EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS CASE STUDIES

WINNERS:
Corporate Division: SAP
Government Division: State Bar of Texas
Non-Profit: CouchSurfing International

COMMENDATIONS OF EXCELLENCE:
Corporate Division:
Corel Corporation
Intercontinental Hotels Group and Communispace
Awareness for Sq2
Lexis/Nexis U.S. Legal Markets

COMMENDATIONS OF MERIT:
Academic Division: University of Illinois at Springfield
Corporate Division: Kineto Wireless for UMA Today

Division: Corporate
Category: External Communications
Company: SAP

SAP (www.sap.com) is the world’s leading provider of business software, offering applications and services that enable more than 75,000 customers of all sizes in more than 25 industries and more than 120 countries to become best-run businesses.

In 2006, the SAP Executive Board set a path to double SAP’s addressable market from $US35 billion to $US70 billion by 2010. Three of four distinct paths to reach this goal are:

• Mid Market: Grow customer base from 40,000 to 100,000
• Business User Solutions: Increase the licensed use (non-technical users) of SAP software within its customer companies
• Industry Solutions: Extend business applications leadership through enhanced vertical industry strategy

All organizations throughout SAP were challenged to make adjustments to support the company in reaching these 2010 objectives.

For the SAP Global Communications function, this required an evaluation and reorganization of its entire operation that would allow Global Communications to better forge and sustain external relationships with influencers who impact decision makers at large, medium-sized, and small organizations as well as non-technical business users across all sectors.

The key – and unique – communications issue to be addressed was to not only reach traditional and new types of influencers, including industry analysts, academics, customers, business influencers, and partners who would have an influence on the broader addressable market of $US70 billion, but also to connect these communities of influence for greater market impact. In addition, SAP had to accomplish this in an environment that was:
• More global
• More immediate
• More complex with legal issues and corporate governance
• Changing from deference to reference: more assertive constituencies with less trust – employees, consumers, media
• Changing business model for media outlets – more speed, less thought
• Seeing technology eradicating time and boundaries and in everyone’s hands
• Competing more for share of voice
• Experiencing the multiplication factor: a single e-mail, story, and/or video, goes across the globe without control
• Changing in terms of multiplicity of influencer roles; e.g., industry analysts are blogging, universities are working more with customers and partners, etc.

Consequences included:
• Message consistency is imperative
• Reputation is more important, more fragile, and increasingly difficult to manage
• The network of influencers – including customers and all constituencies – is changing significantly, often away from “professional” sources to more trusted peer groups and word of mouth

Affected, addressable markets in all regions included:
• Global enterprises (2,500+ employees; ~20,000 firms)
• Local enterprises (1,000-2,499 employees; ~64,000 firms)
• Medium-sized enterprises (100-999 employees; 1.2 million firms)
• Small enterprises (1-99 employees; 55.4 million firms)

As a result, SAP had a call to action:
• Rethink the way it communicated, educated, and influenced the small, medium-sized, and large markets
• Create and execute an influencer strategy based on the unique dynamics of influence in each market:
– Identify new influencer types/groups (individuals and communities) and corresponding communication channels that have reach and impact business and IT decision makers within the industry
– Understand the changed nature of how influence works and the power of communities
– Rethink the approach to segmented and tiered relationships
• The programs had to be global in nature
• Program and success had to be measurable
Through the re-organization of SAP Global Communications a new group was created called Industry and Influencer Relations (IIR).

Below are the five teams that make up the Industry and Influencer Relations group and corresponding external audiences addressed:
• IT INFLUENCERS: Industry analysts, consultants, communities (e.g., SAP Developer Network)
• UNIVERSITIES: Leading business and IT universities and institutes (including deans, faculty, and students)
• CUSTOMER COMMUNITIES: User Groups and peer networks, including CEO/CXO level decision makers (executive network)
• BUSINESS INFLUENCERS: High-profile business academics, gurus, bloggers, authors, and social networks
• PARTNERS: Top 20 SAP partners
Overall Goal/Mission:

The mission of the Industry and Influencer Relations team is to support sales execution and accelerated adoption of SAP’s products and solutions by executing programs that generate positive experience of SAP’s brand, products and reputation within strategic business and IT communities of influence that have a $44B influence on business software decisions, annually.

Objectives:
1. Advance the “experience” of SAP’s brand, products, and reputation in the industry:
– Promote third-party experts, customers, and partners as advisors and advocates of SAP’s solutions and strategy
– Generate positive word of mouth with customers and partners
– Identify and expand the communities of influence and influencer groups who directly and indirectly affect business software purchase decisions:
IT INFLUENCERS: Top 150 IT industry analysts/influencers (direct) and global 2,000 (indirect) UNIVERSITIES: Top 100 universities (direct) and 2,000 (indirect)
CUSTOMER COMMUNITIES: Top three SAP User Groups (Americas, Germany, Japan) and 28 indirect
BUSINESS INFLUENCERS: Top 30 business influencers (direct) and global 150 (indirect)
PARTNERS: Top 10 strategic SAP partners and partner programs

2. Generate management deliverables that provide continuous insight to support decisions on strategy (corporate and product), market trends, and customer, and partner programs
– The creation of one consolidated influencer communications organization within the SAP Global Communications department: SAP Industry and Influencer Relations (IIR).

IIR unites five previously siloed groups into one centralized influencer organization charged as follows to achieve SAP’s overall communications objectives with corresponding influencer communities.

IT INFLUENCER RELATIONS (formerly Industry Analyst Relations):
• Enable SAP’s success in achieving leadership in business applications (large, medium and small businesses) by influencing the research agendas and opinions of leading IT industry influencers and communities (e.g., SAP Developer Network)

UNIVERSITY ALLIANCES:
• Advance SAP’s influence and value with strategic institutes of higher education, on a global scale to ensure there are more SAP-trained graduates entering the workforce to serve as evangelists for SAP and support accelerated adoption of SAP products

CUSTOMER COMMUNITY RELATIONS:
• Create a worldwide SAP User Group program to increase customer engagement with SAP that supports accelerated adoption of SAP products, thought leadership, education, reference, word of mouth, and influence programs

BUSINESS INFLUENCER RELATIONS:
• Establish and extend relationships with business thought leaders, communities, and social networks that influence the business agenda and purchase decisions of C-suite executives in vertical markets and small and medium-sized companies

INTEGRATED PARTNER COMMUNICATIONS:
• Maximize the communication opportunities with SAP’s most strategic partners and partner programs to advance the reputation and leadership of SAP’s ecosystem and business development opportunities on a global scale

SAP Industry and Influencer Relations was instated on July 1, 2007. The deployment entailed a significant human resources reorganization, the establishment of new engagement models for each team, the alignment of strategies and initiatives across the new organization, and the implementation of tactics and tools (e.g., social media) to support the scale of the programs on a global basis. Below is a list of key programs executed by IIR in 2008:

A. ACROSS INDUSTRY AND INFLUENCER RELATIONS
• TEAM WIKI: (Note – also for consideration for Behind the Firewall/Collaboration & Co-creation categories): Established IIR wiki for internal team collaboration – more details below in Tools and Results sections
• ONLINE SURVEYS: Execution of online surveys to gauge influencers’ opinions, interests, perceptions, and opportunities for SAP – more details below in Tools and Results sections
• SAP INFLUENCER SUMMIT: Attended by 356 of SAP’s most important influencers together with SAP’s senior management (Dec. 3-5, 2007) – more details below in Results section
• BUSINESS OBJECTS (AN SAP COMPANY) INFLUENCER SUMMIT: Attended by 94 of SAP’s most important influencers together with SAP’s senior management (Aug. 11-12, 2008) – more details below in Results section

B. IT INFLUENCER RELATIONS
• ONLINE NEWSLETTERS: Delivered bi-monthly global newsletters to 900+ industry analysts with feedback mechanism – more information below in the Tools and Results sections
• COMMUNITY PORTAL: An update to SAP’s secure, password-protected IT influencer portal specifically designed as a self-service center for third-tier, community-level analysts and consultants (planned for delivery at the end of 2008) – more information below in the Tools section

C. UNIVERSITY ALLIANCES
• ACADEMIC CONFERENCES: Hosted faculty gatherings in each region focused on new and emerging SAP curriculum – more information below in the Results section
• ONLINE NEWSLETTERS: Delivered two bi-annual global newsletters to faculty at 900+ universities with feedback mechanism – more information below in the Tools and Results sections
• COMMUNITY PORTAL: Establish community portal for faculty at 900+ member schools, prospects schools, and students (planned for delivery at the end of 2008) – more details below in Tools section

D. CUSTOMER COMMUNITIES
• SAP USER GROUP EXECUTIVE NETWORK (SUGEN) COLLABORATION WORKSPACE: Delivered internal collaboration tool for member use across 15 countries – more information below in the Tools and Results sections

• “INSIGHT” PROGRAMS: More information below in the Tools and Results sections
– “Voice of the Customer”
– “360 Degree View”
– User Group and SAP executive exchanges
• ONLINE NEWSLETTERS: Delivered quarterly global newsletters to User Group members with feedback mechanism – more information below in the Tools and Results sections

E. BUSINESS INFLUENCERS
• COMMUNITY PORTAL: Developed one of the industry’s first B2B social networking sites for small business owners – more information below in the Tools and Results sections
• Establish accomplishments for each program and the specific measurements for success (against SAP’s overall business objectives)
• Determine the program deliverables and how SAP fosters two-way conversation as a part of deliverables
• Ascertain what IT systems SAP had in place to support relationship management and explore new ones
– Technology and social media tools to manage the programs and communities
• Understand the current state of relations/relationship management with influencers in each group by share of voice, tonality, frequency of contact, and proximity to the purchase decision
• Design and implement new tools, engagement models, and processes to manage the interactions and relationships with influencers and communities
• Establish and strengthen inter-department partnerships within SAP required to execute successful programs
– Customer Reference team, Solution Marketing, SAP Education, Global Ecosystem and Partner Group, Executive Board, regional presidents/managing directors, etc.
• Determine the agency support model and/or requirement
– Develop the right agency relationships
– Understand what SAP needed from an agency
• Explore the staffing requirements and the new team organizational design options and considerations
– Obtain the resource requirement (human resources and budget) to support the new model
– Decide on the profiles for managers and directors
• Learn best practices in managing communities

A. ACROSS INDUSTRY AND INFLUENCER RELATIONS
• TEAM WIKI: (Note to judges: Also for consideration for Behind the Firewall/Collaboration & Co-creation categories): Wiki (vendor: Atlassian’s Confluence Enterprise wiki – http://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence/) for IIR team collaboration and global execution 24×7 among 66 team members in 13 countries; team members have free reign to develop and update their team pages based on their team/individual business priorities. Resources include:
– Team Operations (infrastructure and technology tools)
– Team events and team calendar
– Team organizational chart with responsibilities/ownership areas
– “How-tos” (e.g., using the wiki, updating team activity tracking dashboard with key business outcomes, etc. for presentation to senior management)
– Team call presentations and meeting minutes
– Internal team and external newsletter archives
– Tiered databases of influencers in each constituent category based on SAP’s business priorities (premier– top 5 percent, priority – next 15 percent, and community – remaining 80 percent)
– Associated SAP-developed collaboration room for viewing and editing of team documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) with check-in/check-out, and view/edit control features; based on a document management system, but transparent to users via URL links (see attached).
• ONLINE SURVEYS: Based on a proprietary solution for quantitative and qualitative online surveys, executed to gauge influencer opinions pre and post major events; including the annual customer event SAPPHIRE (Americas and EMEA), annual Influencer Summits, Industry Summits, University Alliances academic conferences, Analyst Days as well as SAP and industry developments, such as SAP’s acquisition of Business Objects (vendor: Burson-Marsteller – http://www.burson-marsteller.com).

