Vincent Joye's starting point was the potential complexity of customer communications with the proliferation of channels, formats, targets, and interactions all set against a backdrop of blurring boundaries in communications.
Not only does he and his team deal with a growing number of channels every year in addition to publishing, they now listen to what people say in return about their communications.
Plus, the instant shareability of messaging means that boundaries are blurred, or as he puts it: "What was intended and sent as an internal newsletter will be shared to the press and becomes external communications within minutes."
Against that backdrop, Joye and his team wanted to deliver "valuable content to the right targets with rapid reaction on any returns." That meant newsroom management since information no longer naturally exists within the silos of traditional company departments.
Newsroom management; when traditional methods no longer work
The result was a single news team coming together for four meetings a week, but each one of only thirty minutes and dedicated to three tasks; listening, selecting, and planning content. "It's a modest newsroom with just nine people, but the approach is transversal so the newsroom bridges with HR, communications, etc. to provide one platform for all the communications from the company. Which was a big step."
The output of that newsroom per year is in the region of 180 newsletters, 500 topics, 260 internal news items, 1200 press clippings, and 180 social media posts per annum. All of which are published in two languages.
Choosing the best channel for customer groups
There is a focus on strong content that answers customer needs and to find out more about that AXA embarked on a survey of both their internal and external reputations. The conclusion of which was that there is a need for more segmentation and personalization of messaging.
We are trying to work with tools that marketers use to analyze the behaviors of customers and thus create different content to adapt for that."
They are also experimenting with channels to maximize impact. "Channels are very important, and the newsroom has to choose the right ones, so we are working on the challenge of multiplying them using AB testing to see what content has the most impact. We want to reach the best audience, and that means increasing the number of channels."
One concrete example of the effectiveness of the newsroom management this is that the team no longer repurposes LinkedIn content and has instead launched an Instagram channel purely for the younger target audience.
Adding personal stories to improve transparency
It's not just about multiplying the channels and tweaking formats to keep up with user trends. It's also about the tone of the conversation itself, and that's where Joye's team has introduced their most daring relaunch to bring in a more human angle.
"Then there's the 'behind the scene' stuff because people are interested in stories about other people. So, for example, we have a weekly series interviewing someone who has done something good for the company, and with that, we are changing the tone of the conversation. Four years ago, we only showcased the positive, and people didn't really believe it, so we have entered a more transparent phase, talking about the fact that sometimes things don't go right, and that's life."