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Corporate comms lags in digital

News, 22 April 2015

LONDON: Corporate communications departments' use of digital is generally poor according to an analysis of FTSE 100 companies in which several consumer-facing businesses are amongst the worst performers.

Creative agency Radley Yeldar analysed over 3,750 data points, benchmarking each company's overall performance across the entire digital spectrum, including websites, social media, mobile apps and intranets.

It scored the average "experience", whether engaging and joined up, at 44%. "Content" – delivering content with a clear purpose – was slightly better on 48% while "story" – relaying information in a consistent and appropriate way – returned the best figure of 62%.

The least "digitally mature" names included insurance business Prudential, broadcaster ITV, luxury goods maker Burberry and drinks business Diageo.

At the other end of the spectrum, Marketing Week reported, was brewer SAB Miller, followed by pharmaceuticals giant GSK, oil business Royal Dutch Shell, aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce and energy firm BG Group.

Mobile and social appeared to be the major lacunae in corporate comms. The study concluded that more than half of the FTSE 100 were not mobile-ready and lacked responsive websites.

And with yesterday's change to Google's algorithm, with a greater emphasis on mobile responsiveness, it has become even more essential that brands and corporations address this issue.

The state of play in social media was worse, as Radley Yeldar said less than 15% of FTSE 100 businesses sought to engage audiences meaningfully through these channels, although it is arguable as to whether social is in any case an appropriate forum for corporates.

Overall, just 31% were found to be consistently managing content well, in terms of creating and publishing timely material.

"There are people seizing this opportunity for competitive advantage as it's an indicator as to how well managed your organisation is," warned Richard Coope, digital director at Radley Yeldar.

"If you can get to grips with the rapid change in digital, if you can communicate your brand in a clear and coherent way across your digital channels it indicates you have governance, a digital strategy and you are actually trying to attempt business transformation through digital," he added.

His advice was to avoid the latest gimmick and focus on getting the simple things right, such as improving search functions and ensuring a mobile-friendly experience.

"Businesses are still failing to get to grips with the digital opportunity and it's increasingly where the market is, so in the wars of talent, competitors or enhancing reputation, if you are not achieving in digital you leave yourself quite exposed," Coope stated.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff