Engie : Personalising company news

A single press release database makes it easier to customise company news but the execution is flawed.

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The feature

Engie, the French utility that changed its name from GDF Suez on April 24th, customises news on its corporate website’s audience-specific landing pages – jobseekers, candidates, investors, CSR experts and others. The ‘News’ panels within each sub-section of the website serve up audience-specific headlines. CSR experts, for example, get news about the company receiving a diversity award from the French government and publishing its first integrated annual report. Jobseekers get news about the company opening a LinkedIn group dedicated to innovation in the energy sector.

A database holds all press releases in one place. These are tagged according to themes and can be search by theme and by date on a central news listings page.

The takeaway

Providing different news listings in different parts of a website – eg, investors, press and sustainability – is fairly common. What is unusual here is that the press release material is all in the same database, and can be retrieved as needed. This is an asset for creating tailored feeds for audience-specific landing pages, a strength of Engie’s site.

However, there are flaws with the database itself, in particular its search functionality. It mixes apples and pears – eg, ‘for’ links (journalists, CSR experts) with actual themes (eg, ‘geothermal’, ‘smart grids’). Some of the labels, such as ‘Home’ are unclear. ‘Press’ and ‘Journalists’ return different results. A visitor looking for information on energy has six sub-categories to choose from, none of which are self-explanatory. The label, ‘Candidates’ (based on the correct French term) could confuse international jobseekers.

Elsewhere, on the audience-specific landing pages, there is also confusion between panels marked ‘News’ and those marked ‘Press Release’. On the home page, and in the journalists and CSR experts areas, there are ‘News’ and ‘Press release’ sections, both of which link to press releases. There may be internal logic to the distinction but it is not immediately apparent, and is confusing. The shareholders area has a ‘press release’ panel, but no ‘news’. The ‘news’ section under the Investors area was empty when we checked the site.

It’s a pity that such a strong idea has been so badly undemrined by poor implementation. The devil, as so often, is in the detail.

First published 06 May, 2015
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