Intercom 2012 – Digital Strategy Masterclass
As part of the Intercom 2012 conference on Thursday 29th November there was a full day Masterclass on ‘Developing your digital strategy’ run by Jasper Visser (@jaspervisser) of Inspired by Coffee. I was looking forward to this day as an opportunity to look at the bigger picture and gain ideas and knowledge that could be used to develop a comprehensive and well planned digital engagement strategy.
Applying the Digital Engagement Framework Process
The program for the day was based on the Digital Engagement Framework document developed by Jasper (and Jim Richardson). I was familiar with this document, but keen to be involved in actively applying it. The day worked through the steps of the framework, replicating how you could use it as an assessment and planning document in your own institution.
We worked through the framework in a similar process to what is outlined in the Digital Engagement Framework Workbook (download the PDF). In this post, I’ll outline the main processes we were involved in, and in a following post I will discuss some of the key take-away points that particularly resonated with me.
The Pre-Planning Steps
The first process was to look at our Ambition – the big longer-term picture of what we want to achieve. Jasper had us do this as a magazine cover activity where we had to imagine a magazine distributed at Intercom 2017 with our institutions represented on the main cover for our digital successes. We did this in table groups, which meant there was a range of institutions with different priorities. Our challenge was to come up with a main overarching theme common to us all, and then individual cover stories that represented our more unique priorities. This was a novel way of approaching the task, but proved very difficult for our group to come to a consensus. Our tag line was along the lines of: One hour spent, one thousand stories shared. The themes throughout the groups were similar though, with ideas like: open access, free data, anytime/anywhere, gathering and sharing stories.
For Goals we had to, as an entire group, select five common goals. This was done quickly and I’m sure would have been open to more debate if time allowed. But the goals were: improve business systems (efficiency), making museums more accessible, create and record dialouge, enriching the (physical) visitor experience. You can see those 5 goals and Jasper’s reflection on our workshop (and others) on his blog.
We explored our Values by thinking of the key things that were important to us, which we recorded on sticky notes and then shared and debated as a whole group. For our group most of us agreed that relevance was our most important value. We have to be relevant to: our visitors, our organisation’s purpose, the technology people are using, our communities needs… etc.
We followed a similar process to consider and collate our Assets. My colleague, Annemarie, and I had fun thinking about all the unique assets of our museum and jotted down lots of fun things like: horses, mud, smell, costumes… but we also noted our vast collection and the expertise in our staff. The challenge for organisations is to work out how to use their assets for digital engagement and to reach new audiences.
Next we looked at our Audiences. We had to consider our target audience, both those we currently reach and those we aim to reach, and particularly consider their technographics profile. To do this, we used a blank Facebook profile template (even if the person who represented our audience example was not on Facebook). I found this was an efficient way of considering the profile of our audience members and worked well in the time frame. Of course it would be ideal to complete this part of the planning with extensive audience research.
We then explored the digital Platforms available to us. We had a bit of a competition to identify different web/mobile programs based on their description and use. This led us to a discussion about which audiences are using which platforms and future directions of digital platforms. The message was to consider carefully which platform will suit your needs and match the technographics profile of your audience. Also, the importance of using each platform effectively was highlighted. This is achieved by understand the technical and social processes behind the use of each platform. Information about effective use included a TED video on Why videos go viral, and these suggestions for Twitter:
Planning Digital Activities
The last part of the day was devoted to brainstorming some digital engagement activities we could undertake that would build upon what we had discovered while unpacking the Digital Engagement Framework. The aim was to plan a strategy that would reach an new or existing audience, invite them to be involved then build on their interest, get them engaged and try to turn them into advocates of your organisation. The aim was to focus on active engagement, rather than simply outreach (digital connection at the most basic level).
Using one of the audience profiles and some of the assets that had been presented throughout the day we had to think of a digital activity that would meaningfully engage the chosen audience with our assets. I found this section to be the most frustrating part of the day. Mainly because of the time constraints and the need for more guidance. If you followed this process within your organisation you would spend a lot more time considering the information already gathered and feasibility/effectiveness of the proposed idea. It was difficult to try and do the activity on such a superficial level. I would have much preferred more time, or alternatively, to be guided through an example of an effective digital engagement strategy.
Despite the limitations placed on us by time, I found the Masterclass to be very worthwhile. It was good to work through a systematic and considered approach to designing and implementing digital engagement. It would be a very valuable process to replicate within our organisations, particularly with more time and expertise.
In my next post I will highlight some of my key take-home messages from the day.