Denise Shrivell

Digital People - Heather Albrecht

Welcome to Digital People where we profile Heather Albrecht, Digital Strategist from Digital Connections. Heather offers many valuable insights into the changes & shifts society, business & our industry continues to experience through technology. She also highlights the importance of social media across all levels of business, not just through their marketing strategy. Well worth the read.

Digital People - Heather AlbrechtName: Heather Albrecht

Works: Digital Connections

Job Title: Digital Strategist and Trainer

1. Please highlight your industry experience and how, where and when you came to digital media?

I always find a question like this one challenging having worked in marketing and communications for 30+ years – so many highlights, so much change.   Yet it is the changes that digital communications have brought about that have kept me in this industry for so long.  In an trade where it is easy to become disheartened when you reflect on questions like ‘how am I making the world a better place?’ – it is the shift in marketplace influence and decision-making that empowers individuals over corporations fuelled by digital channels, platforms and tools – that has allowed me to answer this question in an increasingly positive way.  Core values such as Transparency, Authenticity, Collectivism and Collaboration are arising from the digital landscape and driving new marketing priorities that better serve us as ‘consumers’.  As a consequent, marketing that prioritizes in this way is driving more Value to the bottom line.  This feels like a sustainable equation to me.  I started in digital marketing in the mid-90’s when we called it ‘new media’, at the time I was a founding partner of Whybin TBWA in Sydney and my business card said ‘Director of Direct Marketing and New Media’. In 2000 I set up Digital Connections, a digital communications strategy planning and training company employing me, myself and I.

2.   Can you outline your current role with Digital Connections - what do you actually do?

I help marketers and agencies embrace a new marketing worldview with a deep understanding of the strategic role of ‘digital’ within this new worldview.  I am both a Digital Strategist and Trainer. I find the two work best hand-in-hand. There is a knowledge and skills gap in many agencies and marketing organizations today and it’s holding individuals and companies back. This gap or simple ignorance (don’t know what I don’t know) is one of the core challenges that prevents the necessary change in marketing and communications planning from keeping up with the changes in consumer expectations and behaviour.

The new marketing worldview is simply a contemporary marketing worldview which recognizes that how we interact with each other, with brands, with organizations, with media has fundamentally shifted to a real time, on-demand, one-to-one, one-to-many interactive model where we can be audience, author and critic.  We can now pull (and upload) highly personal, content through four different screens when, where and how we want to. This requires marketing to shift away from a push-based delivery of message via predominantly paid media on a campaign basis.  The traditional marketing model is the antithesis of inviting participation in real time continuously via bought, owned and earned media and offering content, conversation, community and utility versus just messages.

3.   Please offer a brief insight into Digital Connections - your market position and forward plans?

My plan for Digital Connections is to make the need for ‘digital strategy’ redundant.  Once a new marketing worldview is fully understood and embraced, then the need for a ‘digital strategy’ goes away.  I’m not saying we won’t need thought leadership in digital – both from a marketing and technical perspective – I’m saying that roles in organizations that have ‘digital’ titles will be exactly this – thought leadership roles.  Communications strategists, all marketers will embrace a new marketing worldview and in doing so inherently understand the strategic role of digital/social channels, platforms and tools.

4.  Is there any one person, digital business or sector you think we should be keeping an eye on?

Any business that has a service that truly helps organizations become ‘social businesses’ will flourish.  Importantly these new services (consulting, technology, training etc.) will operate from an understanding of the new Values driving these changes and will help an organization make the mindset, cultural and Value changes that will drive authentic shifts beyond lip-service and the adoption of social media by the marketing department.  Companies like The Social Business Consulting Group http://sobizco.com/ and The Dachis Group http://www.dachisgroup.com/ are early entrants in this field

5.  What do you see as the main challenges and opportunities in our market?

Embracing a new marketing worldview that aligns with consumer expectation and behaviour is both the challenge and the opportunity.  Challenging because the changes required to bring about a more contemporary marketing model require significant shifts not just in marketing departments and their agencies partners but also culturally throughout the whole of organizations.  As I mentioned earlier, values such as Transparency, Authenticity, Collectivism and Collaboration are arising from the digital landscape and driving not just new marketing worldviews but also acting as a catalyst for internal and personal changeAnd frankly one can’t happen without the other. Adopting a contemporary marketing worldview means also changing mindsets about how organizations do business. The way that this new landscape encourages people to do business – by focusing on building relationships, caring what customers think, encouraging customer conversations & collaboration, being transparent, letting people get to know the people behind the brand – flies in the face of many company cultures that focus on control.

6.  What does the digital/interactive industry need to do better right now? 

We need to talk more about the cultural shifts that needs to happen, not just senior management levels but, throughout organizations.  None of us really likes change and even less losing control.  These are significant issues that need to be addresses if the so-called digital/interactive industry is to make any real headway in being more than a ‘bolt-on’ to an existing model/company.  We need to partner with organizations, individuals that understand how to bring about cultural change.  Until we start being part of the solution to bring about these cultural shifts, we will be endlessly shaking out heads and muttering ‘they just don’t get it’. 

7.  Where do you get your industry information from?

I use sites and apps like Netvibes and Zino to personalize and stay in touch on a daily basis with the blogs and news I need to be across.  And if it wasn’t for all the time I have in airports and planes accompanied by my iPad I’m not sure how I’d get across it all.  I do know that I’m relying more and more on personal recommendation to discern and discover – I have a handful of colleagues and favourite bloggers whose Likes, +’s and Tweets I try to never miss.

8.  What industry groups or networks are you a part of?

I'm a member of TCC Digital Committee at the momentAlong with multiple LinkedIn industry groups like AIMIA, Social Business & Social Business Design Network, Interactive and Digital Media Group etc.

 

Thanks for your continued support and interest in Digital People.  If you have any comments please feel free to get in touch - denise@mediascope.com.au or phone:  0424 100325.  I welcome your feedback.

 


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