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So you’ve ticked off the first few items from your campaign planning checklist. Compelling question, great brand, clear place and process for employees to share their ideas – check, check, check! But what is your employee engagement strategy?
As the clock ticks closer to launch day, it’s time to spread the word about the campaign and spark excitement throughout the organisation. Engaging your workfoce is the not-so-secret ingredient for a successful employee ideas campaign, and promoting your campaign is the first step towards this goal.
Did you know?
In the Social Media world, it’s stated that 75% of what makes a campaign successful is what you do to promote it.
The benefits of strong campaign promotion are no secret in the employee ideas world either. In our six years of helping companies listen to their employees, we know that campaigns launched with a full communications strategy receive over double the number of ideas and interactions (2.2x, to be exact) compared to those without. Source: Breaking Brand.
Now, before you get started, ask yourself 'does my team even know what idea management is?'. Might seem obvious but before communicating en masse, make sure your core team is on board and that starts with a basic understanding of what you're trying to do.
Idea management is a structured process of generating, capturing, discussing and improving, organizing, evaluating and prioritizing valuable insight or alternative thinking that would otherwise not have emerged through normal processes – Gartner
Shouting about your employee ideas campaign is one thing, but getting your audience to listen and absorb the message is a very different challenge. When you’re competing with a whole host of other company updates, emails and initiatives, even the best promotional content can fall on deaf ears.
There are a few steps you can take to prevent this from happening:
Identify your company’s existing channels and prioritise the ones which already have good levels of engagement. Where are employees hanging out?
Here’s eight of our favourite promotional channels and methods to help you get the word out about your employee ideas campaign:
We’ll explore each channel in more detail below.
The holy grail of digital communications.
Versatile, shareable, visually engaging - there are countless benefits of using video as a medium for campaign promotion. A video can capture even the shortest of attention spans and convey a message a lot more effectively than text; if you want to launch your campaign with a bang, harnessing the power of video is a no-brainer. And with the integration of modern tools like online video editors, a multitude of possibilities emerge. Features like video to text, or adding automatic subtitles ensures your content is accessible to all. More recently new AI voice cloning technology also allows for a variety of voices and accents, potentially personalizing the content for global audiences. There really is no excuses NOT to use videos these days.
Did you know?
Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.
A good launch video should introduce the campaign, provide clear instructions on how employees can get involved, and explain why you are asking people to share their ideas in the first place. It should be informative and inspiring in equal measure.
As much as we all wish for an unlimited comms budget, the reality can often be very different. However, a great launch video can exist in many different forms and we’d like to share a few examples from all ends of the budget spectrum:
Hiring an agency to produce a professionally tailored launch video can be a worthwhile investment, especially if you plan on running numerous campaigns or opening an ‘Always On’ innovation channel.
Nestle’s InGenius video is a stellar example of this. Their outstanding video really captures the magic of the InGenius Innovation programme and demonstrates the impact of employee ideas on the wider business:
No matter who you are or what you do, if you are passionate about solving a problem or creating an opportunity, you can submit an idea. InGenius is a way to allow our employees to find a voice and a platform for their ideas.
----- Nick De Blasio - Employee Innovation at Nestle -----
If your budget is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, an animation-style video might be the answer. Check out this short and snappy video from our friends at Mars, which was used to promote their “Home in time for dinner” campaign:
Simple yet effective…who wouldn’t want to improve their work-life balance?
If you’re on the hunt for a new online tool to make beautiful animated videos, we recommend giving Biteable a go!
Don’t let a modest or non-existent comms budget put you off making a launch video for your campaign. A smartphone and a little bit of imagination is really all you need!
At Sideways 6, we like to practice what we preach when it comes to listening to employee ideas. When the UK went into lockdown earlier this year, we asked ourselves the most frequently asked question of 2020: “How can we make remote working better for everyone?”
