FIT FOR THE BEACH for Unilever

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FIT FOR THE BEACH

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Industry Business equipment & services, Corporate Image
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Internal Communications
Advertiser: UNILEVER
Product/Service: COMPANY RELOCATION
Head of Planning: Gerd Ribbeck (FAKTOR 3 AG)
Project Manager: Christopher Müller (FAKTOR 3 AG)
Group Head: Marc Recker (FAKTOR 3 AG)
Art Direction: Nicole Kerth (FAKTOR 3 AG)
Event Management: Mike Felber (FAKTOR 3 AG)
Junior Public Relations Consultant: Jeannine Kritsch (FAKTOR 3 AG)
Communications Director: Katja Praefke (Unilever)
Communications Manager: Kathrin Voelzke (Unilever)
Media placement: Billboard installation with flat screen and feedback options - Entrance headquarter - 9 May 2009
Media placement: Content edition #1 with video, articles and fotos - Intranet - 9 May 2009
Media placement: Content edition #2 with video, articles and fotos - Intranet - 18 May 2009
Media placement: Content edition #3 with video, articles and fotos - Intranet - 25 May 2009
Media placement: Content edition #4 with video, articles and fotos - Intranet - 17 June 2009
Media placement: Move-In Day #1 Event - Event at new headquarter - 22 June 2009
Media placement: Move-In Day #2 Event - Event at new headquarter - 29 June 2009
Media placement: Company celebration with staff families - Event at new headquarter - 12 September 2009
Media placement: Official opening ceremony - Event at new headquarter - 17 September 2009

Summary of the Campaign
The challenge was to transform reluctance into anticipation for the 1,200 Unilever employees moving from the beloved landmark headquarters into a new company building with open-plan offices. Our brief was to develop a change in communication strategy, which had an emotional reach, resolving employees’ misgivings and making the relocation unforgettable. Thus, our campaign needed to be both credible and entertaining, addressing individual concerns and cheering up the staff without being goofy. The answer was an involved campaign called 'STRANDKLAR', which is a pun for 'fit for the beach' and the new company address 'Strandkai 1' 'beach quay'). To make Unilever staff 'fit for the beach' was a promise to resolve their feelings of unease before they move. Straightforward multimedia communication modules focussed on topics seizing on the staffs scepticism over the new neighborhood, the open-plan office situation and the relocation itself. Engaging ideas like jogging the new neighbourhood or a farewell bluebox photo shoot with the old headquarters led to three key events: Move-in Day, Company Celebration and the official opening. STRANDKLAR?! resolved major misgivings of employees and managed to turn scepticism into anticipation to move, as proved by many individual feedbacks and the extremely positive spirit during the key events.

The Goal
The objectives of 'STRANDKLAR' were to resolve employees’ misgivings, turn them into pleasant anticipation and make the relocation an unforgettable event. The target audience comprised of around 1,200 Unilever employees who worked in the Hamburg based headquarters for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Among these were highly skilled brand communication professionals that we had to credibly address as well as scientists, clerks and canteen staff. In preparation for creating the campaign content and right spin for the change, interviews were conducted with the Company Medical Officer, consultants from the Fuerstenberg Institut (Employee Assistance Programme) and several Unilever employees.

Results

'Strandklar' gained strong credibility among Unilever employees, and managed to turn scepticism into anticipation towards the move, as proved by many individual feedbacks and the extremely positive spirit during the key events. More than 2,500 employee family members came to the company celebration, which shows a great deal of pride and affiliation by Unilever staff. Not only the CEO Harry Brouwer, the management and the project team at Unilever, but also the official staff council and numerous individual employees expressed their approval of the campaign. Even some teething troubles with the new building could not turn the spirit in the following months after the campaign came to an end.

Execution
Kick-Off: employees found a STRANDKLAR flyer announcing the campaign in their inbox. A STRANDKLAR logo installation near the entrance served as campaign billboard with feedback options. Prepare: Four bi-weekly Strandklar-editions with videos, photos and feature articles were released prior to the Move-in day. The topics were addressing the major misgivings, such as the new neighborhood, the open-plan office situation, to bid farewell to the past and the relocation itself. Move-in day: ‘Strandklar pilots’ received the employees at check-in counters, a jazz band was playing live. An “audio tour” of the new building stored on an iPod shuffle was part of a welcome package. Company celebration: At “Strandklar – A Day Aboard Unilever”, the employees invited their families to check out their new building while having a great party with lots of activities. Official opening: The global Unilever CEO, Hamburgs mayor, the national media and all Unilever employees attended the opening ceremony.

The Situation
Unilever currently undergoes a change strategy called “Vitality” by repositioning their company culture to more openness and transparency. Part of the implementation was to move from an iconic landmark headquarter in Hamburgs city centre into a newly constructed building in Hamburgs district development area 'HafenCity'. However, many employees felt uneasy to move. In fact, they had severe misgivings over leaving their familiar surroundings in the city centre and working in open-plan offices. As to cap that, dismissals along with the relocation had been announced.

The Strategy

We felt our first task was to create a campaign name that was playful, meaningful and encouraging, and that could serve as a strong communication platform for all activities planned, from publishing tools to outdoor activities to big events like the actual moving-in and company celebration. 'STRANDKLAR' did all that. Next was to stage the campaign in milestones from preparations to the move-in-day till the official opening. During the preparation stage, comprehensive communication modules were planned, each of which consisted of in-depth information on a specific aspect of concern and its solution, combined with a creative call for action to experience this aspect first hand. The big events of moving-in, company celebration and official opening were planned with both entertaining and thoughtful elements that brought the idea of “STRANDKLAR” within the overall mission of “Vitality” to life.