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Building a corporate reputation through social media [S2E2]

We talked to Kelsey Nebbeling, Social Media Senior Manager at Reckitt, about corporate social media strategy, measurement, and turning the output into impact. 

With special guest, Kelsey Nebbeling, Reckitt

This month on the Sharing Social podcast, Base Creative and ContentCal joined forces once again to interview the Social Media Senior Manager of Reckitt, the company behind some of the world’s most recognisable and trusted consumer brands in hygiene, health and nutrition.

Meet Kelsey Nebbeling. She leads on the global social media strategy and presence for the Reckitt corporate brand. Kelsey has over 9 years’ experience working across digital communications and marketing. 

In this post, we’ll be covering some of the biggest learnings from our interview with Kelsey, including social media strategy, measurement, and turning the output into impact. 

Key takeaways from this episode

Who is Reckitt? 

Reckitt manages brands that you’ll be familiar with in your own home, including Nurofen, Durex, and Airwick.

Having launched a new purpose in February 2020, and gone through a rebrand earlier in 2021, there have been plenty of challenges faced along the way, especially when it comes to expanding the social team. Previously their social media output was managed by a third of a person – that’s a challenge in itself! 

One of the major focuses within the past year has been to build Reckitt’s corporate reputation on social, improving their brand awareness to become more consumer-facing than ever before.

How is Reckitt using social media in its strategy? 

Reckitt has different goals for their social media activity, depending on whether they’re focusing on their external or internal objectives.

From an external perspective, Reckitt’s efforts are heavily focused on letting consumers know who the company behind the brands they love is. They want to know if they’re sustainable, what other brands they manage, and if they’re a responsible business. 

From an internal perspective, the focus has been around ensuring that Reckitt is positioned correctly since the rebrand earlier this year. One major consideration has been to ensure that the new purpose is clear: 

We exist to protect, heal and nurture and the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world.”

Kelsey Nebbeling

In addition to this, social is used to help with talent acquisition and is also a way for employees to keep up to date with the latest updates at Reckitt. 

How has Reckitt’s social media presence evolved over the last few years? 

As we mentioned earlier, Reckitt was previously managed by a third of a person. This was back in what was very much the infancy of what corporations looked like on social media. 

Over the last couple of years, Kelsey has helped build out the team, so there are more resources available to think about social strategically. This has allowed Reckitt to get wider buy-in from the team – even bringing in a measurement team to help understand the metrics which have had valuable outputs from social media activity. 

What channels does Reckitt focus on in their social media strategy? 

At the moment, Reckitt’s main focus is across LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Each channel is used with a different objective in mind: 

  • LinkedIn – with the goal of driving the corporate brand and specific ROI. 
    • E.g. determining how many hires Reckitt has from people seeing their content. 
  • Twitter – to specifically talk to media, NGOs, and investors. 
  • Instagram – used as an internal channel to update employees on the latest news, along with talent acquisition. 
  • Facebook – great targeting for paid, but yet to be decided if it’s important for the long term. 

How do you turn output metrics into impact?

Something that kept cropping up in this interview was turning output metrics into impact. We asked how Reckitt was able to achieve this. 

To begin with, it’s important to work with all the internal teams, this includes investor relations and brand teams. Social shouldn’t work in a silo, it’s most impactful when it’s connected to all areas of the business. 

From here, Reckitt breaks down the different types of impact. It could be building brand awareness, hiring talent via LinkedIn, or perhaps measuring the number of downloads of a report. 

How does Reckitt measure success?

A recurring area of focus for Reckitt is raising brand awareness, so impressions and reach are measured carefully. For some, these might be considered vanity metrics, but Reckitt believes these are still very valuable as they’ve found them to be so impactful. 

Additionally, engagement and engagement rate are monitored closely on LinkedIn and Instagram. Kelsey mentioned that Reckitt looks at the user journey carefully to see what happens after these engagements on social. What links are these engaged users clicking on, where do they end up on the website, and what do they do on the website? 

All of this helps to build up an accurate picture of how audiences are responding to the content being published and allow Reckitt to adapt their content as necessary to ensure they’re on the right track to achieve their goals. 

How does Reckitt respond to a crisis?

Reckitt works with their external affairs team, which helps Reckitt manage anything happening externally, whether it be comments or anything else picked up by their social listening tool Social Studio. 

Kesley went on to mention how important is to work really closely with the team so that an appropriate plan can be actioned. She stated how important it is to have a robust and integrated team so that Reckitt can respond, not react. 

Listen to the full interview we had with Kelsey to learn more about the ins and outs of Reckitt’s social media strategy. She shares plenty of advice on incorporating employee advocacy, some of the specific challenges when managing a rebrand for a global brand, and how to get further buy-in from the team. 

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Episode highlights

Read the full transcript

Iain Scott  0:00  

Welcome to Episode Two of our second series of Sharing Social, the monthly show that connects the people behind the hashtags together with content, ideas and insights, starting off as an in-person event, moving to virtual and evolving into the podcast. Did you miss our first episode? You really did miss out. We had Nada Alkutbi, the Social Media Lead from IBM, on the show last month, and it was truly insightful. Nada spoke about building an influencer marketing strategy. Becca, you remember that? What was your biggest takeaway from last month’s podcast?

