Leave Boring Behind

Employee branding: Create engaging, exciting and inspiring internal comms with STB.

Recognising that employees are huge assets, successful companies don’t just consider external audiences but also invest in their employees; to attract, retain and inspire the best talent for their organisation. Internal communications are now as important as external ones and, what was once dubbed “poor mans comms”, is becoming as creatively rich as some of the most successful consumer campaigns. Financially it makes sense too, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202% (Business 2 Community).

If your employees have bought into your business and its positioning, there’s a good chance that customers will too. From the traditional top-down of official communications, including contracts, code of conduct, Health & Safety and increasingly corporate responsibility, to employee brand building initiatives of recognition and reward, training and peer-to-peer communication, internal communications have the opportunity to make all employees feel like they have an important part to play. Engaged and motivated employees are more likely to become company ambassadors than employees who aren’t. While guidelines are seen as a fundamental for delivering cohesive external communications, internal communication can be less constrained, allowing for more creative freedom. Whether it’s edgier, bolder or even cheekier, it can provide a rallying cry for current employees and future recruits; building teams whilst attracting and retaining the very best talent.

For reasons of confidentiality, it’s difficult talking about specific internal communications for other clients, but some of the key themes we’re asked to address come through again and again, such as how to differentiate official communications from those more ‘culture’ focused? One such project, for an international client, saw us create comprehensive guidelines for their internal identity, that needed to be as suitable for head office locations as for retail outlets on different continents. Applied to everything from leadership handbooks, newsletters and other official communications to wellness gifts, environmental graphics and local office spaces, the solution needed to be recognisable and engaging for different stakeholders (and their competing priorities and expectations) across multiple different locations and hierarchies. Simple language translations and interchangeable visual content allowed for further localisation, so wherever the audience and whatever the expectations placed upon the collateral, the result is a really effective piece of graphic communication.

For another client, myth-solving animations played on internal screens provided a fun way to challenge common staff misconceptions across their large portfolio of retail stores

Virgin Trains asked us to help them launch their striking new body-neutral uniform range. They needed a solution that worked for all staff, working in various environments and manning different train models. Virgin Trains’ direction of “mobile-first internal communication” helped define the solution of a responsive web app, which operated on mobile devices for front line staff and on desktop computers for the office-based. The uniform allows for multiple different outfit combinations, which enabled Virgin Trains staff to express their individuality in a tailored wardrobe. Our idea was to develop a fun, interactive, mix-and-match game to promote the flexibility of the uniform and encourage staff to build their own wardrobe. To present the uniform range in the most authentic way, we photographed every combination using Virgin Trains’ staff, which resulted in an excited workforce and achieved incredibly high levels of engagement across all Virgin Trains’ staff.

The right message can make all the difference. So, if you’d like our help turning dull internal memos into engaging, open and honest communications, please contact: Holly Lawson, holly@stbdesign.com.