This trend has encouraged businesses to focus on digital media to connect and engage customers through platforms including websites, social media, podcasts and software.

media update's Pamela Manzenze takes you through five ways that businesses are reaching consumers through digital transformation.

Digital media connects organisations and consumers in a way that has never been possible before. This is because businesses are able to share valuable information with customers in the digital space, which allows for quick and easy engagement from anywhere and at any time.  

Let's dive into how the world of business has changed completely:

1. There is now a demand for instant interaction

In the business space, effective communication is extremely important. Digital media has made that possible as it allows for two-way communication. This, in turn, will build strong relationships with consumers because you engage in real-time. 

A business can gain a better understanding of its customers and make them feel valued by responding and addressing complaints as soon as possible. Raised complaints should be attended to right away and that is why being contactable is very important. The direct connection between a business and its customers is a convenient way to stay in touch with your supporter base. 

For example, if your business has a Facebook account, you have an opportunity to use this platform to respond quickly to a customer that is enquiring about a product or service. By doing this, not only are you reaching your customers where they are, but you are showing them that you value their input and feedback. In return, they will be motivated to buy your product and trust your brand.

Customers tend to reach out to the brand on social media before posting a complaint about their services for the whole world to see. It is important, then, for businesses to explore various avenues for engagement, so that negative comments or complaints posted by irritated customers can be avoided. It’s all about building relationships.

A good example of an instant online communication channel is how Capitec makes use of Facebook's Messenger tool:


Instant messaging, like Facebook's Messenger tool, is built to accommodate more personal interactions. It's beneficial for a business to consider this platform as some things are best discussed privately — especially when it comes to confidential information.

2. There is a demand for transparency and accountability 

Customers want to know who they are interacting with and buying from. This means that businesses are now forced to demonstrate their personality and ethos online. The reward is a converted and loyal customer. You want to stand out as an honest and open business that inspires others to be part of what you are doing. 

Transparency is a sure-fire way of creating trust. Even when you make mistakes, accountability will keep customers loyal. The way to ensure an open approach is to share both good and bad information with employees and customers. 

Your decision-making should always align with your core business values. The best way to demonstrate this is by making information readily available, like financial statements and performance reviews in annual reports and appraisals — and possibly even sharing some of these highlights on social media platforms. 

For example, Capitec has been progressively transparent in the way that it publishes financial results on its website before the financial year-end. These results are published for all stakeholders to see and this portrays the bank as trustworthy and transparent. No wonder the company has been ranked as South Africa's best performing bank.

Digital media also provides the opportunity for consumers to conveniently review or recommend businesses. This is something that businesses need to pay special attention to. They should spare no effort to ensure that they are producing high quality products or services in order to maintain positive feedback. Even one, small negative review can have a massive impact on the organisation.

3. A new breed of influencers is on the rise

Social media and online video sharing platforms have opened doors for ordinary people to endorse brands. Normal people that carry an influence now have the opportunity to partner with brands and to recommend a product or service on their behalf. This is because followers are looking to more realistic role models on social media that they can be inspired by. Therefore, those who have a large following are likely to have a stronger influence on others, persuading them to buy the same clothing brands or cosmetics products that they use or endorse. 

For example, South African influencer Siyanda Dzena — also known as Siya Bunny — has built her brand on social media and gained traction through her lifestyle blog. She recommends brands through her pictures and video posts on Instagram. She has endorsed brands like Olay and Brutal Fruit South Africa and her popularity has grown significantly. 

4. Upskilling the workforce on latest technologies, strategies and techniques is a must

The rapid changes in technology require employees to acquire new skills on a continuous basis. This is so that they can use the latest mediums of communication to ensure the success of the business. Companies should provide training for their employees on the latest technologies, necessary procedures and approaches to ensure that it is up to speed within the industry.

With this in mind, they should also put aside a budget to accommodate for training and to upskill the organisation. For example, brand X can sign up for online short courses or tutorials that focus on relevant topics or skills. Subsequently, it can go through the training process manually with employees and have practicals or tests to find out if they understand what they have been taught.

5. Brands must be inspirational and innovative 

Brands have to find new innovative ways to access and engage with their consumers. To be ahead of their competitors, they now need to use digital platforms to deliver fresh and creative ideas that will make an impact on the consumer. Everyone in the digital space is trying to stand out, and so your brand needs to be able to offer something special to catch the eye of your audience. 

Take, for example, the thought-provoking Nando's advertisements that have been published on the franchise's website and social media. Nando's has recently launched an ad about SA and the Covid-19 pandemic. The franchise has been innovative in the sense that it strives to stay up to date with current affairs. 

In a recent ad, Nando's praised SA's president for his leadership during COVID-19. The franchise, which is well-known among South Africans, set an example and showed appreciation towards Ramaphosa. This initiative by Nando's is inspirational because the franchise got involved in the affairs of the country. Talk about setting the standard!  

Digital media has scaled up the competition between businesses. Do you know what other positive changes it has brought to the business world? Share with us in the comments section below.

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*Image courtesy of Pixabay