Perhaps you’ve observed that this site is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Ok, more accurately it might look like a mash-up between what you’d expect from a global corporate website and a media company like The New York Times. This is by design because in the words of our company’s CEO (the name at the top of the site) “every company will be a media company.” But let’s break this down in practical terms for a moment because much of this isn’t new—it’s just all starting to gel together.
Content Meets Corporate
Well over a decade ago your company probably decided it needed a presence on the web, and the corporate website was born. It included everything you needed to know about the company including an “about us” section, pictures of company locations and perhaps people and information on how to work there. The formula of the corporate site was unchanged for many years—a company site had to address the needs of multiple stakeholders, and it was expected to be at the top of Google’s search results if anyone tried to find you. Enter the “blogosphere” or an old fashioned way of saying social media. As blogs or personal publishing took hold, the digital landscape began to change.
Brands As Publishers
Many companies now have “blogs” (if not hundreds of blogs) as part of their digital ecosystems because they understand the value of not only being a part of the conversation, but that having a valuable content property is essential for how search engines scour the web for information. A “corporate blog” also gives a company a voice of their own and an opportunity to share information on their terms and on their turf. Recently we experienced the benefits of this when we announced on Edelmandigital.com that Adam Hirsch the former COO of Mashable would be joining Edelman’s digital practice.
Consider that apps like News.me ranks content it suggests via “social sharing” across networks vs. perceived authority. Because the post on Edelman Digital received nearly 600 likes via Facebook button alone, the post skyrocketed to the top of News.me’s list bypassing trade media. Think about the implications this has to media and what will get our attention in the not so distant future.
Enter The Media Brand Hybrid
What Edelman.com aspires to do is take the modern conventions of the corporate website along with the construct of what we once knew as a company blog and obliterate the lines between the two creating a “media brand hybrid.” This model is built on the belief that consumers, users or whatever you want to call the individuals who are critical to your business ecosystem will prioritize value over anything else and quality content is valuable. That value however should not be divorced from your flagship digital presence, rather it should be integrated through the entire experience in the browser regardless of device.
When Content And Corporate Collide
In the not so distant future, it’s my belief that many global organizations will find themselves following a similar construct. Edelman.com is built on a platform which allows direct publishing and editing capabilities from hundreds of our employees across the globe. Our own Trust Barometer data implies a surge in trust from a company’s employees via an informed public and we see much potential in this trend to put it lightly. The modern brand, company, business and organization will eventually come to terms with all of this—it will require more than a static website disconnected from social properties and surrounded by scores of neglected blogs. When content and corporate collide, it will be the media brand hybrids who stand out amongst the clutter. It’s our hope that the new Edelman.com begins to fulfill this future vision and adds two-way value to our most valuable stakeholders.
David Armano is an EVP, Global Innovation & Integration, in Edelman Digital. He is based in Chicago.