Last updated on July 11, 2023 at 01:48 pm
Internal comms pros are busy! We don’t always have time to brainstorm, research, and attend events like we want to. And as a result, our creativity can feel a bit stifled. When doing your internal comms planning, it can be hard to come up with creative campaigns when you only have a little bit of time in between everything else you’re tasked with. So, we’ve done some research for you! In this blog, I’ll share seven creative internal comms campaign ideas.
What Are Internal Communication Campaigns?
Before we create more creative campaigns, let’s start with the basics: what are employee communication campaigns?
An internal communications campaign is a combination of messages and touch points that are strategically designed to deliver information and get employees to take a specific action. These messages are shared in a variety of ways on a variety of communication channels to ensure that all employees get the message as it develops. Often, what makes something a campaign as opposed to a one-off message is that the message develops or is “nurtured” over the course of multiple communications.
How Do You Plan an Internal Communications Campaign?
Planning an internal communications campaign doesn’t have to be overly complicated, but it should be organized and intentional. Here are some best practices we recommend:
- Start an editorial calendar. Not only will an editorial calendar help you keep track of all the messages within a single campaign, it will also help you organize all the other communications you are sharing.
- Meet with stakeholders regularly. Often, the campaigns we’re managing are on behalf of another department. When you have a regular stakeholder meeting, it’s easier to keep track of all the key initiatives, approvals, and goals for each campaign.
Once you’re organized, plan your campaign in 5 key steps:
- Clarify the goal. When someone comes to you with a communication request, the first thing you need to do is understand exactly what you are communicating and what the desired result is.
- Set a realistic timeline. Work with your stakeholders to set a clear and realistic timeframe for achieving the objective.
- Develop the messages. Based on your goals, timeframe, and budget, plan the messages you’ll need to send. It’s best when these are a mixture of mediums based on the information being communicated.
- Plan the cadence. Using your editorial calendar, schedule when every message in the campaign needs to be sent and approved.
- Measure. Both at the end of a campaign and throughout, we recommend tracking your progress towards your goal. Share this with the key stakeholders involved with the campaign.
What Makes an Internal Comms Campaign Great?
Before we dive into these fun internal comms campaign ideas, let’s talk a little bit about what makes a comms campaign any good.
At the end of the day, everything we do should come back to whether we’ve achieved our goals. A campaign can be crazy creative and it doesn’t really matter if it doesn’t move the needle. So, really consider what it is you’re trying to achieve when you put together your internal comms campaign strategy.
But beyond goal achievement, it should come back to what your employees think. Do they like the channel and format of the message? What improvements, if any, would they like to see made next time? And the only way to really gauge the sentiment around your comms campaigns is to ask. You can do this with regular employee pulse surveys or a diverse and representative focus group.
So, while we can make suggestions for creative campaigns to try, you need to make sure it aligns with your goals and the needs of your unique, employee population.
Internal Comms Campaign Ideas
1. “What Do You Do All Day?”
The team at ELLWOOD got feedback from employees about wanting to see more employees in communications and to understand more about how all the disparate divisions work together. This has culminated into a campaign that they call “What do you do all day?” where Macioge goes to the front lines and interviews an employee. And, essentially, he just asks them what they do for the company.
These videos are just one minute long, but they pack a punch. They have helped to paint the big picture of how everyone at the company, regardless of their business unit, are contributing to the same end goal.
Try this campaign idea if you’re focusing on culture-building, employee loyalty, and creating cross-departmental teamwork and camaraderie.
2. Infomercial-Style Videos
If you’re like me, most infomercials likely make you roll your eyes. But their staying power is insane. OxyClean. ShamWOW. Stanley Steamer. These names likely conjure a vivid memory of the products, the jingles, and the message.
I shouldn’t know the number 800-588-2300…EMPIRE! But I do.
And that’s the power of an over-the-top, hopefully funny, video.
Here’s an example of how it works as a communications tactic. At a former healthcare company, I worked on the Patient Education team and we were responsible for creating training and educational material for patients. And one of the resources we produced were educational handouts. Tear pads. Pamphlets. You name it. And we had updated materials that were now going to be available on the online store for purchase.
Not the most exciting thing to communicate, but certainly an important message to share with teams. So, we took inspiration from very silly and in your face infomercials and created a short video. We hit on all the key points of our message, but we hammed it up. We even starred in it ourselves to save budget. After it went out, our team received dozens of emails from people saying how much they loved the video.
