A few years ago, we interviewed Chris Peat about the CSR campaign he was running at BearingPoint, an international consulting firm. Since then, Chris has upgraded BearingPoint’s Walls.io subscription, and now multiple teams share the account, running social walls for various events all over the world.
The teams at BearingPoint still predominantly use social walls internally but sometimes share the user-generated content collected through these campaigns internally or even externally, for example, to raise awareness for the company’s CSR activities.
This time, we talked to Chris Peat again and Laura Staudinger, Senior Marketing Consultant at BearingPoint’s Munich office, who has been running one of BearingPoint’s biggest social walls. We wanted to know about their experience with Walls.io, the addition of our Direct Posts feature, and how they use social walls for internal and external marketing measures.
Global Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, BearingPoint
Senior Marketing Consultant,
Chris, the last time we talked, you had just finished 10 Days of Caring. What’s happened since?
Chris: The main difference since the last time we spoke is that we’ve embedded Walls.io a lot more into our organisation. We’ve found so many different use cases for social walls at BearingPoint. And the reason that we love Walls.io so much is that it allows everyone to feel part of that international community or part of an event community. It’s something that you just don’t get on ordinary social media platforms. It’s a different way of using social media. It’s really powerful and allows each person making a post to feel like they’re part of something bigger.
We want to enable our marketing and communication teams, so I decided to step back and let other people have their success. We now have three main regions using the account. We have the French-led team, we have the German-led team that Laura is leading, and then we have the predominately English-speaking team. Each region has one social wall, and they get to run with it.
We use one wall for our international training programmes including Be.School. And then, we have one for our international CSR campaigns, such as 10 Days of Caring or Let’s Cycle BearingPoint, which is our current CSR campaign.
Laura’s representing our largest region, and she’s been able to have the most fantastic success with this. She’s probably the biggest power user in this group.
So, Laura, how do you use Walls.io in your region?
Laura: We had an all-hands meeting for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Singapore coming up and, after two years of Corona during which nothing much had happened, we wanted to make it special.
And because of the things that Chris had done with firm-wide marketing, we wanted to have a social wall where people could find all the stuff related to the all-hands meeting. People post on LinkedIn or Instagram, but we were looking to get it all in one place, so people have one link, or place, where they can see all of it, including information about the event.
We kept using the wall for a couple of weeks after the meeting, and then we downloaded all the pictures and used some of them for posts on LinkedIn and Instagram. And now, of course, I have a lot of colleagues who want to have a social wall for their marketing events as well.
How are the other, not-regional, walls used?
Chris: We use one of our social walls for one of our biggest trainings called Be.School. It’s a multi-day, international training event. We bring everybody together from all corners of BearingPoint, from the US to Singapore, China, and Europe.
Laura: Everyone new to BearingPoint meets up, either in a city or, as it was for me two years ago, on Teams. And over two to five days, you learn how to be a consultant. You get some case studies to work on in a team, and you have to communicate with each other, but not everyone speaks the same language and has the same English skills. At the end of the training, you always have some games to play to get to know the other people so you can have a good connection with your international colleagues even after Be.School.
Chris: And there’s this motto at Be.School: “What happens at Be.School stays at Be.School”, which is where Direct Posts have been helpful. The wall is not a secret; it just doesn’t get shared anywhere else, so your manager doesn’t get to see it. It’s private within that group and has enabled everybody to foster a team spirit around participation at the event.
It’s had extremely good feedback. Everyone’s loved it, and we’ve moved from other social media platforms to Walls.io. And then what happens on that wall stays there. After a while, we get rid of that content and are ready to go again for the next session of Be.School.
Then we have Let’s Cycle Bearing Point. I suppose that’s internal and external because while the CSR activity is internal, we use the wall to create external awareness of what we’re doing.
We also had an internal Christmas campaign last year that we shared externally with our clients to wish them a happy Christmas. So even if it was internal content, we used it as part of an external campaign.
And then there’s the wall for #PurposePowerHours. BearingPoint offers every employee a set amount of hours that they can use for CSR-related activities. So you can do things that are organised through the firm, but you can also do activity that aligns with your own wishes. And we call that our “purpose power hours” because they’re power hours that you can use to make an impact.
We don’t mandate sharing about it, so that’s why you will only see 58 posts on the wall, but a huge number of hours have been donated to charitable causes by BearingPoint employees. We do encourage people to take a picture and show everyone how they’re spending their purpose power hours. We use the #PurposePowerHours social wall to give a bit of transparency on what people are doing to inspire others when they pick their activities and subsequently improve participation.
Laura: Chris bought the premium subscription for us, and we started to design our wall. We didn’t have any issues or challenges. And I know that we have this wall, and when my colleagues need it for an event, I can easily rearrange it. I know this is my branch, and I can take it from there.
