When you hear of the demise of a loved high street brand such as HMV, it really flags the need for brands to step up and put innovative new digital marketing and channel strategies higher on the marketing and business agenda.

HMV would still be fresh and engaging if it had had the foresight to change its business model sooner and make itself fit for the digital world. Although restructuring specialist Hilco rode to its rescue this week, the facts remain: HMV has too much legacy in the stores. Other brands have seen the gap and anticipated the change first.

It takes bravery to be one of the first to change and invest in the still relatively unknown world of digital. It is still very new for many brands and marketers and they have no guarantee of the ROI. Unfortunately, it now is a necessity if brands are to avoid stagnating and restricting growth potential.

So, what do they need to do? They should identify more effective digital marketing and explore new channels to market that reflect and work with how consumers today shop. And they should learn from actually those that have invested in new approaches.

“It takes bravery to invest in digital marketing - but it is now a necessity”

Hotel Chocolat spotted a gap in the market and developed a completely engaging brand experience - from shop to hotel, its own plantation, online, tasting clubs and a gifting experience delivered directly to your home. What happened to Thorntons?

Coke constantly reinvents and stays fresh and relevant digitally: its new content-driven website is one of the first of its kind. It’s more like a magazine than a big corporate website. Lil-Lets too is actively embracing digital. It may not have the huge marketing budgets of other brands, but it is innovating and enaging teens online with an educational service about becoming a woman - ie. by not just focusing on products.

Like Coke and Hotel Chocolat, it understands that content is key. Consumers seek out knowledge to help make brand choices - they do not go to a website to be talked at by a range of products in a big corporate portfolio. So why do so many other fmcg brands still set out their websites as if they do?

Be warned: many brands could find themselves in HMV’s shoes in the coming months if they do not embrace digital change and new channels.

Brands need to ask themselves what they would be if they were starting again today. How would the business model and marketing work? This may trigger a realisation that their digital and online strategies are not as good as they could be. If they wish to strengthen and futureproof their businesses, then they must take action now.