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My work as a consultant always begins with an understanding of the overarching value proposition of the client organization: the reason for their being, their unique set of audiences, their key messages for those audiences, and the best channels and tools that work to reach those audiences and resonate most effectively. Before brands and websites are designed, I want to know how the company is monetized, what works, what isn’t working, and why. Prior to what media and marketing tools are even considered, I want to know how all audiences think, how they digest information, and what their specific needs are, relevant to the client’s offerings.

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Phases of research and strategy are first required to organize an integrated plan or map of desired outcomes, and to audit the purpose for each marketing communication — along with creating the right content, user functions and special features, and call-to-actions. When done properly, we realize the perfect mix of content length, tone, frequency, channel and product, key message, and desired action for each audience. A single content marketing deployment will reach its defined target to project the right brand image at the right time and place, and this is supported by an interconnected platform of tools that enhance that message and share the information in other environments, formats, and appropriate tone. That enviable dance among all system tools can become lively and propelled by customer interactions and user-generated feedback or even a continuing dialog.

Does this sound like an ambitious circus act that balances multiple spinning plates? It can feel that way, down to every entry point and detail of the communication.

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In fact, it is no longer enough to delineate and act on a traditional message map. Today, customers have grown accustomed to expect 24/7 access to media on demand. The new adage for media professionals and marketers is, “give the reader and/or user what they want, when they want it, how they want it delivered, and with the proper timing.” Devising and creating the right editorial action items — deeper tiers of content, access to other formats, share buttons, video, data visualizations, compelling pull-quotes, factoids or data-points, interactive polls and quizzes, call-to-actions, and more — all need to be positioned well and placed with appropriate content to generate churn among those integrated products.

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For one of the world’s most respected companies, I’ve shown here examples that features appropriate content and thought-provoking design, delivered in an integrated way to the desired audience — clients of the organization.

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Accenture is the world’s leading consulting, IT, and outsourcing company. For 17+ years, I had the pleasure and special honor of directing design for Outlook, the company’s “vanguard” marketing asset and thought-leader journal that was sent to more than 30 countries in over nine languages. The relevance and timeliness of the content was always a top priority, as was the insightful, intellectual design of the journal. The application and alignment of content to that enviable “audience of one” was always carefully considered and ultimately, delivered.

The journal itself was developed for multiple digital formats and made available for the impressive event and meeting schedule that the company managed worldwide. It was also placed in-room for important events like the World Economic Forum in Lausanne. Outlook became a critical platform for building the brand image of Accenture as a technology and business leader across all markets, with the segmentation of content delivered appropriately, and globally, to various C-level executives. This included content by geography, topic, and industry. The presentation of online content needed to be made easily navigable, accessible, and digestible.

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I am currently helping one of the most respected private foundations in the U.S. by mapping out content and tactical design for their website as it will be enhanced through email communications and event marketing promotions. The aim is to build a template for all future communications that realizes the proper balance of content, frequency, channel, and message. Executed properly, we will arrive at a simple, easy and efficient system of “plug-and-play” editorial points that encourage and facilitate user engagement, and that can be aligned with, and sprinkled throughout those marketing assets.

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Challenging the editorial direction and design practices for systems of marketing and communications nearly always reveals areas where execution can be optimized, either through superfluous activations, or ways to create a better level of engagement and participation. It is important to gain a fresh perspective and outside counsel to strategically define all touchpoints and marketing components and ensure optimal usability through smart, collaborative planning.  This diligence can lead the charge to more effectively design and execute those integrated tools.

Email me at dflinchum@iridiumgroup.com to discuss how we can benchmark the current performance of your website and integrated program of communications. . . and how together, we can set a wise ROI goal and meet a new standard for success across all of your company’s brand activations.