the success of digital-based activities.  {Click to tweet}  It was always important, but in an era where customer centricity is a necessity and competitive pressures are ever higher, the role of the human to drive the relationships, be they digital or analog, will be vital.

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