In the fall of 2021, Hitachi Vantara marketing and communications made the strategic decision to create a site within its corporate website dedicated to thought leadership. With evidence mounting from everyone from Edelman to LinkedIn, enterprise and business-to-business companies were spending more than 80% of their purchasing cycle ‘self-learning’ about potential suppliers. Only then would they contact the supplier. Thought leadership has become a critical step in this process because, when done properly and consistently, it explains why a company or organization is doing what it is doing; it shares points-of-views and wraps context around trends, innovations and strategies. And that is what led to the creation of “Insights by Hitachi Vantara.”
Bringing Insights to life took a multilayered approach. It included dedicating an internal web team to design the layout; a content team to outline the parameters of the site including section topics; and the hiring of a subject matter expert dedicated to managing the site daily, by establishing a roster of SMEs, creating the edit guidelines to share and follow and to evangelize the program companywide. One early challenge was on the content creation end. Policing the site to ensure that no product-related, news-related, or traditional case study copy was allowed meant ruffling the feathers of marketers, sellers and even some senior leaders, who were accustomed to submitting copy in their own format. But to execute thought leadership correctly, it must be positioned in a particular, deliberate, and consistent manner. In other words, it was more of a cultural challenge.
The results of Insights have been extremely gratifying. Since its launch on Jan. 17, 2022, the company posted 69 stories which generated 110,000 pageviews and a bounce rate of 44.6%, which far exceeded our goals. The success is attributed to a number of things, but mainly, a laser focus on story quality with no deviation into product content; an adherence to high frequency (at least one new story per week); thoughtful selection of imagery to support the stories; and extreme alignment with our social team to amplify and share the stories across the Hitachi Vantara social communities, as well as the internal community.
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