It’s a rare day when someone takes the time to reach out and tell you they liked something you’ve communicated. It was a huge success.
Try this campaign idea if you’re communicating an important…but maybe not very sexy message. I’ve also used this tactic to communicate things like reminders for teams to tighten the screws on a cheese grater. To wash their hands. Get creative, folks!
3. Virtual Culture Programing That Employees Actually Like
No one does virtual culture-building like our client Veterans United. They have so much fun with their digital channels and cleverly engage employees after working hours or over lunch. They have even more ideas in their case study, but here are a few:
- Cash Cab. Yes, just like the TV show. The comms team will schedule a fake meeting with an employee and then when the meeting starts, they realize it’s Cash Cab. They do this completely over Zoom, and the employee gets to compete for real money. This is a surprise and delight campaign but one that contributes to their award-winning culture. You can make this more educational by asking questions about your company and programs.
- VU’s Got Talent. To get more audience involvement, our client hosts a periodic VU’s Got Talent show where employees can send in videos of their talent. This is a great way to help employees get to know one another. But it also humanizes leaders and teams that you normally wouldn’t get to interact with.
- Wellness Wednesdays. The Comms team at VU has teamed up with their Be Well team to run a campaign called Wellness Wednesday where they share a health and wellness tip on, you guessed it, Wednesdays. This is a really easy and affordable way to show your teams you care about their wellbeing, which has a huge impact on the overall employee experience.
4. Cheers to Peers
We all feel invigorated when we feel appreciated. This campaign is a masterclass in that. While you should definitely continue encouraging executive leadership and mid-level management to recognize and reward good work, this campaign takes it to the next level. As the name suggests, this is a peer-led recognition program.
Collect peer recognition in whatever way suits you and publicly share the submissions. This can be as simple as “this team member always has a good attitude” or as complex as calling out a specific win. Anyone that gets a note of recognition gets entered into a drawing for prizes each month. This makes the recognition two-fold. For one, recognized employees feel appreciated by their fellow teammates. But they also feel recognized by the organization and see that you are willing to reward good work with more than just a pat on the back.
Try this campaign idea if you’re hoping to improve retention and team culture.
5. Coffee & Conversation
The idea for a CEO coffee chat campaign came from our client Jodi Heard at Polyconcept. They started this campaign at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to increase transparency and trust with executive leadership. These group calls are somewhat informal, where the CEO shares some business updates and then spends the majority of the time answering employee questions. Anything the CEO can’t answer live, they make sure to get the answer and follow up later.
Try this campaign idea if you need to improve leadership communication.
There are so many ways to introduce gamification into your internal comms campaigns. Our client BNSF Logistics and their former Director of Communications, Sherrell Watson, had a great idea to embed this in daily communications.
They wanted something simple and something that wouldn’t feel like work for employees. So, they started developing a point system on different content, weighing more important content more heavily. Then they would share the points with the HR team to communicate with leaders so they could see who was engaged and actively involved. And at the end of the year, employees could cash in their points for prizes. The idea is to get employees to check their employee app more regularly and really engage with the content there.
Try this campaign idea if you’re struggling to get employees to engage regularly with content and take the appropriate action.
7. Quarterly Conversations
This idea comes from Jill Christensen, international keynote speaker and internal comms expert. Her idea for Quarterly Conversations is an easy lift for an internal comms team with a big payoff.
Here’s how it works. Brainstorm one question every quarter and share it with frontline managers. Instruct them to have a one-on-one conversation with their direct reports using this question as the conversation starter. Since managers aren’t always the best communicators, this is a great place to start guiding them on having more constructive conversations. The goal is to help employees feel cared for by management and to help your managers improve their communication and leadership skills.
Try this campaign idea if you’re focusing on improving manager communication and team morale.
Take Action Today
These internal comms campaign ideas are great for a virtual world and to use on a mobile employee app. If you’d like to learn more about how you might use an app for communication, let’s get in touch.
About the Author
Sydney Lauro is the Demand Generation Manager for theEMPLOYEEapp. Prior to joining the team at theEMPLOYEEapp, Sydney worked in internal communications for Chipotle Mexican Grill. She users her internal comms expertise and passion for improving communication and the employee experience to create content and share best practices to help other communications professionals.
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