AB Thinks  →  6th September 2018

Design with vision

AB Thinks

AB has won an award from the Institute of Internal Communication for its work on KPMG’s digital magazine Horizon. Here we explore how bold imagery and broad appeal led to the design accolade.

KPMG is an international organisation providing audit, tax and advisory services across the globe. AB has been working with the internal comms team across KPMG for five years and together we’ve collected a range of awards. In the past two years that has included our work on digital Ezine Pulse and feature-led magazine Highlights.

This year, it was the turn of Horizon – a visual online magazine targeting employees in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMA), located in more than 110 countries. The magazine serves to unite, inform and encourage international exchanges of knowledge, strategy and expertise to strengthen a global workforce.

Geographically dispersed

The EMA team needed an accessible digital channel that would work on any device connected to the web to bring together KPMG’s diverse and geographically dispersed advisory community. This would have to sit on the firm’s secure network, behind its firewall.

Horizon had to encourage readers to think, contribute and deliver for EMA as a whole, not just their local firm. The magazine needed to be bold, authoritative and business-like in design and content with articles having broad appeal for people across the region, including those who don’t speak English as their first language.

Attention-grabbing illustrations

We worked closely with KPMG’s internal communications team to create Horizon, with the first issue going live in November 2017, shortly after two key events took place: the EMA Partners’ Conference in Rome and the EMA Board.

From the beginning of the production process, design and editorial teams worked at identifying what brand imagery to use, what illustrations need to be created, and how best to grab the attention of the audience.

A bold mix

With a large opening cover image, Horizon is bold, colourful and vibrant, bringing the mix of short articles and features to life. It makes use of brand-coloured categories to segment the content for each issue.

Broad engagement

An archive facility houses all previous issues, but the categories are also collectively archived with stories from past issues, enabling the reader to learn about a given topic across the lifetime of Horizon. Category colour-coding is used across the site to aid navigation. Within each story, author biographies introduce figures across the network, photography slideshows and video content create a more immersive reader experience, and the Read Next widget further propels the reader around the site, to engage with more stories.

Long dwell time

Horizon has quickly gained a loyal following of EMA readers who value its authoritative and thought-provoking content, with people in 84 countries and territories having viewed the site between its launch on 2 November 2017 and 31 March 2018.

During this time, which saw the publication of Horizon issues one and two, there were 1,778 total sessions, with people viewing on average 3.86 pages per session. The average session duration was 3.23 minutes, which is 99 per cent higher (almost double) than our benchmark industry standard for the Accounting & Auditing sector. Some readers have spent up to 45 minutes on the site overall.

Demystifying issues

Natalia Salamon, ‎internal communications manager for the (EMA) region, ‎KPMG, says: “The team at AB has an unmatched ability to identify valuable content in the sea of messages and translate it into engaging material, streamlining complexities and demystifying issues. With their editorial skills and authentic enthusiasm for the job, they are top of the list of my trusted advisors.”

The IoIC Awards judges comments included:This is a smart, easy to navigate hub which is clean and tidy and holds a lot of information. There were significant challenges to overcome with a diverse audience of time-poor professionals spread across a wide geography.”

For more information on how we can help you with your communications, contact Tom.Thake@abcomm.co.uk