Best Interview or Profile (Electronic)

HRA’s “Insight” experiments with a new story type to lure readers

The communications team at Honda R&D America (HRA) looked for new ways to attract readers. It found a winning idea in a fresh type of interview/profile. 

Associate Spotlight: The Father-Son Restoration - Logo -

John Leiby of Honda R&D America (HRA) was searching for ways to spark new interest in his newsletter “Insight” among the engineers at HRA’s main campus in Raymond, Ohio. For taking a chance with a new kind of story, Leiby and HRA have won the “Best Interview or Profile (Electronic)” category of Ragan’s 2015 Employee Communications Awards.

Leiby wanted a standout personal story that involved a pursuit of an interesting tech-oriented hobby by a staff engineer. He and his staff settled on a hybrid story incorporating interviews in a 500-word individual profile. 

They found an engineer at HRA who had worked long hours as a 15-year-old helping his father restore a 1960 Ford F100 pickup truck that had stood abandoned in a neighboring farmer’s field for 20 years. It took them six months and $5,000 to finish the job.

Leiby’s writer interviewed both son and father. By coincidence, the father co-owned a Honda dealership in Nebraska. The story was an enormous success with “Insight” readers:

  • The short-form story/profile/interview was quicker and easier for busy engineers to read.
  • The engineers related well to the story of how the father-son bond grew stronger as they worked on the truck.
  • The story theme was actually suggested by the engineer associates at HRA.
  • The story was clicked on by 512 HRA associates.
  • The story earned the second-highest click rate of the text stories in that edition of “Insight.”

Leiby observes, “The click rates for this story are eye-catching because we don’t often see stories about HRA associates reach this level of popularity.”

Congratulations to John Leiby and the CTC staff writers at HRA!

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