What we like about... Verizon's corporate digital communications

Verizon is the first US-based company to break into the global top 10 of the Bowen Craggs Index of Online Excellence. Jason Sumner explores what digital teams can learn from the American telecoms giant’s corporate web presence.

This is the second in an occasional series looking at the top performers in the Bowen Craggs Index of Online Excellence.

The corporate area of Verizon.com – an ‘about’ site that sits on the same URL – stands out for vibrant editorial across varied formats – articles, videos and podcasts. The service for jobseekers is the best in the Index, with an intuitive global job search tool and innovative ‘behind-the-scenes’ features. Underlying the company’s progress in recent years is the care and attention given to the corporate site, which is rare among American companies but could be at the forefront of a trend in the US.

Three big things Verizon gets right

1. Engaging videos and well-written stories support company messages. Verizon’s editorial consistently drives home the fact that the company’s products and services, community initiatives and philanthropy improve people’s lives. See the ‘Verizon Innovative Learning’ sub-section in ‘Responsibility’, which has several short, well-produced and eye-catching videos. Verizon is clearly not short of resources – the pop singer Pharrell Williams turns up in one of the videos – but even companies with smaller budgets can learn from how Verizon is creatively repurposing marketing-led material for its corporate communications.

The quality of feature stories is high and getting better, and headlines are written with flair – see, for example, ‘Can a computer be prejudiced?’ and ‘You’re probably wasting an insane amount of water’.

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2. A comprehensive online service for jobseekers. The job search tool is simple, but effective. There is an excellent podcast for employees, called ‘Up To Speed’, which is a valuable resource for jobseekers trying to see what life is like inside the company; as is a blog that focuses on careers advice. Careers-specific social media channels also unify employee and jobseeker communications under the ‘Up to Speed’ brand name. ‘Locations’ and the military veterans benefits section are further examples of best practice in a section brimming with innovation.

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3. Clear evidence of strong governance. ‘Governance’ is the term we use to describe the management of corporate digital channels within a company. Many US corporate web estates maintain separately-run microsites for investors, journalists and jobseekers, which creates a fragmented experience for audiences. The Verizon corporate web estate is presented as one entity, housed on the main customer-facing URL. The design templates across the consumer and corporate areas are consistent too (but with enough flexibility to make it work for both sections). This demonstrates an unusual level of joined-up thinking between those managing the customer and corporate channels.

Three small but important things

Other elements from the Verizon corporate web presence worth emulating include:

Where can Verizon go from here?

As a top 10 Index company, there are few large gaps in performance compared with best practice. However, Verizon could improve by: addressing some inconsistencies in its navigation, and signposting content within sections better; and do a better job of explaining how Verizon’s many brands and businesses fit together. Finally, the central contact provision in the corporate area of the website defaults to the customer-facing pages, an atypical lapse in the otherwise careful attention Verizon pays to its corporate audiences.

For more insights on all aspects of corporate digital communications from the experts who advise 25 of the world's 200 largest companies, download the Index of Online Excellence and subscribe to our weekly newsletter

First published 27 May, 2020
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