It could be a person at a party, or a taxi driver making casual conversation, or a friend of a friend. In any case, there is an opening question that we are all familiar with.
“So what do you do for a living?”, I am sometimes asked.
Brace and gulp, “I’m a digital engagement strategist”.
And so it goes. From this point there are two branches to the conversation:
They understand the principle of digital engagement…
If the person I am speaking with is an executive or leader working in business at a strategic level, they may understand immediately and our conversation is stimulating and enlightening for them. It doesn’t take them long to ask whether I might be able to help their organisation to achieve more using digital engagement.
They don’t immediately recognise the concept…
If the person I am speaking with works at a more tactical or operational level, they may initially glaze over and it could take a little more effort to bring understanding to the conversation. They may confess to not having much idea about technology or digital engagement. Yet funnily enough, with a few pressing questions it becomes clear that they actually know first hand all about digital engagement through their own personal use of Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Flickr and so on. It is just that they don’t think of it as technology or digital engagement.
Two distinct groups of people, each with different objectives.
The role of a digital engagement strategist involves finding the most effective ways to get companies to connect in a meaningful and measurable way with people.
A day in the life of a digital engagement strategist
A typical morning starts with a roundup of industry news and developments that may impact on my clients. This is obtained using predetermined information sources, and the sources of our team of consultants from around the world.
Given that Creation Interactive specialises in providing digital strategy for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, much of the incoming information is around discovering new technologies or techniques that may impact on the way our clients communicate, or the way people communicate with them. The digital engagement strategist is also looking at medical developments, business moves and new digital properties or communities created by companies all over the world. All of this information is distilled and filtered so that clients can be advised about only those items that are relevant to their projects or needs.
Using a variety of state-of-the-art real-time monitoring tools, our clients know that we are also watching out for their brand reputation online, and for any mentions of the company, brand, adverse events, or products that may warrant further attention or interaction.
This activity runs continuously, providing an opportunity for reporting at any time of day.
Reviewing incoming emails and beginning the day in earnest, it is not uncommon to discover that a client has requested a piece of ad-hoc research. ‘Do you have a list somewhere of the top medicines that were searched for online?”, was a recent request. A quick call to get some clarification about which territory and timeframe they are interested in will efficiently determine any needs which may not have been articulated in the usually quite brief email.
Sometimes the answer they are looking for already lies in the reams of data from our previous research projects, in our knowledge repository, or in the expertise and experience of our consultants. Often a resulting bespoke piece of research means that one of our specialist associate consultants is onto the task to discover more.
Within a few hours, a new definitive list is available for the client to inform their internal discussions. As usual, the client is delighted with the speed and quality of the information they are provided with.
Much of a digital engagement strategist’s time is spent liaising with creative agencies and technical departments on behalf of the client.
In what we internally call the ‘digital architect’ capacity, Creation Interactive is often commissioned to ensure the successful design, development, and deployment of a digital engagement solution. It is not a case of simple project management, but of complex problem solving. In many ways like an architect, continuously thinking about the ultimate impact for the people that will use the space, albeit digital.
Projects within this field inevitably require input from legal, medical, and non-client stakeholders (including government), so the digital engagement strategist plays a vital role in facilitating the conversation and approval process.
The digital engagement strategist has a unique balance of attributes, partly business strategy, partly marketing and communications, and partly technical or digital know-how. Different audiences require different levels of detail, and the digital engagement strategist is able to speak the language of ‘IT’, the language of ‘Marcomms’, and the language of the executive boardroom. Most importantly, the digital engagement strategist understands the language of the people who will engage using the solution.
Digital engagement strategy
Undoubtedly a favourite aspect to the role is partnering with clients to help them develop a digital engagement strategy. Initially in the form of a workshop, we get to drill into the business objectives and to uncover the real drivers behind a project. With these we are able to set tangible and meaningful success indicators, and to determine appropriate ways to measure these.
The provision of a definitive strategy document and briefing documents mean that everyone is working to the same plan, and that there is accountability for all components and stakeholders.
Successful engagement strategy requires a long-term relationship, a commitment to actually changing the way people engage, or understand an issue, or share information, or attend to health needs.
Pharmaceutical clients are especially interested receiving consultancy help in defining multi-regional strategies, or how a global digital strategy may impact on local territories.
Creation Interactive is a firm believer in continuous improvement, and we know that it is only by refining and ‘tweaking’ and finessing and sculpting that we can provide strategies that meet the needs of our clients, and those people they are engaging with.
At some point in the day, often towards the end, reports will be compiled to advise the client about what is working, what is not, and ultimately how we plan to improve the impact of their initiatives.
If you would like a digital engagement strategist to partner with you to help achieve your business objectives, contact us to tell us about your unique needs.