December 1, 2014

What’s Next in Digital Communications for Government?

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So what’s next for digital communications in government? First and foremost is tools. Digital cross-channel tools are increasingly important to government communicators because with them they can effectively leverage their voice in today’s crowded communications marketplace. Not surprisingly, the most widely used tools are 1) websites, followed closely by 2) press releases, a conventional, but still necessary way of making announcements for many agencies. Rounding out the top five are 3) social networks, 4) web analytics and 5) email marketing coming in last.

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The reality of contemporary communications is that citizens expect to have digital experiences that work anytime and anywhere, personalized to their specific needs. Digital government strategies have begun to heed this reality through the increased use of mobile and a multiple-platform presence. This raises citizens’ expectations for digital government and drives further prevalence for these digital tools across many government departments and agencies.

The last section of this survey demonstrates that there is clearly some room for improvement. While websites, press releases and email have all been mainstays of digital communication since the late 1990’s, new communications tools leverage those channels in a much more effective way. Effective use of websites today means personalized content throughout consumer interaction with digital government, including e-forms and highly targeted email outreach. Only 19% currently use website personalization, despite the fact that 53% rate personalization and targeting as important or very important.”

The same shortcomings are reflected in communicators’ attitudes toward mobile technology. While we know from other reports 80% of people’s time is spent in mobile apps, only 31% of those surveyed currently use mobile apps to reach citizens, and just 42% currently have a mobile-optimized website. These results mirror government communicators’ web content management decisions—while 95% of communicators believe that content management is important or very important, less than half think they are effectively utilizing their content management systems.

These content management trends are visible in commercial companies as well. Many companies, including Adobe, have dramatically transformed their content strategies in recent years to keep pace with the changing digital communications landscape. The impact of updating digital tools is about more than just increasing revenue; for government it’s about increasing employee efficiency, saving time and taxpayer money and giving citizens the best possible digital government experience.

For more information on the survey findings, or to learn how Adobe can help your office, contact our team today.

1:18 PM Comments (0) Permalink
November 16, 2014

Government Communicators: What Keeps you up at Night?

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In last week’s blog we discussed the results of our 2014 Government Communicators Survey, in particular the dramatic shifts occuring in the world of government communicators alongside similar trends in the commercial space. Another interesting angle explored in the survey is what concerns may be keeping communicators up at night. Some of our most interesting findings were around their abilities to measure performance and engage their target audiences.

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This infographic highlights our finding that only 44% of non-managers and 66% of managers feel that their communications are reaching and engaging their target audiences. Neither group is overwhelmingly certain, but it begs the question: “who is right?”

In further discussions, we found that some of the disconnect comes from the definition of “engagement.” Engagement is not exposure, but rather the measurement of a constituent’s interaction with your agency’s key message. Engagement is different for each agency and goes beyond a single tactic to focus on overall customer experience across channels. Government communicators need to be able to answer the following questions:

  • Do constituents come to your website?
  • Did they find and fill out the right form?
  • Was it a good experience?
  • Will they come back?

After a positive experience, the next step in engagement is to have your constituents amplify your mission by sharing it with others, such as through their social media channels.

 

But why should government communicators care about being able to measure how much they are engaging with, and not just reaching, their desired audience?

 

The answer is simple: it is going to save money and it will alleviate other concerns. Engagement requires being where people want you to be—on mobile, social and web. And conveniently, in today’s mobile age, those channels are less expensive and far more accessible to people than your traditional interactions through phone banks and in-person conversation.

 

Metrics give you focus and tell you if you are helping to accomplish your agency’s mission. These cannot just be any metrics, but specific insights into how people are interacting across multiple channels. Government communicators need to look beyond email open rates, Twitter followers and web analytics, striving to analyze metrics against your agency’s objectives at a macro level. Having the tools and knowing what constitutes meaningful engagement to your agency can reap valuable benefits. Your team can focus on what is effective, validate impacts against the mission and, eventually, reduce those other concerns that keep you up at night.