Our DIY launch video for the ‘QuaranTEAM’ campaign is proof that you don’t need any fancy equipment (or even very good bandwidth) to create something memorable:
And yes, including pets in the video is always a winner!
These days, printed marketing materials are often put on the back-burner in favour of more modern, digital methods. However, producing some tangible assets alongside your digital promotion can really help to boost your employee ideas campaign.
Brochures, magazines and newsletters have a long shelf-life and tend to get passed around from one person to the next. A shiny new poster is often more eye-catching than a page on a website and a physical flyer on your desk is impossible to ignore.
Did you know?
A recent study conducted by the marketing research institute Marketing Sherpa revealed that 82% of Americans trust print advertising more than the digital equivalent.
Source: Evans Graphics
Planning on promoting your employee ideas campaign at an event? If you are, good old printed materials are your friend! Giving attendees something tangible to hold and take home as a memento can help keep the campaign at the front of people’s minds, even after the event is over.
This was the exact approach taken by AstraZeneca when promoting their global AZ2025 campaign. AZ2025 centered around a landmark crowdsourcing campaign, designed to immerse 64,000 employees across 120 countries in the company strategy.
The campaign was launched with a series of roadshows and town halls, supported by an impressive array of communications including printed assets. AZ2025 received 77,000 ideas, comments and likes over the course of three weeks, so it’s safe to say those promotional materials did the trick!
AZ2025 Printed Assets
There are countless options at your disposal when it comes to printed assets, but here are some of our favourites. Dress them up in your campaign branding like AstraZeneca have and you’re good to go:
The words ‘email newsletter’ probably make you think of the collection of unread, uninspiring automated emails clogging up your inbox from companies you don’t remember signing up to.
Therefore, it’s unsurprising that innovation teams are often hesitant to use this method to promote employee ideas campaigns.
However, when used correctly, email can be great way of sending out campaign content to a targeted audience - as you can see from this fine example from the MAGIC team at Centrica:
HubSpot have put together some helpful tips on keeping mass email communications effective, summarised below along with our best practice advice:
Click here to access HubSpot’s complete guide to creating a great Email Newsletter.
If you don’t have the resource to create a specific email newsletter for the campaign, why not leverage the wider company newsletter instead? A guaranteed audience awaits.
There’s nothing like a town hall or company event to get everyone into a room (or more likely a Teams or Zoom meeting!) at the same time. With a captive audience ready and waiting, these occasions are a golden opportunity for campaign promotion.
Most Enterprise Social Networks now have streaming functionality to run live virtual events. Alternatively, capture your event on video and share the footage on Workplace, Viva Engage or Teams!
One of the best ways to promote your employee ideas campaign at large-scale company events or meetings is through the mouthpiece of your executive team. If senior stakeholders are the ones creating a buzz around the campaign, the excitement is far more likely to trickle down through the organisation.
Getting senior leadership buy-in ensuring they viewed the campaign as something important, was paramount to success.
----- Scott Wilkins - Enterprise Innovation Director at AstraZeneca, reflecting on AZ2025 -----
AstraZeneca’s AZ2025 campaign was promoted at a series of company events
Did you know?
Employee ideas campaigns with leadership endorsement achieve around 30% more engagement than those without.
Source: The State of Employee Ideas 2018
Have you ever signed up to a course, talk or webinar because your teammates or manager were going? Did their excitement rub off on you?
Thought so. Herd mentality is a surprisingly powerful concept which you can use to your advantage when promoting your employee ideas campaign. The chats around the water cooler can carry a lot of influence and word of mouth can certainly help increase engagement. Informal team meetings are a great place to plant these seeds.
We’ve already discussed the importance of executive sponsorship. This will have a guaranteed positive effect on how employees perceive the campaign and their willingness to share their ideas. Equally important are the middle managers; they are the perfect candidates for promoting the campaign in more informal meetings and encouraging their teams to get involved.
Create slides or share promotional materials for managers to include as part of their team meetings. Even better, see if they’ll let you have a 5-minute segment in the meeting to talk about the campaign yourself.