B. IT INFLUENCER RELATIONS
• ONLINE NEWSLETTERS: HTML-based global newsletters with feedback mechanism – more information below in the Results section (vendor: Burson-Marsteller – http://www.burson-marsteller.com).
• COMMUNITY PORTAL: Established as a secure, password-protected IT Influencer Relations portal specifically designed as a self-service center for third-tier, community-level analysts and consultants. The site’s purpose is to provide analyst-specific Web content and materials under NDA through an automated process; e.g., pre-packaged briefing presentations, video podcasts from events (keynotes, interviews, etc.), and white papers. The video podcasts include event name tags based on SAP-developed technology, which allows for tracking the video being posted on social networking sites (see example in Results section: Business Objects Influencer Summit). The next phase of the rollout is to integrate more Web 2.0 tools for blogs, discussion forums, etc. (next iteration planned in November 2008).

C. UNIVERSITY ALLIANCES
• ONLINE NEWSLETTERS: HTML-based global newsletters with feedback mechanism – more information below in the Results sections (vendor: Burson-Marsteller – http://www.burson-marsteller.com)
• COMMUNITY PORTAL: With a planned go-live date on November 30, SAP will launch a community portal for faculty at 900+ member schools (sharing of curricula, best practices, online discussion, etc.), prospects schools, and students (with links to external jobs/careers portal and certification resources). With this portal, SAP intends to close the gap of 30-50K of SAP experts needed in the marketplace to accelerate solution adoption (vendor: Plexus Web Creations – http://www.plexusweb.com/ – and linked to the SAP Community Network (SCN) – https://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn). The SCN represents 1.3 million members with the top 60 contributors regularly leveraged for their influence on the community. It is 100 percent self managed and user regulated with thousands of posts per day and thousands of unique visitors each week. The SCN is a place for members to share information and seek advice. The average response time to questions and posts is approximately 18 minutes. Because the SCN is a very rich source for information and insight, the University Alliances portal is being modeled after it.

D. CUSTOMER COMMUNITIES
• SAP USER GROUP EXECUTIVE NETWORK (SUGEN) COLLABORATION WORKSPACE (Note – also for consideration in the Collaboration & Co-creation category): SUGEN collaboration workspace (wikis, blogs, etc.) used across more than 15 countries and co-branded with the Americas SAP User Group (ASUG); (vendor: Plexus Web Creations – http://www.plexusweb.com/) – more details in the Results section
• “INSIGHT” PROGRAMS: Executed through the use of SAP-developed tools, including SAP’s Inquisite Survey, Crystal Reports (business intelligence reporting), and Xcelsius (data visualization and dashboards); last two tools from the Business Objects acquisition (see attached)
– “Voice of the Customer:” More details in Results section
– “360 Degrees:” More details in Results section
• ONLINE NEWSLETTERS: HTML-based global newsletters with feedback mechanism (SAP internal) – more information below in the Results section

E. BUSINESS INFLUENCERS
• COMMUNITY PORTAL: MyVenturePad.com (http://myventurepad.com/), a small and medium-sized business community of influencers sponsored by SAP (vendor: Social Media Today – http://socialmediatoday.com/) – more information below in the Results section
The SAP Industry and Influencer Relations Team –
• SAP employees/contractors: 62
– Located in U.S., Germany, South Africa, Australia, China, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Russia, U.K., India, Canada, Brazil
• Agency: 4
• Total: 66
SAP Industry and Influencer Relations Roles –
1 Vice President, SAP Industry and Influencer Relations (IIR)

• 1 Global vice president, IT Influencer Relations
– Directors
– Managers by SAP solution area
• 1 Global vice president, University Alliances
– Directors by region (Americas, EMEA, APJ)
– Managers, individual contributors
• 1 Global vice president, Customer Communities
– User Group liaisons by region/country
– Managers, individual contributors
• 1 Global director, Business Influencer Relations
– Global managers and regional managers/ individual contributors
• 1 Global director, Integrated Partner Communications
– Managers, individual contributors
• 1 Director, IIR Operations
– Managers, individual contributors
SAP Interns (year round)
• Global administrative support, research, and practical application of technology tools for IIR Operations and presentations/tutorials to team on use
Agency (Burson-Marsteller)
• 1 Managing director (across all five components of IIR)
• 1 Director (ITIR corporate, solution ownership areas, and across all five pillars of IIR)
• Individual contributors (ITIR corporate, solution ownership areas, and administrative assistance across all five pillars of IIR)

Components of the Program (Design) –
The SAP Industry and Influencer Relations (IIR) team was created to execute a critical and comprehensive influencer strategy focused on the unique challenges in managing an emerging ecosystem of influencers who have a varied and dynamic impact on the success of SAP’s 2010 strategy.

As outlined in section five, the design of the IIR team represents an important innovation and evolution of the communications profession. By connecting with key influencers and influencer communities, the team delivers greater value to SAP by establishing influencer relations as a new marketing and communications currency for the business:

• As a catalyst to accelerate larger marketing and sales campaigns;
• Through industry collaboration – by connecting senior executives with thought leaders for exchange of insight and SAP’s own need for education; and
• To provide coveted third-party validation and recognition of SAP’s business strategy, products, and overall market leadership.

The design is reflective of the three primary aspects of an effective influencer program:
• Build deeper, lasting relationships between the company and the influencers;
• Find specific ways to help every influencer become a vocal and active champion of the company; and
• Foster a lasting dialogue of mutual benefit.

The SAP IIR team is in constant interaction with its influencers and communities, providing education and working with them as consultants, advisors, and net promoters/evangelists of the business and product strategy. SAP often engages with the intent to exchange valuable insights that ultimately influence each of SAP’s own views.

A. ACROSS INDUSTRY AND INFLUENCER RELATIONS

• TEAM WIKI: More streamlined and integrated collaboration among 66 team members across 13 countries.
• ONLINE SURVEYS: Helped SAP reach and target influencers at a more granular and focused level than before as well as provided the ability to compare and contrast influencer opinions between communities. Provided input to SAP on business strategy and product direction
• SAP INFLUENCER SUMMIT: Fifth-annual event (Boston, Dec. 3-5, 2007) was re-invented by connecting new communities of influence as a result of the new organization. The event brought together for the first time influencers from all five components of the program to foster an informed, closed loop dialogue with constituencies that directly impact market perceptions and ultimately, buy decisions for the company. The synergies between each of these groups were/are extremely high and this event provided a forum to start “connecting the dots” through coordinated meetings, networking activities, and long-term relationship building. This annual summit event represented many new milestones for SAP:
– It was the first official meeting of the SAP User Group Executive Network (SUGEN), an important customer community which represents more than 50 percent of SAP’s global installed base. SUGEN’s attendance showcased SAP’s respect of customers as co-innovators and influencers to SAP.
– For the first time, SAP brought together in this forum the leading faculty members of SAP’s University Alliances program who create standardized curriculum that will be rolled out to all 900+ member universities (globally) as a basis for teaching and building SAP experience with 150,000+ students worldwide each year.
– For the first time, SAP also invited the heads of the SAP practice from its global and regional systems integration partners.
– SAP also invited for the first time some of the industry’s leading business influencers, who provide consulting to SAP and produce research and thought leadership on topics associated with business model innovation. SAP provides these thought leaders with access to its customers, partners, and executives as part of their commitment to the community.
– In addition, industry analysts, customers, and partners participated in video podcast recordings at the event concerning technology implementation and business outcomes, which were repurposed on SAP.com

SAP Influencer Summit Results (based upon post-event online survey tool) –
Industry Analysts: 173
Customers: 26
Partner Influencers: 18
Partner References: 29
Bloggers: 8
Journalists: 19
Faculty: 12 (North America, Europe, and Latin America)
Business Influencers: 20
SUGEN: 17 (SAP User Group Executive Network)
Influencer Total: 322

SAP Employees Total: 200 (event staff, speakers, other)

Total Attendees: 522

• BUSINESS OBJECTS (AN SAP COMPANY) INFLUENCER SUMMIT: This event (Aug. 11-12, 2008), modeled after the SAP Influencer Summit, focused on business intelligence and the non-technical business user. Content included how the combined innovation strengths of Business Objects and SAP are enabling businesses to close the gap between strategy and execution and achieve optimized business performance. Influencers heard customer and partner testimonials, watched demonstrations of the latest solution enhancements, and engaged in in-depth discussions with executives, partners, and customers during group, one-on-one and informal venues. Deliberately designed to foster a dialogue as well as share information, the Summit featured break-out sessions where influencers received details on SAP’s respective achievements and plans to continue market leadership in 2008 and beyond following its acquisition of Business Objects earlier in the year.

Business Objects Summit Results (based upon post-event online survey tool) –
Industry Analysts: 58
User Group Customers: 4
Customers: 3
Partner Influencers: 5
Bloggers: 7
Journalists: 9
Faculty: 3
Business Influencers: 3
Management Consultants: 2
Influencer Total: 94

The event activities (keynotes, interviews, etc.) were captured as video podcasts (MP4) and posted on SAP.com, the ITIR community portal, and with the event name tagging tool, were searchable on 20 different social networking sites such as Starship Enterprisey (sic.). The idea was to make the SAP-branded content more viral while also bringing people on social networking sites back to SAP.com.

B. IT INFLUENCER RELATIONS

• ONLINE NEWSLETTERS: Provided 900+ industry analysts around the world bi-monthly updates on SAP strategy and execution (see attached samples)
• COMMUNITY PORTAL (planned for delivery at the end of 2008)
• ITIR METRICS(excerpt from vendor-purchased measurements from Analyst Strategy Group):
o Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP large enterprise) (July07-July08)
• 2007 Net Market Impact for SAP was the highest of all competitors at 39.3 percent, with next closest competitor Oracle at 35.3 percent –> a difference of 4 percent
• 2008 Net Market Impact for SAP was still the highest at 48.4 percent, with next closest competitor Oracle at 32.4 percent –> a difference of 16 percent
• So SAP improved by 9.1 percent year-over-year, while next closest competitor Oracle decreased by -2.9 percent year-over-year.

– Small and Medium Size Enterprise (July07-July08)
• 2007 Net Market Impact for SAP was 27.2 percent, trailing only Microsoft who led at 28 percent. Next closest competitor behind SAP was Oracle at 22.2 percent
• 2008 Net Market Impact for SAP was 33.7 percent (taking over first place), next closest competitor was Oracle in second at 24.3 percent, and Microsoft in third at 23.1 percent
• So SAP improved by 6.5 percent year-over-year; Oracle only improved 2.1 percent year-over-year, and Microsoft declined year-over-year by -4.9 percent

C. UNIVERSITY ALLIANCES
• ACADEMIC CONFERENCES: SAP Curriculum Congress in Atlanta (Feb. 28-Mar. 1, 2008) – an event that brought together leading educators from around the world to explore innovative curricula and the use of SAP technology in the classroom. It was the first time the annual event featured keynote and session presentations from Gartner industry analysts and the Americas SAP User Group (ASUG) chief executive officer representing 2,000+ companies and 60,000+ members in the U.S.

SAP Curriculum Congress Results –
323 attendees
121 institutions of higher education
19 countries represented

Upcoming SAP academic conferences in EMEA (Sept. 11-12, 2008) and APJ (Nov. 5-7, 2008)
• ONLINE NEWSLETTERS: Provided faculty at 900+ universities worldwide bi-annual updates on SAP strategy, news, new and emerging SAP curriculum, and with a feedback mechanism (see attached sample)
• COMMUNITY PORTAL (planned for go-live on November 30, 2008)

D. CUSTOMER COMMUNITIES
• SAP USER GROUP EXECUTIVE NETWORK (SUGEN) COLLABORATION WORKSPACE: Delivered collaboration workspace based on a social media platform (including wiki, blogs, etc.), connecting executive influencers from more than 15 countries. This is a private community site. Benefits from the use of this site include:
– Active use of wiki platform to collaborate on multiple and extensive joint SAP and SUGEN charter projects
– Repository for presentations, meeting minutes, agendas, calendar of activities

– Active use of discussion threads and blog platform for discussion about SUGEN issues, program updates, SAP executive updates; best practices and peer-to-peer collaboration
• “INSIGHT” PROGRAMS: Using a mix of SAP-developed survey technology, focus groups and executive exchanges, the Customer Communities team is facilitating insight and engagement between SAP User Groups and SAP that help to strengthen the effectiveness of product development, corporate strategy, service and support, marketing, and communication efforts. Below are two programs designed (with User Groups) to gather and channel this information to SAP management using the mix of tools and models above:
– “Voice of the Customer:” Bi-annual survey of customer base through User Groups providing index of customer satisfaction, concerns, and challenges. The results of this survey are used by SAP executive management to improve customer account management (sales, support, and service) and product portfolio investments
– “360 Degrees:” Specialized program designed to provide deep insights on customer experience with specific products, solutions, and corporate programs. Insight is provided to SAP management and adjustments and improvements to programs are reported back to communities to complete the 360 degree loop. Three surveys have been conducted in 2008 and have proven critical to supporting executive management decisions in future development of the SAP product portfolio plan for the next three years.
• ONLINE NEWSLETTERS: Provided 300 User Group community members around the world quarterly updates on SAP strategy and execution with feedback mechanism.

