3.5 minute read
The pace of digital transformation has become inescapable for us all in both our personal and business lives; shipping is no exception – digitalisation is now critical for organisations that want to build brands in the industry. Now is the time for organisations in the sector to seize the opportunity and embrace digital PR, communications and marketing in the way that other global industries already have.
From a hesitant start, shipping was catapulted into a virtual realm by the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced organisations to pivot from communications strategies that had previously heavily relied solely upon more traditional networking, large-scale events, and maritime media to drive engagement and gather information.
Yet, the pandemic only accelerated an inevitable change in the way we communicate as an industry. A series of factors, including the high-profile supply chain and shipping crises, such as the Ever Given incident, the media spotlight on the energy transition and the demands of ESG reporting across global organisations continue to underline the importance of protecting and enhancing brand and reputation. Employing the right digital communication and marketing approach is a critical part of that ‘protect and enhance’ process.
Paring it back, digital communications and marketing essentially describes any form of organisation-driven communication that takes place online or through an electronic device (i.e., social media, search engine optimisation, email marketing, online advertising.) In other words, driven by the way people have adopted technology and online mediums into their daily lives as second nature, digital communications has now become “communications” and digital marketing is “marketing”. This assumption alone, once accepted, should encapsulate the requirement for urgency with which shipping companies must adapt their understanding and approach.
The fundamental principles of digital communications and marketing apply to every industry, and shipping is no different. Regardless of industry, communicating successfully online means connecting with people in a way that provides a valuable outcome – be it enhancing brand and reputation, or generating leads and sales. In shipping, like so many sectors, it’s imperative to possess an in-depth understanding of key stakeholders, be cognisant of language and tone, and know your market and its cultural dynamics regardless of the means with which you are communicating. However, as shipping types know well, ultimately the blueprint of any communication revolves around human behaviour; it just so happens that this connection now takes place increasingly in a digital universe. Perhaps uniquely, shipping is a genuinely global industry, which makes it the perfect candidate to thrive when it comes to creating impactful digital communications.
Digital communications and marketing are often seen as sales generation tools – which of course they can be, but they’re also much more than that. The way that your brand is represented online matters and how you use different channels to share your story and amplify your brand’s value proposition can make a difference to who is paying attention to it, as well as impacting the long-term communities that can be built; helping to grow an organisation’s brand and reputation as part of an increasingly transparent and communicative industry.
So, what can organisations in shipping do to embrace and maximise the opportunity and subsequent return on investment that digital communication and marketing presents? The conversation must start in the boardroom, in recognising that incorporating a strong digital communications and marketing strategy can be directly linked to delivering commercial objectives. The huge volume of data that digital communications presents to enable reporting and targeting, combined with its sheer visibility, will aid efforts in achieving strong brand and enterprise value, achieving commercial business objectives and also raising awareness of industry issues to the masses – in turn providing transparency that is essential for ESG reporting.
There are many more questions to be asked and answered around why shipping should care about digital communications and how to learn from other industries how to best embrace it. To continue the conversation, please register for the virtual panel discussion taking place 3rd November at 3pm GMT.
LIVE PANEL DISCUSSION: Digital Deconstructed – How Shipping Can Embrace Digital Communications
What lessons can we learn from other global industries when it comes to embracing digital marketing and communications?
Michelle Wiese Bockmann, Markets Editor/Analyst, Lloyd’s List
Carla Gutierrez, Head of Global Communications, Wärtsilä Voyage
Katie Shrives, Digital Marketing Lead, BLUE Communications
Moderated by Mark Stokes, Inspire Lead, BLUE Communications
LEARN MORE AND REGISTER HERE: https://www.blue-comms.com/blue-digital-event/
This article originally appeared on Lloyd’s List: https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1142710/Digital-communications-in-shipping-is-not-a-drill