Rebecca Holloway  0:38  

I really loved everything that Nada said about team empowerment and employee advocacy, so sitting down with everyone and helping your team come up with a social media plan because sometimes that can feel really daunting to people. They know they’re supposed to post but what are you gonna post and I thought she had a really, really good framework for achieving that. I love that.

Iain Scott  1:03  

Yeah, I agree with that. I thought it was a fascinating episode actually. Great to kick off our second series, you can listen to the last episode on Spotify, or Apple now. This series is a collaboration between digital marketing agency Base Creative and the social media platform we know and love, ContentCal. Each show we’ll bring on a very special guest to share their knowledge and their insight too. My name is Iain, I’m the founder of Base Creative and I’m with Becca, who works with me as a Social Media Consultant. And we’ve also got social media superbug founder of ContentCal, Andy Lambert. Today our hero for this episode is Kelsey Nebbeling, Social Media Senior Manager for Reckitt, the brand behind some of the world’s most recognisable consumer brands, like Nurofen, Dettol, and of course, everyone remembers Barry Scott from Cillit Bang. That’s the theme of today’s show though. We’re managing social media within corporate communications, a route we haven’t taken before. And I cannot wait to get some of Kelsey’s insight into building a corporate reputation inside social media. Andy, let me bring you in here. You’re like the Barry Scott of social media. Is that right?

Andy Lambert  2:19  

I’ve never been called that before. But you know what? I’ll take it. I will take it. So not quite as famous, unfortunately. But yeah, we’ll work on that.

Iain Scott  2:27  

So Andy, what did you think about what are your biggest takeaways from last month’s podcast?

Andy Lambert  2:32  

Yeah, I loved it. So yeah, you already mentioned this, but the influencers, the partners, the ambassador piece, social media is a collaborative affair. I mean, Becca already touched on this, like having other people work with you to help create and distribute your content strategy. So, so important. Yeah. So a lot of lessons in that one. And then we’re going to get a whole bunch of new lessons from a very different perspective. So Kelsey, utterly wonderful to meet you. How are you doing today?

Kelsey Nebbeling  3:00  

I’m great. Thank you. Really good to be here.

Andy Lambert  3:02  

Thank you. I’m really, really pleased. Absolute pleasure. So yeah, you’ve had quite an interesting journey to where you’ve got to, Social Media Senior Manager. So, you’re fairly recent into this job, nine months in, I think, if I’m correct, so give us a feel for how your career at Reckitt has prepared you for what you’re doing right now?

Kelsey Nebbeling  3:23  

Yeah, sure. So yeah, as you said, Really recent into this role. And this being a very specialised role, particularly on social media. However, I have been working across social media for the past few years at Reckitt, I came into the corporate communication team in 2016, was looking after the channels really, in a sense, working with the team on how we’re going to position those. And since then, I built out and was working on more of a holistic digital role. But as we’ve built out the function, and as we’ve got more buy-in really into what we’re doing, and as we’ve proven ourselves, I think, as a function, we’ve got more resources and more capabilities in-house to be able to properly think about these things strategically. So moving from last year really looking after everything digital, in a sense, with social media only really being about a third of my role. Now moving into a role that’s much more specialised across social and I can really start to unlock where we can make that impact from our channels. So really, at the beginning of our journey as a business, which is crazy, if you think about us being a massive corporation, we’ve got 43,000 colleagues across the globe. A third of a person was looking after our social recently, but we’re really excited to be able to see how we can drive further. And we’ve already started to do that as well. We’ve already made a lot of impact across the past three years so when I first started In 2015, the whole landscape looked really different. But we were RB at that point as well. So we weren’t even the company that we are today. So, so really different. No, no, it’s been great coming along this journey as well with Reckitt.

Andy Lambert  5:14  

That’s fascinating. So let’s unpack that, because there’s a few nuggets in there that are really interesting. So you mentioned that social media, despite the size of Reckitt, as you’ve already alluded to, was managed by a third of a person prior to you.

Kelsey Nebbeling  5:27  

Yes, for the corporate brand, so obviously, we do have brands like Cillit Bang, like Durex, obviously, all of these brands have had to have big teams, they’ve got big digital marketing teams, they’ve got a presence, you’ve probably seen them all over the place. So this is the Reckitt brand. And that is the case, if you think about Reckitt, or people probably don’t think about Reckitt because people don’t know the company. So that’s really where we are. And that was reflected in the support that we had for social for the corporate brand, really at that point, as well. So as we’re building out Reckitt, we’re building our brand, we’re becoming more consumer-facing then what we used to be before. When people ask me where I work, I say Reckitt or I used to say RB, or I used to say Reckitt Benckiser. There’s all of these different names that we used to be. When I say that, people say, “Who? No, I haven’t heard of you.” But then you talk about Durex, you talk about Airwick, you talk about Nurofen. It’s that “Oh, yes, you’re in my house. You’re there.” So, how do we also get our corporate brands there as well? And I think that’s really up to me now, to try and do that from a social media perspective.