E. BUSINESS INFLUENCERS
• COMMUNITY PORTAL: MyVenturePad.com (http://myventurepad.com/)– one of the industry’s first business-to-business social networking portals for small business owners (less than 1,000 employees). A viral site, it features podcasts and moderated online conversations that address the crucial issues facing small business owners today. In addition to leveraging social media to attract new customers, the site aims to significantly enhance the SAP brand experience and perception in the small business community by creating and managing conversations with key bloggers and potential customers.

SAP is the founding sponsor of the site, which was developed and built by Social Media Today, LLC, a company that creates networked conversations around business topics, including one of the leading sites for social media, SocialMediaToday.com. SAP is working directly with Social Media Today to manage the MyVenturePad.com site and to identify and attract the most informed business influencers to the site to advise on small business issues. Members of the site can get the best available insight about startups, funding and finance, taxes, marketing, and more in one location; but more importantly, they can comment, share and rate posts, connect with bloggers and other members, and even blog themselves. MyVenturePad.com has 900+ members with 70 influencers very active on the site. The site has generated 300+ sales leads for SAP in 2008.

MyVenturePad.com Metrics:
– Amount in dollars of new sales leads through the site is 13+ times the initial investment
– 927 small and medium-sized company members
– Active Bloggers: Averaging 10 new per month; 70 total as of August
– August 2008 visitors: 12,657 visits; 4,051 uniques via 47 sources and mediums (linked tos via Radian6, Feedster, Pubsub, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
– August page views: 88,259; 45.4 percent returning visitors, 11.1 percent add to favorites
– August average time on the site: 4min., 53 seconds
– Top countries: U.S., Germany, Brazil, India, U.K., Canada, Australia, Netherlands
– Webinars in 2008: three completed; three planned

MAPPING OF RESULTS TO STATED MISSION AND OBJECTIVES FROM ABOVE
The mission of the Industry and Influencer Relations team is to support sales execution and accelerated adoption of SAP’s products and solutions by executing programs that generate positive experience of SAP’s brand, products and reputation within strategic business and IT communities of influence that have a $44B influence on business software decisions, annually.

Objectives
1. Advance the “experience” of SAP’s brand, products, and reputation in the industry:
– Promote third-party experts, customers, and partners as advisors and advocates of our solutions and strategy
– Generate positive word of mouth with customers and partners
Result: This result has been achieved through the below programs:
• Identify and expand the communities of influence and influencer groups who directly and indirectly affect business software purchase decisions:

IT INFLUENCERS: Top 150 IT industry analysts/influencers (direct) and global 2,000 (indirect)
Result: Exceeded this objective through engagement of top influencers (analysts, bloggers, and IT consultants) through influencer events, specialized 1:1 engagements, online surveys, and online newsletter
Result: Through engagement with the 60 most prolific contributors and experts in the SAP Developer Network (1.3 million-person online community) SAP helped strengthen its position (indirectly) to this group

UNIVERSITIES: Top 100 universities (direct) and 1,000 (indirect)
Result: Exceeded this objective through active engagement of top SAP University Alliances universities through events and the development of curriculum that is currently being rolled out to university members worldwide
Result: With the launch of the University Alliance portal in November, SAP will reach thousands of additional prospect universities worldwide with access and engagement in a community model

CUSTOMER COMMUNITIES: Top three SAP User Groups (Americas, Germany, Japan) and 28 indirect
Result: SAP has exceeded this objective with active and direct engagement with the following User Groups: United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Middle East and North Africa, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and Japan.
Result: Indirect engagement is supported through local country-driven programs with the remaining 14 User Groups

BUSINESS INFLUENCERS: Top 30 business influencers (direct) and global 150 (indirect)
Result: Exceeded this objective through active and direct engagement with 32 influencers that reach small, medium, and large business audience concerns
Result: Indirectly SAP has reached 70+ small and medium size enterprises influencers through MyVenturePad.com

PARTNERS: Top 10 strategic SAP partners and partner programs
Result: By hosting partners at events, gaining their insights through online surveys and inclusion in post-event analyses, SAP directly reached and engaged partners and connected them with the other influencer groups

2. Generate management deliverables that provide continuous insight to support decisions on strategy (corporate and product), market trends, and customer and partner programs
Result: Delivered against this objective through the Customer Communities “Insight” programs, executive and influencer exchanges, online surveys, and analyses.

Division: Government
Category: External Communications
Entity: State Bar Association of Texas

Members of our association (Texas lawyers) depend on networking to advance their careers. Traditional methods of networking are limited and local in nature. Texas lawyers need a new way to connect and find opportunities. The State Bar of Texas (www.texasbar.com) seeks new ways of facilitating communication among its members, and new avenues for communicating with its members. Our association also wants to be a leader among bar associations regarding social media technologies and opportunities.

Our challenge was to find a way to facilitate communication among our members that offered them real value and that also offered us new ways to communicate with them. While we are a mandatory association, our business is always driven by improving service to our members. Traditional member services include consulting and education on law practice management, continuing education, ethics counseling, our monthly magazine, online tools like free legal research, and discounts on services such as car rentals and hotels. Despite all of these services and with our members practicing over wide and diverse geography of Texas, some feel that their only connection with the State Bar is receiving their annual dues statement in the mail. How could we offer our members a unique service that could potentially reconnect them to our association and at the same time foster relationships and opportunities among them, regardless of their location? What sort of service could be available to our entire membership, regardless of their geographic location? How can we take advantage of and establish a presence on social media services that are exploding in popularity and importance?

The target audience for this project is our membership of more than 80,000 practicing lawyers, who live and work in all corners of the state, country, and the world. About 35 percent of our members are sole practitioners and 20 percent practice in firms with 60 attorneys or more. Lawyers depend on networking to further their careers, whether it offers new career or business opportunities or referrals of legal work. Most networking is done at the local level, through regional and specialty bar associations and community involvement.

Goals:
To provide a new avenue for our members to communicate, network, and find opportunities. To find new ways to communicate with members about our programs and services. To become a leader among bar associations regarding the use and benefits of social media tools and services. Through social conversation in the community, meet members of our association who have special skills and interesting stories to contribute to the association.

From the inception of sites like MySpace and LinkedIn, we had toyed with the idea of a social network for attorneys. What we needed for our members was a “closed” network, accessible only by our members and visible only to our members. We approached Affinity Circles of Mountain View, California, which offered exclusive social networks for Alumni Associations, and asked whether they could build a professional network for our members. Our timing was good, because Affinity Circles had been contemplating an expansion of its business to include networks for professional associations. A volunteer committee of our association, the Web Services Committee oversaw the project and obtained buy-in from our executive and volunteer leadership for the idea. We secured approval and launched our network on June 1, 2007. The network is called Texas Bar Circle (www.texasbarcircle.com), and is the world’s first social and professional network offered by a bar association. Texas Bar Circle is exclusive to Texas lawyers – that is, only licensed Texas attorneys may join. It works much like Facebook or Linked In. Attorneys join Texas Bar Circle, create a profile, and begin building their networks by adding friends. A groups function allows lawyers to join groups of attorneys with similar interests. An “opportunities” platform allows users to post jobs and find jobs, as well as offer and find opportunities such as volunteering and community service.

Our network is hosted by Affinity Circles. Once we agreed that we would use the Affinity Circles platform, we began looking at potential legal and privacy issues that might affect the project. Those included potential regulatory questions regarding how members could use the platform, as well as securing a guarantee that our member data would always be protected and private. We worked internally on branding, developing a logo and the tagline, “Your trusted network of Texas lawyers.” The service launched on June 1, 2007.

First, we needed internal buy-in for the idea among our executive team, as well as our volunteer leaders and board of directors. Such an approval process is often slow, but fortunately our leadership recognized the unique opportunity that the social network offered, and its potential value to our members. The organization acted quickly and achieved a “first mover” position for social networks among bar associations. Legal and privacy concerns were significant, but handled by our volunteer committee and general counsel in a way that served to support and not delay our launch of the service.

Our social and professional networking platform is provided by Affinity Circles (www.affinitycircles.com) of Mountain View, California.

Our team consists of our three-person website department of the State Bar, which handled the launch and fields all customer support requests from Texas Bar Circle members. Our IT department provides technical assistance with member data uploads and synchronization. Launch support came from our Web Services Committee, executive and volunteer leadership teams, and our communications division at the State Bar of Texas.

Results:
On a qualitative level, the best examples of success we can point to are the result of groups formed within Texas Bar Circle. Any Texas Bar Circle can form a group, on any topic. We’ve seen dozens of groups form by geographic regions (e.g. Austin attorneys, Houston attorneys), practice area interests (intellectual property law), business interests (rainmaking), and hobbies (art and photography, motorcycle riding). Through these groups we have seen many examples of attorneys making new connections using Texas Bar Circle and even taking these offline. For example, Austin attorneys created a group within Texas Bar Circle and have held several in-person meet-ups for business networking. These are real connections that might not have happened if it were not for Texas Bar Circle and the unique value it offers our members. Quantitatively, at the end of June 2007 we had about 300 users. Today there are more than 5,300. Our Web Services Committee has a near-term goal of signing up 10,000 lawyers for the service. We have used Texas Bar Circle to post messages about the State Bar of Texas, including our recent annual meeting, where we created a group for discussion and questions about the meeting.

We have created a platform which allows State Bar of Texas members a new platform for communication which they did not have before. Active users of Texas Bar Circle have made new connections and found new opportunities. Texas Bar Circle also offers the State Bar a new avenue for communicating with members, by posting information within the community. We have also found Texas Bar Circle to be a great tool for identifying members who have unique talents that they might lend to our organization, or that might be good to feature in our publications.

Division: Nonprofit
Category: External Communications
Organization: CouchSurfing International

As an Internet-based community which seeks to network people and places throughout the world thereby bridging cultural differences and creating understanding, the challenge or problem we seek to address is: how can we get the diverse people of very different cultures, lifestyles, and ideologies to communicate their differences and explore them in a way that feels safe and fun. More, how can we help people to want to do that?

Travel can be a fulfilling, rewarding experience, but it can also be an empty one. We’ve all stayed at hotels where we got little more than clean sheets daily and a bill at the end of our stay. As an organization, CouchSurfing International (www.couchsurfing.com) seeks to address the communications challenge of helping travelers attain intimate knowledge about the places and cultures they visit that can only come from a local living in that place: that out-of-the-way rakomelo bar without a name at the base of the Acropolis; the hidden ecological wonderland just a couple of miles off the well-worn path in Costa Rica; the daily challenges a small business owner in Amsterdam faces, and the meals she serves her family at the end of a long day. This is the kind of information that will never show up in a guide book or in a travel documentary, which are easily the most common communication vehicles for travelers, but it’s also the kind of information that makes for an unforgettable vacation—even a life-changing and mind-expanding experience.

We also seek to address the communications challenge of developing the necessary tools so a traveler can find a local to speak with and quickly establish the rapport needed for the local to feel comfortable sharing that information without judgment. We strive to make travel immersive and an incredible learning experience for anyone brave enough to be willing to expose themselves to the raw realities of life—wherever they roam on this planet. Our hope is that CouchSurfing International community members get much more than a hotel bill at the end of their stay; that they develop meaningful relationships with fellow CouchSurfers and their circles of friends, and that new understanding grows as a result of the CouchSurfing cultural exchange that takes place.

