For many companies, the annual report has been a mainstay of both internal and external communications.
One brand, Honeywell, is changing that. Rob Ferris, Vice President, External Communications at Honeywell told PRNewser that in 2008, the company stopped focusing on developing a grandiose annual report in print and instead began focusing on digital communications.
This year, they’ve launched www.addhoneywell.com, an interactive website that shows how the company’s technology is a part of everyday products, and provides investor information.
PRNewser caught up with Ferris today to get his take on why the company made the change.
What are the company’s goals with the site?
One of the things that we know pretty well here is that the Honeywell brand is a powerful brand. When you say Honeywell to someone they’ll recognize the brand, but when you go a step further and ask what Honeywell does, a lot of people can’t answer that well.
This is a concerted effort so that investors, potential and current customers understand how Honeywell’s technologies are all around them every day. That is one of our big goals for our communications strategy.
Does the site use Flash? What do you think about Apple not allowing Flash onto the iPad?
Yes, the site does use Flash. Although it’s not really designed for the hand-held, it has no problems playing on Apple computers. It’s a web experience.
How is the company measuring its digital efforts? What metrics are important to you?
Part of our creative brief on this was we wanted to make a website that was both interactive and sticky. We didn’t just go out and create a website.
This is a big part of the evolution of our online strategy as it relates to one big corporate marketing piece a year. In years past this used to be the annual report. We carefully developed and produced that every year. In 2008, we departed from that. We still have an annual report but now it’s just the 10-k form with a CEO letter on it.
Last year’s online site, was the [annual report] book online, if you will. It had the same components of hard copy annual reports, except online. This year we took it to another level. We have a site that was sticky, has rich online content, has multimedia components to it. What we were really looking to create was an experience that shows how our technologies define our brand.
To get back to metrics, we’re looking at both traffic and how long people are staying on the site. Initial results are excellent. A lot of people are coming to the site, they are coming back to the site, and they are staying on the site over seven and a half minutes.
Nearly 50% of your product portfolio delivers energy efficiency benefits. What are some of the ways the company has been successful in communicating these benefits?
Energy efficiency has been part of our heritage for 50 to 60 years. To date we’ve focused our efforts on driving media attention and speaking engagements around energy efficiency, whether it be programming thermostats or some of our demand response technology.
How does this integrate with Honeywell’s social media efforts?
We’re kind of branching out in to social media as a company right now. We have done some social media testing, if you will, primarily with Twitter, with trade shows, around event driven media work.
Then we took the next step with another web site we created this year, Honeywell Now. Honeywell Now is our news-feed site, it has both press release content as well as news. It keeps people informed on what’s going on with Honeywell on an everyday basis.