We’d like a little bit of digital please

December 30, 2012

The starting point for digital in Public Affairs, and other disciplines no doubt, will often be very tentative: “we’d like a little bit of digital please.” In practice, it may mean no clear strategy, a single channel, one junior person within an organisation given part-time responsibility for it, limited or no input from experienced practitioners and no measurement. Essentially, experimenting to see how it works.

In theory, I agree in taking baby steps and seeing how it works as it’s a good way of getting people started when they might otherwise never do so, but the fact of the matter is, doing it small means it probably won’t work.

Set up Twitter but tweet infrequently, set up a LinkedIn Group and expect external members to do all the work, have a new site but don’t promote it, have a new site but don’t update it, produce one great piece of content but don’t follow up, do one channel when your audience is on three, monitor social media but don’t respond? These are all examples of doing it small.

Would you get an intern to write a position paper in a day? Organise an event but not get good speakers? Build a coalition but never meet? Monitor political developments but ignore one of the institutions? Probably not.

Doing digital with no clear strategy – i.e. no reason other than “we should be doing this” – and no real resource commitment is essentially the same thing as any of the examples above, and thus a waste of time if not a ticking time-bomb.

Having said all that, I’d still recommend it as a means of at least getting people started, but insisting strongly on the following: “this is just a start, don’t expect much, to reap the rewards you should be doing more.”

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4 Responses to “We’d like a little bit of digital please”


  1. It’s actually amazing we are still having this very relevant conversation in Brussels. In addition people seem to think “a little bit of digital” can be applied the same way to all sectors/demographics and with out strategic planning – as in totally planned with data. I’m convinced it’s not even worth it if the clients is not prepared for that. You end up risking reputation by shooting in the dark IMO.


  2. I couldn’t agree more. There are so many opportunities to connect to stakeholders with pertinent content, yet these opportunities are squandered through tentativeness, or even fear. Also, many companies will start out of the gate like racehorses, then quickly become lame nags. Thanks for the insight.

    • Steffen Says:

      Thanks for the comment Donald – and good point, sometimes it’s the other way around – do too much too soon but quit when realising instant gratification isn’t achieved!


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