By the very definition of our mission, we have a commutation solution that is 100% inclusive. We invite everyone everywhere into the community: old, young, conservative, liberal, east, west, black, white, gregarious, introverted, rich or poor. The beauty of addressing a communications challenge of this nature—bridging cultural differences and building understanding between people around the world—is that the more diverse our membership base is, the more fully we will achieve our communications goals. Currently, our organization appeals to individuals who are either eager for a cultural immersion experience, or eager to offer such an experience to a visitor and in exchange learn from them; those interested in the goodwill efforts and volunteer activities of CouchSurfing; those looking for a world experience (either welcoming the world to their home, exploring it themselves, or both) that is more authentic and pure; and even budget-minded travelers who are looking for a safe, exciting way to explore cultural differences.

As a not-for-profit organization (we are in the application process to become a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization), membership is free and no money is ever exchanged between host and traveler–ensuring that anyone, regardless of the economic resources available to them, can be a part of the community.

As of today (our numbers change rapidly and are updated minute-to-minute at http://www.couchsurfing.com/statistics.html), we have 722,476 members representing more than 200 countries, 47,822 cities, and 1,208 unique languages. Our members range in age from 18-89, with the average age of a CouchSurfer at 27. The CouchSurfing community has had more than 1,200,000 positive CouchSurfing experiences since its inception in 2004. More than 783,000 friendships have been formed as a result of the CouchSurfing project.

Looking forward, our communications challenge is to ensure that these numbers are reflective of our mission and representative of our inclusiveness as an organization. As a result, we must strive to continue to find ways to strategically build our membership base in countries where the CouchSurfing community needs greater representation, particularly developing nations, South America and Asia.

Our vision is a world where everyone appreciates the differences between people. Our goal is to offer people a forum where they have the ability to forge such connections that facilitate cultural understanding. We are developing a defined system based on measurable results that takes people on a fast path from prejudice to appreciation.

Our plan is to find people who want to travel or to meet travelers, and provide an online social network that allows them to create profiles and allows for the traveler to meet locals in person. We have worked, and continue to work to create a system that allows both parties to feel safe and at ease, that fosters a deep and meaningful connection between the two, and that provides incentive for face-to-face interaction.

This is done by encouraging locals to host travelers for free in their homes, which saves the traveler money, and gives the travelers a place where they can feel at home in a foreign culture. It gives the host the ability to bring the world at the doorstep. We give both parties total control to find and choose (or reject) which other members they want to meet. A number of safety measures are in place to help host and traveler feel comfortable with the online arrangement; we have several tools which members use to this end: a referencing system, a verification process which verifies the member’s name and address, and a vouching option (members can only be vouched for by another member who has been vouched for at least three times, creating a circle of trust). We have found that because of the type of people who are drawn to the community, members take safety very seriously and work to ensure the community is tight-knit and safe, yet welcoming to newcomers.

The intimate home environment, the feeling of comfort, the generosity of shared hospitality, and the implicit trust of both parties when guest visits host creates an environment that has the unique ability to quickly allow both parties to look past their superficial differences, learn from one another, form friendships and appreciate each other’s cultures.

The deployment is an online social network. Member profiles are designed in such a way that allows both parties to really understand each other (e.g. “my mission”). Robust search functionality allows the traveler to specify a location, and exactly the type of person a CouchSurfing member feels comfortable meeting. We’ve developed safety systems that allow traveler and host to trust one another: references, friend links, vouching and verification.

Messaging tools are developed to allow a safe environment for member communication, before traveler or host gives out personal contact information. We’ve instituted the ability to track and quantify member activity to improve our systems over time and carefully understand what makes this process work, and what can be done to improve upon it.

Because of our commitment to making this service 100% free to everyone and not to display banner advertisements, we operate on a shoestring budget. This has required us to become experts in distributing our workload to a large, often remote, volunteer work force. We currently only have four paid staff members.

We have two approaches to make this happen: sophisticated online volunteering tools that allow hundreds of members to easily perform needed tasks such as individually greeting every new member, and responding to every member inquiry, despite the dozens of languages our worldwide membership base uses.

The second is what we call “collectives”. We can’t afford to pay 20 full-time salaries. But we can afford to provide 20 people with a house to live in, food to eat, a personal and professional growth opportunity and an amazing experience in an incredible location with other brilliant volunteers from around the world. This strategy has proven successful, and has allowed us to stay financially solvent while maintaining a Web site for a community that is growing exponentially and meeting the associated communications needs of our membership.

The Web site is running on servers at GNAZ data center.

We use proprietary social networking software and online volunteer tools developed by our volunteers and paid staff.

Developers & System Administrators create and maintain our Web site.

The Contact Us Team answers member inquiries.

The Member Disputes & Safety Team resolves member disputes and encourages members to leave honest references.

The Volunteer Coordination team coordinates our hundreds of remote international volunteers.

Our Design and Member Communications team helps members understand our vision and encourages them to join their local community.

Our Research team improves member features and works to understand how we can better realize our vision.
Our Events & Outreach team helps members create small local events and organize large events that create communities of hospitality around the world.

Our Marketing & Public Relations team helps us understand why travelers and locals are drawn to our service, how to better serve their needs, how to communicate effectively with the large amount of media interested in covering our community, how to achieve strategic growth and how to reach out to potential new members.

Our site tracks these numbers in real time and can be viewed at: http://www.couchsurfing.com/statistics.html

Here are the current statistics, as of this application submission:
General Statistics
CouchSurfers 722,476
Successful Surfings (approx) 641,893
Friendships Created (approx) 783,362
Positive Experiences (approx) 1,281,057
Unique Countries Represented 231
Unique States/Provinces Represented 2,490
Unique Cities Represented 47,822
Unique Languages Represented 1,208

CouchSurfers by World Region (surfers)
Europe 360,590 49.9%
North America 222,457 30.8%
Central Asia 34,068 4.7%
South America 33,028 4.6%
Oceania 27,019 3.7%
Africa 12,346 1.7%
Southeast Asia 11,359 1.6%
Middle East 8,990 1.2%
Central America and the Caribbean 3,406 0.5%
Antarctic Region 46 0.0%

Other Facts
Surfers with Photos 433,301 60.0%
Messages sent through system 24,352,941
Requests to CouchSurf 1,901,657

We are able to quantify how many members we have, the percentage of those who make or receive hosting requests, the percentage of those who get to host or stay with a host, the percentage of those who have a positive (99.8%), neutral, or negative experience, and the percentage of those who form friendships links.

Every new positive experience registered after a traveler meets a host proves communication between people of diverse cultures and backgrounds has led to those people being able to appreciate each other’s differences, which is our vision.

This interaction is not limited to members of our site, because they take this experience to their family, friends, and neighbors and help them realize the value that people of other cultures. Often our members become avid ambassadors of our program, taking on exciting goodwill projects of their own related to our mission.

Division: Corporate
Category: External Communications
Company: Corel

The CorelDRAW (www.coreldraw.com) family of products enjoys a passionate and active base of users around the world. The CorelDRAW team wanted them to have a platform for sharing information and building relationships. In addition, team members also wanted direct access to more users so they could engage in candid conversations and glean insights that are critical to product development.

Ultimately, the CorelDRAW team wanted to enable customers, prospects, employees and partners to communicate, share their knowledge and artwork in an open and collaborative environment. Moreover, the team wanted to prove that they could build a successful community with limited resources and budget.

Corel has always talked with its customers and their feedback is critical to our products’ success. However, we wanted to expand the reach of these conversations and felt an online community was the best way to exponentially grow the number of conversations we could participate in. The CorelDRAW team continues to reach out to customers one on one, but now with this community we are able to keep our finger on the pulse of a much larger group of users.

The team wanted a community that would enable them to both listen and discuss, essentially delivering a feedback loop with customers. Product development without a real understanding the needs of your users is pointless.

Target Audience:
Anyone using one of the CorelDRAW family of products (CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, Corel DESIGNER Technical Suite, etc.) as well as anyone interested in learning more about these products or graphics in general.

With limited budget and resources, the team built www.coreldraw.com with a number of goals including:
• The creation of a useful, comfortable and supportive community that helps users around the world build relationships with us and each other;
• An environment that provides direct feedback regarding product development;
• To be ranked high on page 1 of Google and Yahoo! searches for “CorelDRAW”;
• To quickly overtake other graphics industry communities in terms of active members;
• To transform users into evangelists.

The CorelDRAW.com team set out to build a community that would foster the exchange of independent, user-generated content and give community members around the world a single place where they can share information, learn from others, and discover each other’s work and businesses.

Designed to fuel inspiration, http://CorelDRAW.com combines forums, blogs and galleries for design professionals and graphic hobbyists alike. Forums are available in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Japanese serving an international audience.

From the outset, this project was created with a distinct set of criteria and rules:
• The site was to be a forum for real conversations. No advertisements. No marketing speak. No store.
• The site was to enable users to show off their spectacular work and share information about their businesses. The gallery section has been hugely popular and now features more than 200 galleries.
• The site was to give the CorelDRAW team members a real face and voice within the community. Team members blog regularly and are active within the forums.
• The site was to provide users a single place to share graphics, knowledge and information.
• The team wanted to challenge the assertion that successful communities require big budget and big technology.

The community needed to appeal to all kinds of CorelDRAW users – graphic hobbyists and professionals alike. It also facilitates other forms of social media for the community by offering links to other CorelDRAW groups including Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Plaxo, LinkedIn and FriendFeed.

During the creation and deployment of CorelDRAW.com, the team quickly proved its assertion that it did not need big resources or expense to create a successful community. CorelDRAW.com was launched by a small group of individuals with minimal resources on a hosted server, using an off-the-shelf solution.

The first version of the community was based on the standard template. However, within a few months, the team used community feedback to launch a second revision that featured a high level of customization and offered more tools and functionality. Most recently, the team has added real-time chat and is now hosting monthly sessions where community members can have live conversations with team members. The site has also been used to launch a public beta of an upcoming product to community members.

Since this was the first time the company had endeavored to create a community, there were a number of challenges to overcome. Which platform should we use? How should it be managed? Everything was new. And as with many other forms of social media, it was a challenge to determine how to prove ROI or measure results.

CorelDRAW.com was built using Telligent Community Server. This platform has enabled us to grow to meet user demand.

CorelDRAW.com is managed by Gérard Métrailler, Senior Director of Product Management for the CorelDRAW family of products. In addition, members of the development, product management and PR teams also participate and support the community. As adoption grows, more and more Corel employees are joining in the conversation.

Results:
• Launched in May 2007, CorelDRAW.com has recently surpassed 15,000 members. The community had more than 10,000 members in the first year and added another 5,000 in the first three months of its second year. CorelDRAW.com is poised to overtake other long-standing, graphics-centric communities by the end of the year.
• Community feedback was used to prioritize the updates added to the latest CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4 service pack (SP1).
• When searching the term “CorelDRAW,” the community is #3 on Google and #1 on Yahoo!
• More than 15,000 Members – With Deloitte, Beeline and SNCR reporting that only 9% of corporate online communities have more than 10,000 members, the popularity of this community is a tremendous success. Coming from more than 190 countries, these passionate users are extremely active.
• SP1 – The team monitored and engaged in conversations with community members to prioritize which fixes they wanted to see in the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite Service Pack 1. This feedback was directly applied during development and as a result, the update has been extremely well received.
• #3 on Google and #1 on Yahoo! – The site is easily found by anyone searching for information about the product. This success clearly demonstrates that communities can be grown organically, even without advertising spend.
• Perhaps most importantly, CorelDRAW.com is a vibrant, self-sustaining community. The forums are self policing and users are providing each other with support, rather than depending solely on CorelDRAW team members to answer questions. The community is an exciting place driven by passionate evangelists and advocates.

Division: Corporate
Category: External Communications
Company: Greenough Communications for InterContinental Hotels Group

The social media revolution has dramatically changed the travel industry. User-generated content is highly influential in this market, and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/), the world’s largest hotel chain, realized that capturing and harnessing customer feedback was critical to its future growth. IHG wanted to connect with its customers on a more contextual level in order to improve the overall travel experience. In addition, with the largest rewards community in the world, IHG also wanted to enhance the value of “loyalty” to its most frequent customers. IHG’s Priority Club Rewards (PCR) program members have recorded more than115 million nights at its properties since 2004 and have redeemed more than 50 billion points. By leveraging its customer base for both strategic and tactical decision-making, IHG hoped to improve the overall customer experience while increasing customer loyalty and advocacy.

