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Digital Branding: An Expert’s Perspective

In the ever-changing digital marketing space, staying ahead of the curve is essential for success. Few people understand this better than Jaco Klynsmith, an experienced digital brand strategist with a passion for establishing meaningful connections between brands and consumers through storytelling. With over a decade of industry experience, Jaco has made it his mission to help brands navigate the complex digital landscape.

Jaco has an unwavering commitment to staying on top of the latest digital trends, focused on continually exposing himself to like-minded communities and finding new and innovative ways of working.  He recently spent two months in Bali, Indonesia, where he immersed himself in the dynamic digital communities to gain fresh insights into the fast evolving world of digital marketing.

In this interview, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jaco and delve into his experiences as a digital brand strategist, as well as his invaluable insights gained during his time in Bali.

Tell me a little bit about your background in media and advertising and how you became a digital strategist. 

I have been working in media and advertising for more than 14 years and have been fortunate enough, throughout my career, to have been involved in a wide variety of areas relating to this field.  However, as the industry evolved and became increasingly disrupted, I found myself becoming more and more fascinated by the possibilities of digital and its potential to transform and drive business.  In recent years, I began to focus my efforts on developing my expertise in this area. I believe that one of the uncomfortable truths in our industry is that we can never become complacent. We must constantly challenge ourselves to keep up with new developments and innovations if we want to stay relevant.  Today, I work as a digital brand strategist, consulting for various brands on digital strategy and execution, communication plans, content marketing as well as social influence and UGC (user-generated content).

What is your advice to building online communities? 

Cliché as it may sound, community is about authenticity. Online users are looking for content that is genuine and relatable. There has been a major shift happening on social and people are tired of the smoke, mirrors and filters; they want to connect with brands and individuals who are authentic and real.  Any successful business is solving some form of problem and if you truly understand the problem you are solving, you’ll know exactly what stories to tell. In doing so, you’ll attract the right people that relate to those stories. Be transparent and willing to be vulnerable with your audience as this builds trust and connection. Secondly, engage and listen; always remember that there is a real person on the other end that wants to feel seen and heard.  Finally, focus on providing value to your audience through the three pillars of content; educational, inspirational and or entertaining. Your content should be something that your audience finds valuable and meaningful. By prioritising authenticity, engagement and value, you can build a strong and loyal online community.  Sometimes we try to fast track this process, however it’s important to remember that its not about the size of your audience, but rather the quality. 

From your learnings in Bali, what are some of the current digital trends and how is the industry evolving? 

The advertising industry is undergoing a major shift towards decentralisation, with many agencies moving away from traditional office-based structures. You see this all over the world with the increase of digital communities as well as international collaboration. This trend is facilitating greater diversity of talent and ideas, and is leading to more innovation in the industry. My time in Bali has taught so many new ways of optimising workflows, all  while achieving better results. 

Personalisation through digital personas and audience segmentation is still vital in creating targeted and relevant content that resonates with specific demographics. Furthermore, there is a growing trend towards data-driven advertising, with the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimise campaigns and deliver more targeted and personalised content. This trend is likely to continue as technology continues to advance.

There is also a major focus on UGC right now and its becoming an increasingly popular way to engage with audiences and promote products or services on social media. UGC is changing social media advertising in that it’s shifting the focus from traditional ads to more organic and genuine content that better resonates with audiences and further drives engagement.

These are only a few examples that I am really excited about, however the list goes on.  

What would be your advice be for someone that wants to pursue a career as a digital strategist?

Don’t stop learning! The great thing about working in this industry is that there are so many online options available to constantly learn and grow; and a lot of these are free.  Then also, this may not be the first thing that comes to mind, however assuming you know the basics, I’d advise getting access to some form of mentorship.  I am a firm believer in mentorship and have been lucky enough to have had pretty great mentors throughout my career and it has made all the difference. Mentorship is a valuable tool for personal and professional growth and can offer guidance, support, advice and help to expand your network.

How can you be reached

I can be contacted via Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacoklynsmith/ 

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