Increasing Employee Engagement with Interactive Communications

Macy’s Coast to Coast Digital Magazine

Keeping 130,000 nationwide employees informed, engaged, and interacting with company news.

With more than 130,000 associates located in hundreds of stores across the US and multiple corporate headquarters locations, Macy’s, Inc. faced a tremendous challenge communicating news, culture, and other information critical to effective operations and employee engagement. They also had a strong need to provide fashion news and style education to retail employees, building their confidence in assembling outfits and suggesting related products to delight customers, drive sales, and build relationships and consumer loyalty.

Information had to feature a strong visual aesthetic to ensure engagement; to add to the challenge, the vast majority of associates are in-store and lack computer access at work - which meant the company’s large-scale intranet wasn’t a complete solution.

Sanger & Eby created two targeted internal publications to address the challenges: quarterly company news and culture magazine “Coast to Coast,” and fashion-driven “IN Fashion,” designed to provide ideas and insights on fashion trends and styling as well as highlighting Macy’s extensive portfolio of exclusive private brands to retail associates.

While both publications were wildly successful, print presented several key limitations: printing and distribution costs were extensive, and high volumes of printed materials didn’t fit with the company’s deep-seated commitment to sustainability. Additionally, the long lead time required to produce these printed magazines restricted the ability to provide news in a timely, ongoing fashion. Finally, the one-way communications channel of print meant readers had little to no ability to interact, respond, and otherwise engage beyond reading. It was time for a new approach.

Sanger & Eby first conducted a company-wide survey to gain insights into what topics and functionality were most meaningful to audiences, and then leveraged our findings in creating an innovative interactive digital magazine platform. We developed positioning, an in-depth content strategy, and an internal marketing and promotional campaign to build awareness and drive users to the site, ensuring maximum reach and return on investment.

The new platform encompassed both Coast to Coast and IN Fashion, combining them into a single, content-rich responsive website with a sleek, high-end design. The new site covers business strategy, success stories, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, and community involvement, as well as fashion trends, insights, styling ideas, and relevant celebrity news, providing Macy’s associates with the information they need to help unify Macy’s massive, diverse workforce for optimal business results, as well as to generate higher customer satisfaction and stronger customer loyalty.

Built on the Umbraco content management system (CMS) to provide greater flexibility for the Corporate Communications team and support weekly content publishing, the site serves as a current, comprehensive company news source for all associates, regardless of location. Coast to Coast includes more photography than the former print version, as well as videos, contests, real-time trending articles, and the ability to subscribe to updates as they’re published. Interactive communications tools including in-line article polls and surveys, feedback form, and story idea submittal tool provide a channel back to the company and enable rich two-way communications.

Coast to Coast is a particularly elegant implementation of Umbraco, with forms, page content, homepage featured images and metadata all managed through the CMS. Sanger & Eby developed a solution that enables any number of content components to be added to each page, so site editors can mix and match videos, image sliders, callouts, images, polls, and content easily and seamlessly, providing maximum flexibility.

To facilitate internal promotion of new content, we developed a custom tool to automatically populate digital signage in Macy’s locations with the latest content straight from the website. To prevent having multiple instances of the same content, we automatically pull the same featured stories into the custom tool, making a potentially tedious and time-consuming process effortless and elegant.

The resulting digital magazine platform quickly grew into a vibrant and vital communications tool, experiencing continuous growth month over month, nearly quadrupling in users and sessions and more than doubling its subscriber list in less than six months. High time on site statistics indicate deep engagement with the content, and research shows high awareness and recall of content.

Visitors are able to read and respond to what they see on the site in ways they were never able to with print publications. Macy’s, which surveys employee engagement levels each year, has seen continually climbing engagement scores, and its diversity and community involvement levels have continued to grow.

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Sanger & Eby
501 Chestnut St.
Cincinnati, OH 45203

Katie Krafka
Director, Client Engagement
p. 513.784.9046

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Sanger & Eby

501 Chestnut Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203

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