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Building Social Communities with Adobe CQ5


Often times, when talking about web experience management, the conversation stays with the idea of the “dot com” site. It takes a marketing, customer-engagement direction with the end goal usually being better sales conversion rates. Though incredibly valuable, that customer-focused conversation sort of turns a blind eye to many of the other possibilities a WEM platform, like Adobe CQ5, can provide. That kind of platform can be used as more than just a sales engine.

Today, the web serves as the single most powerful platform in the world for supporting social communities. It makes our social human nature scalable beyond any other means and every day more people realize that. While we’re all busy digitizing our personal relationships with one another, organizations are learning the value of being part of those relationships. A change is occurring where forward thinking companies have shifted focus from just being that necessary evil called “work” to being a positive part of each employee’s life beyond the daily grind. Such was the case for a recent client...

This client used a monthly print newsletter as the primary means of engagement with current and former employees. The newsletter included information about the goings on of the company, features about stand-out employees, and highlighted the company’s continual philanthropic involvement. This publication was so important, because the company has a proud base of employees and alumni, many of whom had worked there for decades. The organization realized the importance of staying connected, but using a traditional, paper-based vehicle for information had its drawbacks:

  • Readability, and therefore employee engagement, was not quantifiable.
  • The communication was one-way: “We speak, you listen.”
  • The publishing process was cumbersome and expensive. It takes a lot of time and effort to produce a print publication, and once monthly was difficult enough.

Having identified these pains, the client elected to use a new community website built on Adobe CQ5 as their new primary means of employee engagement. Together we implemented an application that improved their communication platform in the following ways:

  • Content Feedback. Articles in a paper publication are great for dispersing information, but there was no way to elicit feedback about the content. By digitizing the articles and enabling threaded commenting (using CQ5 Social Collaboration), the client is able to move the conversations about their content online. Articles also contain a “like” button for more quantitative feedback about their content. Now that feedback is visible to the organization and can be analyzed to improve the content strategy for the future.
  • Analytics Integration. The site hooks into Adobe SiteCatalyst for tracking page hits, click-throughs, and other metrics for measuring traffic. SiteCatalyst is a natural fit with CQ5, because of their direct integration points as part of the Adobe Digital Marketing Platform.  This is even truer in the newest release, CQ5.5, which boasts improved out-of-the-box integration with the formerly-Omniture platform. With CQ and SiteCatalyst, the client can use the information to create reports based on real data to influence their communication strategy moving forward.
  • Improved Content Agility. CQ5’s intuitive authoring environment removed the effort-based constraints of a “monthly publication”, by removing the need for a publishing cycle.  The time to build and publish a new story was brought down from weeks to only days. The client realized this benefit immediately after launch when an unexpected requirement for a “special edition” of the publication came up. They were able to launch the content over a weekend.
  • Engaging and Available Information. The new site adds a level of engagement to the content… things you just can’t get from a magazine. It boasts interactive carousels, videos, and image slideshows for showing more than just simple paragraphs of text. The site also included a mobile-friendly version (using CQ5 Mobile and Multi-Site Management) to make the information even more available, but without making the content publishing process more complicated.

When a WEM platform like Adobe CQ5 is promoted with so much marketing-speak, it’s easy to forget about all of the less obvious areas of business that platform could add value. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome at the marketing stuff too. With our help, our client was able to think a little outside of the box to use CQ5 to effectively interact with (not just distribute information to) their employees. The Social Collaboration, Mobile, Multi-Site Management, and many other CQ5 features made this an excellent use case for the platform and with effective implementation, turned the client into a very delighted customer.