Andy Lambert  6:48  

Very interesting. So clearly, cultures have shifted within the business even over the last six years that you’ve been part of Reckitt. So what do you think has been the primary driver of that culture shift? And one thing I really specifically want to pick up on is like, people have started to mention buy in, there’s more buy in to social as a challenge. I really want to understand the cultural shift of that, because there’ll be many visitors listening in that aren’t on that journey yet. So how can I kind of move forward? You know?

Kelsey Nebbeling  7:19  

Yeah, and it’s a journey, it comes from many things. I think it comes from absolutely external factors that come from consumers wanting to know, who is the company behind the products that they’re buying? They’re going into a shop, they’re wanting to know, is this sustainable? What else do they do? Are they a responsible business? So you think about some of our competitors, they’ve probably been doing that a bit longer than us, and really positioning their corporate brand at the forefront of their consumer brands. So it comes from consumers as the consumer needs, absolutely, to know who the brand is behind the products that they’re buying. So there has obviously been a big factor and an evolution over the past, I would say, three, two to three years, potentially. It’s got to more of the forefront. And it’s also from a personal perspective, me as well. I want to know who the brands are, the brand behind the products that I’m buying. I want to understand how sustainable a product is that I’m buying. So, absolutely, it’s that external factor. And then, from an internal perspective, as well, it’s how we’re positioning Reckitt. When we were RB, no one knew our positioning as a company, what our purpose was, it wasn’t really something to get behind. But at the beginning of last year, so Feb 2020, we launched our new purpose as a business too. So again, it’s something for colleagues as a key audience for potential talent as a key audience to really understand what we do as a business and how we really drive that purpose across the world and really drive it into everything that we’re doing as well so from that external factor comes really how we’re then positioning ourselves and developing a purpose to really get behind as a business. So I’ll let you know what our purpose is: we exist to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner healthier world. So that is something that’s really impactful. You can dissect that and you can see, actually, you know what that company is doing because of that really specific purpose and actually why we exist. So that disseminates into absolutely everything that we do. So to show up as a corporate brand and position ourselves in that way, we need the backing and the buy-in really right from the business to position that for all of those stakeholders, and we’re talking to many stakeholders when it comes to a corporate brand.

Andy Lambert  10:17  

That’s really interesting. So clearly a cultural shift in the business over the last couple of years where it’s like, right, we’re all aligning around the why behind our organisation, what’s our fundamental mission to that, that makes sense. And how it transcends everything also means that lots of people get bought into it, which I absolutely love. So then, from what I’m presuming, well, given your appointment as Social Media Senior Manager, I’m guessing the business has started to recognise social as a key channel for the distribution of that message. So yeah, talk to me about how you felt social media specifically evolve over the last few years? 

Kelsey Nebbeling  10:54  

Yeah absolutely, so when I first started in the role in 2016, we were very much in the infancy of what corporations look like on social media. So that is an employer brand, we’re there to hire talent as a company. That’s why we’re on social media, we can reach out to potential talent, and that’s how we’re going to create an employer brand. For our company, that’s how we do it on social media. So that’s where it started. And I think as we’ve really been building out our strategy, and we’ve really been starting to build out our brand and who we’re talking to, there are so many more stakeholders than just potential talent, obviously. So how do we reach investors? How do we reach our key customers? How do we reach consumers? Because as I was just saying, they are an audience, even for a corporate brand. There’s media, there’s so many different audience sets that sit behind it. And I think the role that social media can play here is a really interesting one. Because we can, for a relatively small resource, we can reach some of these really specific audiences, in a really targeted way.

So I think there’s almost two elements that come into a strategy or our strategy for positioning the corporate brand, there’s that wide brand awareness piece for all of these audiences. Who are Reckitt, what do we do? What’s our purpose? And then there’s the really specific objectives that we then get for each of these stakeholders, so let’s work really closely with some of our internal teams on what do we want investors to know, what do we want investors to do? And let’s get really specific on who their target audiences are and what we want them to do. And with social media, we can really do that. And I think the great thing about social media is the metrics that you get behind it. We recently also brought in a measurement team into the business into the Corporate Affairs team, and they are really helping us to understand our metrics across the board and what we’re seeing is that really where you’re getting all of the meaty, all of the really interesting, outputs is from social. The question then is how do we then take those output metrics and turn them really into impact? And I think that takes working directly with all of the internal teams like the investor relations team, like the brand teams to understand what they want from us as a corporate brand and how we can create those impacts is it downloads about any report that’s an easy one is it put hiring talent on LinkedIn we can see from from people seeing our content on LinkedIn, a downward funnel, actually, we’ve actually hired these people because they’ve seen our content so top brand awareness piece and then some of that really interesting specific objectives that we can we can really help areas of the business to to almost form that actual ROI for for what their objectives are.

Andy Lambert  14:32  

Very interesting. Okay, so yeah, lots to go deeper into there. Yeah, the amount of stakeholders, that’s quite interesting, like quite how beholden your and you and your team must be to members of other stakeholders,ultimately that need to get out content related to investors, for employer branding, etc. But to go underneath that, then you mentioned, measurement. So what are the kinds of you mentioned, outcomes and impacts which is a really nice way of phrasing it. We’ll go into that in a second. I want to talk about the metrics that matter the most to you, what are those kinds of things that you’re tracking that you’re like, this is how we judge success predominantly.

