Three reasons your company has missed the whole point of corporate digital communications

Your company needs to treat the corporate website and related digital channels like a long-term strategic communication asset. Otherwise, what’s the point?

The digital presence is hands down your company’s biggest publication – the home of owned media, and the foundation for paid, earned and social. It’s a critical crisis communications tool that you completely control. It’s a vehicle to change minds about you for the better (we have the data that proves it can be done). I struggle to think of an asset that needs more protecting!

You as the person who manages the digital presence sees all this clearly, but 99% of your colleagues do not because they aren’t interested beyond their immediate turf. 

When companies miss the point there are lots of potential issues going on, but I want to focus on three that we see all the time. Then we can look at solutions the best in the world adopt, to give you new tools for the challenge.

1. The war of all against all

Internal politics drives decisions about what appears where. Who shouts the loudest? Who has the most influence? It can also just be who needs pacifying today. Result: The CEO’s face is everywhere, and the home page banner has a picture of the headquarters building.

2. The closet problem

The digital presence is just a place to dump some content and shut the door. It doesn’t have to be strategic or joined up. Content may be good, it may be bad, but no matter what, it is inconsistent and confusing.

3. Complexity is out of control

You have direct oversight over a small fraction of your company’s sprawling digital estate, if you are lucky, and yet bosses hold you responsible for people seeing the so-called “one view” across the digital landscape.

Learning from the best

Are these problems everyone else’s fault? Actually no, corporate digital communications is difficult and your job is to figure out how to make sure everyone else does see the point, and the company as a whole treats the digital presence like the prized asset it surely is.

Here are three things the best in the world have done to make sure corporate digital channels are working at their best for their company and their audiences.

Get beyond the clichés and really understand your audiences

We hear a lot about “outside in” thinking at the moment and that is a good start. But putting yourself in the mind of an outsider from inside the organization walls is really hard, if not impossible. The best really dig into the data about the audiences visiting their channels. Most companies who miss the point are flying blind on this one. The best use this information to make the right decisions, big and small, and bring others with them – 40% of visitors to the home page are jobseekers, therefore 40% of the content on the banner should target them. 

That thing your company really wants to say should take a back seat to visitor needs

Occasionally what the company wants to say and what audiences want to hear chime well together – on results day maybe. But most times they don’t, and even when they do chime, it’s all about how that message comes across (a 1-minute highlights video might work better than a 30-minute one). The best over-deliver on their visitors’ needs, then fit the company’s messages (and the CEO’s ego) around that.

You don’t have to push the big red relaunch button

It can be tempting to throw out everything and relaunch, and sometimes a total overhaul is unavoidable. But jumping into a full relaunch if you’ve done nothing on the governance and relationships side of things can create more problems than it solves.

The best digital communicators in the world are methodical and resilient. When tackling a neglected presence, this could mean starting with one section, building your relationships and going from there. You are going to step on some toes along the way, and it makes sense to build allies and good will first. Even if you need to/have to go through the pain of a relaunch, continuous improvement is the way to go after the go-live date because corporate digital is never truly done. 

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Our Bowen Craggs Club membership has enabled us to benchmark all aspects of our digital presence against global all-sector best practice, share lessons and ideas with peers, and get both quick-win and longer term recommendations for improvement. Bowen Craggs is also providing us with valuable advice on our approach to online communications following the acquisition of G4S by Allied Universal.”
 

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