The Importance of Strong Digital Leadership
Digital leadership is mission-critical, yet often not given enough importance
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Digital leadership is mission-critical if you’re working towards digital transformation—aka becoming “more digital”—which, to be honest, most brands are. There’s no denying the importance of the digital experience since COVID-19 or going forward. Thus, the question for brands now is not “if”, but rather how, when, and how effectively they move towards digital maturity.
Unfortunately, you can’t just slap your print catalog online and call yourself a digital brand. Nor will you achieve digital transformation simply by adding Slack for communication. So, what does it mean, and how does digital leadership play a role? Read on to learn more, including what we see as three major keys to digital leadership in 2022 and beyond.
What is digital leadership?
In a nutshell, digital leadership is about utilizing digital assets to better serve customers and achieve business goals.
Learning to successfully leverage digital is not an all-or-nothing thing, nor does it happen overnight. In practice, steps along the road to digital transformation might involve increasing the percentage of revenues coming from digital channels vs analog. It could mean moving towards online customer service outlets like social media or live chat. Or, adding a knowledge base so users can be more self-sufficient.
True digital leadership in business goes far beyond tools and software, though. It encompasses people, processes, and the company culture as a whole. To move along the spectrum toward a more digital experience, the entire organisation must be aligned—digital transformation in business cannot be an afterthought or running on a track parallel to other business goals.
That’s where digital leadership comes in.
How strong digital leadership contributes to brand success
Now that you understand the meaning of digital leadership, how can you use it to your advantage? When a business gets it right, the benefits of strong digital leadership can be both significant and far-reaching, including:
Better use of business data
Smarter business decisions
Improved customer experience
Increased customer loyalty
More cohesive and streamlined communications
Improvements in processes, efficiencies, and productivity
3 major keys to digital leadership
Whether you’re in retail or any other industry, developing strong digital leadership can seem daunting. But we’re here to tell you it’s entirely possible with the right skills, an open mind, and the right partners.
As your company looks toward digital maturity, here are three lessons we’ve learned over the past 30+ years of helping ecommerce, retailers, and other brands use digital assets to move the needle in their business.
Embracing digital world thinking
Obviously, digital leadership requires an understanding of (and enthusiasm for) digital tools. From digital asset management systems and ecommerce platforms to AI and big data, digital leaders are well-versed in the technological landscape—not to mention curious about what’s coming next.
A digital world mindset will be extremely valuable when it comes to making the online experience relevant to the commercial side of the business.
The value of experience
Learning through experience is rarely a bad thing. And as it turns out, the early days of the internet, with all its bad design, have much to teach us about today’s version of the world wide web.
Digital leadership is about being able to take lessons learned through experience—including failure and reiteration—and apply those insights to new (and improved) innovations. So, look for partners who’ve been around the digital block, so to speak.
Winning through collaboration
Strong digital leadership requires adaptability, open communication, and a willingness to consider new ideas. CIO.com mentions a culture of collaboration as one of 7 key skills of successful digital leaders. But beyond merely cross-departmental collaboration, consider the value of third-party input.
External partners can give dispassionate and impartial advice to brands when they need it most. Outside partners ask unexpected questions which lead to new ideas. And they can spot information silos or blind spots that internal employees may not be aware of.
A strong digital brand requires direction and guidance from leaders who understand digital commerce. Prospero Commerce is a UK-based independent consulting firm, and for more than 60 years combined, we’ve helped ambitious companies make smarter digital decisions. We can help you, too—get in touch.