WHY CO-CREATION WINS ENGAGEMENT AWARDS

3 months ago

Following a double win at the IC Brilliance awards, Huw Morgan, Director of Internal Communications, reflects on the Arthur Webb Challenge Cup campaign with Nationwide

If you work in employee engagement, it’s always healthy to set your sights on a clutch of awards that recognise your brilliantly creative campaigns.

As an internal communications consultancy, awards successes are a tangible endorsement of our work; exciting existing clients and helping attract new ones. So we’re all on the hunt for the award-winning recipe for success.

Well, on the back of a brace of wins, some insider tips and some hard-earned experience, I’ve attempted to boil the recipe down to three key ingredients: 

1. An award winning campaign needs to prove it has contributed towards a clear business outcome; whether that’s boosting customer service, driving innovation, adoption, or helping save the business money.

2. A strong creative theme should run through an award-winning campaign like a golden thread; making the campaign stand out from the crowd and tying everything together in the mind of the audience. This is where the best communications and content agencies really earn their crust.

3. In a client-consultancy relationship, a spirit of co-creation is essential if you want to deliver a world-beating campaign.

Nationwide’s ‘Arthur Webb Challenge Cup’ campaign delivered against these three measures in winning the overall prize for Innovative Use of IC and Gold for IC Campaign of the Year at the IC Brilliance Awards 2018.

I must admit to a vested interest, as we worked closely with Nationwide on the campaign, which was inspired by a celebrated former employee who led the Building Society through two World Wars. Arthur Webb’s pioneering spirit and impressive moustache nourished the creative theme that elevated a simple efficiency campaign into something Society colleagues connected with on an emotional level.

For a creative idea like ‘Arthur Webb’ to deliver, it needs to be adopted wholeheartedly by the company’s in-house team. After all, they own the channels and the relationship with the employees. If the agency and in-house team don’t take the creative journey together, the campaign can fall foul of ‘not created here’ syndrome.

We think the best, most creative campaigns occur when the client tells us what they want to achieve rather than what they want to deliver. This way, the agency’s creative team has the freedom to explore a multitude of possibilities rather than try to second-guess a client idea.

Arthur Webb prospered because Nationwide’s in-house team was clear about the business objectives of the campaign and open to its creative possibilities. Without that openness, the resulting campaign risked being focused on financial goals rather than engagement.

Because of their involvement with the creative process, the team were also prepared to invest the energy required to take the campaign into engaging new places. For example, an Arthur moustache-on-a-stick encouraged employees to take and share selfies wearing it in far flung places, building a viral engagement that helped create a lasting emotional connection to the campaign.

The team were also able to connect it back to real business outcomes. In the case of the Arthur Webb Challenge Cup it meant millions of pounds of efficiency savings and the silo-busting involvement and collaboration of teams and individuals from across the Society.

So there you have it, the recipe for employee engagement awards success boils down to co-creation, clear business outcomes and a huge moustache.