Kelsey Nebbeling  15:10  

Yeah, so this one can be quite a hard one. Because we are, if it’s all about creating brand awareness for Reckitt, if it’s all about, actually just building that corporate brand, and getting people to understand that Reckitt is behind some of these basic products, that piece is always really hard to track. So, and this might be going back a few years, but what value can we actually put behind impressions and reach? Because for us, there is still value behind that. Because, in particular, with impressions, if people are seeing or being served our content two to three times, that’s just getting our brand out there. So we are putting value behind some of those real, top level output impressions and reach metrics, because they do still mean something to us. And, I know, often they can be seen as vanity metrics, but we put value behind those, so they are impactful when it is a way for us to present that back to the business as well. And there’s much more than specific metrics that come from some of the other elements there. And it’s working with, as I said, the internal teams, but it’s also working with some of our other digital channels, just to make sure where we’re following, we’re understanding where our audiences are going after they’ve lived on social channels, what they’re then doing on our website. So there’s other than more specific metrics that we’re looking at. And as I said, we’ve got a measurement team that’s coming to look at corporate affairs holistically. So that means that even if we’ve got these output metrics coming from social, we can then see correlations, potentially some causations as well with other areas that were then measured as well from corporate affairs. So it’s not that social media isn’t off sitting here on its own in its silo in an echo chamber. It’s being connected to other areas of the business where we can then show the impact that is having or the correlation with the impact.

Andy Lambert  17:32  

Just to interject there. So many businesses don’t get that point. So yeah, social media should never be in a silo. So good to hear that. It’s like an integrated part of a broader comms strategy, comms team, etc. so, yeah, really interesting. Sorry for the interjection, but definitely worth calling out.

Kelsey Nebbeling  17:52  

Yeah, no worries. I was just gonna say there’s a couple of other metrics that we also track. So absolutely. Engagement, and engagement rate, is a big one for us. In particular, on different types of campaigns. So if it’s geared up for engagement, that’s obviously always when we track follower numbers as well. So not really on Facebook, because we know Facebook isn’t really a follower collection platform. But LinkedIn, in particular, follower numbers is a metric that we track, and also on Instagram, too. So those are some other specific metrics that we do look at as well.

Andy Lambert  18:37  

Gotcha. Okay, perfect. Well, let’s talk more about strategies. Now let’s see, let’s go right to the highest and kind of actionable bits that some of our audience can take away as well. So, from your corporate brand perspective, we now understand, like the main purpose behind it, and their kind of business strategy behind it, which is great. But then what are the channels that you execute that across? And secondly to that, what are the ones that you drive most ROI from?

Kelsey Nebbeling  19:02  

Yeah, so we have four one channels that fit within our social media strategy. So that is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And I would say, why are they just Reckitt channels, and, thinking about employee ambassadors, as part of our social media, strategy is a key element as well.

So how do our leaders who represent Reckitt across their personal channels? There’s obviously different subject matters and topics that each of the leaders might stand for. So how do they represent Reckitt? And how can that be actually included in what we’re doing and the ROI that we might then get from some of that reach? And also, we’ve got leaders but also, really engaged employee ambassadors that really represent Reckitt. And a great way in particular on LinkedIn as LinkedIn is a really important channel for us, helping us really drive the corporate brand. So I wanted to mention that as well as, it’s not just, it’s not just our Reckitt owned channels, it’s also our absolutely our leaders and our employees as well and how they represent Reckitt.

So I mentioned LinkedIn a fair amount, and I would say that LinkedIn is a great channel for us to be able to drive some of those really specific ROI. So how many hires we have from people seeing our content is a big one, because behind it, you can even put a monetary value around that. So that one is a really important one from a LinkedIn perspective. And I would say that LinkedIn is one of our most important channels for how we really activate as a corporate brand. Because, we can reach some of those really interesting audiences from that as well. And obviously, we have our other channels, and they all play their part. And they all have different channels and strategies as well. So we’re on Twitter, we’re talking to potentially media and NGOs and investors on Twitter. Instagram as used an internal channel as well. So a lot of employees get content about Reckitt on Instagram, and Instagram, again, similar to LinkedIn, is great to talk to people, potential talent, people who might be interested in and coming to work for Reckitt, too. And then obviously, Facebook is what it is. I think Facebook has some really great obviously targeting, reaching to Instagram as well. Yeah, that is a channel for us. Whether or not it’s an important one is yet to be decided.

Andy Lambert  22:01  

Yeah, I think I don’t think you’re alone with how you spoke. So yeah, very interesting. So what’s the mix between organic versus paid, then?

