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Case study : a new intranet coupled with an internal newsletter in 2 languages

We received last year an email from the communication manager of a global industrial company based in South America.
The Vice President (VP) of their international branch (composed of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia) wanted to launch a news website, together with a newsletter both in French and in English. They also needed our help to produce the content, ie about 6 new articles for each edition.


We entered a Request For Proposal, and were honored to be selected! The countdown started : we had 5 weeks!

Defining the objectives

Together with the communication manager and the VP, we defined the needs and goals for the 3 axes of that project :

  • Intranet: design, pages set-up, heading, domain name, etc. As it was meant to be a private website, we have to work with their IT departments in Europe and South America

  • Newsletter: design, gathering the email lists, whitelisting (so that the newsletters would not end in the spam folders, or be blocked), etc

  • Content production: definition of the editorial guidelines, the tone, the topics and the formats. Identifying the rights contacts internally to gather the necessary information to write the articles 

 Building a team

Very quickly, we gathered the skills needed to roll out this project: a project manager, a bilingual content writer, a web developer, a WordPress (the technology that was chosen) expert who could integrate the articles and media in the website to create thevnewsletters.

Organisation and tools

As we had to deal with many contacts, different time zones (Australia, Chili, Brazil, South Africa, France…), and had very little time to launch the project, it was crucial to use a common space and collaborative, performing tools.

We set up:

  • A trello board to centralize each aspect of the project. The board was updated in real time by all the members, and therefore contained all the information. We therefore did not need so many meetings.

  • A Google doc for every article, so that the relevant managers could modify what they wished in real time

  • Microsoft Teams for visioconferences. The recording option proved to be a precious tool.

  • Whatsapp for quick and urgent conversations


Production

If we were racing against time, it was never a stressful situation. Our experience helped us prioritize and keep in mind the most important aspects, and we could count on the reactivity and skills of the teams on the client side. We admit that having the area VP as the project sponsor was a major help!

As far as content was concerned, we conducted oral and written interviews, we gathered media (photos, videos,…), we wrote the articles, and once they were modified and validated, we integrated them into the news intranet.

Regarding the intranet and the newsletter, we worked with the IT department in our client’s HQ in South America to make the site private, whitelist our servers, and make sure that the newsletter would be sent with the VP’s name. We did the necessary setups so that the Intranet would appear in French or English depending on the reader, and made sure the images in the newsletters would not be blocked.

On the design side, we were free to create the intranet according to our expertise and judgement, but of course respecting the visual guidelines of the brand at the same time.

The launch

On the D day, last summer, we pressed the “sent” button : 2 newsletters, one in English and one in French, were sent from the VP’s name to around one thousand people: the employees of that international branch, and the top management at the HQ. 

Results

The success was clear:

  • for the French newsletter : the opening rate was  61% , with 11% clics.

  • for the English newsletter: 67% opened the email, and 33% clicked on a link!

There was a lot of positive feedback on that launch.It was an exciting project, and its international dimension made it really interesting. 

Now one year into the project, our results are still positive. Over time, we improved the interaction with the readers, notably through videos recorded by the VP himself, leading to an increased engagement from the employees of the company!


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