Jérôme Bloch (360DigitalHeroes): 2021, the Digital Schism

According to Jérôme Bloch, CEO of 360DigitalHeroes, the months after Covid-19 ends will gradually reveal two concepts of digital practice, with significant impacts on the competitiveness of companies. Interview.  

 

What schism are you talking about? 

 

The Covid crisis has revealed two groups. On the one hand, people who only think of going back to their“normal life,” and who see digital solutions as temporary crutches. On the other hand, users who are discovering the power of digital tools and who intend to use them sustainably to make their business more agile and competitive. 

“We are going to see the proliferation of events where the content will be reduced to maximise the 'networking' part.” 

What causes do you identify? 

 

In my experience, the schism always starts from the same point: corporate culture. In finance, in particular, the intense workload, especially last year, - made training in "technical" skills difficult to implement. As a result, other training courses related to the use of digital tools or a firm’s corporate culture are being overlooked. When a CEO is unable to properly use Teams, Webex or Zoom on his own, you understand that he is waiting for one thing: to get back to his “normal life,” with visitors in his office, an assistant to prepare calls and physical conferences to meet real people. To improve this, we produce, for example, 60-second videos about a digital corporate culture. All employees start the day with this mini-training and over the months, the message lands.

 

How do you imagine life after Covid?

 

The current situation brings forward radical notions like the "new normal." Most answers, however, require granularity. Take the example of meetings in London: with Luxair, going back and forth during the day is not a problem, but not all meetings are equal! Thus, it will remain natural to make the trip for strategic clients, while a Zoom call for non-strategic meetings will, on the one hand, allow you to remain consistent with your firm's ESG policy and on the other hand, to gain seven hours of productivity. I am not even talking about the 500 euros saved, which represent millions on the scale of large companies over a year. The biggest impact will come from the conferences: everyone understood last year that they fulfill a major role  to enable networking. Content has become a commodity that anyone can access on their smartphone, anywhere, anytime. I anticipate that many people will no longer be inclined - or allowed - to spend a full day in a conference center when their primary motivation is to network 15 minutes during the break and 60 minutes at lunch. We are going to see the proliferation of events where content will be reduced to maximize the "networking" part. Under these conditions, paid conferences will suffer if they do not review their model.

How can they adapt?

 

They must adapt their business plan by moving from a model focused on selling tickets and exhibition booths to a model of monetization of physical and digital audiences. One of our clients, for example, innovated by making his conference free and public. Surprisingly, the audience grew from 500 in the room in 2019 to 35,000 online in 2020. Businesses must consider these new opportunities in the long term if they want to remain competitive.