Kelsey Nebbeling  22:10  

Across the platforms? Yeah, so we do a lot of organic content. And this is probably where we sit slightly different to brand led activation on social media, where you’re just trying to sell products, or, you’re trying to get leads, or whatever it may be, it’s really important for us as a corporate brand to have organic content, and to really get that organic reach as well. Where we see really great organic reach is on channels like Instagram and LinkedIn. And we’ve focused quite heavily on creating content that’s going to work really nicely for those channels as well, and content that we know that people are actively going to really engage with, from an organic perspective, too. So there there is, there is a big element of organic content that sits across our strategy. Paid, absolutely, we wouldn’t get anywhere without paid media. As I said, there’s different levels to it. So there’s that brand awareness level, and then there’s that more specific level. So what I like to call business as usual – BAU – it’s very much making sure that our content is out there with the right audiences. So we tend to boost organic content, and then we will then run campaigns alongside that might have specific objectives, specific KPIs for different activations that we might have across the channels.

Andy Lambert  23:58  

Yeah. Gotcha. So, just kind of dissecting that a little bit, you would say your strategy is predominantly biased towards organic, even though paid as a thing? Like, would you say, 60/40 or 70/30, if you had to give a split like that, where the emphasis of the efforts go towards?

Kelsey Nebbeling  24:16  

Yeah, I would say 60/40 is probably a good one. I think, and as I said, at the infancy of where we are, we’re taking this, right, so really, understanding how these channels are moving, what changes are being made. When you look at a channel like Facebook, organic isn’t isn’t a thing. So really just moving with the channels and understanding where we can reach our audiences. The idea is to reach our audiences at the right place with the right message at the right time. So however we do that, we’re at the mercy of some of these channels, right? So, there’s that as well. So as I said, we’re really building out our strategy. And we’ll move forward in the right way.

Andy Lambert  25:09  

Awesome. Okay, that makes a lot of sense. So I want to take a step into the strategy stuff again and think about when it comes to you building a content strategy and filtering down into a content plan, because naturally, as we discussed earlier, quite beholden to a lot of the demands from across the organisation, right, because you’re operating at a  broad corporate level. So I’m curious to know, how does strategy creation happen for you? Do you have set themes and topics where we say we’re committing to this? And we’ll try to encompass parts of the business, but you have to have hard conversations to say, “No, that doesn’t fit with what we’re trying to do”. So I’m curious to know how you can get focused on executing your strategy when you’ve got multiple demands from across the business.

Kelsey Nebbeling  25:55  

Yeah, yeah. So it’s a really interesting question. And there has been a journey. So we are the global team, we’ve got global channels, and we are a corporate brand. So basically, that is every country, every brand. So what does that mean when we’re trying to create a strategy? Right? Well, why are we actually trying to represent who we want to talk to, because the idea is not to boil the ocean. So I heard that phrase a couple of years ago from someone I used to work for, and I absolutely really love him, I use it all the time. Because that’s really what we need to think about when we are a lean team, when we are sitting at that corporate global level, because we can’t create any impact if we’re trying to do everything for everyone. So it has been a journey, it really has been a journey. And I think the way that we look at it is external factors and internal priorities. So how we look at our strategy is, it’s intuitive, because it needs to be because that is the nature of business, that is the nature of the world. And that that is actually really going to define how we stand up that strategy. So we have our core audiences, we have our top content themes of content and how we create that content within those pillars. And then which ones we stand up at which times as I said, really depends on the priorities of the business at the time, and external factors.

And a big external factor, this wouldn’t be a podcast in 2021 if we didn’t mention the ‘VID. And basically, as we came into 2020 last year, as I said, we had, as a business, just launched this brand new purpose as a company. “We exist to protect, heal and nurture and the relentless pursuit of a cleaner healthier world”. Okay, so 2020 February, that’s what we said. March 2020 – Let’s see how we can do that. We’ve got COVID that comes in and we need to absolutely just pivot as a business and I’m super proud of what the company has been able to achieve over the past 18 months, standing up teams, being able to really ramp up manufacturing for Dettol, all of the hygiene-related support that we need it really just across the globe and obviously that meant we needed to change tact completely when it came to social media. What are we talking about? What is on the minds of everyone at the moment? Everyone’s scared. Everyone wants to understand what they can do, what’s going to help them, what’s going to keep them safe as well. So that really obviously, it was a chance for us to really show how we can actually live our purpose as a company and I’m really proud of how we were able to do a 180 and just go for it and then just be there to to really live that purpose for all of our consumers.

Andy Lambert  29:26  

Yeah, definitely with you on that yeah, it’s got to be a rather challenging situation to confront. I mean, it’s challenging for everyone but just kind of cutting through some of that. What would be your advice for others that face a similar situation, where they feel they might be kind of pulled in different directions by different strategies, external factors, etc.? What advice would you give to another small social media team trying to balance all of that stuff yet execute against their strategy, against their research that they’ve conducted at the start of the year for example?

