Corporate Comms… What’s it good for?

21 October 2011 by

A few weeks ago, former IBF Live guest Oscar Berg posted a question on Google+ that kicked off a passionate debate about the role of Communications in an increasingly digital landscape:

Why do you think so many organizations still put corporate news in the center of attraction on their intranets even though they have the ambition to turn their intranets into digital workplaces? Corporate news aren’t really that important for people in their daily work. Is it just because the Communications department are in charge of the intranet and confuse their own goals with the goals of the users?

With the increasing focus on social intranets, there’s been some thoughtful conversations among Corporate Communications professionals about their roles in the company, and how they can offer the most value in this new digital environment. Rather than focusing solely on generating news content, they are starting to contribute by facilitating conversations, managing communities, curating content, etc.

A wonderful opportunity for storytellers

Enter Audrey Gray, vice president, executive communications, at American Express. Audrey agrees that the role of Communications is changing… but that doesn’t mean they should sit back and watch conversations. “This is shine time for skilled storytellers and edgy content producers. We’re here to keep employees engaged with information that’s informative, interesting and authentic. It needs to be real…and a good experience for busy people.”

Audrey will join us on IBF Live to give a live tour of the American Express intranet, called “The Square.” After her tour, we’ll take a deep dive into her content strategy and processes, and the audience will have a chance to ask Audrey specific questions.

The content strategy conversation will be facilitated by Jeffrey MacIntyre, managing director and lead strategist at Arc90. He leads the content strategy and information architecture practice. A noted content specialist, Jeff is perhaps best known for coining the “Day 2 problem” of content strategy, and as co–author to A List Apart‘s landmark introduction to the field. He draws on publishing and product development fundamentals to shape content strategies, with specific expertise in how they incorporate editorial and programming.

A great opportunity for employee-storytellers

We’ll also look at employee engagement through another lens… user-generated content. For this part of the conversation, we’re excited to have Rose Tesesco, marketing communications manager at UMass Medical School, to show us how she runs a monthly employee photo contest. Rose says that the contest is a great way to a way to bring people together, especially because employees are scattered across a number of offices and client sites across the state. It’s also a wonderful way to recognize and celebrate employees’ creativity and personal interests.

Last but not least, we’re also happy to welcome Olof van der Gaag, communication and fundraising manager of Natuur & Milieu in the Netherlands; and the campaign manager for the “The New World of Work (NWOW).” The campaign Principal partners include Microsoft, Achmea, NS, the Ministry of Transport and Mobility Task Force (Working Smart Travel Smart Platform). If you attended IBF 24 last May, you already know that the Dutch are among the most innovative when it comes to the future of work and the digital workplace.

See you there!

If you are already an DWG member or an IBF Live subscriber, you can get the login details on the extranet (no need to register in advance). If you miss IBF Live or want to watch it again, you can view this or prior episodes via on-demand playback. Guests can sign up for a one-time free guest pass, but hurry, there’s limited seating. Don’t miss out!

Meet the studio guests

Audrey Gray is VP of Executive Communications at American Express. Audrey joined American Express in 2009, after 15 years in the news media. As the VP of Executive Communications at AmEx, Audrey produces the CEO’s Town Halls and quarterly earnings updates. She also manages an editorial content team, overseeing daily news and feature production for the company’s intranet site, nicknamed “The Square.” Audrey began her career in public radio as a news director and talk show host. She moved to public television in 1995 as a reporter and documentary producer at WHYY in Philadelphia, winning an Emmy for documentary writing in 1998. By the turn of the century, Audrey was writing and producing national TV shows for the Discovery network and for Fox. Her last 5 years in the media, she worked as a Senior Editor at the online tech site E-GEAR.COM, concentrating on mobile technology and digital imaging. An archive of Audrey’s tech pieces can be found here: http://bit.ly/ojJerA.

Jeffrey MacIntyre is the Managing Director and Lead Strategist at Arc90. He leads the content strategy and information architecture practice. A noted content specialist, Jeff is perhaps best known for coining the “Day 2 problem” of content strategy, and as co–author to A List Apart‘s landmark introduction to the field. He draws on publishing and product development fundamentals to shape content strategies, with specific expertise in how they incorporate editorial and programming. Jeff is particularly interested in wider trends in content production and consumption. He has worked — independently, in–agency, and alongside some of the brightest minds in content strategy and UX — for Arts & Entertainment Television Networks, Best Buy, Condé Nast Media, Thomson Reuters, University of Michigan, Washington Post Company, and Yahoo! to solve their content challenges. Jeff is an advisory board member of Readability and Semi–Clear Logic. Jeff is also a New York Times–published freelance writer whose commentary on digital culture and media appears widely, from Wired to Slate, and many points beyond.

Rose Tedesco has been at Commonwealth Medicine, UMass Medical School’s health care consulting division, in Worcester, MA, since 2005. As communications manager for the Marketing Analytics department, she has coordinated the popular employee photo contest since its inception in April 2009. Rose has an extensive background in communications and marketing in the pharmaceutical and technology sectors.

Olof van der Gaag is communication and fundraising manager of Natuur & Milieu in the Netherlands, as well as the campaign manager for the “The New World of Work (NWOW).” His specialties include communications, strategy, marketing, fundraising, politics and management. Since 1997, Olof has gained a wealth of experience in the areas of non-profit management, policy, education and science.

Categorised in: DWG24, Internal communications

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