Embracing Digital is only half the story

Everywhere we look these days we see digital transformation is a top priority item on the corporate ‘to do’ list. External comms to customers and prospects, internal comms to employees and partners – expanding the reach and accessibility of content farther and wider than ever before.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the third sector. A recent report published by the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities, Stronger Charities for a stronger society, devotes a whole chapter to the use of digital technology in the third sector, saying that the integration of digital technologies into people’s lives and the changing nature of communications, particularly through social media, have significantly changed the environment that charities can operate within.

The recent Red Nose Day is just one example of how the use of digital has transformed access over recent times, migrating the event from predominantly TV/Radio/telephone based platforms to a much broader integration of traditional and social channels; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.

However, increasing reach across multiple channels only creates partial benefit. In a world where we are fast becoming overwhelmed with information and content, our audience will likely only stay interested, take action or return for more when they can identify an emotional connection with what is presented. A transactional approach is no longer sufficient when there is so much competition for attention.

As seen with Red Nose Day and similar large scale outreach, the third sector is increasingly combining multi-channel approach with powerful content that triggers strong emotional connections; humour, empathy, guilt even. That connection makes us take action and the stronger the connection, the greater the probability that we will take that action (donate).

Achieving this sort of connection with an audience is not even a budget dependant issue. Nor does the issue lie with the implementation of new technology. It is more about planning the presentation of content; incorporating a real understanding of what emotions can be evoked and whether they reinforce a call to action.

So, whilst embracing digital is a really good thing, it is only half of the story. Coupling the broader reach with a real understanding of and attention to the User Experience and the type of connection we want to forge is the real way to get meaningful transformation.