Expert speakers at the forefront of harnessing digital platforms to connect with their audiences and drive engagement joined Instinctif Partners for today’s event: Building a Business in the Digital Age. Using an interactive ‘tweet wall’, the event moderator Damian Reece (@damianreece), Managing Partner at Instinctif Partners, encouraged over 50 participants to join in the conversation on Twitter throughout the event. Exploring themes including the importance of content personalisation, big data and cultural legitimacy for digital success, there was a real buzz in the room, extending to Twitter with #digitalbiz trending as a result!
Anthony Fletcher, CEO at graze.com (@grazedotcom), kicked things off. Putting digital at the heart of his b2c online snacking company, he has built the business from “bedroom to £50m in just five years”. Having recently launched graze boxes in the United States, Anthony explained how the intersection between food and technology is driving innovation and novel solutions through the harnessing of big data. “We have changed 30-40 per cent of our products since launching in the States three months ago, so that the range we have now perfectly reflects the tastes and preferences of our consumers. Without data, this agility, targeting and the resulting sales performance wouldn’t be possible,” he said.
Personalisation – this time of the user journey – is also high on the agenda of Anna Granholm-Brun (@annacbrun), Digital Content Strategist @Maersk, the worldwide shipping, oil and gas business. Her mantra “think big, start small, act fast” really resonated with the largely b2b audience in the room. It certainly seems to have worked for Maersk: its social media channels are undeniably outstanding – an uncommon achievement in and even beyond the company’s sector. But Anna admitted that Maersk’s corporate website doesn’t currently meet the same standards, and that social media alone is nothing without a wider digital strategy. “Our new website, launching in June, will focus on the end-to-end user journey, not just content – reflecting the digital transition we’ve made as a business over the last few years,” she said.
Terri Lucas (@terrancelucas), Marketing Director @hymansrobertson, explained her challenger brand strategy in what is a typically conservative business and industry: investments, pensions and benefits. Bringing cocktail mixology to the table, she said the most powerful digital results come from “two parts passion to one part expertise” — and that a learn, link and leverage approach has worked well within her own business. Terri also talked about how training is critical to team involvement and ownership. “That is not to say you should be restricted,” she said, “our guidelines encourage employees to be human, open and to use their own voice and personality.”
“Teenagers are the consumers of the future,” began Tim Fallon (@fallontim), Instinctif Partners’ Managing Director of Global Corporate Affairs, citing his daughters as perfect examples of tomorrow’s digitally-empowered consumers and citizens. He described how he sees the transition into digital as an opportunity to change the focus of communications from corporate reputation to cultural legitimacy. “Companies no longer own their own brand,” Tim said. “The customer is so invested in the organisation, it is less about a company showing what it is good at, and more about how they tell their story… that is cultural legitimacy.” He concluded by saying how a brand with cultural legitimacy is a “living brand” with the ability to adapt quickly to a rapidly changing digital landscape.
This is the first in a series of events exploring the essential themes, issues and priorities of communications professionals today. This session was held at Instinctif Partners’ new offices at 65 Gresham St, London, in association with Communicate magazine (@communicatemag).