IHG needed a proven way to connect with its customers on a meaningful level; they knew that merely monitoring blogs and social media would really only uncover isolated compliments and complaints. IHG wanted to have long-term, two-way dialogues with its customers, and to meet that goal they evaluated a number of so-called Web 2.0 solutions. Ultimately, IHG decided that a private online community would allow them to truly listen to a dedicated group of customers and incorporate their learnings into larger programs. In addition, IHG knew that its customers—busy, high-volume travelers—would be better served in a private forum where they could engage with travelers with similar objectives and values. A cluttered online forum/suggestions box simply would create a useful dynamic. Ultimately, IHG selected Communispace to launch its new private online community because of its experience in building, managing and facilitating private communities that enable businesses to generate continuous insights.

The first group of customers IHG sought to engage through its private online community was a group of 300 of its most loyal customers, U.S.-based members of the Priority Club Rewards (PCR) program. The PCR program is the largest and most flexible rewards program in the hotel industry where members can earn unlimited points at any of IHG’s 4,000 properties. Communispace recruited members for the online community using strict behavioral and demographic guidelines to create a representative sample across all seven hotel brands within the PCR family. IHG’s customer base is approaching 40 million customers, and Communispace expertly selected customers to create a microcosm of society to help shape opinions.

Based on the quality of insights garnered from their first community, after six months IHG launched a second Communispace community for its Ambassador-level members, defined as high-volume international travelers with a slant towards staying at InterContinental hotels. IHG is currently in the process of launching a third Communispace community devoted specifically to PCR members in the United Kingdom.

IHG’s company motto is to provide great hotels that guests love. By engaging with customers on an ongoing basis, IHG wanted to determine exactly what “love” means for its customers. One of IHG’s goals was to get inside the heads of its customers to determine why they travel and what their needs are. By getting more information about these foundational issues through customer feedback, IHG hoped to make service more consistent and relevant and improve the overall traveling experience.

After evaluating a number of options, IHG selected Communispace to create a private, online community of 300 loyalty program customers. IHG and Communispace worked closely to define the community’s learning objectives and to outline what questions they should ask first and how the insights should be leveraged.

In expanding their overall social media strategy, IHG had been working with Digitas, its advertising agency. Digitas saw the community as a natural extension of their programs because they could tap members for feedback on creative campaigns, so they were a natural choice to help shape it. When deploying the community, Communispace, IHG and Digitas worked in tandem to define the goals and objectives for the community; it took about eight weeks to get the community up and running. Communispace and IHG collaborated to determine the members of the community; IHG defined the demographic of customers they wanted to hear from, and Communispace used its social science expertise to create a collaborative community. All three organizations worked together to ensure the community mapped to IHG’s larger business goals.

Once IHG determined that having direct communications with the customer was an integral part of their social media strategy, implementing a Communispace community was an easy process.

In launching its first Communispace community, IHG worked with both Communispace and Digitas. The three companies worked closely in the beginning to think through who would be the best potential participants and how they could engage them in dialogue. Once the members were recruited from IHG’s customer base, Digitas, IHG and Communispace shared the responsibility of maintaining the community. Communispace facilitated weekly activities, such as surveys and discussion questions, while Digitas and IHG mined the member-generated conversations for insights and ideas for ad campaigns. After realizing the incredible quantity of insights that were coming out of the community, IHG created a new position, head of social media, who was responsible for daily monitoring of the community.

To date, the community has been used by more than 12 internal IHG departments and has influenced decisions about brands of soap, technology in hotel rooms and the kinds of companies IHG should seek as partners.

IHG has been astounded by the results of its communities and has credited them with a 400% ROI. Traditional one-time focus groups or surveys are no longer necessary because the feedback from a consistent group of customers is much more valuable. In addition, members are now 20% more likely to recommend a stay at an IHG property than before, meaning that they are brand advocates as well as community members.

IHG has made tangible changes to both its hotel properties and its advertising and marketing campaigns as a direct result of community feedback. Some examples include:
• Redesigned membership cards to include room for other travel related membership numbers (e.g., airline or car rental membership) because members voiced frustration about carrying multiple cards.
• Improved the online booking engine to make it easier for members to see where they can stay and maximize points earned.
• Changed the number and placement of electrical outlets in hotel rooms as a result of member feedback.
• Members validated the idea of a “Backyard Barbecue” for the Staybridge extended stay chain and also proactively exposed regional differences in the definition of a barbeque that enabled IHG to more effectively market the event.
• Community members steered IHG and Digitas away from a more costly creative advertising campaign for a recent Holiday Inn loyalty program campaign.

In addition, one promotion IHG issued through the community required expenditure and generated $250,000 in incremental revenue in six weeks. IHG introduced a viral marketing promotion where members received email offers, offering triple points for each three-night stay in an IHG Hotel within set dates. Members were given three codes to pass along to friends and family. IHG found that community members really are brand advocates; each participant forwarded it to an average of 17 people. The campaign spread to more than 30 countries and resulted in the booking of 4,200 room nights, with members earning 7.2 million points in total.

While IHG has implemented a number of changes directly from community feedback, what it truly values is the diffuse effect of talking to a lot of customers on a consistent basis. By leveraging customers from 40 different countries for strategic and tactical decision making, IHG has entered a new realm of market research. Because the community members connect and share experience with a global network of like-minded travelers, they feel more connected to the IHG brand and are more likely to serve as brand ambassadors.

The community gives IHG a sounding board for new ideas and marketing initiatives, and the community helps them benchmark how their hotels can add value for customers. While brands can’t be all things to all people, through harnessing the voice of the customer IHG is getting making changes that are most important to some of its most important customers.

Greenough Communications (www.greenoughcom.com)

Division: Corporate
Category: External Communications
Company: Launch Squad for Sg2

With health-care professionals around the world dealing with the same or similar problems on a day to day basis, the need for an online community that would not just support, but encourage widespread participation from stakeholders around the world was clear.

Aside from the inherent challenges of uniting a worldwide diaspora of health-care professionals, Sg2 was faced with the additional complication of the inherent sensitivity of the information to be shared.

Sg2 needed to create an open and interactive Web 2.0 community that was secure enough and offered robust permissioning capabilities to facilitate the sharing of oftentimes highly sensitive health-care related information. The balance between the freedom of Web 2.0 and the necessary security of a health-care related enterprise is a fine one. With its robust Specialty Forums, Sg2 has attained that balance by approaching the concept of tiered permissioning with unprecedented granularity.

Sg2 can ensure that different levels of membership are allowed different levels of access to ensure that all participants have access to the appropriate information.

The Sg2 Specialty Forums is meant to provide a virtual meeting place for health care industry professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds, including strategic, operational, clinical, academic, technological and financial.

The goals of the Sg2 Online Community were as follows:
1) Provide a forum for Sg2 members and other professionals in the health care industry to come together and exchange information.
2) Create a one-stop shop where members can access all of their membership tools and connect virtually with Sg2 experts.
3) Provide a platform for prospects to learn more about Sg2 and our members to help grow our business.
4) Build the largest and most influential online Community specific to health care.

The Sg2 online community provides an interactive forum for professionals to network and share leading practices with each other, as well as access the latest in health care research. The Sg2 community has a full range of social networking features, providing thousands of members and contributing health care experts with personal and customizable profiles. The community enables members to interact with one another, submit questions to experts, and search through Sg2’s vast library of research and resources based on specific areas of interest.

Using specialized security and permissioning capabilities, Sg2 can also determine what kind of content members can see, creating a customized view for each member and providing Sg2 with the necessary technology to engage their entire membership base.

Sg2’s online community is powered by Awareness, Inc.’s enterprise social media platform. Sg2 and Awareness, Inc. collaborated closely to design the online community and Sg2 provided constant feedback to Awareness throughout the development process. The two organizations continue to draw ideas for innovation and improvement of the community from the community itself and work closely to implement them in order to maximize member satisfaction and community participation and value. The deployment began to yield results immediately.

Within 6 months of the launch of the site (launch date: March 10, 2008), almost 10,000 health care professionals are registered members of the Community, representing over 1,100 hospitals and health care organizations. Nearly 700 of the site users are non-Sg2 clients, which underscores the online community’s broad appeal and tremendous value to stakeholders throughout the health care community. The Sg2 Community has members representing 12 countries. The site averages 100 new posts each month, which include expert perspectives, member questions, leading practices and new Sg2 resources. Objectives 1, 2 and 3 have been accomplished and Sg2 is well on its way to accomplishing number 4!

Division: Corporate
Category: External Communications
Company: Lexis/Nexis U.S. Legal Markets

Online social and professional networks, such as the familiar sites of Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, have quickly become an easy and hugely popular way for individuals to communicate, interact and share content on both a personal and professional level. Online social networking is a trend that was once largely ignored by the legal profession, but now it is starting to gain traction within the legal community. However, there remains a lack of perceived business value in online networks for specific groups of legal professionals, such as in-house counsel and law firm attorneys – leaving a sense of skepticism and hesitation with getting involved in the online networking trend.

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell (http://www.lexisnexis.com/) recently conducted a survey, the 2008 Networks for Counsel Survey, which revealed that almost 50 percent of lawyers are members of online social networks and that over 40 percent believe professional networking has the potential to change the business and practice of law over the next five years. However, the survey also revealed that 43 percent of corporate counsel and 53 percent of private practice lawyers claim that current versions of online social networks and communities do not help them work more efficiently and cost effectively. Therefore, the challenge is to create a solution to help leverage online technology to meet needs for lawyer networking:

• Legal professionals need an online network with trusted sources, so they can rely on credible sources when seeking to hire outside counsel or find colleagues who can recommend the right lawyer for the right matter. Lawyers look for trusted professional networks to avoid exposure to people only looking to troll for new business. Networks full of qualified, verified and experienced contacts help legal professionals grow their own personal networks and thereby increase their go-to referral sources. According to the 2008 Networks for Counsel Survey, 54 percent of corporate counsel and 41 percent of private practice lawyers view linking to other attorneys or expanding ones’ network as the most important feature an online professional network could provide.

• Corporate counsel often report that they are isolated from other in-house counsel on a day-to-day basis. Frequently they are faced with legal and business challenges that counsel from other companies must have encountered. The challenge has always been how to find these colleagues and benefit from their experience. In-person conferences and events are one option, but they’re infrequent, expensive and take time away from the office. Online networking helps break isolation by providing a trusted environment in which they can find colleagues, collaborate and solve pressing problems. The Networks for Counsel Survey found that more than 60 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that it is hard to connect at conferences.

• Professional networking provides lawyers with a secure forum to share ideas, solicit feedback, and communicate with peers. Receiving tips and background information on different legal topics advances education among legal professionals and expands the scope of valuable information passed along from peer-to-peer. The exchange of tips in turn enhances partnership and collaboration, which builds on the facilitation of legal information and reinforces the network of trusted sources.

• A quality online network can help legal professionals become more informed when making key decisions. The online nature of the network helps legal professionals tap into trusted resources quickly – assisting the lawyers to reach conclusions in a fast and more efficient manner. Additionally, the more trusted information gathered and feedback received on outside counsel for example, the easier in-house counsel can make better decisions about hiring a firm or lawyer.

Leveraging its global database of attorneys and legal content, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell is responding to this challenge with the development and launch of its own global online professional network for legal professionals: Martindale-Hubbell Connected. Currently in beta, the network is custom designed for the legal community, and enables lawyers and other legal professionals to connect, communicate and collaborate with trusted contacts to solve legal and business issues.

Using Martindale-Hubbell Connected, attorneys are able to expand their professional network to uncover relationships and trusted references. Legal professionals are able to share information and insights, collaborate and interact in a virtual community on legal issues with fellow practitioners. Martindale-Hubbell Connected also provides access to compelling content, benchmarking statistics, counsel-created research, as well as online events exclusively for legal professionals.

