It’s Time for Communicators to Be Disruptors, not the Disrupted

By: Brandi Boatner, IBM

January 11, 2018

The 2018 Golden Globe Awards told a very powerful tale while celebrating diversity and equality, and delivering some critical messages for our time.

However, as I sat in my living room applauding, cheering and crying at times, I could not help but think of a phrase—digital disruption—as I watched the broadcast. The Globes were digital disruption at its finest.

I clearly remember the days when HBO ruled awards season. But the media and entertainment landscape has been fundamentally changed thanks to digital disruption. Amazon secured two Golden Globe wins while Hulu won a top honor. And Netflix, though it didn’t have as many winners as years past, still racked up some accolades. Hulu + Netflix + Amazon = Digital Disruption.


Brandi Boatner, Social & Influencer Communications Lead for Global Markets, IBM

Digital disruption is not a new concept but it’s fascinating to see as we begin the new year. Often, disruption takes place on an industry-wide scale resulting in a seismic shift of business, revenue and operations. It is the classic tale of “out with the old and in with the new.” New technologies, new platforms, new ideas, new business models.

And digital technology not only brings disruption but also tremendous opportunity for communicators to interact and engage with audiences, generating new platforms and ideas.

As topics like virtual reality, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things become part of our everyday lives, communicators can differentiate themselves and brainstorm the most effective ways to market their brands to effectively take advantage of digital disruption. Embrace digital disruption now because if you don’t, the longer you wait, the more vulnerable your brand or client becomes. Here’s a checklist of how to differentiate in digital disruption:

  1. Be prepared.
  2. Understand digital dynamics.
  3. Focus on your strengths.
  4. Speak digital intelligence.
  5. Practice agility.

Digital disruption reshapes markets. With the ability to target specific audiences and individuals, PR pros will be challenged with the task of crafting compelling content and messages that address highly specific interests. By leveraging technologies and being able to differentiate your brand, client or practice, communicators can have a clear, precise strategy that will uncover unseen opportunities. Now let us, communications professionals, be the disruptor and not the disrupted.

To learn more about digital disruption and how technologies like artificial intelligence will help communicators, check out my session, “Cognitive Storytelling: How Augmented Intelligence is Benefiting Marketers,” at the Social Shake-Up in May.


Brandi Boatner is the social and influencer communications lead for global markets at IBM’s CHQ Communications in New York City. Her responsibilities include developing and driving worldwide digital communications that supports the way IBM engages with enterprise IT professionals in the digital world (including websites, blogs, social media sites and mobile devices) globally.

Follow Brandi: @ThinkBluePR

At The Social Shake-Up