Chris: I manage the CSR campaigns but, really, we do it together. BearingPoint’s big motto is “together”. There’s no hierarchy, so we run our social media teams very collaboratively.
How do you handle posts in different languages?
Chris: I would say posts in other languages are appreciated. Our usual business language is English, but because the platform is so visual, you get all you need from the images, even if posts are not in English. Sometimes, seeing a post in another language makes you feel part of an international community. At least, that’s how it can be felt in the UK. Laura, for you in Germany, what’s the reaction when you see things in French or English?
Laura: It’s not a problem at all. I think there were one or two French posts from the Swiss team. But you don’t pay a lot of attention to the text. You look at the pictures. That’s the main reason.
In fact, in Germany and Austria, people want to post in English. So I always have to tell them, “if you’re posting for your own country, please do it in German because the people speak German here”. You don’t need to be international. Just be yourself. So people mostly post in German and English.
If a post is in French — only a few people here speak French — then it’s just like Chris said, you can feel that it’s an international team. But you wouldn’t bother to translate it. You just look at the picture and say, “I don’t know what he wrote, but it doesn’t matter; it looks nice.”
Chris: It’s nice for people to feel part of something. I probably experience this more than Laura because Germany is our biggest office and has a big-office feel to it. But in other countries, the offices are not as large. And so it can have this smaller-company feel to it, which is nice, but it’s good to be reminded that you are part of something bigger.
And what Walls.io allows us to do with these campaigns, to make everybody feel like they’re part of something bigger. So when I see somebody posted a cycle ride in Romania, and then I’m challenged to do that ride again in the UK, it fosters that sense of community.
There’s a lot of emphasis at BearingPoint that you work not just within your office or your country or your region but collaborate through the whole of BearingPoint. It allows people to connect in an informal way across those campaigns, which also helps the campaigns. Because we couldn’t launch campaigns like this if it was just 100 people in London, there isn’t really enough firepower because the participation rate is not massive for every campaign. Whereas when you open the campaign up across all locations, it makes a huge difference.
Laura: I totally agree. I would also add that the social wall helped us deepen the experience because people could open the wall, like other people’s posts, and then show the wall to their friends. And even afterwards, because you can look the wall up again, you have a better memory of how nice the event was and to be with all your colleagues again after you haven’t seen them in three years.
It wouldn’t be the same if it was just a Teams channel because you have so many channels, and people are sending pictures on so many different platforms, so you can’t keep up. That’s why we have the one platform where people can go and they can see all of their favourite memories. And that deepens the engagement they have with BearingPoint.
Do you show any of the walls on screens during events?
Laura: We did at the all-hands meeting, but it was kind of short notice and I would have liked to have more screens. We showed it in the breaks on the biggest video wall. For future events, we would like to have some QR code stickers on the desks, walls, etc., so people can be reminded wherever they look that they should post something or check out the wall to see if there is something new on it. So for future events, there is a lot more that we want to do.
Chris: The wall for Be.School was on the screens at Be.School, and everyone participating in the training had access to it. And Let’s Cycle BearingPoint was promoted on social media externally and was shown on screens in some of the offices. The offices that participated in the challenge, ended up putting the wall on a screen, usually in reception.
Laura: We did a social media post on LinkedIn and two emails telling people that the wall would be up during the event. We also had a screen next to the food where the social wall scrolled up and down. Of course, it wasn’t enough. One screen isn’t enough for 3,000 people, but it was okay. It was visible enough, and people did used it.
Chris: I would say that things have changed because it’s so embedded in our marketing team now. One of the first questions that people will ask if there’s a bigger campaign with a lot of user-generated content is, “could we put this on a wall?” It’s become part of our standard toolkit in marketing to use Walls.io.
Chris: The 10 Days of Caring campaign was one of the most successful social media campaigns we have ever done. It was very important in terms of getting everybody to actively participate. And when it comes to internal activation of people and user-generated content, it was probably the biggest one to date.
After that campaign, we ran the Christmas campaign. That was before you had Direct Posts, and we noticed that people didn’t necessarily want to share their Christmas celebrations on LinkedIn. So wherever they wanted to put their content, we couldn’t get it. And where it was easy for us to get it, they didn’t want to put it.
So, in the end, we created a dedicated mailbox. And then we were manually copying all of these pictures of gingerbread houses and everything else and posting them to the wall ourselves. It’s a nice story, right? Because it leads to something positive. We did so much manual work. Every morning, I had to get my team to check the mailbox, put the posts up, copy the picture, and it was extremely laborious.
And when we came to be a repeat customer and went up to five walls, your colleague showed us this QR code feature, how you can just scan this with your phone and post directly to the wall. It was a total game changer for us because we had so much less to do.