The legal community will witness an improvement in the quality of their decision making process when buying legal services and increase recruitment efficiency for hiring in-house staff. Through this closed network, legal professionals can also enhance partnership and collaboration, as well as improve recruiting activities by enabling outside counsel to share referrals, experience, reviews and analyze competitors’ profiles and marketing trends.

For corporate counsel, Martindale-Hubbell Connected breaks the isolation felt by so many of them when seeking trusted references for outside counsel or input on legal issues from fellow practitioners. This new network community enables them to engage in private online discussions about key issues of interest to counsel worldwide, empower members to raise their profile and stature among colleagues, and provide access to special in-person and online events.

For outside counsel, Martindale-Hubbell Connected offers them the ability to connect with corporate counsel to demonstrate thought-leadership, find information act as connectors and grow their network of potential clients. Outside counsel can identify potential clients and actively network for new business, grow alumni network and exchange critical/useful information within affinity groups, blogs and other network communities.

The targeted audience is comprised of legal professionals – primarily corporate counsel and private practice lawyers who are looking for online communities that enable them to connect, communicate and collaborate with trusted contacts to solve legal and business issues.

These legal professionals share a high level of interest and demand for a lawyers-specific network in a trusted environment from a trusted vendor. They are seeking ways to connect with one another, demonstrate thought-leadership, grow their network of potential clients, and gather hard to find information about corporate counsel and to enhance their status as “connecters” in the industry.

The goal is to leverage the unique assets of LexisNexis and Martindale-Hubbell to resolve challenges associated with networking in today’s legal market by offering attorneys a comprehensive, interactive and secure online destination where they can build a legal network to get trusted information from trusted contacts for better decision making on everything from hiring legal to perspectives on legal issues. Martindale-Hubbell is leading the way in meeting the needs outlined with the creation of Martindale-Hubbell Connected – a premier online destination for collaboration between legal professionals. This online professional network built specifically for lawyers is a secure peer-to-peer global network for lawyers only, enabling them and firms from across the world to connect and collaborate quickly and effectively to help meet business needs.

For example, the network will include new tools, content and other resources to help legal professionals uncover relationships, collaborate and interact in a virtual community, expand their professional network, share information and insights and access compelling content for their practice.

The new site is currently in beta, with full rollout anticipated in the U.S. in early 2009.

Challenges:

The need to overcome legacy directory heritage and internal culture and re-position Martindale-Hubbell as leading edge Web 2.0 company.

Mining our historical database and court docket information to identify potential relationships between the 1 million lawyers in our database. The proprietary relationship matching algorithm allowed us to uncover 45 million “suggested relationships” between lawyers globally that create value to members immediately upon joining, regardless of the size of the growing network. This overcomes the chicken/egg syndrome of professional networks, that don’t provide much value to members when their network of connections are still limited.

To build a trusted network, we needed to implement a robust authentication process whereby we validate the identity and role of the members (e.g. corporate counsel vs. law firm lawyer). This process needed to balance strength of security without being too burdensome for the user. In addition, we wanted an automatic process to approve as many users as possible and only manually review exception cases.

Challenges integrating Connected with legacy data and content systems. Value of the integration is the vast content and data respositories that Martindale-Hubbell and LexisNexis have that feed the professional network.

The legal industry has traditionally been slow adopter of new technologies, so awareness and usage of web 2.0 tools, including online social or professional networking, is still relatively low. This is especially true among senior corporate counsel and law firm partners. As a result, marketing and building membership for Connected has required educating the market not only about the value of Martindale-Hubbell Connected, but also about the value of online networking in general.

Online social and professional networking sites are generally free for it users to try to maximize the value of network effects. However, unlike many online networking startups, Martindale-Hubbell has a substantial revenue and profit stream with thousands of paying subscribers. In order to monetize Martindale-Hubbell Connected, we needed to provide enough value to these subscribers so that they continue to remain subscribers, but still provide enough value to non-subscribers so that they have a good experience and continue to participate in the community.

The networking functionality of Martindale-Hubbell Connected was built internally due to the need to get to market quickly and to integrate tightly with the existing martindale.com site and lawyer database. We worked closely with Endeca, our search engine vendor, to extend the capabilities of their platform to allow our users to search our lawyer database and receive results filtered by the relationship information gleaned from the connections formed between members as well as the historical relationship information described above,

For upcoming releases, we licensed Community Server by Telligent to power the community and user-generated content functionality for Connected. These will include discussion forums, blogging functionality for Connected members, as well as groups functionality to allow members to form smaller sub-communities within the larger Connected community.

The team that developed and launched Martindale-Hubbell Connected consisted of business unit leadership, technology development, marketing and communications and a dedicated community manager.

Roles

Business unit leadership – Identified the opportunity and potential benefits of creating an online network for lawyers, conducted market research to verify those opportunities and focus on lawyer needs for networking, set up business plan for creating and launching the network

Technology development – Took the direction from leadership and developed the offering.

Marketing and communication – Marketing led the way in terms of naming the offering, as well as soliciting beta testers from the legal community via direct-to-client communication. Communications and PR helped get the word out about Martindale-Hubbell Connected and establishing its leaders as experts in the area of online professional networking via interviews, authored articles and media coverage of Martindale-Hubbell Connected.

Community management – Helps members and moderates discussions. While Martindale-Hubbell believes communities come together naturally, especially with professional networks, a community manager is necessary to help busy professionals achieve their visibility goals as richly as possible.

Components of program

Research – 2007 and 2008. Determining needs and demands for lawyer networking and if or how an online network specifically for lawyers would be useful or of interest.

Development – Late 2007 and into 2008. The technology team at Martindale-Hubbell created Martindale-Hubbell Connected platform, built features and functionality, overcame integration challenges (see above section) and launched beta site on time and with planned functionality.

Beta launch – Late May 2008. The Martindale-Hubbell Connected beta site launched in May. The project is still in this phase as of September 2008 as Martindale-Hubbell continues to grow participation in the network and add functionalities leading up to full launch.

Communication – January 2008 to present. Prior to beta launch, Marketing named and branded Martindale-Hubbell Connected, then helped solicit the initial small set of beta tester clients for the network. Since beta launch, Marketing has ramped this effort to grown network participation though direct e-mail campaigns and other tactics. Communications and PR has been active in this component by soliciting and earning positive media and blog coverage of Martindale-Hubbell’s use of Web 2.0 technology and previewing the launch of the network. ABA Journal, American Lawyer and Law.com are among the dozens of media that have covered the site and the Martindale-Hubbell networking initiative so far in 2008.

Site management/growth – May 2008 to present. Technology team continues to develop the network platform with new updates and functionality added every three weeks leading up to formal launch in January 2009. Additionally, a dedicated community manager observes the site, moderates when needed and helps members.

Full launch – Q1 2009. Martindale-Hubbell Connected plans to formally launch Martindale-Hubbell Connected in the first quarter of 2009 with January as the target. At that time, the site will be fully marketed and will be fully open for lawyers to join.

Benefits

For users of Martindale-Hubbell Connected:
• Saves lawyers time and money on networking by reducing travel.
• Breaks the isolation felt by many corporate counsel lawyers when seeking a trusted recommendation or opinion from other counsel.
• Changes the way lawyers find and communicate with each other.
• Provides more robust information about peers and perspectives for better decision making when it comes to hiring counsel or addressing an issue.
• Provides a focused venue for users to demonstrate thought leadership to potential employers or clients.
• Helps users grow their network of potential clients or vendors.

Each of the measures of success accrue to the stated goal of Martindale-Hubbell Connected of creating a trusted online community specifically for attorneys to help them address or solve business challenges associated with networking and communication in today’s legal industry.

Division: Academic
Category: External Communications
University of Illinois at Springfield

In the early days of the Internet, print media and public appearances were the primary tools of the University of Illinois’ (www.uis.edu) university news and information operations. As our university Web presence grew in size and importance, we created a succession of Web pages for news and information content. Many of these Web pages were modeled directly from our print publications. By 2008, we had many disparate news Web pages. We realized that our users were having a difficult time; they were not sure which of our many news-related Web pages to view to find specific content. Often, they did not even know that certain news pages existed. We realized the need to streamline our entire news-on-the-Web operation, taking full advantage of the Internet. We needed to create a new primary news and information website that would organize our content and allow for the inclusion of new media. We needed to address the fact that today’s Web users and news outlets expect instant access to information and cutting-edge methods for delivery of that information.

We needed to convert our news-on-the-Web operation from a print-based structure to a true electronic media model. We needed to take full advantage of the unique elements of the Internet (hyperactivity, searchability, dynamic content), the cost effectiveness of the Internet (use of full color, ease and speed of multiple distribution), and the power of Web 2.0 and Social Media tools (sharing, tagging, video and audio). Further, we needed to address these specific issues:

1. Brand – Our campus is currently in the process of developing new identity standards. We are the third, the smallest, and the least-known campus of the University of Illinois. Prior to 2008, each campus had used its initials for its Web URL and other identifiers: UIUC, UIC, and UIS. We knew that in the summer of 2008, the UIUC campus would be switching its URL and primary identifier to Illinois. We knew that other schools and the public used the term Illinois to identify the university. We also knew that a degree from the University of Illinois is one of the main draws for students who enroll at our campus. We decided on a new approach to identifying our campus: we would begin to use the term UIS for local references, i.e. within our campus and the local community. For external audiences more than 50 miles away, we would begin to use the term Illinois Springfield. To this day, various campus committees are working on our brand adjustment, and a full rollout will still take time to complete. But rather than change the name of our new website later when the brand adjustment is complete – and possibly confuse our audience – we decided to go ahead with the use of the term Illinois Springfield on the new site.

2. Campus Inclusion – We know that the power of our own people is critical in the dissemination of news and information about our campus. We need to be sure that faculty, staff and students understand how our news content is organized, and that they can quickly alert us to their activities, so we can tell those stories to the public. By streamlining our news-on-the-Web operation, and by providing an online form for campus news submissions, we can elicit the participation of the campus community in dissemination of our content.

3. Multimedia and Multiple Distribution – We know that in the 21st century, media is everywhere. Print is not enough. Video, audio, photographs, graphics and animation enhance communication, adding richness and reality that print media can never achieve. In this project, we needed to standardize the use of multimedia on our news Web pages, making it easy to include. We needed to fully realize the notion that content is the center of a wheel with many spokes: when you have a story, you need to tell that story via all possible forms (print, video, audio, imagery) and via all possible distribution methods (Web pages, email, snail mail, publications, telephone, appearances, blogs, and other new media).

We are targeting several audiences with our news and information content:

The UIS Community – As noted above, we must reach our own faculty, staff and students, and encourage their participation in the gathering and dissemination of news and information content.

The Media – In today’s economy – and amidst the media transformation from print to digital, from mass to niche audiences, and from established to new media – we know that media outlets are struggling. We hear about staff cuts, use of stock rather than in-house photography, and subscriptions to syndicated features instead of original interviews. Using our website to provide downloads of our own photographs, multimedia, and other resources, we can become a reliable and efficient source for media outlets.

The Local Community – Here in central Illinois, local media reach a radius of 50-miles surrounding our campus. Many residents in that area live in rural communities and increasingly rely on the Internet as well as traditional media for news and information.

The State of Illinois – The majority of our students come from the state of Illinois. More and more of our students come from the Chicago area. Our research shows that most students get their basic information about what school to attend from the school’s website. We know that the availability on our website of up-to-date news and information is critical to attracting prospective students.

The Midwest – In the US News & World Report’s 2009 Edition of America’s Best Colleges, the University of Illinois at Springfield is ranked the number one public university – master’s level – in Illinois, and the fourth best in that category in the entire Midwest. We want to be number one in the Midwest. Our ability to disseminate news and information about the university helps us spread the word about our campus, enroll more students, attract high-quality faculty and staff, and provide an interesting and enlightening academic environment. Among other factors, this visibility is crucial in our quest to be Number One.

Specific Audiences – In addition to the entire 3-campus University of Illinois system, our news and information is critical to the work of three particular UIS units: the Office of Community Relations, the Alumni Association, and the Office of Development. Each of these departments makes extensive use of campus news and information in communicating with their many constituencies. In Question 8: Results, we include the responses from these units in regard to the usefulness of our new primary news website.

