Bigger the better

David and Goliath
Traditional wisdom states that big companies – complex and encumbered by shareholders, legacy IT systems, and outdated processes - are slow moving and not very innovative. Meanwhile, start ups and smaller competitors are nimble and able to outpace their sluggish rivals. That version of reality is, in many ways, borne out by recent corporate history with examples such as Blockbuster losing out to Netflix, or Apple’s iPhone swallowing up any demand for Blackberries.

Indeed, most large companies follow the basic laws of physics when it comes to innovation: the more mass an object has the greater its momentum. In other words, if you are a a giant oil tanker the harder it is to turn around from the direction you’re already headed.

In heading up Kier's digital strategy I've been careful not to use the above as an excuse to avoid attempting to get the buy-in required for us to be innovative. In fact, (and as I'm a 'glass half full' person') I've been careful to actually sell the size of our company as advantageous when it comes to innovation. With 24,000 colleagues there is no doubt a vast array of stories which we can surface to use in our marketing efforts - our job is just to surface them. No doubt the diverse range of services we offer, and industries in which we work means there should be no shortage of compelling content - small startup companies would give their left arm for that amount of potential content!

"Listen up! We have content!"
Alongside this big companies have more cash, human capital and customers than smaller companies making it comparatively easier to launch new products and businesses. But where big companies can really come into our own is by not actually looking for the latest technology wave to ride but instead looking at what we are currently doing and then assessing how we can streamline it for maximum impact.

I have recently been putting together a strategy paper for senior management which looks at these very issues. Working at a large company means that not only is there a challenge in pulling out the good content to promote externally but also in communicating effectively to people internally. With the increasing expectation from users that useful content will find them it is especially important that we invest in systems to reach the masses, cleanse our data-sets and refine our targeting. You won't need any technology to reach a room of 5 people but you'll need a lot of amplification to address a hall of 5,000. The bigger the company the bigger the audience and the bigger the noise you have to cut through. Only by being truly innovative will you stand out from the crowd.
In order to continue to improve our social sentiment and brand reach we are increasingly playing our part in nationally supported campaigns - the latest of these being 'National Women In Engineering Day' (#NWED2016) on 23rd June. Due to the scope of our offering we were confident that we could pull together some engaging content for this and engaged the business to pull out some case studies for our blog and social media. The effort the team put in increased the traffic to the blog by 480% on the average amount of daily activity.

Partaking in this also gave us some excellent learning points for future campaigns (such as implementing more robust event tracking in job applications, linking to contributors' social accounts for authenticity and tying in our company values).

Only by implementing many small, but significant, changes can we ensure the entire business is engaged in turning around the super-tanker but if we all pull in the right direction then nothing will stand in our way...
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