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.
Entries for The Digitals have been coming in from around the globe. Ciaran Norris, Chief Digital Officer at Mindshare Australia, is the first in our international judge Q&As.
What will you be looking for when judging The Digitals entries this year?
The use of technology should be entirely natural, almost organic if you will. And they should all clearly demonstrate how they met business needs. I think that we need to get away from the days of doing things just because they're new, or will get PR In the tech press, and hope that we are.
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 can think of a number of examples from within the global Mindshare network, some very simple, some really complex; whether that be having in-pause ads to highlight a tea-brands connection with down-time on the main TV catch-up service in Ireland, or the Twitter to pull together all the elements of a major sports sponsorship here in Australia.
How do you build digital excellence within your company?
It has to be top-down, and ground-up: we insist that all new grads work across on & offline when they start, to ensure that they can understand how all major channels work. And we ensure that senior management all receive thorough training, both internally, but also from the likes of Google & Facebook. We're trying to build a culture of no-line thinking, and work at it every day.
What types of company and business sectors do you see excelling at digital marketing and ecommerce at the moment?
There's some really interesting things happening in the travel space. GoGet/ZipCar, Uber & Hailo are all using technology to shape their entire businesses – it's not just frills, the businesses are inherently technical, but only because the tech enables a better customer experience.
How should companies be defining and measuring digital excellence?
Based on business objectives. We shot ourselves in the foot as an industry the day that we started selling ourselves on clicks, and have to get away from that. We should be marked on brand scores, return on investment and other, more macro KPIs.
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?
For me some of the biggest trends are ones around how the industry is set-up. So, the graph-wars, where the likes of Twitter & Facebook are trying to cut each other off, is going to start having an impact. If my client's Instagram campaign can't be shared via Twitter, it starts to lose an appeal (for example).
I think that companies are going to need to start putting pressure on the giants of Silicon Valley, just as they would on newspapers and TV networks.
Equally, the race between the Netflixes andHBOs of the world will have an impact as the content that brands want to be associated with (Game of Thrones, House of Cards, etc…) is increasingly delivered online; rights owners are still trying to manage release times by region – brands and media agencies should be putting pressure on the rights owners to allow simultaneous global distribution, with brands baked in from the start.