Skip to main content
Commsy creative stuff straight to your inbox


The first rule of comms fight club…

< Blog home

The first rule of comms fight club…


When you have insomnia, you’re never really asleep… and you’re never really awake.

With insomnia, nothing’s real. Everything’s far away. Everything’s a copy of a copy of a copy…


In 1999, the world was introduced to Tyler Durden – the confident, cool and fearless alter-ego of a mild-mannered and life-weary insomniac. As opposed to simply being a passenger coasting through life, Tyler had power. He inspired. When he spoke, others listened. He brought the fight.

Why, all these years later, are we talking about Tyler? Because in comms, being part of the fight – playing an active role in tackling the major challenges your organisation is facing – is exactly where you need to be.

If comms teams remain as purely passive bystanders to the cause, assigned to just sit on the side lines and never being fully involved in the conversations that really count, then the potential to achieve something truly spectacular is lost.

That’s because comms can be a powerful force for good within any organisation. If you can reach below the surface and understand how an organisation should function and the things that are getting in the way of that, then you can effect real change. Helping the organisation more effectively to tackle the stuff that matters and achieve its goals at the same time.

So, what are some of the key organisational fights that comms teams can help to grapple with? Here we share some inspiring examples…


Mental health

Positive mental health impacts on productivity and energy levels. A happier and more productive workforce results in better business outcomes for the organisation. Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.’

Employee wellbeing is rooted in workplace culture and comms teams play an important role in communicating those values and also in starting important conversations.

West Midland’s Trains ‘Hear to listen’ initiative aims to break down barriers about mental health in a way that is fully embedded within the organisation.


A culture of trust

According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust has changed profoundly in the past year – people have shifted their trust to the relationships within their control, most notably their employers. And this presents comms teams with an opportunity to strengthen that culture of trust further.

The four dimensions of trust identified by Edelman are:

  • Ability: The perception that the organisation is good at what it does
  • Integrity: The conviction that it is honest
  • Dependability: The expectation that it will keep its promises
  • Purpose: The sentiment that it is trying hard to have a positive impact on society

KP Snacks is an organisation that’s taking trust seriously and investing in ways to demonstrate that, not only to its consumers, but to its employees too. In particular, there’s a heavy focus on sustainability, honesty and purpose, addressing all four of Edelman’s dimensions of trust. Their ‘Taste for Good’ initiative demonstrates a commitment to providing colleagues with an environment that is fun, rewarding and enables them to be the best they can be. According to KP Snacks, ‘by continuing to listen to, invest in and grow our people we believe our business will continue to be successful today and for generations to come.’ 


Digital transformation

We come across many transformation programmes that centre on the people, process, technology triangle. But it’s not unusual for the people part to be left behind in favour of the shiny digital advancements that can take priority. And when employee experience is not part of the journey, the entire initiative is at risk.

This article by Social Chorus delves into the ways internal comms teams can position themselves at the centre of digital transformation initiatives when executive buy-in and a comprehensive communications strategy exists.

Any transformation project will inevitably be complex and wide reaching, touching every part of your organisation. And will require a broad range of deliverables to ensure the message is shared with the right people, in the right way. We created this animation for Braskem to help them break down some of those complexities and spread the word about their digital transformation with team members across the globe.


Talent and skills growth

According to this year’s CEO survey from PwC, the availability of skills is the top business concern for UK business leaders at 79%. ‘Organisations must work harder to identify, nurture and retain the right skills for the continually evolving digital age and upskilling and retraining is seen as the most important factor to close the skills gap.’

Alshaya Group introduced ‘Learning Links’, an online Learning Management System that its 53,000 employees could benefit from, anytime, anywhere, on any device, and in their language of choice. It was the biggest L&D change in Alshaya’s history, helping to address recruitment and retention issues, upskilling workers for technological change and embedding a culture of adaptability and continuous learning. The campaign led by the communications team achieved a 95% sign up (38,000 employees) within the first 100 days, confidently positioning the team as a force to be reckoned with. You can read more about Alshaya’s commitment to empowering people development here.


Diversity & inclusion

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace can drive stronger engagement, business performance and results. Taking positive action in this space should look to address all sorts of factors, including age, geography, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity. To deliver workplace inclusion, organisations and their leaders need to work with comms team to communicate the vision and expectations of each individual. Being vocal about the benefits of embracing people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Johnson & Johnson’s ‘You Belong’ campaign leads the way in ensuring staff feel included in the workplace.


Health and Safety

Health and safety isn’t always the most exciting message to be communicating, but it’s an important one.

Corporate communicators have an opportunity to explore new strategies, trends and innovative techniques, and to introduce actionable tactics that successfully engage employees in safety matters. Communicating such procedures can be difficult and so bringing it to life through creative thinking, planning and conversations is crucial. It should be rooted in changing perceptions and behaviours, by showing employees these issues are worth their effort and attention.

Here is a great example from Merlin Entertainment and it’s ‘Protect the magic’ initiative.



Cyberattacks are a growing threat for organisations everywhere and criminals are developing increasingly sophisticated ways to disrupt systems and steal data. Employees and employee error can often be at the heart of an attack, with phishing emails one of the key routes in for criminals. Raising awareness and educating employees and senior leaders about such risks, is therefore critical. Plus, were an attack to happen, a quick and effective communications response is again going to be vital, to help mitigate the potential damage.

We created this animation to help The University of Manchester share important messages about Cyber Security in a rather unexpected way.


To reach your full potential and support your organisation to achieve the same, comms teams need to be involved in these big conversations. They need to be an active participant in the fights that organisations are facing, not sitting passively on the side lines.

Be brave. It’s time to fight the big fight.

“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