HIGHLY COMMENDED 2017
DRIVING THE DIGITAL INDUSTRIAL TRANSFORMATION: GE'S 125 YEAR OLD STORY
Most people have heard of General Electric; their logo is on light bulbs in homes, on airplane engines when we go on holiday, on MRI scanners in the hospital and on appliances in the kitchen – but that’s just the beginning.
What people don’t see is GE’s digital and technological capabilities that connect machines all over the world.
From trains to oil rigs, jet engines to hospital power grids, GE enable industrial objects to talk to each other in real time via the Industrial Internet of Things – moving, powering, building and curing the world through data and
innovation in industry.
People have heard of the Internet of Things (IoT) but few have heard of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Fewer yet have any idea of the very tangible impact it has on our daily life and the leading role GE is playing in
this emerging space.
Younger, sexier upstarts tend to get the headlines, such as Tesla, SpaceX and Uber. These new, lean and nimble start-ups are outwitting and out-shouting the larger, flat-footed competition. To counter this, GE have repositioned themselves. GE has gone from an industrial corporation to a digital industrial entrepreneur: in their own words, ‘the 125 year old start up’.
Our challenge was how to surface this new digital capability to GE’s core audience and customers in key markets where the brand perception was still heavily industrial. We needed to show key groups of C-suites and
Business Decision Makers that GE is impacting their lives and their businesses.
Our strategy was simple. We would show these key groups the breadth and depth of GE’s capabilities by providing fast, easy and clear access to information that would make their jobs easier.
GE’s customers aren’t just inundated with sales pitches, LinkedIn introductions and 200 page PDF documents – many of GE’s competitors use corporate scare tactics like “you’re not ready….”, “company Y has done this….” , followed by a list of technical phrases and jargon. Customers don’t want to be coerced, they want to be empowered. We needed to find a way to not just tell our audience how GE is changing the way industry works, but to make this information and data accessible. With this as our aim, we worked to position GE as the brand to help their audience make better decisions about their own businesses whilst creating a link between digital transformation and the brand.
GE produces a vast array of hugely valuable cross-industry news, thought-provoking articles and content; and they have a wealth of insightful data through their business units covering Oil & Gas, Power, Energy Connections,
Healthcare, Aviation and Transportation to name a few. We realised that we could tell the story of GE’s digital transformation across these industries whilst supporting customers in their own decision making by utilising GE’s own
extensive library of highly relevant material.
The focus of the strategy was to improve the discoverability and interactivity of the content that ordinarily lives on GEReports.com, enabling us to push the brand message about GE’s digital capabilities across industry sectors
around the world. Aligning with GE’s brand values we sought to do this in an innovative way that would give GE the platform to show their audience how they are leading the digital industrial revolution around the globe.
With GE driving the next wave of the industrial revolution and with Quartz positioned as a guide to the new global economy, it made for a natural fit. Quartz is a mobile-first global news platform for an intelligent and sophisticated business audience who are excited by change, so partnering with them allowed us to ensure speed, ease and depth of access to GE’s content
and connection to data.
Therefore, we focused on two digital executions connected by one principle; to harness the power of GE’s content and data, allowing us to simultaneously make the lives of their customers easier and tell the story of GE’s digital transformation.
WORLD IN MOTION – first launched in May 2015, an interactive and immersive experience featuring a 3D globe that users can spin, tilt and zoom to engage with GE’s content, which can also be filtered by geography and industry directly in-format. These highly relevant filters ensured that users could quickly review the content that is most interesting to them, thus limiting wastage in exposure, and saving valuable time for busy and high-powered individuals.
The unit was housed on its own web page, as well as being served out in the impactful ENGAGE+ banner across the Quartz site within key audience parameters. It was also hosted for 1 month on the GE.com homepage to improve visibility amongst GE’s own customers and employees. Content was consistently refreshed throughout the year, appearing first through a
summary content card and carousel before redirecting users directly to GEreports.com where the full article could be read.
ATLAS – the launch of Quartz’s new open source chart building platform in early 2016 powered by GE allowed the brand the opportunity to highlight its own connection with data. A sponsorship of the platform showed our audience that GE could bring them the latest innovation in data visualisation, and solidify the link between Quartz’s data creativity, and GE’s digital
leadership. Charts created using GE data were then distributed further across Quartz; and GE became the first company with employees fully on-boarded to the chart building tool – a key move in the digital industrial space.
Over 400 pieces of content covering all regions and business units are stored on the World in Motion hub, and in 2016 MEC and Quartz increased the digital industrial content by 225%.
Throughout 2016 over 15.4 million impressions were delivered and the average user spent 4.23 minutes exploring content (vs. 33.7m page views and 2.39 minutes on GE’s own website, GE.com).
World in Motion helped to drive a shift in brand perception across 2016. By natively integrating measurement tool Knotch, we were able to ask users if they felt that GE was leading the Digital Industrial revolution – 46% agreed in early 2016. However, by late 2016 more than 56% of users agreed that GE is a Digital Industrial company.
GE’s focus on ‘who’ engages with their brand, coupled with our ambition to deliver, revealed just how far-reaching our campaign had been. Reports showed engagement by a petro-physicist working for BP (Indonesia), a strategy director for Cisco (India), a senior government official from the Trade Mission (Japan), amongst many other C-suites and Business Decision Makers.
Atlas has become an indispensable tool for business leaders to create and distribute their own charts and visualisations. With 150+ bespoke GE charts telling stories through data, 2.9 million views were recorded in 2016. Top performing themes were Aviation, The Olympics and Innovation, reflecting the scale of GE’s businesses and broad appeal. 49% of the interactions were outside of the US – crucial in expanding awareness beyond the home market. 13.5% of engagements were C-suite and 46% in Technology/Engineering.
The results are clear – through these two activations GE successfully changed brand perception amongst an influential and global audience. Ultimately, we told the story of how a 125 year-old start up is driving the next phase of business transformation – the digital industrial era.