Digital Culture is the manifestation of a series of outputs that are designed to create an outcome. When all these different outcomes crash together we get a behaviour: Digital Culture.
To try and demonstrate how each of these outputs is influenced, I’ve created a diagram/infographic/pretty picture, and i’ve named it, rather pretentiously, the Digital Culture Axis.
I believe there are four key players in the distribution of outputs that affect the outcome, and each of these groups has less control over the first output than the one before:
These are the folks that want to interact and engage in order to create an outcome: a change in behaviour, increase of sales, sharing of information and education.
Hired by the brands, agencies look to utilise a brand’s properties for maximum effect, helping to shape ideas and producing an output that is disseminated.
Consumers are the people who the agencies are trying to reach, on behalf of the brand. They control what happens with the output once it is put out into the open.
Third Party Creatives
Culture jammers, eco-sphere creators and makers of cool stuff. Third Party Creatives are the guys who see consumers interacting with an output and look to do something different to or with that output, with no input from a brand or agency.
I’ve indicated this increasing filtration of output in order of dark to light blue.
Each of these groups has, to a lesser or greater extent, an effect over elements that interact with the output. This is indicated by the position of each element in relation to each group.
So, for example, a brand has more influence over owned properties (such as a website) than an agency – the agency role is to advise, but ultimately the brand will make the final call. However, an agency can have a slightly greater influence over the design and build elements, making recommendations on what is best practice and what technologies are most suited to the objectives of the website.
A brand has various destinations online that they control, their website, social network profiles and blog, for example.
Aligned with the vision of the brand, an agency can have a little say over what a website looks like, but it will be ultimately decided by how the brand wants to present itself.
The agency will have a strong say in what technologies are used to create a website, but is again constrained by how the brand wants to portray itself. Remember: a cool HTML5 website might not be best for your corporate presence.
The agency will start to have a strong control over SEO, advising on the right language to use, developing a tone of voice and putting it into action in correspondence and content.
Here, the agency should have sole control, steered by the objectives of the brand, it is the agency who will execute and build relationship with consumers for the brand.
The agency will know the brand’s audience and will therefore have done its research into what makes them tick.
Knowing how consumers search and behave online means that agencies can tailor their output accordingly to ensure the maximum effect for content dissemination.
Consumers read, listen and watch what they want. It is they who influence most the content that is produced and whether it is successful or not.
Brands and agencies can help the content or idea sharing process, but ultimately they cannot control it – consumers will send links to their favourite Internet things, not what they are told to send by brands or agencies.
Consumers will create, share or take-in what they are being shown and decide whether to retain that information. It is this action that influences third party creatives who will look to make things happen…
The aim of this exercise is to spark a little bit of debate and to put some thinking down, so let me know what you think in the comments section below.