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2020: The year of digital, change and silver linings

Here's a few important tips for brands looking to embrace today's online activations and connect with consumers through them.

Whether you like it or not, the status quo is changing. So much so that if the version of yourself from a year ago got to peek into the somewhat dystopian present, they’d likely do a double—no, TRIPLE—take. Digital transformation has always been on the horizon, and for quite some time it’s been slowly (but surely) seeping into the lives of many.

What’s different now, though, is that thanks to the socially distant world brought on by COVID-19, the days of digital transformation being a luxury and only available to those who could afford it are gone. Now, we all need to embrace the digital world.

Change can be disconcerting and scary. Oftentimes we fear what we don’t understand. The push toward digital transformation, though daunting to the uninitiated, is actually a beautiful opportunity. Without downplaying the tragedy, hardships and lives lost during the pandemic, COVID-19 has granted brands the opportunity to seamlessly embed digital into their consumer outreach efforts.

The future of digital activations

Digital brand activations have already been making leaps and bounds. I see two instances, though, that have endless growth potential. The first is influencer marketing. Being able to keep up with your favorite influencer won’t require anything but your social media and their camera, ring light or tripod. While influencers have disrupted the status quo, they’ve done so in such a digital way that virtual reality won’t have much leverage to disrupt them back!

The second key thing brands should make use of is virtual events. Artists like Marshmello and Travis Scott have blown the digital roof off of Fortnite, bringing in millions of simultaneous viewers and creating countless impressions. Brands can follow suit by hosting virtual events over e-sports and digital platforms like Fortnite, Rocket League and social channels that are only limited by one's imagination (as online events aren’t limited to constraints of the human world). When in-person events are at a standstill, brands can still have an impact in creative, fun and memorable ways.

This is the new normal. But that doesn’t need to be a bad thing! If our industry can find its silver linings and embrace the impetus for digital transformation, I believe that we will all make it out of the pandemic as better, stronger and more connected human beings.

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