Another tactic is to create a network of ‘champions’ to help you promote the campaign at events. Find a group of people who are passionate about employee ideas and empower them to spread their enthusiasm to others.
'Lunch and Learn' sessions are a great way for your champions to promote the campaign in a structured, yet informal setting.
The modern-day billboard. We see them in airports, bars, shops, waiting rooms, you name it.
Besides displaying flight times and happy hour menus, digital signage has become a popular communication tool for companies needing to reach employees across multiple locations. A big, eye-catching message displayed across a TV screen is pretty hard to miss!
Digital Signage [noun]
A system you can use to broadcast and schedule content to TV screens located within your offices. The benefit for distributed teams, is that all screens can be managed from anywhere and from a central location, if you only want to provide access to certain administrators.
Mars Digital Signage for "Home In Time For Dinner" Campaign
The flexibility and customisability of digital signage makes it the perfect option for campaign promotion. You can switch up the screen content and tailor different messages for different audiences, keeping your communications fresh and interesting.
Did you know?
Digital signage has a recall rate of 83%, so the chances of people noticing your campaign are pretty high!
The benefits of digital signage are not limited to office-based employees. Most of the big players on the market have extended their functionality to cater for the ever-increasing remote workforce, enabling companies to share real-time updates to all screens big and small.
So rest assured, your audience will be able to enjoy your beautiful digital displays no matter where they are working.
Good things often come in small packages.
Bigger than a landing page but smaller than a website, a microsite is the perfect one-stop-shop for delivering focused content and information around your campaign.
A branded content site that lives outside of the company homepage and/or brand URL.
Generally speaking, a microsite can help you achieve a number of things:
Nestle’s InGenius microsite does all this and much more. As the InGenius employee ideas programme has flourished, the microsite has become the home for Nestle’s buzzing innovation community. Perfectly packaged in a user-friendly and engaging layout, the site is brimming with big-picture stats and stories that demonstrate the power of employee ideas:
Nestle InGenius Microsite
When a new challenge is launched, employees know exactly where to go to find out more and get involved:
Nestle InGenius Microsite Challenges Page
KITKAT Ice Cream Challenge… don’t mind if we do!
And last but by no means least, the place where the magic happens: your Enterprise Social Network. The home of employee ideas.
The campaign promotion tactics discussed in this article are all about driving your audience to Workplace, Viva Engage, Teams or wherever you are asking them to share their ideas. The ideas group itself is often seen as the destination, rather than part of the journey, and is commonly overlooked as a channel for campaign promotion.
Don’t fall into this trap! Enterprise Social Networks were literally built for companies to boost collaboration and engagement, so we encourage you to make your ideas group as attractive and exciting as the campaign itself.
Besides covering the group from top to toe in branded comms, there are a few nifty features in Enterprise Social Networks that you can leverage for campaign promotion:
Make announcement posts in other groups within your Enterprise Social Network to drive engagement to the new campaign group.
Our friends at Discovery used all these tricks and more to promote the launch of their employee ideas programme ‘Spark Innovation’. Every inch of the Spark Workplace group was covered in bold and beautiful branding to get employees excited about the campaign:
Spark banner image
The Spark group description set out a powerful mission statement and made the purpose of the campaign really clear for employees:
Spark group description
The Spark Workplace group was the perfect platform to highlight key campaign information and instructions for submitting ideas:
Spark idea submission journey
Many posts featured the 'Spark Heroes', the group of champions responsible for driving campaign engagement. What better way to make a call for ideas?
Spark Workplace post
Take a leaf out of Discovery’s book and make your Enterprise Social Network the front and centre for campaign promotion.
Feeling inspired? Pick your favourite promotion methods from this list (or use them all!) and watch your employee ideas campaign go off with a bang.
Ideas from Anywhere™
Sideways 6 exists to help bring good ideas to life every day, everywhere from everyone.»