Turning a digital strategy into an action plan is something that should be done in phases to reflect the relative position of the Internet in the overall strategy of means. Using a customer journey and associating different brand goals to it is a way of organising all the content and actions and prioritising them before getting into the detail of the digital action plan. Defining how to steer the project will then be done retroactively.
A digital strategy is not just the sum total of all the actions your company carries out on the Internet. It involves natively integrating the Internet prior to thinking about strategy even on a company-wide level, and identifying areas of presence and action within each function/job alongside other drivers and means. One way of approaching this is to evaluate the potential impact of the Internet on the business model of the company and leadership methods used by senior management, in order to define the right levels of goals, leadership and organisation relating to various cases. Only then can it be translated into action plans.
The Internet is a virtual space in which we find our way around in the same way as we do in the real physical space: using points of reference and paths that come from experience enabling us to build up a mental image of the space. Content is the tar of the web, the material that is used to build its roads: a strategy of content and a strategy of means are closely linked. Internet users continually pass judgement on the content they find until they reach their goal. Their criteria are often based on the quality of the source as much as on the quality of the content itself.
Today, almost everyone is on the Internet. Writing down the many uses in a list that gets longer each year is no longer of any use to brands looking to analyse the web. Instead, they need to step back and look at the main starting motivations of Internet users (searching for information, building relationships, consumption and production) to see where these cross over with the brand’s objectives and thus find the right place for the Internet compared to other media and channels. The Internet is basically a medium of utility, experience and relationships, far less than it is one of image and emotion. It is of far greater benefit for those who participate in it regularly instead of focusing on occasional, tactical use.
By considering the Internet as a virtual SPACE instead of a media or channel, the different places that make up the web, how they work and the way Internet users use them becomes clearer for companies and brands that have ventured into the web. The same geographical logic can be transposed to define the pillars of a digital strategy: places of presence, traffic, routes, places where audiences gather, accessibility… along with a sense of place and how to behave there.
Companies have a growing need to effectively coordinate their different activities on the web and on the mobile, yet they struggle to come up with a digital strategy. Confusion exists between digital expertise and strategic expertise. The development of a strategy first requires the creation of common points of reference for discussing the different actions: a coherent, global vision of the Internet would connect the various professions and stakeholders and would thus provide greater perspective across all channels.