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How do you identify your Changeimals? 

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How do you identify your Changeimals? 

Hatchimals were last year’s must-have toy. By changing the Hatchimal’s environment – its egg – an animal hatches from within. In times of change, employees can metaphorically become animals… or Changeimals, as we like to call them.

Here we explore some of those animals, how they react to change and how understanding those reactions can help to shape our strategies.

People are hugely complex. By exploring human behaviour and psychology, and relating it back to your change communications strategy, it can provide depth to your thoughts, plans, and goals.

David Straker, the founder of, came up with the concept of animals metaphorically representing how people react to change.

He called it The Resistance Zoo.

It features six animals that all hatch during times of change…

  • Ostriches. No introduction needed to this one. One sniff of danger and their heads shoot straight down in the sand. They believe that if they can’t see the change, it can’t hurt them.
  • Moles. The sneaky little moles hide underground, and just when you think your change project is complete, up they pop to make a mess of things.
  • Tigers. They’re the ones to fear. And they like to make sure you do too. Their claws are out, and they’ll fight your change programme to the very end.
  • Dogs. They’re individually powerful and brave, but know that together they’re stronger. They’ll seek out the other dogs and create a pack. They’ll fight dirty, and will rip your change programme apart, given half the chance.
  • Owls. Wise and knowledgeable, they perch up high, looking down on everyone. They believe they know better and like to point out all the little faults in your change project.
  • Snails. Slowly creeping along at their own pace, they hope that they’ll go undetected and the change will pass them by unscathed.

David said that he experienced all of these animals in his change career. If you’re communicating change – and who isn’t? – you can probably start to relate groups within your organisation to these animals.

A bit of fun and a lot of serious

As we’ve travelled on our own change safaris, we’ve come across some animals of our own. Welcome to the Alive additions to The Resistance Zoo…

  • Elephants. They’re intensely emotional. They feel deep sadness, grief, and can even suffer post-traumatic stress. They need a lot of TLC, and as communicators we need to be wary of their sensitivities.
  • Donkeys. You know the saying… stubborn as a mule. Those donkeys won’t be going along easily with your change programme. You’ll have to pull some impressive moves to get your communications to cut through all that stubbornness and cynicism.
  • Horses. It’s often said that the horse helped man conquer the world. In every change programme you need your loyal horses by your side. They’re unfalteringly hard working and will work tirelessly to help you achieve your change goals.

From the zoo to the workplace

It’s great to use theories and models when you’re hatching your change communications strategy, and having a theological base can give you gravitas when you’re pitching for the buy-in of your stakeholders.

  • Use it in audience segmentation.Identifying and segmenting your audience is a key first step in any internal communications plan. When you’re segmenting for a change strategy, why not turn some heads by using animal metaphors?
  • Use it to map your stakeholders.A sometimes overlooked area of an internal communications strategy, but something that can be really useful for change communications to help you identify and target change agents, enablers and blockers. You might find that the animals slot nicely into a stakeholder map, or could even deserve one of their own.
  • Use it to plot people along the change curve. The Kubler-Ross change curve model is a stalwart of change communications. It maps people on their journey as they move from denial and anger, onto acceptance. Rather than simply plotting your audience along the curve, you could use animals instead.
  • Use it to break the ice. If you’re presenting your change communications strategy to stakeholders, speaking at a conference, or sharing your work with your team, the metaphorical use of animals can be a great ice breaker to get them to think about the people being affected by change. They’ll remember it too.

Add to the collection

All experiences of change are different. People react in unique ways, and organisations handle change in their own style.

We’d love to build on our collection of Changeimals.

Who would you add to the zoo?

“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

“So glad that we chose Alive to create our new website. As well as taking the time to get the visual side of our requirement right, they worked with us to understand us, our business and our clients and reflect this across the site. We loved their flexible approach, which, coupled with the right level of challenge has replaced our old, clunky site with one we can be proud of. ”

Victoria Ford — Perago

“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

“Alive with Ideas was able to help transform the visual layout for our RSVP invite into an crisp, vibrant, and eye-catching design. 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

“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

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

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Love it. I will pass to the boss, but I think it's awesome.”

Matt Fletcher — Met Police

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

“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

“I have worked with Alive with Ideas for many years now and they are by far the best Ideas and design company I have ever worked with (I’d even go as far as to say the best company of any sort that I’ve ever worked with). They are an incredibly talented and creative team, who are normal human beings, completely grounded, totally down to earth, approachable, friendly and an overall joy to work with.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“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 —

“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

“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