Skip to main content
Commsy creative stuff straight to your inbox


Want to make your employer brand fly? Be more Bill… 

< Blog home

Want to make your employer brand fly? Be more Bill… 

You know the story.

In 1962, during a visit to the NASA Space Center, President John F. Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom (or was it a mop?). He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, ‘Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?’

‘Well, Mr. President,’ replied the janitor, ‘I’m helping put a man on the moon.’

Now, it’s unclear whether the name of that janitor was ever reported. So we’ll call him Bill.

Bill wasn’t just cleaning a building.

Bill was contributing to the fundamental purpose of his employer. He knew that NASA was his place to be.

Put yourself – or any one of the employees who work at your organisation – in Bill’s shoes. Can you honestly say the same thing…?

Engaging and motivating employees like Bill is where it all begins

We’d like to think that outside of work, Bill said good things about his employer, telling the people he met that he was proud to work at NASA. These days, Bill would be called a great brand advocate. It may have been nearly 50 years ago, but Bill’s experience of employment was clearly a positive one. It seems likely that NASA had taken at least some steps towards building a strong and positive employer brand, designed to attract committed and engaged people, just like Bill.

This is where you come in…

Along with marketing, HR and sales, your role as an internal communicator is a crucial one when it comes to building and supporting your own organisation’s employer brand. Because of the unique position you hold, you have the ability to harness the experiences of people like Bill and make sure those experiences are presented to the world.

To help build an exceptional employer brand, consider working on the following approaches:

Be clear about your organisation’s ‘reason for being’

Your organisation’s purpose is at the heart of everything it stands for. And it’s hugely important to promote the ‘why’, the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ of that purpose to those external to it. One statement worth remembering is from Simon Sinek’s much-viewed TED talk: ‘People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it’. So, make sure you communicate ‘why’ first, and follow it up with ‘how’ and ‘what’. Whether it’s encouraging collaboration, highlighting a silo-free work environment or empowerment through knowledge / skills sharing, you’ll be doing even more great work towards transparency, honesty and getting your organisation’s profile up in lights.

NASA states that, ‘Our work is more than just a profession—it’s a lifelong pursuit, a passion—and a chance to change the history of humanity.’

Bill was clearly on board with that ambition.

Bring your values to life

Safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence – they’re NASA’s core values and they’re evident in all that they do. What are yours? Do they feature highly enough to be remembered and respected by all? Make sure that your core values are weaved through communications at every opportunity – throughout recruitment and onboarding activities and through the campaigns you create. And ensure that employees are recognised and rewarded when those values are seen to be demonstrated.

Become a story hoarder

Imagine the stories that Bill could tell! There’s no better way to connect with others than through authentic, personal stories. As an internal communicator, you have conversations every day and this presents a ripe opportunity to gather rich and honest moments directly from employees.

Hoard these magical stories somewhere safe so they’re ready to be used when needed. Be the place they come when a human tale needs telling.

Promote your CSR and responsible business activities

Keep close to your ethics programmes and policies, role model quality standards and promote ethical behaviours. Make them part of everyday conversation and a priority for local managers to uphold, coaching them on the correct standards and values that present your organisation as a responsible, ethical and sustainable one, both inside and out.

Commit to a culture of continuous improvement

If you don’t look up every now and then, how do you know what’s really going on? Taking regular ‘pulse checks’ is one way of discovering real-time thoughts and opinions from across the organisation. It could be a quick two minute anonymous survey, or an open forum (you’ll know what works best for your organisation). Whichever way you construct it, it’s a great way of ensuring everyone has an opportunity to share their feelings. And the success of these pulse checks / forums will help towards a key part of any organisation’s healthy future: continuous improvement.

Implementing positive changes where needed is a signal to potential employees that their feedback will be listened to and considered. And that they would indeed be working for an organisation that doesn’t have complacency as part of its DNA…

Build brand advocacy

As well as thinking about your existing followers you should also be talking to the people who are yet to follow you and who are keeping an eye on what your organisation is doing from a distance.

So, make sure you celebrate and circulate ‘good news stories’, afford employees the freedom to shout about achievements as a business, welcome new joiners, promote your latest charity day and smile for the Instagram camera at colleague engagement events. You’ll come across as a friendly, welcoming and collaborative organisation while demonstrating that your employees are part of an ongoing conversation.

Bill might not have had Facebook at his fingertips, but he’d probably have something inspiring to share in his own way.

Keep your promises

There’s nothing worse in an organisation than broken trust, and one sure fire way to do this is by not delivering on your promises. Whether it’s weekly fruit deliveries or regularly scheduled meetings with your line manager, not doing what you said you would can create an air of mistrust. And that’s not good internally or externally.

Be more Bill

It’s important to remember that an organisation can’t just stop being attractive to an employee the minute they sit at their new desk, or that a recruitment ad stretches the truth for potential talent. Working for any organisation is a relationship; it requires consideration, honesty, and above all, good communication. And that’s the bit you’re best at.

Aspire to be at the top of your game. Be more Bill.

Talk to us

Making your employer brand game strong isn’t something that happens overnight. If you think you could benefit from advice or support with it, get in touch with us today. We’re more than happy to help get you on the right path and help make your organisation an even greater place to be.

“The guys at Alive understand the complexities of our business which means we don’t need to explain the detail of every project or design piece – they’re already on it, which keeps things moving and delivers the results we need.”

Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“We had the privilege to work with the Alive team. It was our first time to be involved in creating an animation for our patients within paediatrics. The team were approachable, friendly, creative and very accommodating. Your vision for what you want to create, is at all times acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by the team. They worked effectively and with great passion towards our project and worked not only alongside health professionals but also our patients who really enjoyed the experience of working with the Alive team. It has given our team the confidence and inspiration to do further projects in the future. We highly recommend Alive and their exceptional team.”

DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

“Our mission was to update our brand visuals to better reflect our innovative and forward-thinking organisation. After receiving numerous pitches from different branding agencies, Alive stood out with their clear passion and understanding of our identity and goals. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Alive Team to create an engaging new brand that we are immensely proud of.”

Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
Alive logo