Follow-up on Rishi Saha’s presentation at Digital Lounge

I am quickly becoming a big fan of Digital Lounge. Not only do they seem to be able to dig out quality speakers, they also seem to be able to encourage said speakers to really deliver the juicy stuff.

The latest Digital Lounge featured Rishi Saha, Head of New Media for The Conservatives. I’ve heard Rishi speak before but it was aimed at clients rather than digital professionals. And in many ways the difference is similar to how David Cameron speaks to the general public and how he spoke at Ted; He spoke in sound bites at the more public facing instance and more from the heart and in bigger conceptual strokes at the one aimed at industry people.

Anyway here are a few of my take aways from Rishi’s Digital Lounge. They are tweet shaped as I, as many others,  was tweeting these during his talk. Enjoy.

Prior to 2005 all parties had this silent agreement that if none of us worry about digital communication then it doesn’t exist. However, The Conservative Party wasn’t doing great after the 2005 election and Digital was identified as a way around hostile (towards tories) official news environment.

Digital demanded silos being demolished within the party’s culture. People had to get off their high horses and work together to formulate a combined and coherent strategy.

Digital presents an opportunity to give people better and faster news in competition with the mainstream press. In fact, soon our reach of The Conservatives email marketing will rival those of the big newspapers (the Sun and the Mail).

Getting to know your audience challenges established digital conventions.

  • I think this one is very interesting. Often we, as seasoned digital professionals, make assumptions about how a user group behaves based on experience. However, digital moves so fast that actually asking the users may well show that what we know is no longer how it is.

Show internal sceptics how we will rule digital and prove that digital will not rule us.

  • I wonder whether this is in fact what often stops clients going all out on digital? Whether they are afraid it will run wild and out of control.

Often the things most effective are the ones mainstream media is less interested in. Example mentioned was: When was the last time you saw an article about SEO in a regular newspaper?

Digital industry is some times suffering from an inferiority complex, somewhat driven by the fact that digital is seen as the cheaper (but more measurable/effective) option. We need to get past that and step up and lead the strategy.

  • I don’t 100% agree with this. There is a conversation going on whether digital or traditional print should lead strategy and I think the discussion is redundant in that it should be a combined effort otherwise the product won’t get the complete 360° attention it needs. But there is no doubt digital need to play a much bigger part than it currently does… and I do agree that digital does have an inferiority complex.

Digital communication focussed on the voters (audience) rather than targeting main stream news such as traditional PR would.

Reach the floating voters (undecided audience) with SEO because they are online looking for answers.

Make it easy for the Slacktivists, the ones who aren’t mobilised … but would like to. Reach them via their friends.

Make activists part of it. Give something back (ie. let them meet politicians) make them feel good about spending their money, make them feel it is the right thing to do. in turn they will support and defend you against negative comments.

Don’t forget the bigger picture: Was Twitter mass communication during the Leader’s Debate? With 40,000 vs. the millions watching the TV debate, No it wasn’t. It served a purpose but a limited one.

  • Goes back to measurement. At the end of the day measurement and tracking is nothing without the intelligence and will to decipher and make decisions based on the numbers. And yes, some times it means killing your digital darlings.

All the above is what I took away from the presentation. If you feel anything is missing please feel free to share.

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