Don’t get left behind in the digital shift

Article by Harvey & Hugo.

As a forward-thinking PR agency, we were one of the first in the region to embrace the digital revolution back when we launched in 2009.

From social media and blogs to graphics and animations, we embraced all that technology had to offer, which stood us in good stead when the pandemic hit.

In a recent 7@7 Instagram session, Leader of The Pack Charlotte caught up with David Dixon, digitalisation, scale and investment coach at DigitalCity, to find out more about why businesses all need to be on board with digital.

David said: “At DigitalCity, we focus on two things. Firstly, we help tech businesses to grow and secondly, we support other businesses in all sorts of fields with digital transformation projects, to

help them become more productive and profitable.”

That’s the what – but why should traditionally non-digital businesses, such as engineering or manufacturing, embrace technology?

David explained: “You need to look at each individual business in context, but for me there’s no doubt that the next five, ten, 15 years, all your competitors will be doing so.

“So, by definition, if all your rivals are doing it but you’re not, you’re not going to be as efficient or effective, and therefore not as profitable as you could be.

“I’d also argue that people need to get on board now, rather than in a few years’ time, otherwise you’re joining when the mass market does and you’ll find it tough to stand out.”

The pandemic, of course, has highlighted many of the advantages of digitalisation better than any course or advertising campaign.

David says: “Covid definitely speeded up the process, and made more businesses more willing to consider why they needed to change things.

“The first three or four months were a bit of shock, but since then there’s been much more appetite for people to investigate and instigate what success looks like for them in a digital context.

“We’re finding that people are a lot more open to discussing things – if I did this, what would it do, what would it cost – and it’s brilliant to have these open discussions, as the result of that is that more businesses will implement at least some changes.”

One of the misconceptions surrounding digitalisation is that it’s a costly process but, as David says, this is not the case at all.

“It can be as simple as you want, as expensive as you want and everything else inbetween,” he explained.

“You could spend a £1m on something, but a lot of the time that £1m is wasted. We’ve had clients who’ve spent thousands of pounds on a project, but it’s the free support we offer that has really consolidated the work.”

Despite its name, DigitalCity, which was set up 20 years ago by Teesside University to stem the tide of the region’s talent leaving for London, is not solely focused on digital.

David said: “We have a range of courses all focusing around helping businesses to grow.

“Our scale programme is one of the most successful, it’s had about 50 companies come through, and it’s all about focusing on the future and thinking strategically, rather than just concentrating on the day-to-day.

“All of our courses are free, too, so the biggest commitment will be time; ranging from half a day every other week to something more intensive.”

In short, DigitalCity should be on the list for any business looking to scale up, as David says.

“If you’ve got the ambition, reach out to me. Fundamentally, if you want to become more productive, more profitable, I can guarantee there is a tech solution there – and it’s free.”

For more information about how DigitalCity can help your business, get in touch.