In the fall of 2007, we had completed a major redesign of our campus home page. We then turned our attention to issues and challenges we had identified regarding our news-on-the-Web operation. During the fall and winter months we made inquiries and observations, considered the technical abilities of our content-creation staff, and tested various methods for redesign of our news website. In April 2008, we created a new committee called the Story Team with a charge to meet weekly and discuss current initiatives and dissemination of news to multiple audiences. Shortly after convening that group we introduced our “Plan for redevelopment of UIS news and story websites” that took into account our strengths and our limitations. The Story Team discussed the plan, agreed on specific changes and revised the plan accordingly by May 1. We agreed to wait to implement the plan until the end of the semester after commencement ceremonies. We then proceeded to implement the plan having defined these specific goals and objectives:

1. Consolidate our many disparate news and information Web pages into one central hub, to be called Newsroom @ Illinois Springfield.
a. Create four major news and information sections, titled News, People, Events, and In The News (see the planning document in Supporting Documentation for more about these categories);
b. Create a special section specifically for use by the media and include the following:
i. A section for Media Advisories – notices to the media of imminent events they may wish to cover;
ii. A Downloads section where high-resolution photographs, logos, audio, video and other source material can be easily obtained;
iii. An Experts and Speakers list, organized by topic, where media can quickly find a resource for issues-of-the day.
iv. A list of RSS Feeds from UIS that media can subscribe to for up-to-the minute news and information.
v. A Style Guide that includes grammar and usage specific to academia and UIS.
c. Create special topic pages that collect links to existing news items, multimedia, and other Web pages. These special topic pages are efficient in that they do not require new content; they consolidate existing content in a way that spotlights or focuses on particular Big Stories.
d. Include lists of links to specific Web pages featuring information of interest to general users, especially those seeking background information about us.

2. Retrain our content creation staff to categorize content in line with our newly created news and information sections.
a. Previously, much of our news content consisted of announcements of upcoming events; we needed to retrain staff to move those items into our new Events section. We also needed to move some of our items previously referred to as feature stories into the News section by altering the writing style and story approach.

3. Retrain our content creation staff to use new technologies in order to integrate multimedia and to address specific search optimization strategies.
a. Train content creation staff to add downloadable photos, audio and/or video to all major stories.
b. Train content creation staff in the use of boldface type for key words and phrases, and hyperlinks within the body of stories in order to enhance our search optimization.

4. Include social media elements on our news pages by incorporating Share icons and using Labels (Tags) for every news and information item.
a. Train content creation staff (as well as the entire campus community and the general public) to use the share links to post our stories to Digg, Facebook, MySpace, etc.
b. Train content creation staff to use Labels (Tags) for every story. The Story Team agreed on a list of 35 labels divided into 3 categories. Our goal is to use one label from each category for every story.

5. Develop the technologies and website structure necessary to support our goals and objectives.
a. Evaluate existing technologies;
b. Create new news and information Web pages to match our new structure;
c. Use CSS and RSS to design coordinated dynamic Web pages;
d. Eliminate our previous structure where we posted short news paragraphs on one page and then linked to full page stories;
e. Create story tools and social media icons and links for every news page:
f. Create a simple-to-use structure for use by the content creators when adding downloadable photos, audio and video to major stories;
g. Evaluate and develop search optimization strategies;
h. Develop JavaScript “includes” for the RSS feeds from the news pages to automatically populate the primary Newsroom Web page;
i. Develop JavaScript “includes” for the display of rotating photographs and graphics on the primary Newsroom Web page;
j. Develop a Search technology to allow users to transparently search – via a single search field – all of our previous and newly created news Web pages and directories. Our original “plan” is included with our submission in Question 9: Supporting Documentation. Highlights of the plan are included below:

We began by creating and modifying technologies to support the project. We had already been using Google’s (free) blog technology for our news and information Web pages, primarily because of its automatic archiving and indexing capability. Our Web Services department has always been limited in staff and resources and we have not had the funding, time and capability to create a complex news database system of our own. We considered this project as an opportunity to change to an in-house system. But considering time and resources, we ultimately chose to continue with Google’s technology for our main news section pages.

We designed the new pages using CSS with updated colors and graphics that reflect the look and style of our new campus home page. We added Send Email, Print, and RSS icons to every page. We included the “Add This” Share drop-down menu on every page. We set up the technology for the use of Labels on every story.

We eliminated five existing news Web directories and consolidated that content into our new major news sections. We redirected those legacy URLs to the new pages.

We trained staff in the use of the new sections and technologies, including search optimization, addition of multimedia, and use of labels. We created an ideal sample page for the content creators to view to give them an idea of what we were looking for on our new news pages.

We created an interim page called News Headlines and Searches where we experimented with RSS technology to dynamically bring in news headlines. That page included multiple search boxes for all of our disparate news directories. During testing of that page with users, we realized the need to spend time and resources refining our search technology.

Finally, we created our new Newsroom @ Illinois Springfield landing page and included dynamic RSS feeds with headlines and links from each of our main news sections. We added pages specifically designed for use by the media, and included sets of general interest links.

Because we deliberately chose to deploy the new Web pages after the end of the spring semester, we had a period of time with limited news activity in which to implement the plan. We created new pages on a staging server and tested extensively before finally deploying the new sites on May 22, 2008. There were a few technical bugs and we needed to work closely with content creation staff in the beginning to make sure the change went smoothly. But as our results in Question 8: Results indicate, our Newsroom @ Illinois Springfield website has met our objectives and proved successful. We knew we were making a huge improvement in the presentation of news and information on our website and that the changes would be generally well received. Our biggest obstacles were time, technology and training.

In order to complete the project in a short amount of time (less than one month from final approval of the plan to completion) our technical staff of three worked almost full time on the project. Because of this, many other demands were unmet during that time and the staff spent the following month trying to “catch up” on regular duties.

We encountered several technical challenges with our search technology, CSS, and our RSS feeds, but were able to work these out fairly quickly.

We not only had to train the content creation staff on procedural techniques, but we had to change their “mindset” to a certain extent. Previously, their news stories consisted mostly of notices of upcoming events. We had to change their definition of news to become reports of events that already happened or other newsworthy material. Many items previously posted as feature stories now have to be written differently and reported as news. In our new major categories – News, Events, People, and In The News – there is still some ambiguity, and sometimes it is difficult to place a particular item.

We are also still training the campus to use the Newsroom as the central hub for all of our news and information. Further, we are still helping the campus community understand the usefulness and importance of the social media we’ve integrated into our news pages. We are using Google blog, archive and label technology as the basis for our pages in each of the major news sections. We use “Add This” for our social media links. We use CSS, RSS, JavaScript and XHTML for Web page construction. The leader of the project team is the Associate Chancellor for Constituent Relations. This effort was conceived and developed by the Office of Web Services; the office consists of a director, associate director/designer, and a programmer; a student worker assists with some multimedia projects. The Campus Relations department contains the news content creation staff, a director and two writers; one of the writers also creates video news stories. Assisting with the project was the campus Creative Director who supplied photographs and assisted with design and brand elements.
We’ve had only three (summer) months to evaluate results and obtain user feedback, and that time period is typically a “downtime” on our campus, but so far we are pleased with the results.

Using AW Stats and Google Analytics, we’ve observed positive results over the past three months. Prior to the launch of the Newsroom @ Illinois Springfield Web page, our many disparate news pages were consistently below the top 50 hit pages of our website. Since the launch, the Newsroom page now consistently appears among the top 50 hit pages. All of our news pages use XML technology and can be pushed to users as RSS feeds. We’ve found that those feeds are consistently among our top 10 hit pages.

In our supporting documentation you will find anecdotal evidence of success. Below are some samples of responses:

1. Recently we sent a campus-wide email encouraging our faculty, staff, and students to use the social media tools to spread the word about a positive news story. We received a reply from a Development Office staff member who had posted to Facebook and was rewarded with an email response from an alum/donor: “cool! that is great to see! thx for linking it.”

2. The Alumni Association had this to say, “For me, the biggest improvements include the ability to link easily and directly from the day’s headlines to the archived stories, to search from more than one “angle,” and to access events, colleges and people within the university community through Newsroom.”

3. From the Office of Development: “It’s much easier to browse. I like the search feature.”

4. From the Director of Community Relations: “Before the website re-do, I had a hard time finding information on the website. It seems like there were so many places to find things and I never knew where to go and I didn’t have the time to search all the sites I need too. But the new format puts everything right there together and I can browse everything to find tidbits to talk about and share with our many constituencies.” We hoped to streamline our content and make it easier to find news and information on our website. The anecdotal evidence suggests that we were successful. The quantitative evidence suggests that more users are finding our news pages. Part of this may be due to the streamlined content and part may be due to search optimization.

We wanted to add clarity to the content creation staff’s process for posting news, events and information to our Web pages. Our own review of story content posted in our four major news categories – News, People, Events, and In The News – suggests that we have alleviated some of the previous difficulties.

We wanted to introduce social media tools to the campus and evidence suggests that this might be taking hold.

We were particularly concerned with meeting the needs of our Community Relations, Alumni Association and Development offices. Anecdotal evidence suggests that we have been successful.

No website is ever “done.” We will continue to refine our presentation of news and information, and we will continue to take advantage of new media as it develops. But we are confident that our Newsroom @ Illinois Springfield project has laid the groundwork for future success. Visit the Newsroom @ Illinois Springfield at this URL: http://www.uis.edu/newsroom/

Division: Corporate
Category: External Communications
Company: Engage PR for UMA Today

Kineto Wireless is the key innovator and leading supplier of Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unlicensed_Mobile_Access) technology, a global 3GPP standard which enables mobile operators to deliver new, revenue generating fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) services over the Internet.

As a new innovation in the telecom industry, further education about the flexibility of UMA’s technology and service capabilities needed to be made to help validate the market need and global adoption from mobile operators worldwide.

For Kineto’s industry leading UMA products to be successful, broad industry adoption of UMA as a technology by service providers, telecom equipment and handset manufacturers was required. As part of its marketing efforts, Kineto needed to develop the UMA Today brand, build a community amongst industry experts in the wireless industry, and drive its audience to better understand how UMA serves as an access technology for multiple forms of fixed mobile convergence solutions in the market—including dual-mode Wi-Fi/mobile handsets (http://umatoday.com/mobileHandsets.php), femtocells (http://umatoday.com/femtocells.php), terminal adaptors (http://umatoday.com/terminalAdaptors.php), and softmobiles (http://umatoday.com/softmobile.php).

The audience for the UMA message is global, consisting of mobile operators that offer or plan to offer UMA-based services, as well as telecom equipment and handset vendors that incorporate UMA software into their products.

Kineto’s overarching goal was to bring word of UMA to a global audience and gain industry support for UMA as the leading long-term solution for fixed-mobile convergence.

Within this framework, the company had a number of objectives:
– Amplify the market demand for UMA technology
– Communicate the flexibility of UMA technology as the market for FMC continues to evolve
– Show that UMA were available from more than one vendor
– Demonstrate wide industry support for UMA by associating the technology with larger companies such as T-Mobile, RIM, Google, HP, Samsung, Orange, etc.

Kineto partnered with its PR agency, Engage PR (www.engagepr.com), to develop a marketing campaign that integrates strategic and creative New Media tactics designed to further develop UMA as a brand, associating UMA with key benefits of mobile convergence that are of interest to Kineto’s target markets, mobile operators and handset manufacturers.

In the spring of 2006, Kineto launched an online forum, www.UMAToday.com, as a vehicle to provide multiple forms of new media resources (blogs, podcasts, live webinars, etc.) to their target audiences. Leveraging new media communications enables Kineto, via UMA Today, to drive more web traffic to the website, and thereby generate vendor-neutral discussions around FMC and UMA topics within the broader wireless community.

As a resource of information, readers can easily access the latest news and information about UMA and FMC services directly on UMAToday.com. Visitors to the site can sign up for more information which is provided through frequent direct email blasts on the latest news and information on the industry. In addition, visitors can sign up for the UMA Today RSS feed.

