June 4, 2014

img_6136The phenomenon that is the Internet was predicted before its time, but face to face with it today, most of us still find ourselves ill prepared to grapple with what we can – or cannot – achieve with the Internet and digital.

Donald Lim, ABS-CBN chief digital officer, notes a “great divide” between digital natives knowing instinctively how things should be done now and digital immigrants still trying to make sense of a digital world even as new and mobile technologies steadily emerges.

Digital natives were born sometime during or after the rise of advanced digital technologies, knowing little else but this new world order as they were growing up. But digital immigrants, they were born before any of this, and they’ve had to adapt to digital later in life.

“There was a time that the entire family was glued to a single device – one family watching TV in the living room. TV was a primary media. However, we cannot avoid the fact that today, TV has become the secondary media already, and the primary device has become your individual phone or tablet, and you are now media multitasking,” Mr. Lim says at the PANA GMM this May.

“Even the traditional theories are now being challenged by digital. If you would remember in Economics 101 about Maslow’s hierarchy, those in research would tell us that in reality, some people do not even sleep or eat anymore – as long as they have the Internet they are happy and they are fulfilled.”

Whether or not people are seriously replacing human needs with the Internet, we can’t deny that the Internet has changed the way we communicate and do business. In the early years of the Internet, every company wanted a website. In the social era, the 2000s, they wanted social media presence. From today towards the future, we have a collaborative economy era which is social, mobile and with payment systems adapted to digital.

Parents have learned to book travel accommodations through agoda.com. Digital natives prefer airbnb.com, so they could rent a flat or a room and experience living like the locals for a few days.

The LendingClub is a place online where “Investors earn better returns, borrowers pay lower rates”. At Cookening, we get to connect with individuals who are interesting in attending or hosting home-cooked meals and meeting people from around the world.

Brands and businesses have to navigate a world gone digital and do so skillfully.

“What we’re seeing now is that a lot of brands, when they ask us to develop digital strategies for them, hindi na yun ‘let’s do something on Facebook’, ang labanan ngayon sa content,” shares Mr. Lim on his top three strategies for digital campaigns.

“A lot of brands are now focusing on creating their own platforms. They are creating their own websites but it’s not a branded site. In many cases it’s a generic site.”

L’Oreal, for example, is the owner of online beauty resource makeup.com.

Two more tips are integrating digital campaigns with other platforms – like using print to lead readers to a news site on a mobile platform – and obsessing less with digital metrics like page views and fans but focusing more on data about customers.

Some strategies will match a brand more than others. Sometimes a digital campaign may even fall flat on its face, but the important thing is to start doing, because as Mr. Lim believes, we have to help each other learn and understand digital as an industry, and the only way is to actually immerse in it.

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