Rabie Soubra

Communication and marketing specialist


digital buzz

Posted by rabie soubra on April 10, 2011 at 4:07 AM

“We are focusing on digital” seems to be the new buzzword these days, sadly without real connotations or depth of understanding.

Just to clarify, for those who are blowing the death trumpet of traditional advertising, digital is extremely important but it will never replace classical advertising tools when it comes to brand building.

Because digital will never have the ability to make people love the brand.

It will have a superior ability to make them know about it, interact with it and engage in its world.

Building a brand is an emotional exercise; it needs a framework to tell a story. This means that it requires tools that are still within the realm of classical advertising, especially TV.

How smart this story is told is a creative function, and how it reaches people is a media planning function.

Digital is a tool, just like classical advertising; with a huge difference, which is, that it is more flexible to suit the digital format, more interactive, can initiate a dialogue and engagement.

In my opinion, the real focus should not be on digital but on the synthesis between digital and classical. But if digital enthusiasts fail to harness the real power of digital then they are just adding another tool for their communication arsenal, not very different from classical tools. They are still treating digital tools as tools of reach, which is wrong.

Digital tools are tools of engagement, it is not complimentary to classical, it is parallel to it.

Digital is not about placing a banner on yahoo or on facebook.

The crucial dimension is engagement, with all its measurable criteria, and without those criteria, your digital might well be classical. This includes customer behaviors, attitudes, opinions, contributions, ideas, influencing power, advocating power, habits, fears and desires.

Digital offers a framework to measure, and therefore manage, those criteria. This was impossible in the classical model except through research which I don’t believe in at all. And once those criteria are managed, they can be channeled to a reality to benefit the brand and its market position.

This is what it should be about.

One key obstacle is the absence of intelligent databases in our market. And in my opinion digital campaigns should be designed primarily to create an intelligent database so that the next campaign achieves the highest possible delivery and effectiveness. Another obstacle is that there isn’t yet a common platform among clients, agencies and customers when it comes to digital campaigns. In most cases customers are way ahead of both clients and agencies, and often times clients are lagging behind, securely ensconced in their classical, safe, world.

And before this is rectified, we will never have truly outstanding digital campaigns.

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