Could Fear-of-Digital Kill Your Company?

Does your sales leadership mope around with paper and pencil scribbling indecipherable action items that no one can execute?  Do they mope around with paper and pencil scribbling indecipherable action items that no one can execute? Does that same group of sales executives have a wall full of charts but no way to monitor activity online?

They may be suffering from a bad case of Digital-Itis.This not-so-rare condition affects executives who haven’t yet embraced technology, and aren’t benefiting from the measurable business insights that digital resources, metrics and analytics have to offer.

What are they afraid of? Maybe the realization that their thinking mode is not longer relevant. Maybe they are afraid to admit that they lost control of their mass market in front of their shareholders?

In the old world (before 2012), corporate experience trumped knowledge. In the new world (post 2012), digital knowledge trumps corporate experience. Just take a look at who’s at the top of the list of richest and most inspiring CEOs, and you will find younger faces, barely 40 or under, like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank, Google’s CEO Larry Page, Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason, and the list continues.What do they all share in common? They think like DIGITAL LEADERS. Without “experience” they have managed to apply digital knowledge to their branding, marketing, advertising in an innovative and disruptive way that leap-frogged what entire boardrooms were barely able to accomplish in 12-48 months of traditional corporate ideation cultures.

Contrary to common belief, digital leaders aren’t just creating “digital businesses,” they apply their knowledge acquisition and entrepreneurial zeal using digital techniques that help their brick & mortar businesses grow. Just look at non-digital companies like VirginUnder ArmourGenerac and Tesla Motors. Simply put, these leaders aren’t exclusively online companies, yet they are very much digitally inclined.

Will your business survive if it remains non-digital? Will your company survive if your leaders don’t become digitally inclined?

In my experience, as a strategic branding professional, I can aptly identify a company’s level of Fear-of-Digital by using some of the following behavioristics to make observations. I agree that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but could Fear-of-Digital be real?

  1. Sales Management learning and insights are obtained only from internal resources.
  2. Sales Management culture prohibits interaction on social media.
  3. Senior Sales Management thinks that its client list is proprietary, even-though it is to be found in any Google search.
  4. You cannot spot an iPad, unless you are in the millennial section of the cubical farm.
  5. CEO is using a tablet to exclusively check his emails to appear informed.

Are these shallow? Could they be misleading? YES. But so is the suit and tie from a high-end boutique and the Bentley. Culture is driven by behavior of leadership. What is it like in your organization?So if your leadership team isn’t Digital by its inherent , and you’re in executive management, it is YOUR JOB to help him/her become the Digital leader your company needs in order to grow and thrive. Unless, of course, you want to be Blockbuster Video in the age of Netflix.

About the Author: Mr. Gal Borenstein

Mr. Gal Borenstein is a recognized expert and strategist in digital branding, marketing, social media, advertising, online reputation management and public relations matters. He is the founder and CEO of the Borenstein Group, a top digital marketing communications firm in the Washington DC metropolitan area that serves clients locally and globally. He is the author of new business leadership book,ACTIVATE! How to Power Up Your Brand to Dominate Your Market, Crush Your Competition & Win in the Digital Age, available in premiere bookstores and on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and Apple’s iBooks. Gal has published his first business leadership book What Really Counts for CEOs in 2009. Since then, Borenstein has been featured as a guest commentator on CNN and Fox Business News on strategic marketing and branding issues, as well as, been one of the top digital content contributors to influential business leadership social media networks such as LinkedIn, PR Week’s The Hub, Advertising Age’s BtoB magazine, HR.Com, Smart CEO Magazine, and others.

He can be reached at 703-385-8178×28 or email at or @galborenstein on Twitter.

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