Shell, Unilever make digital progress

10 May 2012

LONDON: Shell and Unilever are the major UK firms making the most effective use of digital channels to strengthen their corporate brands, according to a study.

Radley Yeldar, the consultancy, assessed the official websites, social media and mobile activity of businesses in the FTSE 100, an index of the largest companies on the London Stock Exchange.

Some 98% of this group were present on LinkedIn, the business-orientated social network, and 56% ran accounts on Twitter, the microblog, falling to 21% for having mobile optimised websites and 17% for apps.

Shell, the oil and gas specialist, led the rankings, based on how well corporate communications rated in terms of "story", "relevance", "experience", "timeliness" and "connectedness".

More specifically, Shell was placed second to Reckitt Benckiser, the homecare expert, for its social media output, and first for mobile and apps, partly due to creating a mobile website that adapts to fit the size of a user's screen.

Unilever, the FMCG giant, was second overall, after making considerable use of digital to champion the Sustainable Living Plan, aiming to halve the environmental impact of its products.

"We are doing this to tell the story behind Unilever, and I would want Unilever to be a quality mark of sustainability," Keith Weed, Unilever's CMO, told Marketing Week. "People are getting much more interested in finding out about the company behind the brand and have the tools to go online and find out more."

SAB Miller, the brewer, was third, followed by Kingfisher, the home improvement firm owning chains like B&Q, and which has a mobile-optimised website, and an iPad app letting staff view vital data.

"The iPad app was developed with analysts and investors in mind, but it also allows senior management to access Kingfisher information on the move," Clare Haines, media relations officer at Kingfisher, said.

Completing the top five was Aviva, the insurance provider, credited with successfully balancing its international and local websites, offering a video library and delivering a corporate responsibility blog.

"We have to keep our colleagues informed about what is being talked about on Twitter, what are the concerns of journalists and the themes that are running through the coverage," said Sue Winston, Aviva's head of media. "We act as a listening post as well as a source of external communication."

On average, the featured firms received a modest score of 26% regarding how well their content was linked across channels, a total that rose to 45% for timely communications, the analysis added.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff