Launching a rebrand is a challenge for any organization. But it’s especially daunting when you’re a fast-growing business that has just acquired three other companies across the United States and Canada – more than doubling the company headcount.
In 2018, when digital agency Bounteous brought together unique office cultures and complementary services, there was a need to forge a unified identity. The organization also wanted to get the word out about the exciting change.
“We were four companies,” said Marketing Manager Sarah Baker. “We had different names, different cultures, and even different ways to share content on social media.”
Together, they were building something completely new. Bounteous needed a way to create a sense of community while empowering employees to become brand ambassadors who could share the agency’s story with the broader world. Any solution would need to appeal to a wide range of generations and comfort levels using social media.
The Well, an employee communication and engagement platform powered by Dynamic Signal, does that.
- It brings together dispersed colleagues into a cohesive organization by giving them access to all the news, information, and great things happening at Bounteous. It makes them feel like they are valued members in the process of building something special.
- It enables Bounteous to harness the authentic voices of employees by providing them with easily sharable content that makes them persuasive ambassadors as they amplify the company’s new brand on social media.
“The Well was a mechanism to bring together 400-plus voices and streamline communications in a water cooler-type format,” said Marketing Content Specialist Hallie Stahl. “It was a way to celebrate our new combined identity, while staying true to our respective roots.”
Within the first year, 372 of the company’s 406 employees had registered for The Well. That’s a remarkable 92 percent. And 81 percent were active users of the platform.
Here’s how Bounteous uses the platform to inform, engage, and enable employees to share those stories with the world.
Chicago-based HS2 had about 175 employees in 2018. Then came the acquisitions and the rebrand for the digital-solutions provider.
The expanded company combined HS2 with LunaMetrics, a Google Marketing Platform-specialized firm; Infield Digital, a customer experience management agency; and Demac Media, Canada’s oldest and largest eCommerce agency. The resulting juggernaut is a blend of a digital agency and consultancy that focuses on analytics, creative design, web development, and marketing services.
The new name Bounteous means “generously given” or “plentiful.” That captures how the company is a fountain of insights, co-innovation, and technical ability for clients.
But challenges came with such rapid growth. The company had employees scattered across offices in Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Denver, Toronto, and even a satellite branch in Berlin. Many employees also work remotely. The previous companies had their own methods of communicating internally as well as sharing content externally.
“At some offices, sharing was part of their culture,” Baker said. “But at other offices, people needed refreshers on sharing best practices to their personal channels. It was also kind of a cut-and-paste and manual email method. We just had all of these disparate ways of getting content out.”
Bounteous understands that internal communication and employee advocacy are inexorably linked. Employees are more invested in an organization when they have a clear picture of the mission, vision, and values. They’re also more connected with their colleagues – wherever they are.
Advocacy is a natural byproduct of that communication. By making approved information easily accessible, many employees will choose to share that content with their personal social media networks. The result is a ripple effect, much like a stone hitting a smooth pond surface that radiates the organizational message far and wide.
Bounteous is a great example.
“Our ultimate goal is always going to be about making our employees brand ambassadors and having them share content out to increase the reach of our message,” Stahl said. “But part of doing that is about making The Well a central place where everyone can find information that has value to them beyond that brand ambassador message.”
The platform is where employees can get their fill of company information. It’s available via a mobile app, a desktop app, or the web – wherever employees prefer.
The Well is organized for easy navigation. There are different content streams for each office and location. Other streams are designed for everyone in the company. For instance, one popular category is “What We’re Reading.”
“We’ve designed the platform with the idea of bringing people together around their common interests,” Baker said.
Some information is only for employees’ eyes. But most of the content on The Well is intended for employees to share. It can be about publicizing Bounteous-sponsored events and highlighting training sessions. Or it’s a chance for employees to brag on company awards.
The 92 percent registration rate shows The Well’s popularity. But adoption didn’t happen by accident.
“We showed how our team member’s reach on social media could hit such a large number of people,” Stahl said. “We noted how if 10 people shared something and they each had 100 followers, that would have a big impact.”
Employee training sessions also proved to be instrumental. Many people, like Bounteous’ public speakers, are comfortable on social media. But, Baker added, your typical developer probably isn’t going to be Tweeting all the time.
“We have different generations in the workforce from Gen Z on up,” Baker said. “They have different perspectives on how to use social media. We have some people who might only get on Facebook once or twice a week to share information with their family and friends. So, our strategy was to show that this could benefit them as well as the company.”
Other tactics to drive platform usage included making The Well a knowledge base for information about the rebrand, prizes, and a leaderboard to create some friendly competition around content sharing.
When the initial momentum tapered off after a few months, Stahl oversaw an initiative to increase visits to the company Careers website page. The Hiring Blitz campaign generated more than 142,000 social media impressions and a 100 percent increase in site traffic, month-over-month. Engagement numbers on The Well also spiked with a 67 percent increase in active users and a 46 percent jump in sharing.
“The Well captures our attitude about a work-life balance between getting stuff done and celebrating our personal and collective growth,” Stahl said.
The goal is to find more uses for The Well as an internal communication resource. For instance, a company newsletter currently is housed in an intranet. They hope to begin using Dynamic Signal’s newsletter functionality to post them on The Well – and also make them shareable.
“We see the value in striking a greater balance between advocacy and internal communication,” Baker added.
Bounteous also is thinking about ways to make the platform more useful for specific roles, such as the teams that have frequent contact with customers or prospects.
“We’re working toward the day when they can get off a call with someone, go into The Well and search for the best applicable content that they can share with them,” Baker said.
Finally, Stahl plans to orchestrate several campaigns a year, similar to the Hiring Blitz, to keep the platform top-of-mind with employees.
“The Well is a great way to bring people together,” Stahl added. “We’ve worked hard not to make it just another place where people have to go in and find information. We’ve made it a place for everybody and where they can share the information they want.”