 

Be sure to read the next post in this series discussing what the upcoming challenges are for government communicators entitled, “What’s Next in Government Communications?”

 

For more information on the survey findings, or to learn how Adobe can help your office, contact our team today.

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November 7, 2014

The Current Communications Landscape for Government Communicators

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Adobe recently conducted the 2014 Government Communicators Survey with our partners, the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) and FedInsider. We surveyed communicators across various government departments and agencies and asked them about the future of digital communications so as to better understand whether government communicators are noticing the same landscape shifts that their marketing counterparts are seeing in the commercial world.

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Our results clearly show that the answer is yes. As illustrated in this first infographic of our three-part series, government communicators are noticing tremendous change that is causing uncertainty. Unsurprisingly, digital cross-channel communications are becoming increasingly important to government communicators. This trend applies not only to those in the public affairs world, but also to agency leadership that is concerned about both message content and how it is being broadcast to citizens.

The results of the 2014 Government Communicators Survey closely mirror a similar survey we conducted in the commercial market to understand how marketers are seeing things change. The two most striking similarities are:

  • When asked whether methods of communication have changed more in the last 2 years than in the last 50 years,76% of commercial respondents agreed, along with 80% of government respondents.
  • Of the commercial marketers surveyed, 61% of respondents said that their digital marketing approaches are in a constant cycle of trial and error. In a similar question, 50% of government communications managers said that they feel the same.

What else do you think is changing in digital communications? If you’re interested, view the results of the commercially-focused Digital Distress survey.

Be sure to read the next post in this series of blogs discussing the challenges for government communicators entitled, “What Keeps the Government Communicator up at Night.”

For more information on the survey findings, or to learn how Adobe can help your office, contact our team today.

4:31 PM Permalink

2014 Government Communicators Survey Finds Need for Government to Improve Digital Communications

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Government departments and agencies face a unique set of challenges in keeping up with cutting edge communications technologies while adhering to strict budget parameters. A recent study conducted by Adobe  offers insight into the current state of digital communications in federal (civilian and military) and state government departments and agencies. The results show that government communicators feel they’ve fallen behind their counterparts in the private sector in terms of digital tools for content creation, cross-platform optimization and project management and evaluation. Although government communicators widely rate digital media tools as extremely important for doing their jobs, two-thirds feel that they do not currently have the tools they need to be effective.

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There are government departments and agencies that have already implemented advanced digital media tools with great success. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), part of U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) uses Adobe’s Creative Cloud as an integral part of their high-end collaborative media production pipeline. In particular, the Virtual Studio, which facilitates global collaboration between designers, web developers, video editors and post-production personnel from government and contractor agencies has resulted in significant cost savings and improved efficiency.

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But military personnel want more. Only 38% said that digital communications are currently very important to their department, while 65% agreed that digital communications should be very important. The military has fallen behind the federal government in this capacity, with only 47% of military communicators spending more than half of their outreach efforts on online and digital communication activities, compared to 71% of federal government employees.

Content Creation and Managment

Deloitte’s 2013 “Gov on the go”  highlighted the dramatic gap between government and private sector productivity, and the potential for implementation of cross-platform accessibility to help government agencies make up that lost ground. In fact, just a 10% increase in mobile effectiveness for federal government personnel would lead to an increase in productivity worth $2.7 billion annually.

The 2014 Government Communicators Survey echoes these results and demonstrates that military, federal, civilian and local government employees are eager to implement mobile technologies. Although only 31% currently use mobile apps, 97% say that it is important or very important to reach citizens and colleagues through mobile content. Similarly, 83% said it was important or very important to stay current in social media channels, while only 13% feel that their department is doing a very good job using social media platforms.

