With innovative and interactive internal communication, optical lens manufacturer BBGR successfully integrates the Nikon brand into its company.
Founded in 1846, the French company BBGR is a world-renown manufacturer of optical glasses. And with a long and rich history of both human and technical expertise, it offers a full range of innovative products. Today, all BBGR employees, spread over 8 sites in France, work together to provide cutting-edge optical solutions to eyeglass wearers. Moreover, BBGR is historically the volume leader of the French optical lens market, with no less than 6 million lens-wearers being equipped with BBGR products each year.
In fact, the company employs nearly 700 people in France. In the production centers of Sézanne and Provins, more than 500 experts produce and distribute the 12 million glasses produced each year. And in the 5 commercial agencies spread over the national territory, nearly 100 advisors listen and respond to some 6,000 optician clients.
A partnership, a new identity, and new challenges
In 2016, BBGR entered into a partnership with Nikon, for the manufacture and marketing of Nikon lenses in France. A true revolution for the market, this strategic alliance combines all the know-how of Japanese technology in high precision optics with the experience and expertise of BBGR in manufacturing. This integration proved to be the origin of a profound transformation in terms of organization and culture for the BBGR teams.
According to Antoine Péchadre, the DHR at BBGR: “Throughout its history, BBGR has been a company with a unique brand; employees suddenly had to take ownership of the Nikon brand as well, something that wasn’t necessarily natural for everyone.”
So, how to address BBGR’s new positioning internally? How to effectively integrate the teams and the Nikon brand? What was the best way to unite the entire company and the various offices around a common identity and culture? And how do you quickly align employees with the new processes related to the relationship with Japan (Nikon’s home country) and the implementation of Nikon technologies in production?
Mobile, both targeted and two-way: towards reinvented communication
Faced with these challenges, the BBGR management committee wanted to get its French employees on board with a new communication plan to help with this exciting Nikon integration. This depended heavily on a totally reinvented communication strategy, as well as the DOPS mindset (Determination, Optimism, Pride, and Solidarity) that defines BBGR brand strategy as a whole.
It therefore became crucial to promote cross-functional communication, so that each employee could share the various reasons behind their pride and involvement with the company, while also consulting and encouraging other employees as well. For the company itself, which still relied on occasional internal communications by email, it became imperative to equip itself with a modern solution, accessible to all and totally unified.
In regards to that solution, BBGR wanted a tool that met the following main needs:
• Flexibility: In order to develop two-way communication, both top-down and bottom-up
• Targeting: So that certain messages can be addressed to specific audiences within the company
• Mobility: So that all of the company’s populations, including frontline production operators, can access the same essential information, at the same time
During its research, BBGR evaluated numerous market solutions, including intranet offerings for large accounts. But after comparing the features, support, and functionalities, BBGR decided on Sociabble:
• BBGR found Sociabble to be a modern, visual, and interactive tool. A mobile and online application offering powerful content creation capabilities, through accessible ergonomics (critical for users in the field).
• BBGR also recognized the great potential of a mobile-first application, making it possible to disseminate essential business information right into the pocket of every employee.
• Finally, the gamification environment (game mechanics built into the platform) to promote the sharing of company information.
Strategic and operational support was provided
To quickly achieve its objectives, BBGR was able to count on the help of a dedicated support team at Sociabble.
In addition to the technical support essential for the initial installation of Sociabble at the company, BBGR has also benefited from the ongoing support of a CSM (Customer Success Manager) to build the strategy most suited to the company’s unique situation.
The following are subjects for which the CSM was able to advise BBGR effectively:
• Definition of project success indicators
• Creation of audiences
• Structuring of the platform’s content channels
• Organization of appropriate governance
• Administration at launch and over time
• Creation of attractive and interactive content
All employees connected to the brand
Today, Sociabble has become the primary hub for BBGR communications. All employees can access it, wherever they are, at headquarters, in the field, on production lines, or in office branches.
For employees who have chosen to download the Sociabble app to their personal smartphone, this means continuous access to key company information and relevant notifications.
According to Antoine Péchadre, “It was absolutely necessary to engage our employees in the factory by betting on the accessible, intuitive, and fun dimensions of Sociabble.”
And to reach all company employees with relevant and engaging content, BBGR’s communications department now sends out a weekly newsletter. Thanks to Sociabble’s advanced newsletter engine, it has been possible to automate much of the work required for newsletter construction, content selection, layout, and distribution. At BBGR, as with many clients, the newsletter remains an important generator of visits to Sociabble.
Finally, in factories and at the head office, BBGR has adopted Sociabble’s Social Wall: in common spaces, on dedicated screens, the best of the communication platform is displayed on public flatscreens, thus bringing the company’s essential content to the greatest number of employees.
BBGR information made readily accessible
On a daily basis, Sociabble has become the complete tool for communication between management and employees; to transmit official BBGR information, make it accessible, understandable, and thus guarantee employee engagement.
Communication and HR departments have a means of instantly disseminating essential messages on the company’s strategy or processes, with formats and content adapted to each audience (all employees, specific populations of each site, and managers). These are visual, eye-catching posts, surveys, and even videos for big projects.
“Our factory operators are not all digital natives, and yet it was offering them relevant information and giving them the opportunity to express themselves that they found so wonderful,” says Nelly Bertrand.
Each day, one to two pieces of content are published, and fed into a newsletter and a weekly quiz, ensuring that key information is passed on.
An open conversation
Besides being the core component of dynamic communication at BBGR, Sociabble is also a means to enrich the conversations that occur between management and employees, and even a way to give the floor to the latter. At BBGR, the Sociabble platform is open to contributions from all employees, who can share the practical knowledge and businesses skills they have acquired on the job.
For BBGR, one of the keys to success has been including the whole company in the initiative. This first requires a significant mobilization of management, who must be active on the platform, but also accept that their employees will take ownership of the information they share as well. Educational support for users has been critical; explaining what is expected of them, and showing them the value of the platform are crucial factors for employee buy-in. Finally, it has proven essential to feed the platform with fresh content on a regular basis in order to bring attention to the platform itself.
But above all, setting up a platform like Sociabble proved to be an opportunity to shift everyone’s mindset about communication at BBGR. To be successful, communication must become a collective action, and everyone has to take into account that what they know and what they do on a daily basis may be of interest to their peers.
To learn how Sociabble can help bring your company’s Employee Communication to the next level, sign up here for a free demo.