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On Digital Darwinism

I recently read a book that introduced a new (at least new to me) term: Digital Darwinism. Most people are familiar with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution as it applies to the biological and physical world in which we live, but Digital Darwinism takes the evolution concept and applies it the new digital arena where we now learn, work, and play on a continuous basis.

The general idea is that digital media has “evolved” from early company websites – that were essentially brochures loaded onto you monitor – to more interactive mediums. These websites evolved by adding functionality: streaming video, a built-in “Like” button for Facebook, a widget for your dashboard, etc. Like all evolution, not all of it has necessarily been for the betterment of humanity. Case in point: not every brand needs a blog, a YouTube channel, or a Twitter account if it doesn’t align with their overall marketing strategy.

While even the best marketer knows this, the challenge is that just like traditional evolution, many factors of digital evolution are out of our control. Digital Darwinism is more forward thinking and focuses on how your brand lives on in the capable hands of your consumers and fans. A brand can create an astonishingly creative campaign and use every media channel at their disposal, but what will ultimately push the campaign to the next level of marketing euphoria will depend on how your fan base digests your content, makes it their own, and where and how they share it with others.

Look no further than the tremendously successful viral campaign of Old Spice or Blendtec. Both left the heavy lifting of campaigning to the willing public, and in the process attracted and engaged millions of news fans, all for the cost of a few witty copywriters, a blender, and a few household items. All in all, not a bad deal.

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