Importance of Digital copy

Another current setback to government efficiency is a lack of accurate means for evaluating effectiveness of communications efforts. Although 84% of government communicators feel that the value of their work can be measured, 54% are unsure about the effectiveness of their work. Without tools for identifying successful strategies, only 6% of government communicators strongly agree that their agency or department is effectively reaching its target audience, potentially resulting in a huge amount of wasted time and money.

In the coming weeks a series of blogs will look more closely at the results of this study and discuss the challenges government communicators face in today’s communications environment.

For more information on the survey findings, or to learn how Adobe can help your office, contact our team today.

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September 30, 2014

Does Creativity Drive Success In Government?

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Across Government IT leadership these days, the high-level focus has definitively shifted to address the three new basic commodities of the Information Age: Mobile, Social and Cloud. The explosive growth of connected citizens, social networking, mobile web browsing and cloud storage availability has challenged Government agencies to fundamentally redefine and re-architect services that were previously unimaginable or even nonexistent.

The Federal Government, once belabored and disrupted by this past decade’s major innovations, is now making concerted efforts to establish standards for bringing its digital services in line with the best private sector services, with its establishment of the U.S. Digital Service. In their excellent Playbook for building successful digital services in Government, the USDS stringently emphasizes the need for agencies to consider the End User as the central element of any service, and to understand that “the needs of people — not constraints of government structures or silos — should drive technical and design decisions.”

In other words: since the major innovations of the last decade — Mobile, Social and Cloud — will be the commodities of the next decade, the new frontier for Government agencies is Experience.

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In the private sector, we see disruptive technologies succeeding via a design-led experience. Startups like Über, Nest, AirBnB and Pinterest provide just a few examples of how a well-designed, user-centric experience not only add value to services — it becomes the *primary* value.

Graphic designers, imaging specialists, layout artists and multimedia personnel — once considered ancillary to the process of architecting services — have increasingly gained value as strategic decision makers, facing the front lines where user expectations and business requirements meet to determine the ultimate citizen experience.

Accordingly, Government leadership can foster successful citizen experience by adhering to another best practice from the private sector: fostering employee creativity.

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For years, business leaders have focused on things like employee productivity, process efficiency and workforce planning as the key success drivers for their companies. But over the past few years, the mindset has shifted. Leading companies recognize the importance of another key success driver – the need to infuse creativity into all aspects of business – from strategy and culture, to innovation and customer engagement.

Adobe and Forrester recently conducted a study that found that creative companies – those that encourage creative perspective, practices, and culture – outperform in both revenue growth and market share. 58% of respondents from creative companies said their revenues have strong growth (10%+ year-over-year), vs. only 20% of less-creative firms. And creative companies are 50% more likely to report a commanding market leadership position over competitors.

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For more information on the results of this study, and its impact for creating exceptional citizen experiences, check out this blog post from David Wadhwani, Adobe’s Senior Vice President of Digital Media, as well as this infographic.

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Adobe will also be highlighting this study at the Adobe MAX Conference this coming October 6-8 in Los Angeles, CA. If you’re a Government employee or contractor, and you’re attending Adobe MAX this year, please join us for the Digital Government Reception on Sunday October 5th! See you there!

2:31 PM Permalink
September 29, 2014

Moving to AEM Forms: It’s Easier Than You Think

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Adobe is well known for our PDF forms capabilities and the LiveCycle platform that has made it possible to deliver and integrate enterprise document solutions with our customers’ back-end systems. While PDF form capabilities and LiveCycle have matured, many organizations find themselves facing new challenges, serving an increasingly mobile and Web-centric world. Consumers,  citizens, and patients expect the same engaging experience in their business transactions that they enjoy in their day-to-day e-commerce Web interactions.

 

 

1) How do you enable citizens, employees, and other stakeholders to intuitively interact and collaborate with your organization across a growing array of devices in the market today?

2) How do you personalize the digital experiences that span every channel, from forms to websites and mobile apps, then automate related backend processes?

3) How do you gather and analyze data on the effectiveness of your website and forms to identify ways to continuously optimize experiences and minimize costs?

