By Nevena Martinović
The digital economy gives us a choice, saves time and greatly simplifies various processes. We can freely say it improves the operational level of our life and business.
It’s December 2021. How to start any communication topic without it being related to the Covid-19 pandemic and all cause-and-effect topics such as its effect on markets, people’s lives, their habits, education, business and communications? It’s almost impossible! The pandemic spun our lives 360 degrees. We can deny it but it is there. We can focus on it and we will not see beyond it. The pandemic indeed affected everyone, but let’s see in what way and what it brought to all of us.
In terms of the economy, the pandemic has affected the whole world in a way to push even harder in the direction of digitalization, e-commerce, new digital services, but also the establishment of new business mechanisms, such as remote work. Some industries almost came to a grinding halt, primarily tourism and catering, and some, like retail, have transformed. I believe that many will still be expanding, especially when it comes to education, communications and entertainment. We found out that a very large segment of our needs can actually be regulated through online platforms and that the whole process can function quite well and efficiently. This is certainly the direction in which market economies, but also our lives, will further develop. However, we should be reserved about one thing.
The digital economy gives us a choice, saves time and greatly simplifies various processes. We can freely say it improves the operational level of our life and business. For it to have its further course of development, ideas and a new approach to creativity are needed, for which we also need a person and a social context. This should actually be our focus today, namely to find new ways and modules that will create a link between the digital and physical worlds. Exclusivity is no longer an option. What does this mean in the context of communications? It implies a conceptual turn that shifts its centre from a person to the mechanism itself. The main question is no longer what the digital world will bring us, but how and in what way we can integrate it into our lives. I believe that many people will disagree with this statement, but the current process of which we are all a part is exactly that – to find a successful mechanism that integrates these two ecosystems into one.
For some time now, I have been debating with colleagues from marketing and communications about what constitutes brand strategy today and whether the development of the digital ecosystem has changed its traditionally established postulates. Many still advocate the position that “it is just another channel of communication” and that the basis and principles of defining a strategy are the same. Well, it’s not like that! The rules of the game are now changed.
“Digital is a much wider field than marketing and even communications”
Digital is a much wider field than marketing and even communications. Digital is both a channel and a product and service and analytics and education and sales. It takes time for all of us to adopt these changes so that we can continue to actively monitor their development. For example – everything that used to take us months to analyse like brand setting and value definition, today, thanks to digital channels, we can test in a few steps and quickly get feedback on what is the right direction for us and what is not. Also, we can reach a person in any position anywhere in the world faster and with less effort than ever before.
Networking takes on a whole new dimension thanks to digital. All this opens up a wide field of possibilities that we can only use through the development of creativity and continuous testing, which brings us back to the thesis that the focus should be on finding a good mechanism that integrates our digital and physical presences, before finding the answer to what needs are we fulfilling in either of those two worlds. This is very important for all those industries that have direct communication with consumers, and for brands to be even more open in terms of improving their products, services and communications. This, also, further attracts the development of creative industries that need to devise new mechanisms. In terms of the market, this will affect the development of smaller creative consultancies/agencies/startups that will be more project-oriented towards clients, and less focused on strategic communications that are slowly being forgotten, because in practice they are important only at the level of operational functioning. I see this as a trend that will have its application not only in marketing, PR or digital agencies but also in media outlets and even educational systems.