What Is Digital-first Approach and How To Use It

Your brand identity must have both digital and physical manifestations to be effective, but that doesn’t mean they’re created simultaneously or through the same process. As more businesses move away from an analog approach and toward a digital first strategy, it’s important to understand how the two come together to give you the complete brand design package. Let’s take a look at what this means.

A Definition of Digital First Strategy

A digital first strategy is an approach to brand design where brands are considered in their entirety across all distribution channels, including digital, retail, and point of sale, even if they don’t have an online presence. In other words, think about how your brand exists online from start to finish; what its visual identity is like when it starts as a raw idea on paper (or pixels) and ends up as an actual product.

Here is what the current digital landscape looks like: Mobile usage continues to drive overall time spent on digital. In January 2018, mobile accounted for 62% of all time spent online and 19% of all minutes spent with media. This was up from 54% and 15%, respectively, in January 2017. The trend is particularly strong among younger consumers as those ages 18–24 increased their share of digital engagement with tablets by almost 40 percentage points compared to 2016. All this proves how transformative this approach will be for your business.

Components Needed to Implement a Digital-First Approach

Insights, Strategy, and Creativity are essential. And don’t forget Tools, Talent, and Time. With these components, you will get Amazingly Powerful Results.


  1. Increased Collaboration
  2. Speed
  3. Cost
  4. Less Work
  5. Adaptable in Future
  6. Same Quality
  7. Lowered Chance of Data Loss

Digital-first design is for businesses that want to take their digital presence seriously. Rather than worry about how something looks on paper before it’s built or have its look or functionality dictated by another medium, digital first design begins with purpose and functionality in mind. This method allows you to build everything around your end goal—serving your audience through an interactive experience. Think of it as putting infrastructure first, with everything else built around that.

How to Use It

A digital first approach is essentially using digital channels as your main point of contact. This includes email, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (to name a few). If you were making an introduction for someone via email, would you start with it’s nice to meet you, or would you start with their full name? That is essentially what we are doing here—giving people something they can act on by following/connecting/bookmarking in order to further increase our chances of conversion.

Any Examples?

Here are some helpful examples of digital first brand design by handpicked brands: New York Times, Coca Cola, Red Bull, and several more. Google all of them. They even have an online swipe file with several comps for you to look at – plus in each case, it tells you what designer did it for your further reference. And, who knows? Perhaps it’ll inspire one of your own designs that can take off on social media and be shared by influencers.

There is no longer any real distinction between online and offline marketing in today’s connected, digital world. Instead, all efforts should be combined under one digital first umbrella that drives brand awareness, ROI, and lead generation. For more information on the above, you can check out places like Verint.

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