Lessons from Visa’s digital transformation

Posted by Lori Luechtefeld on April 12th, 2011 at 9:14 am

Our industry pays a lot of lip service to the idea that brands need to "go digital." But what does that really mean? For many brands, "going digital" is a gradual process -- one in which toes are dipped into new media and new "digitally savvy" hires are made. Slowly, the company bumbles along the long road to understanding what "digital" really means for its brands.

For Visa, such a gradual meandering path was not acceptable. Thus, the company undertook a radical transformation to drive engagement with its customers through digital channels.

During his morning keynote address at ad:tech San Francisco, Antonio Lucio, CMO of Visa, outlined the six principles that drove his company's digital transformation:

  1. Dismantling the digital team: The company embedded its digital resources inside its core brands so that digital efforts could move the needle for the total brand.
  2. Changing the process to guide decisions
  3. Stealing best practices from the market
  4. Requiring much more from agencies
  5. Co-developing with media partners
  6. Developing new offerings to guide engagement

Ultimately, Visa's approach to the social web broke down into three steps, Lucio said:

Step 1: Think "Audience First"
The social web has changed how consumers engage with brands. The days of "yell and sell" are over. Today, the path to transaction is paved with an army of advocates.

Step 2: Let three social principles be your guide

  • Sharing is the new giving
  • Participation is the new engagement
  • Recommendation is the new advertising

Step 3: Activate paid, owned, and shared media
Visa no longer approaches marketing from a campaign-driven perspective. Rather, in the new marketing reality, the brand's message is "always on."

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