This week is BlueNotes’ second birthday. Pretty good for what could loosely be called a financial services start-up.
Like many start-ups, BlueNotes was conceived as a response to the opportunities being created by technology and the disruption of established business models.
Although BlueNotes exists within a financial services company, it’s a response to disruption in communications and media. A commtech startup I guess, rather than fintech.
What we were seeing about three years ago was the way our key audiences - customers, employees, the media and other stakeholders – were consuming information was changing dramatically.
We all now know the world has shifted but like many established players being disrupted, communicators are also invested in legacy systems, traditional skills and old ways of thinking about stakeholder engagement.
ACCEPTING THE SHIFT
One of the largest challenges in communications is accepting the pace of the digital shift and seizing the opportunity (and need) to change by building digital platforms and new ways to engage individuals directly and at scale.
This is not about using digital to communicate in the way we have in the past, by broadcasting the content we want to and expecting stakeholders to accept what we say. Now it is about always thinking from the audience’s perspective.
We need to listen, to respond, be relevant and be topical. And when we contribute our content must be compelling and authentic.
That is why BlueNotes’ focus is on insight, analysis, opinion which reflects the world in which we are operating with all its challenges, opportunity, controversy and change.
The content reflects our corporate character, not a corporate message. In fact, around a third of content is not from ANZ, even less is about ANZ, and now, every week, we share the non-finance pieces that we have read and which fascinate or inspire us.
BlueNotes is part of a change to create a new approach to stakeholder engagement.
We’ve been lucky enough to have had some ‘venture capital’ to start, the opportunity to experiment and we have survived like any good start-up based on talent, drive and creativity. And we have delivered some really encouraging results.
There have been 500,000 unique views of BlueNotes and this is now averaging around 65,000 UVs a month. Social media accounts for 20 per cent of traffic with over 6,000 Twitter followers and 5,000 external newsletter subscribers. BlueNotes also been recognised through awards in Australia and internationally.
It is a happy birthday.
We are continuing to learn. Not all of it has been easy: learning how to support the journalism inside a corporate environment; how to ensure diversity among contributors; ensuring our content and readership reflects the geographic breadth of our business; shifting resources from legacy channels to content-based engagement opportunities; creating new job roles from limited resources; learning new technology and project management skills; and building new content-focused partnerships internally and externally.
And there is plenty more to learn through greater engagement with individual readers – and one opportunity of commtech is the richer data and analytics that can be used to guide our engagement.
To me these two issues are at the heart of the digital transformation of communications. Using data to uncover and pursue new opportunities for broader and more meaningful conversations, along with empowering our employees and creating channels and platforms to directly connect to individual stakeholders in order build a new foundation of understanding, support and joint action.
This means that BlueNotes will continue to change and evolve and that the best birthdays for BlueNotes are still ahead of us.
No birthday is complete without acknowledgements. It’s been inspiring to work with a first class team on BlueNotes; the core team led by Andrew Cornell, the managing editor, Shane White, our producer/editor, and Jenny Farmer, our design and technology producer along with a great support group in Corporate Communications, our contributors from inside and outside ANZ and of course all of you who read, share and comment on our stories.
Happy birthday BlueNotes and thank you everyone for coming along on the ride.
Paul Edwards is publisher at BlueNotes
Illustration: Chris Kelly. Corporate caricatures & illustrations.