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Rio Tinto

Connecting a global workforce

As one of the world’s largest metals and mining companies with over 55,000 employees working across more than 40 countries, developing engaging communications that connect and inspire a global workforce is vital.

We have worked with the corporate communications team at Rio Tinto for over 10 years and during this time we were commissioned to design and produce Spirit magazine – the Group’s flagship quarterly global publication for all employees.

After five successful years as a dual-language, print based publication, and in line with the Group's broader strategy to adopt digitally-led communication channels, it was a logical development to move Spirit to an online magazine format.

Embracing the flexibility and immediacy of digital publishing, it was agreed to use the Group intranet SharePoint platform to develop Spirit as a ‘live’ publication as opposed to an edition-based communication.

The starting point for the project comprised a detailed technical scoping phase working alongside the communications team and in-house SharePoint developers. Sitting within the News Hub section of the intranet, we worked with the client team to asses user journeys, information architecture and implement a phase of detailed wireframing.

Utilising the Microsoft platform and the growing use of yammer within Rio Tinto, we also incorporated the integration of Yammer as a key tool to encourage dialogue and discussion around content. After developing an editorial platform and associated content types, we started to create a flexible design concept to cater for the breadth of articles and information defined within the planning stages.

Working within the identity guidelines, a colour palette was carefully selected to focus on regional and global news and each article was designed to cater for various content types including pull-out figures, maps, side boxes, small and large pictures, a carousel with captions and an integrated video player.

Spirit online gives employees the best possible insight into Rio Tinto's business, highlighting innovation, showcasing their world-class work and people, demonstrating sustainability activities and raising the profile of safety through a range of articles in each region of the world.

Designed and developed to be fully mobile optimised and multilingual, a filtering system gives users quick access to relevant information and access to archived articles. In addition to tags, filtering can also be applied by date and a text based search option is available across article content.

For those with little or no access online we also designed a summary quarterly printed version to sit alongside the digital publication and promote the online content.

Taking Spirit into a digital format has quickly encouraged a continuous process of engagement from employees, providing a considerably more effective and timely flow of content.

In addition, Spirit is now considerably easier to manage and generate content for as well as offering a considerably more cost-effective publication by removing centralised print and distribution.