Kelsey Nebbeling  30:00  

So often it’s about educating people. So often you’ll have people internally saying, I want to say this on this channel to this person. And often it’s a hang on, let’s take a step back. What are your objectives? And what do you want to achieve? And let’s see an easier way to do that for you. So often, there’s push and pull from the business, but it’s because they might not understand what social media can do for them. So there’s the education piece. So a lot of you know what I do, when teams come to me with different ideas. It’s taking a step back, and just getting them to look at objectively, where are they going to have an impact on what they actually want to achieve? And then we can then have that conversation of what that might look like. Because often is that piece, then I think, you often then are going to do and have the conflicting things that are happening. Sometimes it’s just a knuckle down. And we have to do both of these things and all of these things and that is the case and that I think that is absolutely the nature of the game. That’s the nature of social media. So you sometimes do have to do that. But then other times, it’s what’s going to have the most impact for the business. And where can we measure that impact or that ROI or whatever you want to call it, that’s going to set us up for the most success in six months, in a year. So it’s having potentially tough conversations, but just figuring out really what your priorities are, and where you as a small social media team can position yourselves in the right way. And what, if you create that impact, and you’re able to say, we did X, Y, Z, we did this, this has had this ROI, you’re going to get them more by and you’re then going to get more resources to be able to then boil the ocean, and a sense for it, you’re then going to get you’re going to build out your team, if you have been able to actually show the impact that you can have.

Andy Lambert  32:22  

Gotcha, yeah, it’s really pretty powerful, actually. So let’s talk about some impacts. It’s an evolutionary strategy, right? So I appreciate you sharing all of this at the very start of your journey. But yeah, thinking about some of the impact you’ve created, are there any particular things that you’re like, actually, I’m really proud of what we achieved this early on? Any kind of things you want to call out?

Kelsey Nebbeling  32:52  

I mean, the one thing I have to pull out is the rebrand to Reckitt. So up until the 23rd March this year, we were RB. We had been RB actually, just the two letters “RB” not “Reckitt Benckiser” since 2014. Before that, we were Reckitt Benckiser. Before that, we were Reckitt & Coleman. Often people actually just remember us as Reckitt & Coleman, but we haven’t been named since 1999. So, there’s that. So we have had this evolution as a company. And what was amazing was getting to work on the complete overhaul of what it meant to be RB and then what it means to be a business. So as I said, last year, we launched our purpose, and our corporate brand didn’t really reflect who we are as a business anymore. We weren’t happy, we had a pink pipe. And that look and feel and our tone of voice and the way we showed up didn’t really represent who we are now and how we evolved as a company. So the idea was then to do a complete rebrand to Reckitt on the 23rd March. So obviously, as I’ve been talking, that name isn’t very different but the name isn’t different, we are just Reckitt now. However, as you’ll see, if you want to go check out the evolution of the company, you can check it out on And as you’ll see, it’s night and day on what our company is now compared to what we were as RB. It’s not just a change of logo, it’s a change of identity. It’s a change of tone of voice, just really how we show up, and how we really position ourselves now for success as a company. And there’s so many elements that fit into that. So I had the pleasure of being able to work on that complete rebranding of the company. And there was a lot of learnings on actually how you do rebrand on across social media as well. So I’m really proud of the impact that we were able to make with rebranding all of our digital channels. And then also the campaign, obviously, then we then created to introduce the new brand, and that was really cool.

So, obviously, I’ve been working at Reckitt for six years now. And what was really cool was being able to actually work on brand new identity, brand new colours, new tone of voice, and being able to do something completely different. And I just didn’t feel constricted anymore. And actually how we’re presenting the company, which was a really great feeling. And I’m super proud of the impact that we were able to have from that rebranding activity as well. So obviously, we put a number of media spend behind it, and different digital elements. But also the engagement that then came from that too. So it really had a big impact with many of our audiences, and they really understood what it meant now to be Reckitt and why we were rebranding, which I think was the one question that we needed to make sure we answered. When we rebranded the company, we needed people to understand why, why now? Why Reckitt? Why this? Why this visual? I didn’t see why. And I think we really got that message out there. And with the right audiences, and I’m really proud of that, because I think that often can be a hard question to answer. 

Andy Lambert  37:08  

Absolutely with you on that. Because sometimes, like corporate reputation building, brand building, is quite an esoteric type of subject, right, it’s very hard to make that tangible and demonstrable? But that’s flipped this conversation to the kind of final few questions, actually, so. So on the other side of the things that you’re proud of, what are the things that you found particularly challenging, and, you might want to frame this as thinking about what you hope to develop more for the future?

Kelsey Nebbeling  37:35  

It has been challenging, sometimes when we have really specific objectives, and we don’t reach them, that that can be really frustrating, in a sense, and it comes with more about nuanced audiences, I would say, a big audience of ours is innovation partners, for example, also, healthcare professionals, when we’re talking about some of our consumer health products, and sometimes, some of those campaigns don’t have the impact that you would hope for, they didn’t have a very big click through, even though that was the objective of the campaign, we didn’t get many people submitting their innovative ideas. And often, that can be quite disheartening. Because you can go into a conversation with an internal stakeholder and say, “We can achieve this, that’s great, this is what I’m expecting”. And when you don’t get there, it’s a difficult one, and it’s hard, because you might have a mass of impressions or reach, but because the objective for this was people clicking through and doing X, Y, Z, and you don’t get it, that can be tough. So I think with some of these more specific niche, nuanced campaigns that we want to run, and we will continue to run, I think there’s there’s more work that we can do there to understand who those audiences are, tailor the messages a little bit better, and then hopefully, we can then set ourselves up for more of a success when it comes to running some of those specific campaigns.

Andy Lambert  39:25  

Gotcha. And, I mean, you touched on employee advocacy earlier, and we spoke about this a lot with IBM, the previous podcast, because I’m guessing you’re probably quite early on in that as a strategy and do you see a future potential for that as a channel you want to grow?

