Andrea Zajicek was Online & Social Media Manager at the voestalpine Group from 2007 to 2013. On the occasion of 20 years of the corporate website, Andrea offers her insights into the greatest challenges, the most important projects, and the changes which characterized her time in this role.
Andrea Zajicek was responsible for the design, management, strategy, and development of all the Group’s online and social media communications. Today she is an Account Manager at voestalpine subsidiary Villares Metals in Brazil.
What was the greatest challenge you faced in your work?
In terms of online strategy it was making decisions which involved the Group companies. That meant creating a bridge between company level and corporate level.
What was the coolest project you were involved in? The coolest moment?
Social media, and seeing our presence on the various social media growing and flourishing, and having a significant external impact. Primarily because this wasn’t particularly expected of an industry and technology enterprise in the B2B environment.
The coolest moments were taking part in all those talks and congresses and, as a jury member awarding online prizes, in seeing the level of industry’s interest in voestalpine activities. At the same time it was fascinating to converse with colleagues about their experiences, meet pioneers and discover innovative projects, and to build a wonderful network.
What was the most exciting project you ran in your role as Online & Social Media Manager?
That was certainly the corporate website relaunch in 2010.
What were the challenges, and what did you learn from the project?
The most important success factor was certainly having a super team, a professional agency, and a clear goal. I learnt that your website can never be perfect. The online sector is, and remains, a living object. But it is precisely this dynamism which is intensified in social media and makes it such an exciting experience.
2013 saw the Group’s first Online Day. What do you remember about that day?
The Online Day was an excellent initiative designed to bring together people involved in the internet and social media in the broadest sense, because the goals at corporate level are entirely different to those at company level. Bringing together these two perspectives and using web activities to create a real benefit, also for the companies, is an important goal. Here the Online Day served as the starting point.
In 2009 voestalpine was one of the first B2B companies to get involved with social media. What was the reason for doing so?
It all started with the subject of “innovation”. Innovation, advances, and being “one step ahead” was, and is, an essential part of the voestalpine identity.
We wanted to form a central location on the web which told stories related to this topic. That was the beginning of the innovation blog.
Many new platforms were added over just a few months, although we made every effort to keep this process gradual.
What were the hurdles and problems at that time?
It was a very new topic and so there was very little available know-how. Our process was really a case of “learning by doing”. Companies who jumped on the social media bandwagon at a later stage were in a more difficult position, arriving once the standards for a social media presence were already high. Our starting advantage was to be able to grow into this field, and I believe this worked extremely well.
To what extent to do think that the introduction of social media has changed communication?
The keyword is democratization, everyone has a voice. A company is no longer an unresponsive entity. Quite the opposite, we’ve opened up channels to the people. From today’s perspective, this is an extremely positive development, even though it naturally brings risks.
What do you believe were the key success factors for digital communication?
Authenticity and setting clear goals. And you need to be curious and have the courage to be creative.
"Today voestalpine has managed to perfectly combine not only online and social media channels at corporate level, but all the communications channels, which includes internal communications, media relations, sponsoring, and advertising. I find this most impressive, and I'm proud to have been part of this development."
How do you see future developments in the digital realm? What will the future bring?
That’s difficult to answer. But one thing is clear: it will be something that no one previously expected. And developments are breathtakingly fast.
Personally, I hope that the digital world will bring people closer together, rather than isolate them, that we will experience groundbreaking innovations in the coming years and decades, that at some point there will no longer be a dividing line between online and offline, and consequently no discrepancy between the realities.
Microsite: 20 years of the website, see www.voestalpine.com/www1996