Tom Denford
By Tom Denford
Aug 14, 2012 2:33:01 PM

Coffee Still Tastes Like Coffee...


Michael Smith recently joined ID Comms as Managing Partner after 10 years within UK Government as Head of Digital for the COI (Central Office of Information). Here Michael shares his first thoughts on why he joined ID Comms and his particular caffeine preferences.

Deciding upon my next role after what I considered to be one of the most rewarding digital jobs within the industry was always going to be a huge challenge. The easy temptation could have been to focus solely on digital. Instead, I believe that I can make a greater impact working with people that don’t see digital as just an executional tactic but rather a strategic necessity alongside all forms of communications. For brands to get the best from digital I believe they have to lose digital into digital rich organisations. Put simply by keeping digital special and separate it will always be seen as special and separate. By allowing digital to find a place in the business plan and live across the business will revolutionize the way that business is conducted. My challenge and ambition is going to be to help clients define what digital will do for their business as opposed to the common question of what is the role of digital.

For me the ubiquity of digital makes it a little like trying to define the role of everything. Not easy to package into a neat definition – I know I’ve been trying to neatly package for the past 16 years will little success…and it only gets harder as it becomes more omnipresent.

What business hasn’t felt the impact of the advent of the web, social networks or the mobile phone?  From airlines flying passengers from A-B to the coffee shop that serves your morning Americano with hot milk, all have to adapt to the way that digital is transforming business and the way they engage and interact with customers. The core purpose doesn’t change so coffee still tastes like coffee and passengers are still flying around the world but the way that business is conducted and how companies engage with their customers will never be the same again. There’s no going back but those that haven’t fully embraced shouldn’t despair or think that they’ve missed the boat as the best of digital is yet to come.

So what excites me about the future for ID Comms?

The growth of digital provides huge opportunities to the consulting marketplace. From those providing visionary strategic thought leadership expertise to those at the cutting edge of technical exploration. But there’s a big bit that’s missing. Yes brands need both the space age dreaming as well as the bleeding edge tech but my personal belief is that marketing clients really need a balance of the strategic expertise and practical hands on doing regarding digital media. After 16 years of providing that breadth positions me perfectly to bring much needed simplified expertise.

ID Comms recognized early on in its inception that to combine world-class media talent with expert digital knowledge would place it in a position of strength. We continue our steadfast focus on maximizing client’s productivity through media investments and relationships. As the media ecology changes we are uniquely positioned to recognize how our clients will get the best from digital and how all elements of a media investment should work together to maximize business outputs.

Helping clients become digital rich clients that recognize that the best of digital is yet to come is a hugely exciting privilege. And one that is shared by the whole business and not just the new digital bloke that likes Americano’s with hot milk.