Creative Talk with Corrie Dark
This month we talk with Corrie Dark, a freelance digital communications strategist – a lover of customer-centric digital solutions and behavioural change specialist.
What made you decide to take the leap to contracting?
Contracting has enabled me to hone my skills in my favourite part of the job: identifying opportunities and finding ways that digital can be a part of the solution. Cracking the problem and then laying out the resulting campaign or communications plan is really satisfying. A communications strategist has to be aware of how all the channels inter-relate on a campaign, and how customers interact with each channel to optimise a strategic approach. I specialise in digital, but can work cross-channel.
What type of projects are you more specialised in?
Where there’s a behavioural change nut to crack, or new ways needed to figure out how to generate engagement and sales, that’s the part I specialise in. I love the art of figuring out how to create the change you need using multiple channels. (Confession – this usually involves a white board and a lot of enthusiastic arm waving!)
Laying the foundations and having a solid digital strategy should always be the case, right?
Absolutely. What’s most important is that digital is integrated into the strategy from the beginning.
Customers don’t see channels, they see brands. And that brand needs to talk consistently across all channels (offline and online) engaging slightly differently depending on how the customer is thinking and feeling at that point. The other things I think are critical are:
- Start with business outcomes and customer needs
- Solutions must be customer-centric rather than technology-led
- People get engaged with ideas and emotions, not technology.
- Digital is just a channel. Not an afterthought or an add-on. It must be integrated with the wider plan to be successful.
Do you prefer agency or client side projects?
Both have their benefits, being part of an accounts and creative team mix in agency-land means I get to ideate with some of the best in the business. Client-side enables problem solving at ground zero directly with knowledgeable stakeholders.
Do you work full time with one client or across several at any one time?
It depends on the project. I often end up working across multiple brands and clients at one time. But can focus on one if the project requires it.
What would be your dream project?
I love a good sticky comms challenge where clients are up for thinking differently and trusting you in the process. I’ve actually been lucky enough to work on a couple of dream projects lately, where the client has allowed us to take a step back from a purely digital brief and integrate other channels (including interactive offline forums). This has meant as well as generating sales leads, we’ve been able to involve key influential customers and create content which will help tell the brand story in the long term.
Where do you see digital strategy heading in the future?
From a communications standpoint, I think we’re finally starting to see digital as a component of the plan, rather than focusing on new technology and trying to retrofit it into an idea. No matter how cool it is, that technology might not be the right one for what you’re looking to achieve. The most game-changing innovations come through answering a customer need with a technically savvy solution.
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