Laura: The interesting thing for me, in the end, was that people weren’t posting on LinkedIn or Instagram. People were mainly posting directly to the wall. We said, “if you don’t want to share publicly, you can also use this QR code and post it to the wall”. And then 95% of all the posts ended up being Direct Posts.
That was very surprising to me, but now, in retrospect, it absolutely makes sense. Because you want to share photos that are not really meant to be seen publicly. You want to share them with your colleagues, but your colleagues might not follow you on Instagram or LinkedIn. But other people, who aren’t supposed to see these photos, will see them there. So the social wall was the perfect social media platform for exactly that. Share the funny pictures with your colleagues but no one else.
Chris: We have three use cases for social media walls at BearingPoint. Some of it is internal content that we use externally. Some of it is internal content that we only use internally. And then we have things like BearingPoint School, which is strictly internal, and transparency is not desirable, so that content doesn’t get shared anywhere else.
But that leaves the question, “how do you get people to participate?” And having that QR code was a big change for that. One of the things that we really value about Walls.io is the platform’s flexibility to allow us to take both options.
Anything else you’d like to say about how you use Walls.io at BearingPoint?
Laura: I was really surprised by social walls — that they actually work that well. I thought I would have to pressure people to post something and thought, “oh my god, another channel. Now I have to not only check LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter but also Walls.io to see if there’s anything happening there that I have to be aware of.” I thought I would have to beg people to post something so that at the end of the event, we wouldn’t have only three posts on the wall, all of which are mine.
So I was extremely surprised that it worked so well without much orchestration. Of course, we did do some orchestrating: During the first hour I asked ten people to post pictures of themselves arriving at the event. But other than those ten posts, all of the other 100 posts were organic. And I was positively surprised by that. People really liked it, and that’s why we will use it again for our events in the future.
BearingPoint is such a great example to show how different social walls can serve different purposes at a company and how the content collected with them can be used. It also shows all the different use cases a social wall can support.
Let’s break down the different ways social walls can be used and how the user-generated collected through the walls can be shared.
This is the classic social wall use we’ve seen loads over the years. You collect content via a hashtag or other sources from the public, the wall is shared with everyone, and so is the user-generated content collected from the wall.
BearingPoint does this with the various CSR campaigns they’ve run over the years, from 10 Days of Caring to the Christmas campaign and the current Let’s Cycle BearingPoint campaign. They collect content internally, showing all the good employees are doing, and then share either the wall or some of the content derived from it externally, either with clients or the public.
A good example of this is the all-hands meeting Laura has shared about. Although some of the content from the social wall was shared afterwards on LinkedIn, the wall itself was only used internally within BearingPoint.
BearingPoint Be.School has its own social wall but, for privacy reasons, neither the wall URL nor the content is ever shared outside of the participant group. With Walls.io, it’s easy for BearingPoint to wipe the content on the social wall after each batch of Be.School and get it ready for the next cohort, maintaining clear privacy boundaries between cohorts as well.
Walls.io Tip: Did you know you can set your social wall to be entirely private, not just hiding it from search engines but only making it accessible to people who have the secret link? Simply go to your Walls.io Dashboard Settings and navigate to Privacy & Tracking, where you can set your wall’s privacy to secret. You can, of course, set this individually for each wall in your account.
Combining a secret wall with our Direct Posts feature is a great solution to keeping internal content off social media entirely. I’m really glad to see that by adding this feature, we were able to save BearingPoint and countless other Walls.io customers a lot of work.
Community connection, employee engagement and employer branding
As Chris said, BearingPoint has found a variety of use cases for social walls.
First and foremost, they’re using social walls to bring together their international employee community. When your offices are spread out over the globe, it’s really important to create a connection between coworkers, and a social wall can help with that.
This showcase hopefully proves that you shouldn’t worry too much about people not always speaking the same languages. The visual elements of a social wall are strong enough on their own to create the desired effect of connection.
Social walls have the same effect in smaller communities as well, like the closed trainings at Be.School, or for company events like the all-hands meeting. Plus, in a time of communication overload, a social wall with direct posts is a great way to simplify communication and virtual interaction around any event, no matter the size.
Sharing CSR activities internally via a social wall can be great for employee engagement. It helps give other employees ideas for what they could do and motivates them to share their own activities. Meanwhile, sharing this type of content externally is fantastic for employer branding.
A Walls.io Premium account with multiple walls is a great way to give various teams or departments within the company agency. Each of them can tailor their social wall to their needs without interfering with another team.
Coordination is pretty easy since the account owner can just give other people access, adding them as moderators or administrators. The onboarding curve is very gentle, especially if the account owner already has an idea of how everything works, as Chris did from previous campaigns. Plus, if you really get stuck, you’ve got priority support from our amazing support team.