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Refresh and Revive: The Merits Of Keeping Your Magazine ALIVE

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Refresh and Revive: The Merits Of Keeping Your Magazine ALIVE

It’s tempting to think that the printed publication is old news. Defeated by digital.

Is there still a place for it? What sort of content should it feature? Do employees really want it?

There was once a time when the printed internal magazine was a comms cornerstone, a vital channel used for sharing business wide news. As times have changed, many organisations have replaced their magazines with digital alternatives or have simply done away with them altogether.

But STOP! Binning the printed employee magazine could be a big mistake.

As we know, a key component of good communication is accessibility and it’s for this reason that Caffè Nero continues to print and distribute their employee magazine to some 600 coffee shops across the UK. We helped to refresh their old style magazine, introducing a stylish look and some inspiring new ideas, freshening up this popular periodical. You can read all about it here.

Accessibility isn’t the only concern. Other organisations continue to embrace their employee magazine for varying reasons:

  • Employee preference – the printed word is still a crowd-pleaser
  • Field staff aren’t always used to browsing the intranet for their news updates
  • Some employees simply aren’t active digital and social media users
  • The printed newsletter can be kept for leisurely browsing, taken home or read on the commute
  • The act of turning crisp pages makes a refreshing change from the daily digital bombardment
  • It’s a lot harder to press delete (get it right and they won’t want to!)

Integration has become the answer for many organisations, opting to maintain their magazine and adapting its content to compliment alternative channels. Rather than viewing email newsletters or social intranets as the better options, the printed magazine remains a valuable part of the comms mix.

Keeping content fresh and engaging

It’s important to regularly check in on the type of content covered. Make sure it’s still relevant, still entertaining and still something your readers actually care about. The printed magazine may no longer be the most suitable channel for time critical news updates but there are plenty of topics that are perfect magazine material. Here are some suggestions:

Use your magazine to demonstrate the role employees are playing in helping the company achieve its vision. This all helps to promote a sense of purpose and belonging, highlighting the bigger picture.

Share articles on personal qualities, attitudes and behaviours – communication, decision-making, working as a team, ideation, problem solving and creativity are valuable, transferrable skills that appeal to us all.

Talking about the history of your organisation, featuring visual timelines with major milestones and sharing significant moments can all help to support your story.

How many customers do you service each day? How many products have been sold this month? How many lives have you touched?  Give it some context and make it meaningful.

According to Unum, 30% of workers would consider leaving their job due to poor workplace wellbeing. If your company has an employee wellness program, make it known! Share articles about the latest services available with supporting tips and ideas.

Employees are out there achieving great things and caring for others every day. As well as the business stuff, feature some of the softer more emotive stories that are equally newsworthy.

Help to bridge the gap between employees and leaders by sharing regular features about what senior managers are getting up to. Show their human side so employees can connect.
Featuring stories about personal achievements – whether at work or at home – is a great way to recognise and celebrate your people.

Show employees what their colleagues are up to by featuring short, snappy, fun interviews. This can help to demystify roles, break down silos and bring people closer together. Here are some ideas to inspire!

Show real life examples of colleagues demonstrating the values and behaviours that the organisation encourages.

Provide a window into other areas of your organisation to enhance the feeling of belonging and being part of a team. Help employees understand different jobs and functions and how they work together.

Keep employees informed on company progress by publishing the more noteworthy performance updates. Share plans for the future. Get creative with visuals and infographics to demonstrate progress.

What’s changed? What improvements have been made since the last survey? What action plans have been initiated? Demonstrate to your employees that they’re being listened to and actions are being taken.

Remind employees why it’s great to work here!

Research from Cass Business School shows that 64% of employers don’t tell their employees about the benefits they offer, so they’re effectively pouring money down the drain. A magazine feature is also a good way to remind employees about important upcoming deadlines, such as the end of open enrolment for a benefits plan, deadlines for pension plans, etc.

Recognise long service achievements with a public announcement. An open show of recognition goes a very long way.

Reading kind and complimentary comments from clients and customers can make a big difference to morale and motivation.

The future of the printed employee magazine

Despite the cries from some that ‘print is dead!’ there are many who continue to hold the employee magazine in high esteem, believing it has a key role to play for the foreseeable future. The difference now is in recognising the opportunities and continually adapting. In our view, digital hasn’t done away with the printed magazine, it’s given it a whole new identity and a chance to shine in new and exciting ways.

The employee magazine is a channel that motivates and inspires employees, acting as a conversation starter by providing content that colleagues may not encounter through other comms channels. Keep it positive, keep it light and keep it alive!

“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

“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

“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 —

“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

“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
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