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How Domtar modernized internal communications while navigating M&A activities

The 175-year-old manufacturing company uses Axios HQ to unite 20+ locations

The challenge: In one word — change. Paper Excellence Group acquired Domtar. Domtar acquired Resolute Forest Products Inc. CEO transitions and integration activities were ahead. Through it all, Domtar needed to make sure its dynamic workforce of over 6,000 office and manufacturing workers in the U.S. and Canada were informed, connected, and receiving modern communications about the company’s next act. It had to be:  

  • Simple: Domtar was using PoliteMail to send curated digests of content from their Sharepoint-based intranet, but the complexity and outdated process was weighing on their servers, slowing down communicators, and causing frustration across the company. They needed an easier interface that would also allow for bilingual (English and French) versions of all content distributed via email to employees. 
  • Engaging: They needed a platform that would reach employees with important information, a format and content structure that would make it scannable and engaging, and a toolset that could help them reach employees at different sites in a way that works for them.

The solution: Domtar started using Axios HQ to send biweekly corporate digests to all staff and to send a biweekly local digest to employees at its corporate offices. And the switch from PoliteMail to Axios HQ made a stark impact — open rates went from 12% to over 54% for the corporate digest and from about 40% to over 79% for local digests.

Domtar also began using the platform to craft sends to help integrate the three Paper Excellence Group companies in North America. In doing so, the average open rates for both English and French versions jumped to over 66%. And the company continues to expand how they use HQ, with other departments and manufacturing sites getting onboard.

💭 Lauren Hultz, Leader, Digital and Technology Communications:

  • Axios HQ “provides a modern — and centralized — way of creating something that’s consistent with our brand, gives people the information that they need, and is efficient to pull together with multiple collaborators. It’s easy to use and learn, and the premium features have been well worth the investment.”

💭 Courtney St. Onge, Director, Communications - Content:

  • “Both our audience and our contributors appreciate the look and feel of the communications and the SmartBrevity style. The messages are concise and can cover it all for simple topics or be a compelling lead-in for more complex communications.”

How it works: Collaborators come in, add, and edit information. Then, the communications team or series senders distribute it. Not only do the digests and integration newsletters hit inboxes, but they can be downloaded as a PDF version to print and share with groups that don’t have regular access to the intranet — like frontline workers in their mills and distribution centers.

🧠  Lauren’s words of encouragement:

  • “Axios HQ shifted how we work and how we put information out because there was no need anymore to constantly click out to read more on the intranet. There are unlimited opportunities really at this point, especially in this integration scenario that we’re in. It’s helped us to focus on sharing what’s important to employees as the top priority for internal communications.”
  • “Don’t be intimidated by changes — or by building relationships with your IT teams or other stakeholders outside of your team. Those relationships are the key to being able to introduce and take advantage of platforms like this and features that can change your internal communications game for the better.”


Best in Class awards_2024_Badge-Change comms

Domtar earned Axios HQ's 2024 Best-in-Class award for Change Communications. See our other award winners:





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