Accepting the Digital World
Why Your Digital Identity Can’t be an Afterthought
I’ve been working with businesses for over 17 years, and in that time the world has become fundamentally different than when I started. Back then, we had the internet and mobile phones but couldn’t even imagine smartphones, streaming services, social media, and the other technologies that are now commonplace. I’m from the generation that saw the record player change into the cassette player, to the CD player, then MP3, and now streaming and broadcasting. Even then, I found the shift towards the digital fascinating, and I’ve passionately studied and specialized in it as it’s evolved.
Every aspect of our life is now infused with technology. Slowly but surely, everything from education, to businesses and even our identities are moving online. Being connected is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
Along with the digital world comes our digital identities, a reflection of ourselves through the different online spaces. For businesses to thrive in the digital world, it’s essential for businesses to understand the digital landscape and maintain their digital identities.
Intelligently Adapting to the Digital World
As you read this from your phone or your computer in between doing some shopping online, watching a video, or checking Instagram, it’s safe to say most of us have embraced our digital identities as an extension of our personal selves. And yet, every day I see businesses that see their digital identity as a necessary evil; a separate version of their business, not an extension of their brand as a whole.
Many companies fail to understand the difference between a fully formed online brand identity and an online presence. Simply having social media or a website isn’t enough to forge a digital identity. It needs to be handled in a way that enhances and builds your brand.
The “solution” for many businesses is to pay exorbitant amounts to agencies that promise to “take care” of their social media. Unfortunately, many times these agencies almost act like a separate entity. It’s not an extension of your business, just hired help that doesn’t reflect your brand and doesn’t provide a process for building something more. Having a mismanaged identity online causes your brand to stagnate and lose relevance with your consumers whose taste is constantly evolving.
Forming a real, organic digital identity that bridges that gap between the physical business, the people who run it, and the digital world requires working with people who intimately understand the digital space and where it’s going.
Rethinking Your Digital Identity
What I’ve told my clients, even as far back as 17 years ago: don’t run from Digital World; adapt to it and you’ll reap the benefits. By working with people who can cultivate a forward-thinking digital identity, you create a genuine and ongoing relationship between the brand and your customer.
When it comes down to it, many businesses see what’s happening online and they get scared. They clam up because they worry that their ideas and their passions are going to be eaten by an algorithm. They worry the love will be drained from their business, and that their hard work will be reduced to simple strategic keywords to increase search results.
Building your online brand and digital identity simply can’t be an afterthought. We have to work together with our technology as a fundamental part of the business, not just treat it as a stopgap marketing solution. A properly managed digital identity transforms the way you think about the future and empowers your business to evolve. It is the single most important change I advocate for my clients.
Are you happy with how your digital identity is being handled? Are you truly gaining value from your online presence? Is your business truly doing everything it can to thrive in the Digital World?
There is no time like the present to make some fundamental changes and rethink how your business exists online.