In my experience, client briefs for their internal communications can go one of two ways and more often than not, internal comms seems to be treated as an exercise in ticking boxes.
The driving sentiment seems to be "someone’s told us we have to do this, so we’ll spend as little effort on it as possible, get it out the door, and move on to something more interesting".
That’s not only a shame for the agency involved in that kind of briefing, but an insult to the recipients of the work.
On the other hand, we have the internal comms bursting with enthusiasm at the opportunity to make a difference.
In stark contrast to the above, the feeling is "we can have some fun here. There isn’t much budget, but that doesn’t matter. We have the freedom that comes with talking to our own people".
All this came to mind when I saw some of the work that came out of the merger of the two charities AgeConcern and Help the Aged, who now have a much simpler and more positive monicker: AgeUK.
I’m reliably informed that the original brief was for the classic "deskdrop". A brochure explaining what the future held for staff of the new organisation. Sensible. Worthy. But also easily bin-able.
Having ignored the executional aspect of the client’s brief, the agency came up with... a tea towel. It carries a serious message. But done with an admirably light touch.
Most important, it’s not something you’d throw away. In fact you’d probably take it home and end up talking about your employer with your family. It has chat value.
Who knows – this humble piece of cotton may even end up as merchandise and generate a few pennies for AgeUK. In the meantime, it’s a good reminder that internal communications has no excuse to be dull – any more than the customer-facing stuff.
Simon S Kershaw is a creative consultant and a former creative director at Craik Jones