Best Article Series

‘Tuesday Teasers’ keep the past alive for biotech firm

When Genzyme merged with a much larger company, communicators teased employees with fact and fiction to preserve its history.

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Two years after startup biotechnology company Genzyme was acquired by the French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi, the Genzyme employee communications team was faced with the new reality of being a small part of a larger and more complex organization. One element the team would not allow to fade away was the company’s “oral history.” Its solution? The “Tuesday Teaser,” a five-week trivia series designed to share the fun elements of Genzyme’s history—both fact and fiction—with employees. It was a hit, and is the winner of the Best Article Series category in Ragan’s 2013 Employee Communications Awards.

The “Tuesday Teaser” series shared questions and statements related to the company’s myths and legends. To determine whether the question or statement was a fact from Genzyme’s history or just a rumor, readers clicked through to the company’s online news publication, allowing the employee communications team to track the readership statistics of a given post.

For example: “True or False: The tomatoes used in the Genzyme Center cafeteria are grown on the roof of the building.” Curious (or credulous) employees who clicked through to the answer found that this particular item is false. Although vegetation on the building’s roof serves to retain water and prevent heat absorption, no food products are grown there (although years ago the facilities manager at Genzyme’s original headquarters did have a few tomato plants on the roof there for personal use). 

The Teasers had high viewership rates: Two of them ranked within the top 10 most read articles for the year, and one was the third most read article of the year with nearly 2,000 views in just its first 36 hours. Clearly the Genzyme workforce responded, and the success of team members Kate Chase and Dianna Solimine is neither trivial nor an unconfirmed rumor—it’s a fact.

 

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