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Strong digital communications are often the primary factor that differentiates leading corporate brands from their peers. New research shows that the ability of a company’s digital channels and website to connect and engage with its audience and stakeholders directly is critical in developing and sustaining profitable relationships. However, recent research by Radley Yeldar suggests that FTSE 350 corporate brands are falling short when it comes to meeting the digital communications standards necessary for today’s modern business environment.
The Digital Maturity Survey (2015) provided valuable information on where mobile apps, intranets and social media channels, among other platforms, lacked the coherence required to bring in customers. Today however, there are signs of progress with more than 70% of FTSE firms embracing mobile, and almost half of them creating responsive websites. However, the overall standard is still average.
Radley Yeldar’s survey focuses on digital effectiveness with the corporate website as a key indicator, and looks at best practices among the FTSE250 and FTSE100. On top of the list lies AstraZeneca, the well-known British pharmaceutical company, that has climbed 61 places after the launch of their new website. They are followed by SABMiller, Shell, GSK, and Unilever. What is common among the top five is the supreme effectiveness of their digital communications.
The research also revealed that (in terms of digital performance), the FTSE250 is well behind its counterparts from the FTSE100 with the distance continuing to increase. Yet, there is also a gap between the top five and the rest that’s growing by the day. This is probably because many FTSE100 and FTSE250 corporate brands lack the digital experience required (web experience and web content), according to Radley Yeldar’s digital director, Richard Coope.
Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are the top performing ones as they seem to be capitalising on the digital opportunity, as opposed to companies in the retail industry and finance services that are showing particular weakness, particularly when it comes to the quality of their websites (i.e. how easy it was to complete a simple task, such as applying for a job opening) and digital overall.
What companies can do to enhance their digital communications is to create a clear business message and serialise content. But, in some cases, they may also see significant positive changes if they simply redesign or update their website, making it easier to navigate, mobile-optimised, and more fit for the purpose. Major consumer brands, such as RBS and Tesco, are not even in the top 50.
James Leighton Davis is a Customer Acquisition Consultant, Interim Digital Director and NED, primarily for PE-and-VC-backed companies across B2C, B2B and D2C markets in both the UK and Australia. Further information is available at leightondavis.com.
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