Client Defra
Agency Seven
Title DEFRA/Landscape
The Brief

To move Landscape from a print to digital solution in order to save money as well as support the environmental credentials of Defra. 

To inspire and engage staff while reflecting the Defra brand.

The Challenge

To bring a human face to a large Government organisation while informing and giving staff pride in their achievements. 

Reflect the incredibly popular print magazine in regards to look, feel and tone in order to retain and grow readership while making a cost saving of 25% on Defra's internal communications.

Editorial Response

Seven has produced Landscape, the bi-monthly employee magazine for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), since January 2008.

In the autumn of 2010, Defra challenged Seven to deliver an online solution that would significantly save the department money while retaining the title's existing quality.

Six weeks after Seven presented back its ideas, it had built and delivered the first iteration of the site.

To make sure Seven's direction was on brief, it pulled feedback from a recent focus group and retained a large majority of the more popular articles from the magazine. Through this work, and with time spent with the Defra Internal Communications team, it was able to establish a site map and navigation that resonated with the target audience as well as identifying new areas the online platform could cover more effectively.

The cost of the build was spread evenly across the first year's billings, so there was minimal impact on the Internal Communications budget. The net result of Seven's launch of Landscape Online was a saving of 43% for Defra (compared with its previous spend on the print magazine).

The monthly updates to Landscape Online cover subject matter ranging from the threat of rising sea levels on rare habitat types to Cornish pasties gaining protected food-name status. Its readers are the scientists, policy-makers and administrators who work in this diverse department.

Articles keep staff informed about the work of their colleagues in an instructive and engaging manner. Whether it's a summary of the latest white paper, or an article looking at the best way to tackle bovine TB, serious subjects are condensed into a concise and relevant read. 

Frequent interviews showcase the people in the department and the variety of work they do - from a vet who conducts post-mortems on farm animals to a Forestry Commission wildlife ranger who protects bats. Each month a member of Defra writes a guest column that showcases a particular area of work and the diverse nature of the department.

The tone of the articles is always kept neutral, and Seven includes the opinions of people affected by Defra's policies, such as farmers and members of civil society groups, so that it is a trusted read and not just seen as departmental propaganda.

Content is kept at an appropriate length for reading online, with features ranging from 150 to 800 words. The editor at Seven works closely with the team at Defra to plan all the articles - ranging from 12 to 14 each month - in advance. 

Visitors to Landscape Online are able to comment on all features, creating a dialogue across the department through moderated comments. By moving to an online platform the purpose of the content has been extended and has enabled further interaction among staff.


Site metrics are monitored through Google Analytics, which both Seven and Defra have access to.

Traffic to the site: (From July 1, 2011 to May 30, 2012 )

Visits: 67,420

Unique Visitors: 15,793

Pageviews: 249,516

Pages/Visit: 3.70

Average Visit Duration: 00:02:53

Bounce Rate: 49.58%

New visits: 21.59%

Returning visitors: 78.42%

Client comment: "We've found Seven a great agency to work with. Very proactive, well organised with a good news sense, and excellent writing skills and client liaison. Making the transition from a paper-based magazine to an electronic one could have put a real strain on relationships, but they remained absolutely focused on understanding the requirement and delivering on it." - Justin Merry, Internal Communications, Defra

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