If you haven’t, you probably will before long because:
- “Everyone’s on social media so you need a Facebook and Twitter account.”
- “QR codes are popular, you should put one on things.”
- “X, Y and Z have just released an app, so you should probably consider that.”
- “Your competition’s website is fantastic, you have to rebuild yours.”
If any this sounds familiar to you, you’re infected. If it doesn’t, then watch out for it, because that’s the kind of shite that gets bandied about when ill-skilled companies decide they need to catch-up and start ‘doing digital’, quickly.
Why doesn’t that surprise me?
It’s not surprising because, firstly, the above tools are fairly common. Most people use most of them everyday, with the exception of QR codes, so it’s easy to throw them in the mix when you’re thinking of ‘going digital’. Secondly, and more importantly (or more worryingly), the reasons for the above suggestions are also common: because everyone else is doing it or because it’s popular or because we’re expected to do it. Here heralds the birth of the virus.
The companies that think along these lines are trying to look like they’re ‘doing digital’ and believe that, because of this expectation, they have to look like they’re ‘doing digital’. Not be digital or create a culture that understands digital or put digital first, but just look like they’re doing digital. I’ve even worked with a brand that put shit loads of coin into developing a mobile CMS and QR code generator for that exact reason. And this wasn’t an average middle-of-the-road SME trying to get ahead or a fledgling start up or an ambitious entrepreneur or a vulnerable local business. This was a global leader in a highly competitive industry that spent a fortune on a system, simply to show that it’s ‘doing digital’ because they felt they had to look like they’re ‘doing digital’, given the nature of the business.
Doing Digital vs Being Digital
With an abundance of easily accessible digital tools around, there’s a popular misconception that having a few likes and followers on Facebook or pinning QR codes on everything printable means you’re ‘doing digital’. But you can’t just ‘do’ digital, you’ve got to be digital. And to be digital, it takes more than just doing what the rest are doing simply because the rest are doing it. If we’re going to make it work, we’ve got to put digital at the core of the company and only utilise the tools that will help us accomplish our business goals and serve our customers. Without this reasoning, you’re starting with a solution and working back to the problem. And with this, you end up creating a problem just to justify your solution. You end up infected by this vision-clouding mentality and lost in a digital ocean without a map or compass. You end up playing darts in the dark.
So if you think you’re company is suffering from the ‘we need to look like we’re doing digital’ virus, have the confidence to speak up and ask why? Why are you on Facebook? Why are you using QR codes and building apps? Ask why enough times and you’ll soon find out whether it’s to meet customer or business needs or whether you’re following the rest of the herd.
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