Successful businesses don’t grow by resting on their laurels. They value new thinking and innovative ideas to set themselves apart in a landscape crowded with existing competitors and nimble upstarts.
The willingness to innovate and embrace new thinking are a few of the core values that set one of the nation’s largest diversified media and information companies – the 125-year-old Hearst Corporation – apart from its competitors.
Recognizing that the company’s website should be as much a reflection of its values and vision as it is a source of press releases, job openings and contact information, Hearst partnered with Code and Theory to build a bold, new digital home.
The goal was to create a differentiated yet useful site experience that simultaneously showcased the variety of Hearst’s offerings while breaking down the notion of what the public face of a corporation should be online.
We know that readers explore and engage more when their introduction to content is short and “snackable.”
So, we developed a system of flexible content cards to give visitors a quick glimpse of all the happenings and important stories at both Hearst Corporate as well as its portfolio companies across their various divisions.
The cards provide users with an ever-evolving snapshot of the company, showcasing content and news from across Hearst’s myriad business divisions and properties, uniquely tailored to what’s happening “now.”
In the beginning, we asked ourselves: Why do people visit a corporate site?
The answer is that every visitor is different. You could be a new employee looking to get involved, a reporter looking for more background or a new lead, or a startup with a great idea looking to find a partner to bring that idea into reality. Due to this, we had to ensure that the site experience served a myriad of use cases by creating a clear and consistent UI, a simple navigational structure, and clear pathing between related content.
The beauty of the new Hearst.com is that not only does it function beautifully on any device, the entire experience is uniquely tailored to every individual.
For instance, we developed location-specific modules that would display unique content to company employees or users accessing the website within the Hearst Tower in New York City. Content could range from a schedule of events taking place within the Hearst Tower that day, or the latest company-wide memo from Hearst Magazines President David Carey.
To truly understand Hearst communicates its message across all platforms – its website, internal and external e-newsletters, and social media – Code and Theory embedded itself in Hearst’s 2-person Corporate Communications newsroom.
Collaborating with Hearst’s editorial team during the development process allowed us to build a fully-custom Content Management System solution that maximizes the team’s efficiency without disrupting their existing workflow.
The tool provides an easy way for the small team to keep the site feeling fresh, dynamic and new, every single day. For example, the “Front Pages” feature, which auto-updates every morning with a Page A1 snapshot from every newspaper in the Hearst portfolio, from the Albany Times Union to the Houston Chronicle.
Site editors now have the power to update site content daily, and easily drag-and-drop this content to build the “Hearstlink” e-newsletter, which is sent every week to more than 20,000 employees working across hundreds of diversified businesses around the world.
The relaunch of Hearst.com shows what is possible when a company’s values and the latest technological innovations align.
If history is any judge, Hearst’s next 125 years are gearing up to be their most exciting yet.