Digital direction

Another day, another awards shortlist! However, for the first time ever this is in a completely different sector to what I'm used to! Previously we've either been recognised in education (in my previous role) or individually for this blog. Therefore, I'm very proud that the hard work has paid off and we've been nominated at the Construction Marketing Awards 2015 for Best Social Media Campaign and Best Use of Content Marketing for our #KierHeroes campaign.

Originally the main purpose of writing frequent awards entries was to primarily focus efforts when planning/analysing campaigns and to gain much needed internal buy-in for our efforts. However, recently I've noticed that I don't seem to need to do as much  internal hard sell on the importance of digital. An increasingly number of staff and executives seem to get it - and more often than not when I present it is to a room of nodding heads.

The challenge comes when, having been given executive support, this is not backed up by a strong strategic direction. There is simply just a vague vision stating that digital is vital to the company's success but this is not backed up by any real details, support or extra resources. Whilst the importance is acknowledged there is very little understanding to make recommendations.

Digital = approved!
These executives are no doubt very intelligent and this lack of a strategic outline is really not their fault. They have extremely high pressured roles and so they cannot (and should not) delve into the intricate details of everyday operations. They have set the agenda and it's down to the workforce to make it a reality. If this doesn't happen there is a real danger it will fall at the first hurdle for two reasons:

  • It is just a vague mission statement that fades before it takes root
  • It gets highjacked by people attaching their own agenda to an executive directive - Therefore it turns into an excuse to either acquire a new IT system or staff for the marketing team
It's down to us digital professionals to stop this occurring and to immediately take action as a team to use this as an opportunity to instigate company-wide changes. In order for this directive to change working practices it will mean concentrating on any barriers that may stop this happening and thinking about how to overcome them.

For example, at Kier we have a big emphasis on offering training to other employees to support the digital first vision. I've also spent a lot of time on our digital strategy which outlines the return on investment for these activities and covers which work is the most important with all key milestone clearly mapped. Chiefly it sets the digital agenda from the outset to ensure the business understands what digital first means in practice. It is then a matter of presenting this back to senior management and leaving it up them to decide if this is a solution which they are happy to support.

Share the knowledge!
Therefore, rather than being thrown when support and backing is offered it is up to us to drive this strategy forward. With both the continued internal buy-in (from ongoing training, one to ones and workshops) and analytics to support our constant testing learning from any campaigns, we as a team can take charge of the direction in which our digital efforts are headed.

It's with this is mind that I was delighted to discover this recent blog post analysing all of the big players in the construction industry and their social media strategies. We get a glowing mention (particularly for our company blog, LinkedIn and Integration) which shows the plans we have put into place are really starting to drive forward the external reputation of the company.

Being given this green light to move the company forward by executives is an opportunity that is too good to miss. It's up to us to grab it with both hands and to start shaping the solutions ourselves.

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