Four Digital Strategy Essentials

November 21, 2012

In October I attended a presentation by Russ Moorehead, vice president of Global Digital Operations and Strategy at Estée Lauder Companies. He mentioned that for Estée Lauder you can't have a better experience than sitting in front of an actual makeup artist, so the question that arises is how the digital experience can come as close as possible to that experience. For higher ed, it may mean that not everyone can sit in the classroom or visit the lab at MIT. So how do we make the digital experience almost as good? Moorehead taught a few principles:

1. Brand position.

Women in the U.S. are looking for a different kind of makeup than women in China. Also, the lexicon and point of view may differ. For example, what we call acne cream in the U.S. is what you would call blemish cream in the U.K. Identify your audience segments and how they interact with the field you're in (whether it's makeup or particle physics). If you're the Department of Biology, for example, what kind of audience are you trying to reach? If it's prospective undergrads, then speak to their passion at a certain level of understanding in the field of biology. If it's alumni, adjust to what they might be looking for and interested in (which may or may not be the same, depending on the program). Speak their language.

2. Devices.

Estée Lauder sees a lot of mobile traffic. Although American women primarily use iPhones to access their site, in Korea, Samsung reigns. Lesson to be learned: understand how your audience consumes your content.

3. Protect your brand.

Stay true to who you are and what you offer. If you are managing social media for the Department of Political Science, for example, do not copy what political science departments at other universities are doing (although it's good to see what they're doing and what is working for them). Focus on your uniqueness.

4. Open up for questions.

You'll find that many places don't do this well and this is where you can succeed. Amazon allows customers to write reviews and talk about their experiences with products, but has limited to no functionality for asking questions about products. Translation for higher ed? Instead of telling your audience what they should find interesting, involve the audience in your content creation. For example, Ask an Engineer focuses all its videos on answering questions that are asked by visitors to the site.

Posted By
Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Former MIT Social Media Strategist

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