How we connected Fremantle’s  2,500+ global community onto a single platform.

Fremantle is one of the largest and most successful creators, producers and distributors of scripted and unscripted television content in the world. But for a global leader in content creation, the caliber of employee communications was not of a high enough standard.

The challenge

Fremantle employ 2,500 full-time people in over 30 countries and thousands more freelancers and contractors – who create leading entertainment shows like Got Talent, The X Factor, The Apprentice and blockbuster dramas such as American Gods, The Young Pope and My Brilliant Friend. Yet despite delivering knock-out content to their worldwide audiences, Fremantle were still communicating in antiquated ways with their people – presenting a genuine business problem.

From unknown readership of all-staff emails and an archaic, unused and inaccessible-to-most intranet. With no effective way to share video, make employees aware of their shows, celebrate in their successes, share best practice and allow all staff (full-time or not) to feel a part of a global collective endeavour – Fremantle found themselves at an impasse. With a new company purpose and brand identity launching imminently,  Fremantle wanted to use this moment to totally disrupt their internal communications and place technology at the heart of their world.

Insight which helped build our strategy

Fremantle employs a large millennial workforce, and with a workforce who are constantly on-the-go, living in a mobile-first world and often working on site on productions (and not in an office!) – they needed a solution fit for purpose.After an initial review and audit – it was decided to launch a global rollout of Workplace by Facebook to transform Fremantle’s internal communications. Similar to Facebook, Workplace provide a more social internal comms outlet to enable truly company-wide communication.

Details of the execution

Deciding on the solution was relatively easy. Making it happen – was…well less easy! Implementing and launching a global technology platform can always be challenging. Employees are creatures of habit and can often treat new internal platforms and projects with cynicism and suspicion. Our starting point was getting the senior execs on board; without them actively posting and engaging with colleagues, Workplace would not be a success. Acknowledging that many of the senior team either had zero social media presence or saw it as a play thing for the younger members of staff, we developed an immersive but fast training programme to change perceptions – The Value of a Like. Here we trained the senior exec team, right up to the CEO, on how to use Workplace and showcased the impact a simple like from a senior exec could have on an employee. We helped them develop their personal brand, their brand voice and educated them on how to produce their own content for the platform – shifting from broadcast messaging to more engagement-led comms.

Our next stage was to build an advocacy programme across the world.

We wanted a groundswell from the bottom-up to establish Workplace as the place to be so people wanted to join. This was our FOMO strategy! We recruited 150-200 employees as early adopters of the platform to help us plan the deployment, create content and become our global champions. By the time we were ready to launch, we already had a global team of creators and a vibrant community that set us up for success when we wanted to go live! So how do you launch something to the most creative content producers on the planet?

With an epic film launch of course!

We developed a film (in partnership with Ecstasy of Gold), showcasing 24 hours around the world of Fremantle, that had all the drama, action and production value you would expect from Fremantle. The concept was to take one day across the world of Fremantle, from sunrise to sundown, showing employees doing their thing and enjoying the new way of working. We chose a number of key functionalities of the platform (e.g. doing live-video, sharing work documents and keeping in touch with colleagues) and highlighted these with real employees in the film.

The video was aired live on the platform from Fremantle’s Global CEO with a welcome message to all employees. She also, on day one, did a live video to talk everyone through the importance of leaning in and using the platform. On launch day, photo booths were installed in Fremantle’s biggest offices around the world so employees could get together and take new profile photos – adding excitement to the day. A video agency set up base in their London HQ, took the photos and recorded video of photo booth activity from each location – turning it into video content that filled the platform for its first 24 hours.

The launch week culminated in a global live-streamed CEO ‘town hall’, staged in London and streamed live to staff in all 31 Fremantle territories. At the session, the new Fremantle brand identity and company purpose were unveiled and for the first time (and without anyone getting onto any planes) the company came together as one.

The results

Workplace has been a resounding success for Fremantle. Today, almost 80% of their global staff are on Workplace, with more than 60% actively engaged in conversations on the platform on a regular basis.

This is transformational.

But what’s even more telling are the stories. Fremantle’s teams are now posting regular updates in open Workplace groups, sharing their best practices with teams near and far, sparking conversations, democratising communications across the company, and developing innovations that are helping different teams to work better together (and that are improving the quality of their shows as a consequence).

Production teams are using it to run some of the biggest shows on the planet and are – for the first time – connected to the important freelancers, contractors and independent companies that they need every day to help them meet their schedules and keep on producing top-notch content.

The entire Spanish office, for example, use it exclusively for their work – exchanging call sheets, production times and run-throughs to deliver on show after show, day after day.

And the entire Australian team – based in Melbourne and Sydney – are using it as a means to come together, connect and share.

“Our whole workforce feel an increased sense of global community. We have staff in every territory talking to each other every day, with updates and news passing back and forth between colleagues, wherever in the world they’re based. Fremantle feels like a more collaborative, energised and connected global company as a result. We are proud to have worked with Coolr and Ecstasy of Gold to achieve this success.”

Oliver Rawlins, Group Director of Communications and Marketing at Fremantle.

Are you looking to connect your Global community or are you just interested in exploring what Workplace can do? As Facebook’s first ever partner for Workplace, Coolr are the experts and we’d love to help you. Get in touch with adam@wearecoolr.com or +44 (0)207  025 8130.

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