Countdown to Christmas: Day one – Post Office

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Countdown to Christmas: Day one – Post Office

To mark Advent and celebrate success in the world of internal communication, I’m highlighting a story a day by internal communicators via my blog as a countdown to Christmas.

From 1-24 December I will be sharing the thoughts of IC pros who have written guest articles, with the final one going live on Christmas Eve.

I’ll then be taking a break and be back in January. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my blog this year, it’s always good to feature new voices and highlight what’s working well and what there is to learn from situations that don’t go quite as planned.

I look forward to sharing some new voices with you over the next few weeks.

First up is communication consultant Naomi Sayers who was working at the Post Office when I published her article in July 2014.

Easy like a Sunday morning for the Post Office

Over the weekend there was a flurry of activity from the Post Office, the national network of over 11,500 branches across the UK, announcing a brand new campaign to benefit the 18 million customers it serves a week. postoffice montage

Here Naomi Sayers (pictured), Communications Consultant – Strategy and Engagement at the Post Office writes for my blog to let us know what they’ve been up to and how they ensured employees were placed at the heart of the activity.

Who are the Post Office? Especially for non-UK based readers, here’s a quick overview – the Post Office provides around 170 different services and products spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards. It also offers Government services; foreign currency; travel insurance and mail services.

Over to you Naomi…

Easy like a Sunday morning for the Post Office

This weekend saw an exciting first for Post Office. A first in many ways: the first time we’ve used marshmallows as an engagement tool (yes, really!), the first of what we hope will be many examples of a collaborative campaign across marketing and communications and the first time we talk boldly to our customers about how we’re changing.

The focus for our “We’re changing” campaign is on how we’re making it easier for customers to do business with us. We’ve started by highlighting our longer opening hours – in particular the fact that we’re open on Sundays.

Nothing new here as many of our branches have been open seven days a week for some time, and more will be added to this list as we continue to transform our network.

What is new for us is the way we’re telling the story.

The campaign uses cheeky, engaging messages to show that we’re modern, open to new ideas and therefore new ways of serving our customers. We’re changing for the better as a business.

A series of national adverts on outdoor posters, press, digital activity and search highlighted how we’re changing by being open on Sundays and we supported it with direct text messages and emails to customers who live near a Sunday opening branch. post office campaign

Hopefully you saw some of the campaign messages, but they included “Now open pre-porridge”; “Now open post pint”; “Pyjamas welcome” and my personal favourite “Like a bank. But open”.

This is not how people expect Post Office to speak and, more importantly, it’s not what our customers expect from us.

A highlight of the campaign was a really interactive and personable social media campaign creating memorable conversations with customers about our extended opening hours.

What do the numbers say?
  • Our website homepage received 32,238 views
  • Sunday’s activity resulted in 86,060 visits to Branch Finder on our website (compared to 8,900 the previous Sunday).
  • Facebook received 1.25 million impressions
  • 118,367 people engaged with us over Twitter. The Post Office account is @postoffice and people were using the hastag #LoveSundays.
What about internal communication?

Of course, solid colleague engagement is essential to a successful marketing campaign and we wanted to reflect the external disruption with some equally surprising internal activity to really show how important and exciting our message was.

The campaign was launched last week, with Sunday opening branches receiving a Sunday toolkit, including bunting, window vinyls and sweets for their customers.

We also sent them a separate Sunday gift box, including a Thank You card and a small novelty token of our appreciation.

Rather than leading with “We’re changing” internally (as Sunday opening is not a change for many of our branches) we took the opportunity to thank our subpostmasters for giving up their time to help our customers get things done.

The card and gift were designed to show our appreciation for the hours they put in to helping our customers on a Sunday and we received great feedback about them on social media.

We also shared the gifts with our support teams, again with the message “Thank you for supporting our branches to serve our customers in more ways”.

What’s next?

This week we continue the message that “We’re open earlier and later” with adverts on national and local radio and national press.

We’ve also got some really surprising PR activity designed to amplify the campaign, including a partnership with a national newspaper and a business-wide karaoke session, singing “Easy like Sunday morning” (great idea! – Rachel).

And that’s just the beginning. We’re bringing the message to life over a month of Sundays, for our customers and our people.

Post author: Naomi Sayers.

Thank you for sharing your story with my readers Naomi, I hope the rest of the campaign goes equally well. I liked the Vines I spotted on Twitter and have featured them below.

Rachel

First published: 24 July 2014 on All Things IC.

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