“What is the Connected Enterprise?”
If you were to ask this question to Rockwell Automation employees six months ago, you’d get a variety of answers—and probably not a clear vision of the future we see for our company and our customers, which is exactly what the Connected Enterprise is meant to represent.
For many companies with thousands of employees across divisions and countries, it can feel like an impossible feat to align around a single message. But the effects of misalignment go beyond company walls—they create confusion for customers and prospective customers, too.
Think about it. If sales, marketing, customer service, and product teams have conflicting understandings of your company’s mission, they cannot deliver a consistent vision to prospects and customers. Alignment to a core message doesn’t only support company-wide engagement and a consistent customer experience, it’s a foundational necessary.
But to do it, you need a strategy. Here’s how my team, Internal Communications at Rockwell Automation, educated, coordinated, and empowered our colleagues around a unified, consistent message.
We also shared this story in a 15-minute webinar, which you can listen to here.
The Rockwell Automation Story
At Rockwell Automation, we see an incredible opportunity to offer unprecedented value to our customers through our vision of the Connected Enterprise.
First things first: what exactly do we mean by the Connected Enterprise? It aims to connect information across the plant floor to the rest of the organization. The flow of information promotes innovation and efficiency, allowing our customers to continually improve their global competitiveness. This is what our business strives to provide our customers, through our three core platforms along with the convergence of operations technology and information technology.
We also practice what we preach, and have implemented the Connected Enterprise in our own organization.
This concept is central, to both our own business and the vision for the future we share with customers—and we know it has the power to change the face of manufacturing globally.
It’s not a new message, we’ve been talking about elements of this for the last couple of years and it continues to evolve quickly.
But when we started asking around, it became clear that internal teams had neither a unified perspective nor the information for cohesion. Even some executives couldn’t agree on the definition or core purpose. This lack of internal alignment, then, created confusion for our customers.
So my team, the people responsible for internal communications at Rockwell Automation, took action.
As a 6.3 billion dollar company with 22k+ employees spread across 80 countries globally—we created a strategic plan to align the enterprise to single message that would make an impact first internally and then for our customers.
The solution was to implement an internal, content-focused campaign. Here are the five key ways we did it.
Key #1: Create Interesting and Compelling Content
Since technically this wasn’t a new message, we couldn’t launch it like it was: we had to get people to want the content. It had to be great, meaningful content – and this doesn’t happen by accident. A defined and strategic content strategy includes alignment of messaging, strategic choice of content formats and technologies to manage the process.
For the Connected Enterprise campaign, we created over 90 assets of various formats to be distributed internally. The assets themselves needed to be in formats that were concise, digestible, and useful. Moreover, the messaging behind each asset required alignment from all key stakeholders—leadership, marketing, sales.
All these assets then need to be grouped in a way that was manageable and accessible to the marketing team. Kapost’s B2B marketing technology allowed us to manage the process of content planning, creation, distribution, and analysis. This was essential to the process. Not only was content workflow streamlined, but the assets were also made readily available for marketing to reference whenever they needed.
Key #2: Increase Engagement with Video
There are many content forms to choose—from white papers to infographics— but we decided to focus on creating compelling videos. Part one involved making five high-level, executive-led videos. These were meant to build momentum and set the tone for the rest of the campaign. We followed these with five in depth employee-led videos. These more involved videos were meant to engage peers while also providing the what, why, and how of the Connected Enterprise.
Why videos? We wanted our employees to feel energized by the executive team, then empowered to talk about the Connected Enterprise with authority.
Key #3: Execute a Multi-Channel Distribution Strategy
When trying to communicate with employees, you’re competing with a lot of noise. From their own personal emails and social media accounts to the internal demands of their jobs, we knew our content had to be compelling and valuable enough to capture their attention, and we needed to use the right distribution channels to do it.
We focused on delivering personalized content to the places where our audience already digests information. This included everything from segmented emails, to external social media, and a news-style website.
Key #4: Strategic Timing
People consume information when it’s most relevant to what they want or need at that given moment. For this reason, we chose to focus the delivery of our content around the launch of our largest customer-facing event, starting five weeks before the 15,000 attendee Automation Fair. We then selected the final piece of content to be delivered in a mobile-friendly format on the day before the event, which included elevator-pitch style talking points on the Connected Enterprise.
The timing focused on a moment when many employees were en route to the event, which means discussions with customers and prospects were top of mind. This final piece of content provided a succinct, clear way to explain the Connected Enterprise, reinforcing the entire campaign.
Key #5: Personalize the Message
Personalized messages provide content in a relevant way that correlates directly with the level of engagement. By segmenting the audience based on business unit, we were able to develop unique content that appealed to the recipients’ individual perspective on the Connected Enterprise. For example, the marketing team thinks of the Connected Enterprise differently than someone who doesn’t often communicate the message to an external audience. We took these factors into account, and made the Connected Enterprise relevant to their role and focus at Rockwell Automation.
The Connected Enterprise campaign was optional and we made it subscription-based – aiming for a high number of subscriptions with a low unsubscribe rate. We found over 3,000 people subscribed, with 100 of those subscribers referring other employees to opt in. At the end of the five-week campaign, we had only 10 total unsubscribes, which meant for a successful maintenance rate of 97%.
We also focused on total views of our videos and the internal website to measure engagement. Our results were over 18,500 total video views, with 16,000 of them being unique. We also saw an uptick in our internal page visits, with increasing page views along with a much lower bounce rate.
Additionally, by using our internal social channel, we were able to gain insight into social media use of our employees. Over 14,000 of our employees are registered users on Yammer but not necessarily active. Generally speaking, we get a few likes or shares on the content we post, which wasn’t proving social use. However, in this campaign, we were able to mark a high click-through rate for posts, proving that our employees were absorbing content socially.
The most important result was the feedback from our end-users, the employees. This quote sums it up:
“In addition to this being strikingly beautiful, this is a seamless flow of information—better than anything I’ve experienced as a consumer.”
The results from this internal communications campaign reach far and wide. Not only do our employees have access to content explaining the Connected Enterprise and alignment on our company’s vision for the future, but they can now share that message with our customers and prospects more effectively and confidently.