As a market leader in Web Experience Management and Digital Marketing, Adobe provides the best tools to address these new challenges. Earlier this year, we launched Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Forms. The AEM Forms solution leverages AEM Web Content Management capabilities, along with analytics from the Adobe Marketing Cloud, to help organizations easily develop, publish, and manage enterprise forms and documents for desktops and the mobile Web. This is especially beneficial in heavily regulated environments, such as government or healthcare, where security and workflow transparency are crucial.

We have seen an overwhelmingly positive response from customers about these new capabilities—but also a bit of confusion on how they can leverage them in their existing Adobe LiveCycle infrastructure. Do our customers have to do an expensive and time-consuming technical migration from LiveCycle to AEM Forms? Not at all; a lengthy migration isn’t required to take advantage of the new rich features in AEM Forms.

AEM Forms encompasses all of the capabilities of the LiveCycle platform and more. Existing LiveCycle customers can seamlessly upgrade their existing applications and can start developing customized forms for the Web and mobile devices. All of the powerful and mature capabilities of the LiveCycle platform are available to AEM Forms customers. So if you are excited about the possibilities of AEM Forms but worried about what it will take to get there—don’t be.

Check out the benefits of AEM Forms and contact us to learn how to upgrade today!

 

 

10:48 AM Permalink
August 18, 2014

Building a Creative Framework for the U.S. Navy

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Government organizations such as the U.S. Navy know that they need to keep pace with the private sector when it comes to technology. So, when the U.S. Navy needed a new creative framework for digital media, digital agency Left of Creative guided the military branch toward Adobe Creative Cloud.

First, Left of Creative recommended the U.S. Navy establish a collaborative creative workflow that would enable individuals across the country and around the world to work together. With server and storage requirements from technology partner Splice Media, the U.S. Navy brought Creative Cloud into its highly secure environment. With Left of Creative, the U.S. Navy is now elevating its standards for media quality, delivery, and security across platforms and devices.

“I’ve been a big advocate of making sure the government strives to innovate like other media producers,” says David Bellino, founder and CEO, Left of Creative. “Investing in technology such as Adobe Creative Cloud makes connecting teams inside and outside the government a very easy process. Plus, it meets the Navy’s IT and creative needs.”

For more information, please see the detailed Customer Success Story (PDF) and a video profile of this story on Adobe’s Government Customer Showcase.

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July 16, 2014

The Reinvention of Healthcare Experiences (part 2)

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With expectations conditioned by immersive retail experiences, consumers today are making better-informed decisions in almost every aspect of their lives. And in healthcare, where regulatory and competitive pressures have never been greater, the demand persists for secure omnichannel access to personalized content.

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(Meredith Daul, UnitedHealthcare;  Mike Jackson, Adobe) 

 

In the last post, I began sharing my “High 5” factors for agile healthcare marketers to consider as they strive to nurture meaningful connections and deliver measurable results in this dynamic environment.

Now let’s pick up where we left off…

 

4. Tap the Power of Community

The mainstream assimilation of mobile devices and related expectations of immediacy have more consumers turning to social media for validation. Social is the most convenient channel for consumers to connect with their peers and confirm the personal applicability of any messaging.

In fact, a recent PWC study revealed that nearly 90% of young adults (18-24) would engage in health activities or trust information found via social media, and more than 80% are likely to share that information with others.

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That may explain why many commercial marketers, in attempt to get in on the action, make the mistake of reactively chasing the latest buzz-word, trend, or social network.  Meanwhile in the public sector, program managers and communicators have traditionally erred in the opposite direction, making minimal investments in social media and missing out on cost-effective opportunities to connect with citizens.  That trend in government has been improving in recent years, however, particularly among public health agencies in the US.

