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We've been hearing lots of great advice and best practice from speaking to The Digitals judging panel prior to the main event in June.

Here Amaze CEO Natalie Gross talks about Burberry's multichannel approach to the High Street as well as how Amaze approaches digital excellence.

If your company or client is doing great things bridging the gap between online/offline through mobile, remember you need to submit your work before the March 13 deadline.

1. What will you be looking for when judging The Digitals entries this year?

A lot of the submissions I see only serve to demonstrate that the platform came first, the idea second! I am looking for great ideas (not necessarily the ‘big idea’) where the platform is so well used it’s almost invisible.  

2. In keeping with our global theme, are there campaigns that stand out in your mind as best practice from other areas outside the UK?

My favourite campaign (digital led proposition) right now is from Burberry -- We’re starting to see flagship stores pop up for brands that give a hint at the future retail environment that truly delivers seamless online/offline integration and use the best of the high street in terms of showcase, service and social and utilising online for browsing, choice and transaction.

Burberry is a great example of this. I love the way they refer to digital as the one true global “mother tongue” and that if you’re not speaking it then you’re not speaking to your customers. 

3. How do you build digital excellence within your company?

First things first, define what digital excellence means within the context of your business and your industry. It’s also important to ensure that digital is considered to be about how the business will change rather than seen just as a comms function.

Having cross-disciplinary teams to drive the digital agenda is one way of making sure this happens, but it’s important to make sure that teams don’t just get together, they think together. Envisage what your business might look like in three to five years time.

This isn’t about a focus on new technology, but rather, given what we know about what will be pervasive technology – mobile, connected devices, real/virtual integration – what could and should your business do and be, in order to best meet the expectations of your customers in this new paradigm.

Finally, do everything possible to develop a culture that is opportunistic and fast acting and has enough agility in budgeting, decision-making and action to thrive. 

For us, this means addressing the complexities of delivering digital strategy and solutions on a global scale, working as integrated specialists across the creative and technology spectrums, having a strongly defined purpose we all believe in and developing a strongly identifiable culture to make and be a part of.  

4. What types of company and business sectors do you see excelling at digital marketing and ecommerce at the moment?

Some of the usual suspects, such as fashion brands (LV, Burberry-above) and sportswear companies are excelling at digital marketing, whilst the big retailers are ahead of the game when it comes to ecommerce at the moment (I love the John Lewis site for example).

That said, there are some more niche categories where there is great work being done in the ecommerce space, watch brands/retailers are a good example.

 5. How should companies be defining and measuring digital excellence?

 I think a company can say it has attained digital excellence if digital is integral to how the company thinks, operates and goes to market. 

Using digital technology to improve internal processes and communications is one aspect, using digital media and tools to their optimum across the customer lifecycle is another entirely – but digital excellence covers both. Not many companies can say they’ve got both right yet.

6. What do you see as being the biggest digital trends of 2013, and do you see examples of companies capitalising on these as part of their digital marketing campaigns and programmes?

For me, 2013 will be about brands actually doing, at scale, a lot of the things the industry has hyped for years - such as taking a ‘mobile first’ approach, using location based marketing effectively, beginning to utilise connected products as part of their campaigns or service offerings and finally, bringing their audience closer and informing NPD through ongoing crowd sourcing programmes.

There are some great examples out there... 

The “Monster” campaign by ING was a great use of mobile marketing and brand storytelling – the centrality of mobile to campaigns is something I expect to see a lot more of in 2013.  

The ASICS “Support your Marathoner” programme, which has been running for a couple of years, is a superb example of using “connected” products to drive an experiential campaign (as runners in the NY marathon approached a giant screen, an RFID tag in their running shoe was used to trigger personalised films of support from friends and relatives).

I really like Heineken’s “Your Future Bottle” campaign – a great example of using technology and brand assets in a clever way to enable participants to design their own future bottle. 

Which campaigns do you consider to be digital excellence? Tweet us using the hashtag #thedigitals and get on our leaderboard 

You could be superstar of the week!

Ryan Sommer

Published 7 March, 2013 by Ryan Sommer

Ryan Sommer is web veteran and recovering expat who contributes to Econsultancy on startups, content marketing and new media. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or add him to your circles on Google+

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