Being "digital" means more than using digital channels to do the same old thing, or push the same old messages. At its core, digital media, and especially the social web, is about thinking about the world and people and brands differently.
Umair at Havas Media Lab refers to this as a fundamental change in a company's DNA.
The founder of icanhazcheezburger runs the site according to a couple of simple principles. First, make people happy. Secondly, think of one bit of content shared by one person to one other person. Not to 50,000 (hello viral marketers!). Just one. That personal and intimate.
Here is another take, from Ed at Influx Insights. Think of it as a crib sheet ;)
1. Are you useful?
What do you do to help make people's lives better or easier?
Are you doing something that no one else does?
Are you doing it better than anyone else?
2. Do you entertain?
Are you fun?
Are you human and real?
Are you interesting to interact with?
Do people talk about and notice you and your communication?
3. Do you educate?
Do you help people to learn or get more out of life?
Do you tell people what you do so they can become their own experts?
4. Do you facilitate or participate in social connectivity
Do you have fans?
Do you connect them?
Do you allow them to participate with you
Making people happy figures into the equation again. For modern brands, happiness isn't a means to end (capture attention, then hit them with a message), it's an end in itself.
Yet more wisdom from Adrian on Modern Branding below.