Bull is taking a significant new step in its communications strategy, with the launch of Bull World, its Web TV channel. Why and how? Matthew Foxton, Bull’s Director of Communication explains.
Why are you launching a Web TV channel?
The role of Corporate Communications at Bull is to support the new dimension that the Group took on in 2009, by explaining our positioning and our vision, and by expanding awareness of our brands, recognition of our expertise and promotion of our offerings. In the space of just five years, Bull has become one of the major European players in the digital economy. For example, if you were to ask, “What is the best supercomputer in the world?” the answer would now be: “It’s French, it’s been designed by Bull, and it’s called bullx!” And it’s our American friends who have granted bullx!. That’s unprecedented in the IT industry! Some other examples, this time in outsourcing: 60 million French citizens can now log on to the French government services portal Mon.service-public.fr thanks to Bull’s hosting services. In the UK, the 200,000 citizens served by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council continue to praise the performance of our service quality.
Since 2005, we have developed our new corporate identity, created a new baseline Architect of an Open World™ – which is now more relevant than ever – and produced new communications materials such as our Open World magazine and the campaigns around our 7i and NEXT initiatives. But if we want to continue to convey the Group’s strategy efficiently, we have to take into account the changes in the world around us, and the markets in which we operate, in the way we address our audiences. What exactly are the changes? The omnipresence of the Internet in our everyday lives, especially with the increase in social networks and people’s mobility; the vital importance of technology and innovation for public and private sector organizations alike, especially in times of economic crisis; the growing pressure of environmental challenges; and finally, the speed at every level, which means flexibility, openness and security are all vital. Bull helps its customers to tackle these challenges, so it became apparent that a Web TV channel was an ideal communications channel for our world, and the best way to talk about it.
What are the main benefits of using an audiovisual medium?
We tried out the audiovisual approach at our recent international seminar in Paris last October. The debates were held in a TV studio, and this experience proved highly successful. We learnt two really important lessons from this: on the one hand, the participants felt relaxed in this slightly less formal situation, which encouraged them to speak more freely and with greater conviction; and on the other hand, the audience appreciated the dynamism of this format, which allowed us to get to the essentials of the argument quickly and to illustrate them in a lively way. What’s more, with current technologies, production, broadcasting and viewing are much simpler than ever before. So Web TV offers a really high level of responsiveness, while mobile and Web 2.0 environments allow us to get close to and interact with the audience. Finally, Web TV is a modern, high-tech and attractive solution. And in terms of image for a group like Bull, talking about innovation and technology using this kind of medium is particularly appropriate.
What kind of content will there be on Bull World?
Bull World will not be a place for highly formal presentations, but somewhere that people can meet and exchange ideas, most notably using Web 2.0 tools, being implemented in parallel with the new channel. We will be exploring subjects linked to the latest news, to events or a particular issue that we want to highlight. We will be treating these topics in a different way too, in line with the image we want to present: an innovation a conversation, a movement… An interview will not be in the form of a traditional interview, but a conversation. A report will not be just a series of images, but a moving sequence. There will be Breaking stories, Live debates and Hot picks … and of course it will shed light on our whole world of solutions and how they are being used by our customers. Bull World will be the showcase for Bull content on the Web! It should help to build up relationships, attract people to visit and make them want to come back again soon.
Of course, Bull World will be available on our Internet and Intranet sites – in English and French – as well as being relayed via the main social networking sites.
Who is Bull World mainly aimed at?
Everyone who comes into contact with Bull: customers, prospects, partners, journalists… will obviously be interested in Bull World, which will effectively complement existing communications materials. For our employees, we will have a number of programs broadcast over the Intranet which will highlight our expertise, our diversity and our successes in order to support the current, highly positive momentum within the Group. Bull has recruited heavily over the past years: half our employees have been with the company for less than five years, attracted by our roots in Open Source and the fact that we are not a traditional IT services firm. And if we want to bring on board the best talent, it is essential to show them that we are the kind of company where they will be able to be successful. That will be one of the key objectives for Bull World. And if this Web TV channel can also help to overcome a few misconceptions that their older compatriots may have about Bull, we would really welcome that too. So Bull World will show a Group that is totally renewing itself which, to be at the leading edge of information technologies, has to be at the leading edge in terms of communications too.