Case Study: For big employers, internal marketing becomes an important factor, especially in a scarce workforce environment
The client is tied for 1st place as the largest company in the county and it represents the production center for the Eaton Corporation, a company worth over $55 billion and named one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE magazine.
Eaton Electro Productie, the company registered in Romania, is a production center for Eaton Corporation. It was established in 2001, in key areas where there was a severe lack of jobs, training and qualified personnel. As time went by and the area developed, competition for the workforce started to grow, and our client had to adapt.
The HR team was always on top of things, correctly evaluating the workforce pool and being proactive. The next part is keeping the employees happy, motivated and for long periods of time. This means various internal marketing campaigns. This is where we were asked to step in. One of the few communication tools that truly is universal for all employees is the monthly newspaper.
Our first challenge came even before we started our partnership. Although the company wanted to improve on a dreadful newspaper, any change in such a corporation requires lots of work and procedures. Even though our mock-up was an instant hit with the management, we had to go through a licitation, negotiation, forms and then contracts.
As the newspaper bears such a weight in the client’s internal marketing strategy, we had to make sure it is spotless. First, the paper used had to be significantly improved, while maintaining our costs competitive. Then, we wanted to offer additional services within the package, for our own brand (we wanted the end result to be something we can be proud of). Lastly, the printing of all the newspapers had to take no more than 2 days, every month.
As the client was not used to working with a marketing agency, our projects besides the newspaper came as a second thought, meaning extremely short lead-time requirements and high demands. Most of the time we had to ask that the lead time include the hour of the day when it needed to be finished.
One of the most important factors responsible for the time squeeze is the system itself. As most campaigns involved our assigned contact, her manager and a department’s director for whom we created the materials, the approval process for anything took a long time.
All materials had to be in check with Eaton regulations. Besides the extremely comprehensive brand manual, there are ethics policies and very sensitive non-discriminatory constraints, including microaggression (voluntary or involuntary). Simply put, any and all our materials had to be not only non-offensive, but they had to be impossible to be perceived as offensive.
The pre-conditions to be considered were not an issue, as we always had an ethical code we followed. Even the licitation saw us come on top as, even though we probably didn’t have the lowest price, we offered the best value and additional services that weren’t included in the request, but we knew how important and needed they would be. Of course, luck played a part as well, as we were very lucky to work with the Eaton team. A lot of effort was needed on their part, in a situation where they could have very well continued as it was.
Having good relations with almost all the printing companies in the city, we were able to negotiate an advantageous contract for greatly improved paper quality at the same price. Moreover, we managed to agree on a 2 days lead time for printing which, combined with personal delivery from one of our staff members, ensured we can always deliver on time.
The solution to the short lead times had to come from within our ranks. We devised an internal management system where we schedule essential parts of our various projects with gaps in between, gaps that would be filled with non-urgent tasks. This way we could make room for urgent priorities while not falling behind on any of our other projects.
Long time between responses is completely incompatible with short lead times. As not even we can expand time, we had to find another solution. So we adapted our whole working process. We stopped asking for confirmation for the key steps (concept, idea, style, text&imagery, final form) and we significantly reduced the active communication. We would create the whole material, in the final form, and send it directly for approval. If there were changes needed, we would be prepared for that, having the revised final form ready in no time. This would win us a couple of days per project when we had a lead time of a couple of days to begin with.
As the Eaton branding must be identified on all their materials across the world, we had to adapt our free, dynamic style to fit the client’s needs. We created some standards of our own. We made materials and pieces that would fit on more than one material to accurately represent the brand while maintaining a unique style, with the added advantage of maintaining the same style throughout our production. We created frames, general aspect guidelines, materials and signs.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Usually, positive feedback is not volunteered. If it’s bad, people will speak, but when it’s good, one can’t generally find out without asking. This time we received excellent feedback from the Eaton management team, with the mention that employees reached out to express their satisfaction. Our assigned contact did inform us of a negative review coming from their former partner for the newspaper, who said it has a “weird arrangement”. We can live with that.
The internal marketing materials saw a significant improvement since we started our collaboration, receiving constantly good feedback from our client.
Eaton’s internal program, an intricate app meant to unite employees, give and share reviews, recommend each other, gather points and other such features, saw steady growth in the number of active users, which was a long-term objective for our client.