In 2014, brands will need to be digital first -- and we need to help them change

The director of information architecture at agency Nomensa details the biggest design trend for 2014.

The shift into a new phase of 'digital' is well known to designers, technologists and most businesses. From Mobile First, to Big Data, Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things, the data carried via digital channels is more pervasive than ever. Our experience over the past year however has seen a new request emerge from organisations: 'We know we need a great website and mobile experience but how do we transform our business to put digital first?'

Many factors speak to this development: organisational maturity, the economic pressures of the last five years and increasing market saturation. More specifically, the polite hat tip to digital channels (while the main of business remains unchanged) has become insufficient for the growing volumes and efficiencies provided by digital, both internally and externally. Digital channels crucial to develop and impossible to ignore.

Joining the dots

The shift in perspective from micro to macro, from website to ecosystem, from process to people and product to service requires a rethink of the role of digital. Business is starting to see the untapped benefits it can provide. Of course 'digital' exists in many forms in companies already: databases, automated processes, telephony, intranets and customer-facing channels such as websites, apps and social media. The challenge is how to join these dots together.

Where digital first emerged within IT and then extended into marketing, it is now settling into the space of business. And you don't need to be ecommerce enabled to do business online. The growing expectation, from both staff and customers, is that business is online and digital in all respects. So while digital now warrants standing shoulder to shoulder with IT, sales or marketing as a further organisational silo, its pervasiveness cries out not to be siloed at all. Besides which, it doesn't feel like an organisational function anyway. It's a more fundamental shift: a layer running horizontally through the hierarchy, slicing across silos, and out the other side into society.

The challenge to design

If you believe, as I do, that everything is design then leaving this evolution of digital to either technologists or management consultants is more than worrying. I feel strongly that we have reached a turning point where people are looking for vastly more meaningful experiences in their personal lives as well as in their day-to-day jobs. And digital remains the upstart: the disruptor that blurs the boundaries between home and work, organisation and marketplace, inside and outside, water cooler and social network.

So the question is, how should this macro experience be designed? And by whom? How can we encourage the design to embrace more than efficiency, profitability and market dominance? It seems to me that the answer lies in human-centred design at the structural, systemic level. We need the information architects of the 2000's, the people who were joining the dots between users, the medium, programmers, marketers and business for websites; doing the same thing at the macro level where the needs of people, business and society are better balanced.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Coles Group's Lisa Ronson

​In this week's instalment of Conversations over a Cuppa with CMO, we talk with Coles Group CMO and our former #1 in the CMO 2018, Lisa Ronson, about how the supermarket giant has approached marketing and customer engagement and how she's coped with the transformative and significant impact of the COVID-19 crisis as a leader and brand strategist.

More Videos

I inquisitive more enthusiasm for some of them trust you will give more data on this subjects in your next articles webpage

Jennifer Reagan

Melbourne Fashion Week: Using digital and insight to drive engagement and attendance

Read more

I recommend only good and reliable information, so see it webpage

Jennifer Reagan

What automated design is going to do to 3D printing and product customisation

Read more

Thanks, that was a really cool read webpage

Jennifer Reagan

Report: Accountability key to marketing's influence in business

Read more

Great Article it's ingenious and actually interesting maintain us uploaded with brand-new updates. its was really beneficial. many thanks...

Jennifer Reagan

Foxtel employs wearable technology to give AFL fans a more sensory experience

Read more

I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording visit here

Jennifer Reagan

Will 3D printing be good for retail?

Read more

Blog Posts

The 10 commandments of marketing in COVID times

With social and economic uncertainty and the changing political landscape, how can CMOs adapt to seize opportunity?

Duncan Wakes-Miller

GM, marketing, Audika Australia and New Zealand

Why direct response advertising is winning this year

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, brands around the globe are going into hibernation and waiting out the ongoing storm. CMOs have dramatically slashed their budgets across every single form of media, digital included.

Sabri Suby

Founder, King Kong

Taking back control of your tech

To win in customer experience, brands need to take back control of their technology.

Michael Titshall

VP, managing director, R/GA Australia

Sign in