The potential of images to communicate acorporate image: Italian companies on YouTube, Slideshare, Flickr and Pinterest

With 2012 having been the year of infographics and Facebook’s Instagram acquisition, the new frontiers of social media lie squarely in the visual domain. For companies, this means communicating corporate identity not only through words but also with images, and especially video.


At first sight, YouTube appears to be a popular social media for Italian companies with two-thirds of Italy’s top 100 firms having an account, according to Lundquist’s latest research, published today exclusively in CorrierEconomia newspaper. However, the majority of companies use YouTube not as part of their corporate communications strategy but more as an archive of existing video content such as TV advertisements and the classic corporate presentation. Only a third of the sample offers content that goes beyond mere marketing, such as interviews with management, social responsibility initiatives, corporate branding, etc.

The aim of Lundquist’s analysis was to map how Italian companies use YouTube for corporate communications as well as other visual sharing platforms such as Slideshare, Pinterest and Flickr. It forms part of the Lundquist Social Media Awards, aggregating a series of individual studies focusing on each of the main social media channels: Wikipedia (the results of which have already been announced), LinkedIn (read the results here), Facebook and Twitter.

The research into YouTube highlighted positive examples from eight companies: Banca MPS, BNL, Banca Mediolanum, Edison, Enel, Eni, Siemens, UniCredit. These companies have in common that they tend to take a strategic approach to their YouTube channel proposing a range of video content spanning both the commercial and institutional realms, where corporate themes tend to build reputation and reinforce the commercial offer, building a sort of all-round web TV for each company.
Numbers speak louder than words: 58% of the 52 million views obtained from the 32 companies that present corporate (not just commercial) content went to this group of eight companies. These eight channels also publish a greater number of videos (55% of 8,370 videos uploaded by the sample of 32 companies with a corporate presence on YouTube). Moreover these companies invest in a customized and branded YouTube presence and embed feeds from other social media like Facebook and Twitter.
The other social networks examined are used even less. SlideShare, the most important slide publishing platform, is used by only 17% of the top 100 companies and most of these publish mainly textual documents rather than presentations, liming the scope of their presence.
Despite its rapid growth, Pinterest is used by only 18% of companies while only 14% of the sample has a profile on Flickr.


Key facts & figures from the research:


  • 34% of Italy’s top 100 companies have no YouTube channel
  • A third offer corporate (not just marketing) content 
  • Only 8 companies invest in customized and branded channel, publishing a range of videos, from commercial to corporate
  • 17% of companies have a profile on SlideShare (five of which with no update in 2012)
  • 14% of companies have a presence on Flickr, nine of which post corporate images
  • 18% of companies use Pinterest, though mainly for publishing marketing images

Read the full findings:
Lundquist Social Media Award: part 3 – File Sharing platforms (in Italian)
Article in CorrierEconomia (in Italian)

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