A global community of leaders who find business opportunities in addressing societal challenges seeks a growth-oriented home online.
The Shared Value Initiative (SVI) was looking for a website that could grow its online community— and its impact.
SVI is a learning community that launched following the positive reception of the idea of shared value, a management strategy that seeks the intersection of business opportunity and societal need. Founded and guided by FSG, the initiative boasts partners like Nestlé, Verizon, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
As the shared value strategy caught on, it became clear that it would need an online community to support the exchange of ideas and encourage learning and cooperation among shared value practitioners. In 2012, SVI was launched as Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action with the support of Mark Kramer and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter.
Blue Coda rescued SVI from a stagnant relationship with their former agency and provided them with the means for growth and success within their burgeoning community.
Many companies struggle to build their communities— not from lack of effort, but from a lack of the proper tools. Blue Coda implemented easy-to-use applications into SVI’s website design, resulting in a 38% increase in overall membership.
The Challenges: A Community With No Way to Grow
The key to a successful member-centric website is the engagement and participation of community members. Due to the structure of the website, members weren't encouraged to interact. Users had content pushed to them, and there was neither much user-generated content nor a sense of a peer-to-peer community.
As a result, the site functioned more as a static brochure than as an engaging environment. Many users didn’t even realize they could create a membership. Users who did sign-up for the community were not filling out their profile to completion.
The few comments actually posted within the community tended to be spam. In fact, when Blue Coda first spoke with SVI, the overflow of spam had forced them to disable commenting. Shared Value saw a lack of interest among members — the community wasn’t meeting its intended goal.
The Solution: Opportunities for Engagement
Blue Coda had to reimagine the way users interacted with Shared Value. Blue Coda needed to create a dynamic experience in which users would engage with the content and take action within the community. We aimed to give SVI much more administrative control by building new administrative user interfaces and allowing static parts of the website to be edited. This would allow the SVI team members to make day-to-day changes while our team focused on tackling larger aspects of the community rebuild.
Blue Coda efficiently updated major sections of the site to make up for the time that SVI had already lost on their static, non-engaging site. Those updates included:
- Site Architecture
- Public landing page
- Personalized private landing page
- Public unauthenticated community homepage
- Private authenticated community homepage
- Re-built administrative experience and created new interfaces
We focused on several user experience improvements through the site, including:
- Calls-to-action: The new user experience creates a funnel into the new public community landing page, and from there into registration.
- Streamlined UI: We created new user interfaces for the public front end and administrative back end. Content is easier to find for users, and The Initiative can edit the community through a new dashboard.
- Responsive designs: The Initiative can prioritize content for varying mobile layouts. The content appropriately scales to the correct size and can be strategically prioritized.
- Social integration: Social hover icons automatically populate content and reference SVI on related social profiles.
- Member-to-Member Connect: We created new functionality to allow members to “friend” each other on The Initiative community. Once members are connected, their activity shows up on each other’s feeds. As a result, members can quickly see activity of other users they know, which increases opportunities for engagement
The Results: A Growing Member Community
Membership jumped by 38% over the first couple of months after the launch of the updated site. Today, that growth is exponential with over 10,000 members registered on the SVI site.
Mehgan Ennes, the Community Coordinator at Shared Value said, “The custom configuration options that Blue Coda built out have made it so much easier and user-friendly to make significant front-end changes on the site. With a few clicks and autocomplete options, I can completely refresh content such as the homepage and spotlight page, which is essential for making sure our users return for fresh content. Being an editorial and content-based site, it’s a big help for us to have that kind of flexibility and control.”
With the online community going strong, SVI has already made plans for the future with Blue Coda. Together Blue Coda and SVI will work to make the client’s site responsive for use on all devices and cultivate an informational hub for all future users to utilize.