Our organisation was about to embark on the most comprehensive business dashboard ever designed.
It was a great opportunity for us in internal communications to integrate a state- of- the- art intranet along with this dashboard. So, the meetings between the tech teams, HR and Comms flowed fast and furious.
For us in comms the decisions were all about the functionalities the intranet would offer, as indeed what we were going to call it. Just calling it the intranet seemed a very dull and boring thing to do.
So, we decided to do a fun survey, and get some associate feedback.
We just sent one question to all employees across the globe.
‘Which is your favorite cartoon character?’
It took less than a week to get the answer.
Over 60% of employees who responded said that Asterix was their all- time favorite.
Post this finding, the creative team swung into action and looked at potential brand names which could capture the adventures of Asterix as indeed give a sense of the immense potential of the intranet.
After much brainstorming and given that this information portal would be the ultimate, the team came up with the name Ultimatix!
Awesome collateral to promote the launch of Ultimatix was designed and shipped across to all our office globally. All were illustrated the way Asterix comics used to be. There were posters, direct mailers, stickers, buntings…you name it and we had it created.
To ensure that the portal would have constantly updated content, we also set up a studio to make short films and had all the reception areas of our offices equipped with large TV screens.
Ultimatix was launched. Everyone was aware of what it was, and we got some great reviews.
However, it was soon obvious that not many people were visiting the pages/ reading the content we were putting up every day. Once a day, people would log in and fill their time sheets, or apply for leave, or similar.
That’s all. Hardly any associate was even looking at the rest of the content.
An emergency meeting was called to figure out how to drive more traffic to Ultimatix.
We learnt that the first thing any associate would do on reaching office would be to power on the desktop and check mails. And log onto Ultimatix at the end of the day to fill up a timesheet.
We had to do something to create greater awareness about the variety of content which was being hosted on Ultimatix daily, and make sure that the associate saw value in that content.
Being a tech company, we tried something different, and innovative.
We ensured that the moment associates powered on their computers, they would get a moving screen which scrolled the way the old Star Wars titles had done. The content of the scroller highlighted the special bits of content available on Ultimatix. After about 45 seconds of the scrolling the desktop became visible so that the associate could then log into her/his mail.
We ran this for about two weeks. Yes, numbers of associates who visited the portal did grow by substantial amounts, but we soon realized that we were ‘pushing’ content down their throats, without checking out the relevance. Quite obviously we were not adding enough value.
We all wondered what could be done next to make the content more relevant and helpful to an associate, because considering the amount we had invested in Ultimatix, a much higher employee engagement level was absolutely essential.
We all put on our thinking caps and tried to live the life of a ‘techie’. The frequent transfers and setting up a house each time a person got transferred, for example, was quite an expensive affair.
That is when one of us had a ‘Eureka’ moment.
“Suppose we start a buy and sell column on Ultimatix. That way anyone getting transferred can put up details of all that he wants to sell or buy for the new assignment anywhere in the world.”
That was it. A concept taken from the classified pages of newspapers was incorporated into Ultimatix.
Not surprisingly, the numbers of visitors and engagement grew every passing day.
Very soon after that, we heard from HR informally that many parents were worried about when their son/ daughter would return to India, or stop being transferred so often. This was on account of the fact that the parents wanted to find a suitable match for their childrenJ.
Not missing a trick, we promptly started a ‘matrimonial’ page on Ultimatix as well.
That, too, was a roaring success, with parents thanking us profusely for this service.
Other similar engaging and relevant initiatives followed, and soon Ultimatix was the first port of call for a majority of associates.
Retrospectively, it was simple to understand why this had happened.
You see, we had finally delivered value. Any product or service, if it does not add value to its customers/ target audience, is destined to fail.
- Never forget to ask yourself the question: Has value been delivered to the customer? Be it a product, or a service. Poor value delivery is a sure way to fail.
- Push communication did not work those days and it does not work today. Relevancy is critical.
- Engagement with the audience was important then. It is important today. And it will always remain important.
- Never underestimate the power of research. It may take time; it may require some investments, but research does pay for itself in any endeavor.
- Observe customers and their behavior very closely. That’s the best way to get insights, which are invaluable. Keep your eyes open.
- Remember that you are also a customer. Reflect on your own decision making. You will have plenty to learn from it.
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