Harnessing the opportunities of digital disruption: the ABC story

| February 8, 2016

Ahead of Digital Disruption X 2016, David Hua, Head of Digital Operations at ABC International, shares five key strategies his organisation is using to rethink value creation and a narrative that supports and leverages the opportunities of disruption.

Digital transformation is very much about change. All businesses, no matter the industry, hear a lot about the term digital disruption. But the media industry – which is the industry which the ABC operates in – has probably been disrupted more than other industries.

It has therefore been essential for us to find a narrative that speakers to our team members and draws people with us on a digital journey. Digital transformation is a matter of relevance for the organisation and the people who work in the organisation too.

Having a strong story to tell is something that the ABC is used to doing, which means we have been able to initiate and successfully roll-out change programs within the organisation around digital.

While the ABC is moving in the right direction when it comes to digital transformation, there is a lot more work to go because the end goal keeps changing. Our audience or customers keep changing and the disruption keeps rolling. It is exponential and therefore it is extremely hard to measure.

The three responses to disruption: the logical, the rational and the emotional

The ABC has a number of corporate-wide approaches which are based around the need for understanding new platforms and engagement with our audience on those platforms, as well as education around digital itself.

At a more granular level, the ABC has targeted areas of content production (programmes, radio networks etc) which are more receptive to change and where change can be implemented on a smaller scale, to demonstrate the value of digital transformation.

Once these smaller parts of the business have undergone digital transformation, digital transformation has effectively been rolled-out in a number of other places across the business. For example, at ABC International, in the past we have had a lot of focus on traditional media channels like television and radio. We now have a much bigger focus on web, social and apps.

However when it comes to implementing change, there are three values which are important – the logical, rational and the emotional. From a content maker’s point of view, there is no difference between engaging audiences on television versus social – they really just want as much exposure as possible. We have used this thinking to translate into ‘storytelling’ across our business – i.e. showing the rest of our organisation what we are doing when it comes to digital.

The rational part of transformation comes down to research. Digital is certainly not a fad and if we as a business want to continue to have relevance, we need to change. We can see with hard numbers how our customers are using mobile devices and the increase in time they are spending on social channels, which makes it easier for us to sell to the broader business why we need to change.

The emotional part is about attaching a story to digital transformation. For us, this is showing digital transformation is about relevance, it is about people and it is about engagement. This is about doing a good job as storytellers, and we need this to happen, otherwise our overall relevance will diminish.

Lose the digital jargon

One of the key lessons we have learned so far at the ABC when it comes to digital transformation, is not to make the mistake to appear like the smartest people in the room. A lot of digital folks (so to speak) talk in very technical language when it comes to digital technology. This makes it hard for people to come on that journey with the rest of the business.

Remember you’re trying to lead and implement change and to make that happen, you have to connect with people. Elucidate the technicalities of transformation and simplify it for your people by bringing it back to how the world is working and how the business can get better engagement by transitioning towards digital.

Become a master of communication

It’s essential to be a good communicator when it comes to any transformation. But even though we work in a communications organisation, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re perfect at it. Repetition doesn’t necessarily equate to good communication. If you repeat the same message for a long period of time, normally on the third of fourth time it sticks. But the lesson is don’t assume that is the only thing you need to do.

Celebrate success

Have some quick wins on the board and celebrate those wins. This will help you to understand that the process is never “complete.” Digital transformation or responding to digital disruption is really about getting better at delivering what your customers want. The motto there is better is better than perfect.

I’ll be exploring how to find the right narrative for digital transformation in your business at Digital Disruption X 2016.

For more information visit www.digital-disruption.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au