GE is a $125 billion company with operations ranging from healthcare to aviation to power. Back in 2008, its subsidiary GE Capital, which was then the seventh largest bank in North America, became the subject of fevered media speculation as the financial crisis wreaked havoc on the economy.
Rather than attempt to correct all the inaccuracies, GE launched GE Reports, a blog that aimed to tell the real story of the company to investors and employees. It swiftly grew into an online magazine that now serves the whole family of GE businesses. GE Reports is designed to report the impact of GE technology without actually writing about GE. For example, every two seconds a plane takes off with a GE engine while two patients are scanned every second using its healthcare technology. In fact, GE technology is responsible for generating 30 per cent of the world’s electricity.
But writing about innovation can be dry. GE didn’t want a traditional corporate blog, it wanted a publication that people would read, share and keep coming back to. The site is edited by a Forbes writer who works with internal communications and outside contributors. They dig around within the company looking for new stories and angles. GE Reports is used to break news, publish opinion and report on innovation and trends in science, like robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing.
GE has positioned GE Reports so that its nearest rivals are publishing outlets, such as Wired and New York Times, rather than corporate websites. It also believes that its readers want to share its content, so uses a wide range of social media platforms, such as Twitter, Periscope and Reddit, to distribute its stories. More than 30,000 people also subscribe to an email service which alerts them to new stories.
Today, GE Reports receives 2.2 million visits per year, with 200,000 unique visitors every month. Its stories are often picked up and reported by traditional media outlets. It is also a resource for investors, as all regulatory announcements, including annual reports, appear on the site first. There are now several GE Reports, with local language versions in France, Germany, China, Korea and Brazil, among others.
‘This is beautifully executed,’ said the judges. ‘It demonstrates genuine thought leadership. Excellent and engaging.’