Convergence is the destination, now where’s that map again?

One of the best things about the combination of activities that merged into our new Digital & Community Engagement department is the promise of greater convergence.

I used to think of convergence in relation to advertising, that all the different media, online and offline need to work together and integrate into a common purpose. But I have begun to think of this a little differently.

My team used to be the Web Engagement & Banking team. In big group meetings if we all went around the room saying why we were there, others would refer to me as the Web Guy. I laughed and moved on, but it left me a little cold. I’m not a web guy, or IT or technology guy, but I had slipped into this role. By bringing in offline engagement activities (community grants, sponsorships and events), we can no longer be pigeon-holed this way. And the opportunities to combine the digital tools our department leads with the activities which are such a strong reflection of the organization’s brand and values are immense.

And so the idea of convergence is taking on a new meaning. Up until this year we could reach the percentage of members who use online banking. But with the web morphing into a digital landscape encompassing mobile and things like in-branch digital signage, the ability to reach pretty much all of our members with real-time, relevant messaging is amped up. The ability for us to drive loyalty through helping members better understand what their pooled resources at Vancity helps to create and enable is growing. The opportunities for members to engage in their credit union will grow in a meaningful way.

Convergence also needs to refer to people. Literally mixing up the people who run our web channels with the people who do deep community engagement gets people thinking about things differently, understanding other areas of the organization and approaching their work from a new vantage point. This week, my new department went through a team building exercise, and everyone’s enthusiasm and openness to understand each other and integrate their work is really inspiring.

Convergence is a word with deeper meaning and significance for me than ever before. It’s still the destination, I just thought the path there was shorter and more direct.

4 thoughts on “Convergence is the destination, now where’s that map again?

  1. Bil Repenning

    This is interesting. I’d be interested in reading more about what you find are the new ways to engage community with the changing landscape of how people interface with technology.

  2. Bil! Heya.

    Yeah, after re-reading my post, I think I published it half-baked. I’m excited about the emergence of digital in the “real world” and the ability to flight messaging and engage people in different ways. Nothing revolutionary, but I clearly need to write a follow up to expand on the idea.

    What are you thinking about the topic?

  3. For me – convergence has transformed from a seamless message out – online and offline (circa 2000 definition); to reaching out and engaging and listening where people are interfacing with tech.

    It’s no longer about putting up a message or a campaign in a micro-site or campaign site -and leaving it there for 6 weeks. The convergence is taking place with consumers. It’s now a conversation. Brands build profiles in the social sphere and are not abandoning them – they are learning to evolve and converse.

    Consumers are changing too – they are letting those brands know just what they think of products and services. A perfect example of this was the Radiant 6/social trending reports just weeks before the election. Right after the debate – the ‘conversations’ online were showing the rise in popularity of the NDP very clearly.

    I think it’s a huge opportunity to embrace the conversation. We’ve come full circle – gone are the layers from service to consumer.
    We are back to being able to take stock of very direct contact with our public. If we are listening – should mean a lot less time sitting in focus groups.

    -E

  4. Wow, Elizabeth, awesome comments. Thanks for adding your two cents.

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