By keeping readers updated on major industry developments, Engage PR and Kineto are able to highlight the broader success of UMA in the market, wile simultaneously addressing questions frequently asked in the industry:
– How does UMA make mobile phones work better and cost less?
– Which operators are deploying UMA services?
– What new UMA-enabled mobile handsets are available?

For example, in July 2007, Engage took advantage of T-Mobile’s announcement of its UMA service to reach out to media and analysts, and built momentum from the T-Mobile story to reflect greater industry trends in association with UMA Today. The new media resources available on UMA Today have also helped complement key trends Kineto has driven in their own company news and developments.

In September 2007, Kineto announced a new UMA software release that enables the deployment of femtocells—access points that improve coverage and performance of mobile services in subscriber’s homes. During the press and analyst tour for this announcement, Engage PR utilized UMAToday.com as a resource to the press and analyst communities interested in learning more about UMA’s role in the femtocells market, and why it was important.

UMAToday.com is also the home of the UMA Today blog where Steve Shaw, an evangelist for UMA technology and AVP of marketing at Kineto, leverages the opportunity to discuss UMA and its evolution as a solution for delivering secure access to mobile services over the public Internet.

As the site is updated on a frequent basis, UMAToday.com also hosts a library of third-party resources including whitepapers and industry reports written by lead analyst firms.

The development and promotion of UMA technology is a benefit to Kineto as well as competitors developing UMA-based products. For UMA Today to be successful, the market needed to be assured that the program was not simply a shell for Kineto activities, but was truly vendor neutral and focused on global market development. Therefore great care was taken to create a new identity totally separate from Kineto. A new site with a totally different look and feel, along with a unique color scheme was developed for UMA Today. Content and materials on the site, while primarily developed by Kineto, were careful to be vendor neutral.

Kineto went a step farther, recruiting partners and competitors to become paid sponsors of the site and other UMA Today activities. Kineto was able to secure 12 paid sponsorships on the site over the past 2 years.

The UMA Today site is viewed within the market as a credible, unbiased clearing-house for all news, products and services supporting UMA technology.

The UMA Today program itself contains a number of new-media components, including the website, blog, and webinars, as well as online videos from major industry events, such as the UMA Innovation Awards ceremony that took place Mobile World Congress 2008, a major industry tradeshow.

The PR program to promote UMA Today takes advantage of these new media components to help promote the success of UMA on a global scale to the media, analysts, as well as Kineto and their partners’ prospective customers.

Kineto Wireless creates and drives all components of the UMA awareness program, while its PR agency, Engage PR, continuously offers Kineto recommendations on how to creatively make UMA Today strategic to Kineto’s marketing and business objectives as well. Additionally, several of Kineto’s partners sponsor the UMAToday.com that, in turn, also associates UMA technology with larger company names, one of the key objectives outlined when first launching the site in 2006. The following outlines a list of the current new media components in the integrated marketing program for UMA Today:

• www.UMAToday.com (http://www.umatoday.com/) – Engage PR promotes the web site to media and analysts as a valuable resource for information about the global adoption of UMA and about general market dynamics that impact operators, vendors, and suppliers.

• UMA Today Blog (http://umatoday.blogspot.com/) – To enhance readership and expand UMA Today’s web presence, Engage PR provides Kineto with recommendations for blog topics and opportunities to respond to topical industry news and developments. The agency also helps ensure the blog includes trackbacks to other industry blogs, another tactic that helps increase the number of visitors.

• UMA Today Webinars – Through proactive outreach to the press and media about new UMA-related webinars that can be accessed in UMAToday.com, Engage PR has helped elevate both Kineto and UMA thought leadership.

• UMA Today Magazine (http://www.umatoday.com/pdf/uma_mag_hz2_wint_08_lo.pdf) – The third edition, Spring ’08, was distributed at major mobile industry events Mobile World Congress and CTIA.

• UMA Innovation Awards – The first annual UMA Today award was presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2008. Engage PR announced the creation of the awards in late 2007 and promoted them to the media.

Kineto’s tactical PR campaign for UMA Today has helped more than double the number of unique visitors to UMAToday.com. PR activities at the time of the T-Mobile announcement resulted in a spike of 454 visitors to UMAToday.com on 27 June 2007. Another major spike occurred on 20 July 2007, to 670 visits when news hit that Google invested in a Kineto UMA partner, as well as a spike on 4 June 2008, to 673 visits, when the Kineto announced support for its femtocell solution.

Thanks to a highly tactical and creative approach to promoting UMA Today, the organization’s web site consistently attracts more than 300 unique visitors a day and over 6,000 unique visitors a month.

New media communications on UMAToday.com have evolved since the site first launched in 2006, and now draws in a large variety of visitors on a daily basis. More than 25 number of UMA-enabled handsets have become available since the site launched in 2006, and more than 12 operators have deployed UMA services.

Over the past two years, “UMA” has become a well-known term in the wireless and telecommunications industries. UMA and FMC have become common topics on the editorial calendars in wireless trade publications, validating UMA as a noteworthy technology. Moreover, several reporters and third-party analysts have become advocates for the benefits and capabilities UMA technology provides. UMA has garnered a lot more industry attention in the past two years; having UMA associated with large company names including RIM, Motorola, NEC, and Google, UMA is indeed seen as a long-term solution for fixed mobile convergence.

– “Ubiquisys along with UMA has been gaining more attention in the last year. NEC, Motorola, Netgear and UMA developer Kineto have all joined the UMA femtocell camp, and Ubiquisys has attracted several partners and investors in recent months, including Nokia Siemens Networks and Google.” – Telephony Magazine

– “UMA, which was believed to have short legs just a year ago, is the predominant technology deployed today to implement seamless FMC between wireless LAN and 2G cellular networks. For those who still believe UMA will be short lived, it can now support 3G, is backed by the 3GPP, has a clear migration roadmap to IMS, and is becoming the default case for femtocells,” – Stéphane Téral, principal analyst at Infonetics Research.

– “AT&T Mobility, which has exclusive rights to the iPhone in the United States, has said 40% of its iPhone subscribers are new customers. Orange France, which has also launched Wi-Fi/UMA technology, reported that those customers churn at a rate three times less than its other subscribers…” – RCR Wireless News

– “The iPhone may be getting one hundred times the press coverage of the Wi-Fi/UMA rollout by T-Mobile USA and Orange France, but the Wi-Fi/UMA success rate is in many ways about equal to the iPhone.” – ThinkPanmure, financial analyst firm

– “I think the UMA industry has done pretty well. It’s created a coherent job description for itself: an enabler for cellular operators to offer, “home zone” services over IP connections…With more than a dozen UMA phones announced, device development has been admirable…if not spectacular…And, while a focus on femtocell integrations argues for the flexibility of the technology, the real advantage UMA can claim as an FMC technology today is its customer base; a million or so subscribers may not be impressive, but it beats out most anything else out there” – Peter Jarich, senior analyst at Current Analysis

UMA Today continues to evolve with additional forms of new media communications Kineto plans to drive in the near future, including guest contributors to the blog and reader polls/surveys as a form of user-generated content.

Division: Corporate
Category: Collaboration and Co-Creation
Company: IBM

The problem IBM (www.ibm.com) is trying to solve is how to reach out to our Business Partners to let them know that we want to be more actively engaged with them and listen to their concerns in order to build partner loyalty and our channel.

Over the years, IBM partners have sometimes complained that it’s difficult to find a way to make IBM “listen” to their needs. In a tough economy support and service become extremely important to partners. It’s a great time to lead with the message that IBM is listening and responding to Partners.

The challenge to be addressed was how to get our Partners’ attention and drive them to a single point of interaction to let us know their concerns. We wanted to develop a single point on the web, with an intuitive URL, for Business Partners to access and let us know their concerns/ideas/issues, etc. Towards that end, we developed the “Voice of the Business Partner Campaign.” This is a campaign with a simple message: We’re listening to the voices that matter — our partners. We developed a collaboration center with questions for our partners to address on www.voicebp.com, and built a campaign using traditional and new social media to bring the partners there.

The communication issue to be addressed was how to get our partners’ attention so we could start this “listening campaign.” Keeping in mind that different people prefer different types of communication, we realized that we would need an integrated campaign with a marketing mix of traditional and new media.

External Drive for the survey was composed of an Integrated Media Campaign including Print, e-mail, Web Banners and Viral Marketing tactics.

Print ads have run in VAR Business, Channel Pro & Computer Reseller News (CRN) magazines announcing the survey and inviting BPs to go to the URL and answer some questions to communicate their feedback to IBM.

Web Banners on VAR Business, CRN, Channel Pro, CMP Everything Channel. Viral Marketing promotions are ongoing on Twitter, Facebook, BLOGS on VAR Business, CRN, Channel Pro, CMP Everything Channel, eChannel Insider , ebizQ and IBM DeveloperWorks.

Over 20 IBM Newsletters announced the campaign. We also launched an aggressive press announcement of the campaign and received pick-up in major technology magazine and the Word of Mouth Marketing Organization (WOMMA).

Finally, the campaign & the response URL to www.voicebp.com is featured on IBM partner web pages. IBM Business Partners: ISVs, Resellers and IBM PartnerWorld Members. The individuals at the BP firms we are trying to reach are those that are primarily responsible for the revenue-generating aspect of the organization. This could be the CEO, or other leaders in sales and marketing, strategy and business development. In many of these firms, sales/marketing are the same function, or marketing is non-existent.

OBJECTIVES:

1) Generate excitement and a sense of urgency in the BP community to do more business with IBM by driving awareness and interest in IBM offerings and BP programs

2) Create more active engagement and loyalty so that Business Partners view themselves as an extension of IBM

3) Increase Partner satisfaction by demonstrating that IBM is listening to them and values the relationship. Create a way to “connect” to BP via the voice of the BP website.

END GOAL: Increase Business Partner generated mid-market revenue and share at the expense of the competition

Launch an integrated series of touches kicking off with a press announcement of the program, followed by a series of 3 fold Print Ads in partner magazines.

Continue the “drumbeat” of the Voice of the Business Partner campaign via web banners, blogging, partner e-mails and IBM web page promotions. To get the word of about Voice of the Business Partner, IBM has run three-page, fold-out ads in the front of CRN, VAR Business, and ChannelPro magazines.

Web ads are featured for the Voice of the Business Partner effort throughout the third and fourth quarter on their respective Websites.

Additionally, the Voice of the Business Partner is featured at all IBM’s live partner events and tradeshows via presentations and tradeshow flyers.

The channel-focused marketing blitz continues in e-mails, social networks, and blogs encouraging midmarket partners to take part in an interactive online forum called the Voice of the Business Partner. The campaign will run through December 2008.

Perhaps our biggest challenge over time will be to maintain the “stickiness” of the Voice of the BP site. We have chosen a vendor that allows us the ability to conduct Quick Polls, so we will want to keep refreshing the polls and the survey questions to keep partners returning and sharing their opinions with us on a wide variety of issues.

Creative: Oglivy Mather, (www.ogilvy.com) New York

Survey: Satmetrix (http://www.satmetrix.com/)
Mary Hall, IBM SWG Channels Marketing (input messaging, implementation & offers)

IMPLEMENTATION:
Jennifer Cohen, Channels Marketing Manager

Bruno Bagala, Mid-Market Business Solutions and Business Partner IMC Manager , Worldwide Center of Excellence for Integrated Marketing Communications

Helen Hawrylak, IBM Global General Business
Manager, Cross-Unit Advocacy and Leadership

Jeb Harrison, Manager, IMC Center of Excellence, Business Partner Programs In a 4 week period, there have been over a thousand visits to the VoiceBP.com collaborative site for an overall survey completion rate of 16%. The most impressive thing about these statistics is that those who completed the survey did so without the offer of any “prize” or “incentive”. They participated in the survey because they are highly motivated to share information with IBM. Its very impressive that they stay online & complete the survey and the “Quick Poll” questions without receiving a gift at the end.

Clearly, this is a motivated audience eager to share their opinions! The results show that we have been successful in driving business partners to our new online partner forum. The comments on the surveys indicate that the partners are very pleased to have the opportunity to share information with IBM. So, the initial results support our campaign objectives. Our challenge will be to continue to build the Voice of the Business Partner site and blogging and more feedback mechanisms to it.