Conversation not Broadcast

In the first digital generation, marketing employed a system which favoured interruption and direct sale. Brands would force their stories onto unsuspecting spectators, purchasing online real estate in mass and appearing, without warning,….and it worked!


However, it can’t be ignored that a revolution in the way we live, learn, love, communicate, and do business has occurred. No other generation has been able to connect, upload, download, contribute, collaborate, broadcast, “like”, share and tweet data and content with such ease and efficiency. The continued integration of technology platforms and the increasing ubiquity of web access are leading to an unavoidably multi-channel existence. Consumers are now able to access the content they want, where they want it, whenever they want it.


This new paradigm requires a fundamental shift in brand communications planning. Focus needs to shift from interrupting and influencing individuals to collaborating, interacting, inspiring and igniting herds.


As long as we view digital as another media channel, we will fail to understand it as a personal space. The online arena is not a destination; it’s a connection, conversation and collaboration medium. In order to bring brand, culture and consumer together, human connections must sit at the heart of everything, grounded in a deep understanding of the human desire for social interaction and the media usage patterns of your target consumer. Rather than planning for interruption, brands must start planning for a sustainable growth in interaction.


Create and share communications which encourage and enable your audience to immerse themselves in your brand at whatever level and frequency they desire. If you can get this right, the consumer becomes as much a producer, editor and ambassador as they do part of the audience.

  • Gareth, this is absolutely right. However, the challenge for us all is to be able to say what you’ve just said but in plain English that makes sense to clients. Whilst ‘digital’ as a channel persists in inventing its own vocabulary then it will remain a channel.
    It would be very interesting if more digital specialists could talk in more plain language to clients about what it does and why its is so important.

  • Hi Tom,

    Although it doesn’t cover the full potential of social media and the new paradigm Gareth describes I have found that when talking to clients you can achieve resonance by speaking to them in terms of offline (traditional) business development, networking and customer relationship management. These are recognised, respected and tangible areas of business, based on human interaction and listening. Then it’s a question of drawing the parallels with online activity – traditional business is about people and new online business is also about people, I think that’s the touchpoint.
    What do you think?

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    Tom, Pascoe

    ” human connections must sit at the heart of everything, grounded in a deep understanding of the human desire for social interaction and the media usage patterns of your target consumer.”

    This is the real key. Any client worth their weight in salt will recognise the multi-channel existence of today’s consumers. The role of the agency, is to strip back the noise around these new channels and to understand, and communicate to clients, that human-interaction is human-interaction. Whether this takes place online or offline, the desires and motivations remain consistent.

    We are human, our clients are human…and with a little gentle persuasion they may begin to understand this as the key to their social communications strategy.

  • Robert Long

    You can read more from Zef, the creator of Zeefax, about how and why he created his amazing CV here

  • Robert Long

    Sorry that should have been !!

  • loreleimathias

    Great, thanks Robert. Well done Zef.