Digital's Impact on the World’s Business DNA: Is This Rapid Evolution Out-Pacing You?

Posted on 03-15-2017 by
Tags: mergers and acquisitions , digital M&A , M&A , digital , digital media

 computer digital MandA

 By Jeremiah Cargle 

Twitter / LinkedIn 

Evolution doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. At the molecular level, it involves slow, generation-to-generation changes in DNA.

But that’s human DNA.

Consider, instead, the world’s business DNA. If you do, you’ll see a digital evolution that’s happening at lightning speed.

Two business areas where this evolution is rushing by: digital M&A and digital media.

Digital M&A Is Shaking Things Up

Digital M&A might be the San Andreas Fault of today’s business world.

It is, to say the least, tipping and shaking the foundations of many companies.

For example, nearly half of global insurers expect to acquire new tech through M&A in the next three years. And in a nod to future digital M&A deals, $2.1 billion has been projected as the annual (by 2019) tech spend for corporate customers. This prompted Heather Clancy to note in Fortune:

The demand by companies for help with installing it all [technology] and teaching workers to use it wisely have prompted big technology consulting firms to make dozens of acquisitions of design and strategy agencies in 2016.

The Rules for Digital M&A: They’re Changing

Bain & Company recently underscored how digital M&A is changing from traditional M&A. After interviewing top M&A executives, Bain reported that three-quarters said:

[D]igital disruption has had a relatively large impact or even requires a complete overhaul of their M&A strategy.

digital disruption MandA quote

As digital disruption increases, M&A will become more and more a source of adaption. To be successful and stay ahead of the competition, Bain stresses that companies must have a clear understanding of:

  • the changing rules for digital in M&A strategy;
  • corporate financing;
  • due diligence; and
  • merger integration.

Digital Media’s Impact on Brand Identity and IP

Digital media, especially social media, has changed the way people think about IP issues,” says Po Yi, a partner at Venable LLP.

digital media IP quote

Ms. Yi, in an interview with Lexis Practice Advisor Journal , says that a lot of this thinking stems from digital content and its availability to everyone. People can see it, and it’s pubic, but that doesn’t mean a person can take it and use it. Yi says:

It doesn’t matter how many times I have told my clients you cannot do that, it still comes up every day. ... I hear public domain all the time. Clients will talk about public domain and fair use without knowing what those terms actually mean.

Another impactful issue: digital’s speed in the business world, which reduces the time to think about a concern. In social media, things happen rapidly, and at times, decisions need to be executed immediately. This can be difficult with unique issues. Yi points out that while some issues in digital have been seen before, others are novel and yet to be seen.

And in terms of digital branding, Yi underscores the significance of native advertising and influencer marketing, both of which are on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) radar. She says:

[N]ative advertising and influencer marketing are highly effective marketing tactics. The FTC is not saying that you can’t engage in these activities, but you have to disclose any material connection related to the brand, such as payment or other consideration provided by the brand.

Another digital marketing tactic, Yi notes, is tapping into YouTube. The digital video giant provides authentic and relevant content, which can empower influencer marketing. This has also captured the attention of the FTC, which worries about bias and any undisclosed links between brands and content creators

Read Lexis Practice Advisor Journal’s entire interview with Po Yi: “A Look into Digital Media’s Influence on Brand Identity and Intellectual Property Rights.

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 You can connect with Jeremiah via Twitter or LinkedIn. If you're interested in discussing a legal solution, like Lexis Practice Advisor, you can email Jeremiah at

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