Neilson Norman’s latest report on the top 10 intranet designs of 2007, shows an increase in the use of multimedia and social media on intranet sites. Although multimedia was a significant feature in last year’s list, this year sees photos, video, news feeds and webcams put to more innovative use. Indicating that social media has not been a passing fad of 2006, many of the intranets have implemented popular Web 2.0 features like blogs (with specific business angles) and business-relevant wikis. Video is being used for training and corporate communication, but organizations such as American Electric Power have pushed the use of this channel, by setting up a TV studio for intranet productions, offering employees streaming video and live webcasts. News feeds have long been used on intranets, but this year, the best selections offer more relevant internal and external news, and involve employees by allowing them to rate stories and comment. Translation comes out tops Many of the report’s winning intranets offer language translation for their international employees. Dow Chemical, for example, uses English for most global content, but translates important content into Dutch, German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Selected content is also translated into Chinese, Greek, Japanese and Thai. A total of 49 different technology products are used by the report’s top intranets, with Windows Server, Google Search Appliance and SharePoint being among the most popular. SH

A survey of 100 CEOs and CMOs from Fortune 2,000 companies found that 76 percent of senior executives are experimenting with alternative media such as blogs, Second Life and social networking. The study by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research found that 69 percent of those surveyed currently use social networking, while 37 percent plan to use it more over the next five years. Ninety-one percent of those surveyed currently make use of their company website and 66 percent plan to use their website more over the next five years, making it number one in the survey’s list of media tools. Use of virtual worlds to grow Avatar-based marketing, (marketing through virtual worlds, such as Second Life) came last in the list of 20 media tools senior executives plan to use over the next five years. However, researchers believe that the use of virtual worlds in communication and marketing will increase as more companies learn how to use them more effectively. Billee Howard, managing director of the Global Strategic Media Group at Weber Shandwick said: “We’re in the early days of a totally new media era. Those companies that do not combine the new-media paradigm with the best of traditional media will most certainly proceed at their peril.” SH Source: The Changing Face of Marketing and Communications in Today’s Creativity Economy The difficulty of placing a precise monetary value on corporate blogging is one of the setbacks of this tool. But a new report from Forrester called Calculating the ROI of blogging, offers ways to identify the benefits, costs and risks that corporate blogging involves, using a three-stage process: 1. Quantify and assign value to the key benefits of blogging. 2. Estimate the costs of blogging. 3. Incorporate risk calculations into the ROI model. The report describes how to measure the impact blogging has on the business outcomes using “metrics that everyone is familiar with.” For example, the monetary value of press mentions can be measured by counting the number of blog-driven stories by online press, web media and high-profile bloggers, and then calculating the cost of advertising in the same publications. General Motors’ case study The report also features a case study on General Motors’ two-year-old blog, FastLane, to which the authors apply their ROI process. Rather than presenting the company with a final numerical figure, they’ve come up with new objectives, advising them how to get the maximum benefits from blogging and improve its impact on business outcomes. Whether you’ve already started blogging or are about to take the plunge, this report provides direction on how to evaluate how your blog and decide which direction it needs to go in to gain maximum business value. SH




Volume 11, Issue 2

February/March 2007