For starters, healthcare marketers must demand strict adherence to privacy policies and a clear means of measuring ROI (more on that later). Additionally, innovators will leverage the multiple layers of social media to capitalize on its most valuable byproduct: access to unfiltered conversations occurring naturally between their customers.  By actively listening, marketers can go beyond “followers” and “likes” to develop more effective social strategies and even set organizational priorities that better align with the needs of the people they serve.

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July 14, 2014

Creative Cloud in Government: Summer 2014

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Adobe recently announced a number of major new updates across its Creative Cloud applications, including several significant new capabilities that Government agencies will find immediately beneficial:

  • Since 2007, Adobe InDesign has supported the export of ePub documents, which has become the defacto standard for digital books. In the 2014 release of InDesign CC, Government agencies can publish fixed-layout ePub 3.0 documents that preserve a pixel-perfect representation of a designer’s page geometry, support rich HTML5-based animations and interactivity, as well as video, audio and multi-language layouts (e.g. right-to-left text). Fixed-layout ePub will allow Government publishers the flexibility to distribute rich, interactive, searchable HTML-based documents without reliance on an external/cloud content hosting solution.
  • Since 2011, Adobe Muse has intrigued and delighted graphic designers who desired a simple, intuitive website creation tool that removed the burden of manually writing HTML code. Adobe Muse CC has matured into a well-integrated, full-featured member of the Creative tools family, to include mobile design, parallax scrolling, and more bleeding-edge HTML technology. In the Adobe Muse CC 2014 release, it has been completely re-architected as a native 64-bit application that can be deployed securely behind an Government firewall or on an offline computer. This will open many doors for secure agencies wanting to give their knowledge workers, administrators and designers easy, powerful and flexible communications tools.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro has become the industry standard tool for professional video editors, broadcasters and digital cinema. In its latest iteration, Adobe included exciting new capabilities for automatically Masking and Tracking moving objects inside video footage, which will save hours of manual labor for visual information analysts working in law enforcement, intelligence and forensics.
  • Creative Cloud Enterprise licensees may now deploy and manage their entitlements in several different ways; they can deploy their software anonymously using serial numbers (for offline environments), or they can now use a brand new Enterprise Dashboard to assign licenses to individuals across their teams.

As always, Adobe is hosting a Create Now 2014 World Tour, with a stop on Tues July 22, 2014 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. If you are in the area, make sure to register here now to learn about all these features, and many more!

And of course — for the latest, up-to-date info on deploying Adobe CC applications on your Secure/Offline environment, look no further than the comprehensive PDF presentation and video guide for Summer 2014 below:

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May 20, 2014

The Reinvention of Healthcare Experiences

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Opportunity in Disruption

With multiple transformational shifts occurring all at once, a perfect storm is brewing that will likely change the ways most Americans access their healthcare providers, services, and even information. It is ironic, however, that navigating through many of these major changes will seem increasingly familiar as innovative healthcare enterprises start to deliver experiences that resonate uniquely with each of their newly empowered customers.

That’s partly because the business of healthcare is gradually coming of age as individuals and families are making purchasing decisions, alongside brokers and large employer groups, more than ever before. So, in order to better serve their members and patients, health payers and providers are rethinking strategies to attract and retain them for long term relationships. And the key to any successful relationship is to understand as much as possible about your partner.

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The shift is also a result of several economic factors expected to impact healthcare even more, including an increasingly competitive landscape, a heightened focus on value-based reimbursement (rather than fee-for-service), and an aging baby boomer population.

 

Step-by-step

Previously, I wrote about the benefits of customer journey mapping as healthcare organizations strive to be relevant. Each step in a customer’s journey provides a critical opportunity for providers to better understand and serve her unique needs and motivators.

Similarly, from the enterprise perspective, there are incremental steps for agile healthcare marketers to consider in order to drive results in this new market and emerge as leaders of the pack.

Here, I’ll share the “High 5” –  top trends I identified while working with healthcare leaders worldwide, in both private and public sectors, to modernize experiences that produce results:

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