Chris-Kim

Chris Kim at Hitachi Vantara shared how they built out their #DoubleBottomLine brand messaging to connect with their audience as a BtoB brand

A year and a half ago, Hitachi Vantara was formed — merging three existing subsidiaries to become the IT arm of Hitachi Global. Immediately after, Chris Kim — Director of Global Social Media — started looking at how they could shape their narrative and differentiate themselves in the market as a BtoB brand.

It was also around that time that Chris started hearing the phrase “double bottom line” being used at the executive level and thought to incorporate it into their content strategy.

For us, this notion of the double bottom line means we work to help our customers not only through their profitability bottom line, but also the bottom line in terms of impactful, societal contributions. Chris Kim
“For us, this notion of the double bottom line means we work to help our customers not only through their profitability bottom line, but also the bottom line in terms of impactful, societal contributions,” said Chris. “When I started to hear this phrase, it caught my ear immediately because it’s unique and could serve as a great way to tell stories to our audience.”

According to Chris, in his role on social media, they wanted to make a concerted effort towards fostering conversations that highlighted the good their customers were doing — and how Hitachi Vantara was helping them do it. #DoubleBottomLine became the vehicle to tell those stories.

Chris and his team started using the hashtag on their channels only a month after Hitachi Vantara’s brand launch.

“We were thinking about how we can continue the momentum,” he explained. “When we did the big brand launch, after getting past the excitement of the event it was important for us to look as quickly as possible at how we could continue the impact of that and tell our story in an effective way.”

For Chris and his team, the best way to do that was by centering the conversation on the #DoubleBottomLine customer narrative.

But, he emphasized, they had to be thoughtful and purposeful around this strategy — especially as a BtoB brand — because so many brand hashtags fail.

For it to successfully weave into the fabric of our brand language, #DoubleBottomLine can't just sit in social media. Chris Kim
According to Chris, for a brand hashtag to succeed, you need scale and a sustained effort around it so that it catches on beyond your employee echo chamber.

“What made #DoubleBottomLine such a good bet for us was that it’s a phrase that isn’t commonly used outside of our company, it’s strategically important to us, and we have sustained messaging and stories that can support it,” he explained. “Plus it’s customer-centric, so it was the perfect opportunity for us.”

To launch the hashtag across their channels, Chris and his team first gathered content through their editorial calendar.

Because Chris and his team were already focused on customer stories before the launch, they had pre-existing content related to their work with governments, universities, healthcare institutions, and environmental organizations.

“That work naturally lends itself to this ‘double bottom line’ narrative,” said Chris. “So we honed in on that content for our first push with the hashtag.”

Chris emphasized they wanted to make sure they were being thoughtful with their first #DoubleBottomLine pushes by weaving it into the normal activity of their daily content.

“On our channels, we take a publisher role,” he explained. “So we’re really taking all the different stories we could tell as a company and synthesize that to create a cohesive calendar.”

To help the hashtag catch on, Chris and his team started a campaign for Hitachi Vantara to use the phrase more across the company.

“For it to successfully weave into the fabric of our brand language, #DoubleBottomLine can’t just sit in social media,” said Chris.

Now that LinkedIn has gone all in on hashtags, it's become a platform we're investing in a lot for this content because we see such a great return from our audience. Chris Kim
They worked with their communications team to help raise awareness and increase executive usage of the phrase. Chris said they also started using it internally in their newsletters and as a part of their customer stories, where appropriate.

“But having that commitment from the top has also been really important,” said Chris. “The fact that our executives are using that particular phrase as a differentiator reinforces everything we’ve been doing and has helped the hashtag catch on.”

Another factor to #DoubleBottomLine’s success is that it resonates well with their audiences across every Hitachi Vantara social channel.

Chris said this has been particularly powerful on LinkedIn, which is important for them as a BtoB company.

“This content has been so accessible to people. You don’t have to be a technologist to really understand it, and it helps tell our technology story in a very human way,” Chris explained. “And now that LinkedIn has gone all in on hashtags, it’s become a platform we’re investing in a lot for this content, because we see such a great return from our audience.”

To keep the momentum going for #DoubleBottomLine stories, Chris and his team try to push out content with the hashtag on a weekly basis.

We work with several of our closest Hitachi subsidiaries to identify good stories and content to tell this overarching narrative. Chris Kim
“We do our calendars week to week, and we have certain guidelines around what we want to say,” said Chris. “We want to make sure we talk about #DoubleBottomLine at least once or twice a week.”

According to Chris, another reason for that is because it’s some of their best-performing content.

“It’s so compelling from a storytelling perspective,” he said. “Particularly video content, or a great pull quote from a customer with a visual element — or a story featuring one of our well-known customers such as NASA.”

Chris and his team maintain their pipeline of #DoubleBottomLine stories through collaborating with their customer marketing team and other Hitachi Global subsidiaries.

The biggest challenge of something like this is making sure it's both compelling and sustainable. Chris Kim
Chris said he works closely with the customer marketing team to get case studies that would be a good fit for #DoubleBottomLine. Then, when Hitachi Global in Japan shares a story about a subsidiary using one of the Hitachi Vantara technologies in a way that fits in the #DoubleBottomLine narrative, they incorporate that into their content as well.

“Those cases are also strategic, because it helps us tell our ‘One Hitachi’ story, which is a unique value proposition to our customers,” Chris explained. “So we work with several of our closest Hitachi subsidiaries to identify good stories and content to tell this overarching narrative.”

The next big phase of their strategic focus is getting the messaging out through their employee advocates.

“We’ve got an employee advocacy program that we’re ramping up now, and we’re looking at including this messaging in our orientation for new hires,” said Chris. “That way, it will become more ingrained in the core messaging of Hitachi Vantara as a whole.”

He said they also want to work more with their partner ecosystem to cross-promote content with the #DoubleBottomLine focus to better enable their community of advocates.

According to Chris, this work could go a long way to making the #DoubleBottomLine mission more pervasive across the company.

Chris said he is very proud of the work they’ve done so far with the hashtag, but that they couldn’t have done it without the support they’ve had across the organization.

If it ties into your messaging and helps differentiate you in the marketplace, that makes all the difference. Chris Kim
“It’s been over a year that we’ve been doing this, so the fact that this hashtag is still going and growing in engagement is a big win for me. The biggest challenge of something like this is making sure it’s both compelling and sustainable,” he said.

According to Chris, setting yourself up for that success includes having a strategic rationale behind what you’re doing from the start — and having consistent support within your company.

“You also want to make sure it fits into the broader company story you’re trying to tell,” said Chris. “If it ties into your messaging and helps differentiate you in the marketplace, that makes all the difference.”

Chris Kim has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2018. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.