Kelsey Nebbeling  39:42  

Absolutely, I wouldn’t say top of the agenda, but it is on the agenda at the moment. And the way I see employee advocacy is like a tiered approach to employee advocacy. So you’ve got leaders at the top. So leaders, obviously they’re going to be those advocates for the Reckitt brand, they’re going to stand up different content, topics, pillars, depending on who they are, you’ve then got that middle, that middle tier, and that is people who are already engaging with Reckitt people who are already excited to share what it’s like to work at Reckitt, excited to share their own content, native content that they create. So you’ve got those people, it’s about getting in contact with them, it’s about providing them with guidance, it’s about giving them details of campaigns that might be upcoming. So they get an inside look at them. So it’s about engaging with them and, and building out their personal brand, but how we can help them to do that. And then I say that bottom tier, and bottom doesn’t mean less important. But that tier is people who want to talk about Reckitt, but don’t know how to do it. They don’t feel confident creating content, or sharing content on their personal social media, or to talk about the Reckitt brands that don’t feel confident writing or whatever it may be. And that’s where, with that tier of people, we can help them with tools. Obviously, there’s so many different employee advocacy tools that are out there. And that’s, I think, where those tools come in as well. And that’s all we can help them to, we can start to position some of our content tailored to our employees, giving them some, pre-scripted copy that comes from it. So, that’s our approach. And that’s how I absolutely we’ll be approaching the employee advocacy piece. And, there’s elements of those things that are already happening in the first two tiers. So it’s about really, building that out as an official strategy, and then moving forward with that.

Andy Lambert  42:02  

I love it. And let’s go into the final question, because that segues quite nicely, which is, you mentioned tools. So what are those kinds of things that are in your strategy toolbox? How do you build your plans? And it might be something as simple as Excel or Google Sheets? Like, what are those things that you rely on day to day?

Kelsey Nebbeling  42:20  

That’s very basic, I would say. So we do have some tools that we use. So, we have a new Social Studio, mainly for community management. We schedule some content on Social Studio, but that’s mainly our community management platform that we use. We also, obviously, have social listening tools, though. We use a number of different social listening tools to make sure that we understand our whole ecosystem, that we make sure that we’re not just in an echo chamber, talking to ourselves about ourselves. So we make sure that horizon scanning is always happening. And then really, on a day to day basis, as you say, Excel is a platform that we use. We use Google Docs with some of our different external partners to plan out our calendars. We are a PowerPoint company. So any PowerPoint presentation that is sent across to me, is always welcomed. So again, all of those sorts of tools. Also, Microsoft Teams is a great tool. And it’s one that we use with external partners as well.

Andy Lambert  43:42  

Nice, very, very interesting. Love it. Well, yeah. Kelsey, this has been an absolute pleasure, lots of lots of talk about and think about here. And it’s really interesting to think about how an organisation the size and scale of Reckitt is still very early on in the journey of building this. But it’s really reassuring to hear how an organisation of that size has recognised the importance of overall corporate branding and the importance of recognising social as a key distribution channel for that, which is obviously as recognised by the impact of having you as a full-time dedicated individual in this role. I think you’ve hired someone as well, fairly recently. Am I right?

Kelsey Nebbeling  44:23  

Yeah, so got another person to come in and support across social too. So yeah, really, really great to have more resource.

Andy Lambert  44:31  

as brilliant. So yeah, cultures are very much shifting. And it just goes to show that even an organisation as steeped in history, as large as Reckitt can still kind of change and transition to to really be driven through social which is really exciting. But if anyone wants to learn any more about your work at Reckitt, where can they find you, Kelsey?

Kelsey Nebbeling  44:52  

Yeah, so the best place to find me personally would be on LinkedIn. And so you should be able to find me there. I’m probably quite easy to find there. No one else has my name on LinkedIn. So you can find me there, and our actual Reckitt channels. As I’ve mentioned, the channels that we’re on, but our handle is @ThisIsReckitt.

Andy Lambert  45:13  

Awesome. Wonderful. Well, back to the studio. Thanks for that. Kelsey.

Iain Scott  45:19  

Thank you very much again, and thanks, Kelsey, for going through a lot of insight. That was truly,what I was saying, packed full of information. You mentioned as well, you have 43,000 people, and yet, in the early stages, only a third of a person working on social media. And also, it’s really interesting to learn how that’s changed, how that’s evolved, and how the perception of the importance of social media in a global organisation has changed as well. But, equally what is achievable with such a lean team, you mentioned, your work in terms of how you think about and consider your efforts, being based on external factors, internal priorities, and how those were kind of put to the test as well, back in February, March 2020, when COVID took hold of the earth. And I also love the data piece, and I mean, my organization, Base Creative, we really hold data and insight, at the core of all of our decision-making when it comes to comms and marketing. So it’s interesting to hear about the metrics that you guys look at and tracking impressions in reach, and also combining that with the metrics being measured elsewhere within the business to look at correlation and potentially causation as well. Yeah, fascinating. Fascinating. All right. So Becca, we’ve got some additional questions as well. Let’s, let’s go through those where we got.

