Brilliant Reads: nurturing digital capability, building powerful personas and Netflix’s content boom

Welcome to Brilliant Reads. This week we discuss what you can do to improve your organisation’s digital capability, Netflix’s content influx and how to navigate curated content.


Is your digital capability holding you back?

We believe the key to digital transformation isn’t technology, it’s people. Digital capability is the sum of your people’s mindset, behaviours, skills and experience. So what are the key signs your digital capability is underpowered, and what can you do to improve it?

1. How we do things trumps how we should do things. Teams need to routinely challenge what they do and how they do it.

2. Content is born and dies in silos. Nurture a more collaborative culture where work and learning is shared between teams. It’s important to recognise those who actively learn from and build on successes – or learnings – elsewhere in the business.

3. Agencies go unchallenged. Don’t outsource skills and knowledge. Invest in your people to get the best from your agencies.

4. There’s one great idea – every time. Good ideas can come from anywhere. And the best ideas come when there is genuine diversity in the team.

Four signs your digital capability is holding you back – and what to do about it
Brilliant Noise, 5 mins

To find out more about how to build your digital capability read our latest white paper.

There are a handful of places left for our event next week, Digital capability building for marketing teams, featuring Diageo marketing leader Isabel Massey.

Breaking free of the algorithm

Personalised and curated newsfeeds are commonplace. The consequences of this system are serious, with fake news and misinformation running amok. So what can be done to navigate the swathes of poor content and ensure that you make good business decisions based on solid information?

Inform yourself. With awareness of the issues you can question the information you consume.

Explore. Don’t passively consume the content recommended for you, actively explore social media. This will force the system to broaden its recommendations.

Go private. Browsing in anonymous modes will give you an unfiltered view of the web, which can grant powerful insight.

Be human. Traditional editorial is still subject to higher ethics and standards then personalised digital and social media feeds.

Unplug. Step away from digital entirely. Spending time observing and conversing in real life can help you break out of that digital echo chamber.

How to think for yourself when algorithms control what you read
Harvard Business Review, 4 mins

Navigating the Netflix content boom

Netflix CFO David Wells has announced the company will be releasing approx 700 original projects this year. This is unprecedented from a single network. There are massive opportunities for producers to get involved in this huge swathe of content. Casting the net wide to satisfy everyone’s interest makes sense for Netflix, but producers run the risk of being lost in this influx of content.

Rival networks are responding to Netflix’s approach. HBO CEO Richard Plepler argued “more is not better. Only better is better”, saying that their company promises to pay more attention to individual projects. As Netflix’s spend on content grows, so in turn must their promotion of original projects and marketing investment, or they may find themselves catering to all but entertaining none.

Netflix’s aggressive content-buying spree creates opportunities and risk for creators
Digiday, 5 mins

Bringing personas to life

In theory, personas are a powerful tool. They help you make better decisions, not just about how to market your product or service, but what it should be in the first place. In practice, personas don’t always deliver on this promise. There seem to be three common reasons why personas lose their power: They don’t have authority, people don’t know how to use them and they’re not easy or engaging to use.

So what can you do to avoid these pitfalls and make more powerful personas? Firstly try to get buy-in from a senior leader, and also from the people you want to use your personas. Senior backing will give your personas the mandate to be the ‘one true’ set for the organisation. They will also give you the clout you need to make the people you want to use them sit up and pay attention.

Secondly think utility and creativity. You should aim for a great user experience for your personas. People should want to use them, and understand how to use them effectively. In this post we explore three possible solutions from persona as graphic novel, a chatbot and as vignettes.

The problem with personas and three creative solutions
Brilliant Noise, 4 mins

Developing digital capability in government

Building digital capability is not easy, especially in the public sector. A lack of highly trained talent combined with the threat of existing colleagues being lured away to higher pay or more attractive roles is a reality for many organisations.

So how do you recruit, train and retain valuable talent? This article covers five strategies to nurture and grow from within.

1. Ensure contractors spend time teaching and training permanent members of staff. This can even be written into contracts
2. Multi-disciplinary teams. this gives employees the skills and tools to deliver what users need.
3. One agile team. with this approach you can see user needs coming down stream and are able to influence policy makers by being part of the same conversation.
4. Happy teams are more productive teams. An inspired team will stay motivated and hold onto the belief that the work they are doing will create change.
5. Retain your most technical people. Their skills are hard to find, make sure they have the support to work at their best.

5 strategies to build digital capability​
Gov.UK, 4 mins