The Tenets of Digital Strategy

June 8, 2010

Mike Arauz - Tenets of Digital Strategy

(click for full-size image)

I’ve been kicking these around for a little while. Would love to hear what you think.

Process should be…

Integrated – an ongoing part of the design process, not just the beginning

and

Iterative – continually tested and readjusted based on observed interaction

Experiences should be…

Self-sustaining – powered by the interaction and social engagement they create, not by paid advertising and PR

and

Mutually Beneficial - serve the needs and satisfy the values of both the brand and the people with whom the brand wants to connect

One more thing…

Design for Networks

The effectiveness of our work is dependent on our ability to engage and empower networks of people connected by shared interests.

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15 Responses to “The Tenets of Digital Strategy”


  1. Obviously one could write a book on this, and clearly your objective was not to be exhaustive here. There were two concepts I was thinking about, and wonder how they might fit in. The first would be how does your digital strategy tie the brand into something larger than the brand itself? Second, and related (if not the same thing), how does your digital strategy tie in to popular culture?

    Have I missed the point? Do those fall under the “mutually beneficial” umbrella?

  2. Olle Says:

    Perhaps it doesn’t matter in our everyday work, and I don’t really care about the distinction and definition; but we should acknowledge that much of what we do is tactical. Especially as there’s more and more talk of iterative strategy, that makes me wonder. Is that discussion saying that strategy does not work, that everything is quick and tactical (even opportunistic, which isn’t at all bad)? Or don’t many of us know what is still over-arching, i.e. strategy anymore?


  3. Mike,

    This is great thought – elegant, even. The only thing I might add would be a sense that experiences should be portable – not necessarily mobile in nature, but rather that the experiences ought not be compromised in impact by virtue of the platform on which the participant engages them. There’s some overlap here with the notion of ‘design for networks’, which is right on, so I’m not certain that this is so much ‘missing’ as ‘absent’, but I think we continue to make all to many assumptions about the field on which engagements will take place.

    Kudos for posting this.


  4. Good stuff Mike.

    Something that I’ve been thinking about lately is the fact that many experiences are becoming psuedo-paid. For example, I caught the “Write the Future” spot on YouTube, Vimeo, etc. which in itself was not a paid placement, however the spot is obviously an ad with the primary purpose of promoting Nike.

    In this case, the experience itself wasn’t paid for by advertising directly but the experience would have never existed in the first place if it wasn’t for advertising.

  5. Dan Weingrod Says:

    First of all I wish I had your handwriting/calligraphy skills. There’s something very compelling about expressing digital ideas by hand. I think this is very much on target and does not negate strategic thinking at all. Just because we are iterating on an ongoing basis does not mean that we are not thinking strategically. Think of it as a the best parts of the creative process. You start a painting with an aim, a goal or a feeling and then as you are working on it you are influenced by light, color, the song you heard or what you ate for lunch.

    To take the analogy further think of the role of Networks in the same way that Marcel Duchamp thought of the role of the viewer in The Creative Act. The viewer’s reaction completes the creative act. In this case the network’s reaction, immersion, engagement and our response complete a social act between brand and participants. The strategy is how you can get to that point.

  6. PatsMc Says:

    Great post (as ever) Mike and I agree with a lot of what you say, particularly the need for integrated and iterative processes. I’m not confident though that all digital experiences can be self-sustaining in an age of a infinite number of experiences. While I think a great experience should become self-sustaining over time, most will still need some kind of sign-posting so that users find them in the first place. Are our current methods of sign-posting flawed? No question, but I think in the ecosystem of the web, we’re still going to need signposts of some kind…

  7. Bud Caddell Says:

    I think you’re getting at it with ‘self sustaining’ and ‘iterative’ but I’d make heavy mention of building platforms not sandcastles. Your strategy should be the declaration of a strong value platform – and your executions should plug into that platform to sustain and support it.

    also, thanks for your comment on my post today, Mike. Miss sharing discussions with you, sir.

  8. Camilla cooke Says:

    This is good and succinct but there is a core problem – as we reach to brands that they need to facilitate and engage value added communities, I wonder just how many conversations and interests the population can sustain? If all brands did this, would they all get traction ? How much time does the public have ?

  9. andy williams Says:

    love this

    agree that values are key and finding way to communicate them outside the experience when participatory bandwidth is decreasing will be key. Leveraging deep passions of people (beyond like buttons) may be one answer–how will be the question.

    How might this framework include context or, even better, contexts?
    I keep tracking social as a context and users engagement with brand is best understood within them.


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  13. […] (click for full-size image) I've been kicking these around for a little while. Would love to hear what you think. Process should be… Integrated – an ongoing part of the design process, not just the beginning and Iterative – continually tested and readjusted based on observed interaction Experiences should be… Self-sustaining – powered by the interaction and social engagement they create, not by paid advertising and PR and Mutually Beneficial … Read More […]


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