Rebecca Holloway  46:51  

We do. Firstly, when you are having so many eyes on your account, I wanted to just rewind back to your rebrand. So when you are changing from RB to Reckitt, were there any hurdles that you had to overcome in terms of your actual social accounts? Was there any pressure about, “Okay, we need to make sure we’ve secured a new handle” – that kind of thing. Like I’d love to know more about that.

Kelsey Nebbeling  47:17  

It was a difficult one because obviously it was strictly confidential. I worked on the rebrand sort of, eight months in advance, but no one knew about it until the 23rd March. So it’s a difficult one, when you’re then trying to make sure that you’ve secured the handles, what your handles are going to be ahead of people not knowing ,so you don’t want people to see that a handle has been taken. It was the same with our domain for our website as well. So we used third parties to do that, because that’s really the only way to do it. So we had third parties help us to secure handles a lot of time, we did come into a couple of different hurdles. So we actually had a domain squatter on our Instagram. And basically, as we rebranded on the 23rd March we were changing to @ThisIsReckitt as I mentioned, and our Facebook changed quite quickly. However, on Instagram, we already knew that that handle was available, but we then had someone who took the handle as we had rebranded the rest of our channels, so that was unfortunate. Facebook and said that they hadn’t really seen that happen before, which was interesting. So it was a bit of a process. It took us a few days. I think it was about five days. And we were able to get that handle back from that domain squatter.

Iain Scott  49:01  

That’s good that you’ve had support in being able to do that and not faced with having to wait weeks or being held to ransom to get the account hamper that you wanted. I can imagine how confidential that must have been. Yeah, that kind of leaking out right? 

Kelsey Nebbeling  49:20  

There was a media NDA for sure. Yes, obviously we had to have a lot of support from external agencies. So it had to come and we invite them in at the right time to then obviously help us with the rebrand. I wasn’t doing it on my own. We had a lot of help from external partners.

Rebecca Holloway  49:42  

Another question, so we’ve kind of gone back looking forward. Obviously this year, at the beginning, we saw Clubhouse come on to centre stage and as this kickstarted this trend for audio spaces, so I just wondered what your thoughts are over the next 12 months? If this is something that you’re thinking about bringing into your strategy, and just how you adapt when new platforms or new content types kind of start coming?

Kelsey Nebbeling  50:09  

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So I think, as I said, we want to be in the right place at the right time for our right audiences. So we are open to adapting where we sit, and which channels we activate on. And that could look like TikTok or, we could look to develop podcasts or different elements that sit within it. I think audio is an interesting one. Personally, I listen to a lot of podcasts. And I think it’s a really interesting way to get information that the listeners will probably also think that as well. So it is absolutely an area that we’re looking into. And we partner really closely with the rest of the corporate comms team. So we don’t work in a silo on social, as I said, we work with the internal communication team, we work with the other teams that activate in different areas. So how can we take potentially some of that some of that work that’s happening and already in some of these types of content formats, and taking those and seeing what we can do across social as well.

Iain Scott  51:17  

I think Clubhouse certainly works from an event point of view. That’s how we’ve originally toyed with the idea of using Clubhouse for pushing content. It’s great for live live events, I think, so I’d be keen to know if it is something that Reckitt has picked up in future in terms of audio-first social. Becca, probably got time for one more question if you have it.

Rebecca Holloway  51:45  

And the final one. So we’ve talked a lot about reputation management today. So just any tips or strategy that you have going into kind of crisis management if that was to happen on your socials?

Kelsey Nebbeling  51:59  

Yeah, I think it all really depends on what that crisis is, to be honest, and we work really closely with our crisis communications team, because we do have a team that’s part of our external affairs team. We work really, really closely with them. So they are connected to Social Studio, with our agencies, so everything is flagged out as soon as possible. When it comes to anything that might be happening externally to us, or comments or anything, obviously, across our social listening tools, too. So work really closely with them. And it all really depends on what it is about. But it really, as I said, depends on what it is, if it’s about just monitoring it, if it’s about responding, if it’s about putting out a statement on our website. Yeah, so there’s lots of different ways really to approach it. And we have a robust team and integrated team and what we’re doing on social to allow us to respond, not react, really, in situations like that.

Iain Scott  53:26  

Brilliant, I feel like it’s probably going to be easier for me to recap on what we haven’t spoken about today, because it really has been jam-packed with things like what can be achieved with a small team and a global organisation. Kelsey, you also mentioned the importance of employee engagement within a social media strategy. And advice towards the end to our peers in terms of making social media success in a business to look again at the overall objectives, being able to demonstrate impact, and how it can lead hopefully to more investment, and ideally a bigger team. And also just finishing up there with some advice on crisis management. And that’s been brilliant. 

For those who are listening and would like to get involved and ask questions for the next show, or keep an eye on the next topic. On our social media channels. You can follow us on Twitter at @ShareSocialLondon or on Instagram @SharingSocialLondon. Again, a big thank you to Kelsey from Reckitt for being on the show today and sharing your insights. And to start up the second episode. We’re back next month. I cannot wait. But for myself, Becca, Andy and Kelsey, thank you for tuning in. Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you next month.

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