Telling a Story Through Employee Engagement: Penguin Books Canada

samanthamehra    October 18, 2017

Welcoming employees into your digital content strategy isn’t always easy, especially if your company represents a niche product or service that might not lend itself to community-building on social channels. For Penguin | Random House Canada, however, demonstrating employee engagement appears easy enough. Like many successful shops, Penguin recognizes that the core of their business is a widely-celebrated object, for customers and staff alike: the book. Through its recent content strategy, followers have come to understand that Penguin employees are a fans as well.

The company has certainly acknowledged that there is an overlap of customer-employee in its ranks, and has showcased the fact that its staff believe and engage with the product whole-heartedly. This accomplishes several things simultaneously, but most importantly: the promotion of their books and authors; and the image of employee acknowledgement and appreciation. Not at all a bad combination!

As such, the marketing team at Penguin Canada has successfully involved its employees in its social media strategy, particularly on Instagram and Twitter. Given that Penguin is constantly launching new products, its social platforms are saturated with images of celebrations, author visits to the office, book signings, and “staff picks”. These celebrity events sometimes take place in the Penguin offices, offering us insight into the exciting atmosphere of the Penguin workplace, and the employees’ engagement with these events, authors, and associated products. Within the last few months alone, Chefs Michael Smith and Lynn Crawford were featured signing books at the Penguin offices; Gordon Lightfoot sang the audience a song at Penguin’s launch of the singer’s book; and recent Man Booker Prize-winner George Saunders gave a Q & A and book signing, all of which saw staff in the audience, capturing the action.

More recently, Penguin featured a “What We’re Reading” post on Instagram, profiling photos of staff and their favourite books on National Read A Book Day. Similar to the “staff picks” you see at Indigo! or Chapters locations, Penguin sussed out its staff (who are voracious readers) and their favoured books, giving followers some insight into the offices and the employees engagement with the product they work to support. And, too, they aligned this strategy with a larger viral, national campaign.

Lessons for Others

Within the grand scheme of its larger strategy of profiling authors, bold images of new releases, and company events, employee engagement plays a small but important part. At once, it acknowledges the staff for its confidence and celebration of Penguin Books; conveys the image of an exciting and engaged workplace; and promotes the products that it is churning out at an impressive rate. Since digital book sales are down, and print sales are up, Penguin is doing something right. And, hopefully, books will never be in danger of going out of style.

Organization: Penguin Random House Canada
Industry: Publishing
Name of Organization Contact: Shannon Poos

Authored by: Samantha Mehra

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