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Digital Deployment Demands Communications Investment

Never underestimate the level of internal communications you have to do, both upwards to the exec and outwards to the market.

This is a view from Patrick Hoffstetter, chief digital officer at Renault-Nissan, who is behind the deployment of one of the world’s largest digital marketing transformation programmes.

Speaking at the Adobe Sumit EMEA yesterday, Hoffstetter said: “There is a need for information, data, and understanding of what is at stake with digital transformation. It’s one of our key learnings.”

Spanning six brands, more than 350 websites, and 170 markets, the Helios project began in early 2014 with the aim of creating a global digital customer engagement platform and a portal for the company’s dealership network.

The first site was launched in October 2014, and Renault-Nissan is now rolling out 10 new sites a month, with a view to cover every market by the end of 2017.

Navigating across two different organisational cultures—Renault’s already centralised structure and Nissan’s regionalised one—added to the complexity.

Hoffstetter explained: “The only way to drive this is to help the local market see it’s not about protecting the local market environment but also protecting the global strategy. The internal communications cost is huge.”

So far, the countries that are live on Helios are satisfied and starting to see an increase in share of audience from mobile, up to a third in some countries such as India and Brazil, where mobile use is dominant.

Other lessons Renault-Nissan has learnt include the importance of having an iterative release cycle in a programme of this scale. This not only helps stakeholder buy in, but also paves the way for further change.

“Helios is a great asset for Renault-Nissan. Through its accelerated deployment, it’s a way to move all sales and marketing people towards a digitally minded and customer-focused mindset,” said Hoffstetter. “We can, therefore, accelerate other [customer experience] projects we have in the pipeline.”

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