To celebrate their launch and build a better understanding of what it is all about, we've invited several of the esteemed judges for a Q&A.
Nicolas Roope, Executive Creative Director at Poke, is the first in the series.
What will you be looking for when judging The Digitals entries this year?
I'm looking for good ideas that lend themselves to connectedness. So often awards congratulate "BIG ideas" that don't share DNA with the pervasiveness of today's internet.
I'm looking for ideas that you know can travel, scale, sustain and have the scope to learn and react as things evolve.
In keeping with our global theme, are their campaigns that stand out in your mind as best practice from other areas outside the UK?
I love what Google has been doing over the last few years but you really need to look at the whole picture rather than at any individual campaigns to see the real brilliance.
More than any global business of its kind, Google has created a loved brand by carving out a fresh expression that has the scope to contain and support a huge spectrum of ideas and initiatives that develops its voice and builds the brand at every step.
Google has shown how dropping conventional 360 integration methodology (with matching luggage defined at the top and filtered down), to a much looser concept where culture, feeling and concept create the backbone of continuity and consistency. This is a hard strategy to even conceive of let alone execute, so I both admire them and thank them for leading the way.
How do you build digital excellence within your company?
Digital excellence is actually more about culture than it is about specific skills and crafts.
Great digital things in my eyes are just "great things" that happen to be digital, so the approach for us is building a culture that shares this ambition to create significant work and a mix of the talent, capacity and tenacity needed to pull this off in very challenging conditions.
What types of company and business sectors do you see excelling at digital marketing and ecommerce at the moment?
It has to be the pure play digital businesses. The Googles, Netflixs, Spotifys and Hulu's. I think corporates are still struggling because the status of digital activities is still too low and too peripheral in their cultures to really exploit its' power (which is ultimately to connect things together not keep them separate).
How should companies be defining and measuring digital excellence?
I think if they ask themselves the question "what does excellence look like for us today?" I would be surprised if they could find any route to that goal without digital playing a central role in that transformation.
"Digital excellence" for me would simply mean "Did we get to where we were hoping to get to and did we organise, value, listen, collaborate with all the digital considerations down the chain to enable a full and meaningful transition or project to be realised?"
In other words, as long as we consider digital to be a "thing" and not "everything" it's never going to be very excellent ; )
What do you see as being the biggest digital trends of 2013, and do you see examples of companies capitalising on these as part of their digital marketing campaigns and programmes?
The "digital world" and the "real world" have been on a collision course for a long time and just about now is post-impact, so there's a huge cloud of dust and debris in the air, so you can't tell which way is up or down.
Product as marketing, services are branding, advertising as product etc etc. The winners in these conditions can find the salient connections, technologies and meaning in this mess.
Also, finally it feels like brand and products restrained in digital up till now by their physical nature, finally have the tools and the means to interact more meaningfully through mobile, social, payment, locality, all now accessible at our finger tips anywhere and through seamless 4G speeds.