If you had a choice between a row of people in “business dress” shaking hands/holding seedlings, or real employees pictured doing their actual jobs, what would you find more interesting and relevant?

I know my answer, and it doesn’t involve mini plants…

One of my pet-hates is the use of stock photography to illustrate stories about employees inside organisations. Yuck and double yuck.

Little Stories at Sainsbury'sSo I was delighted to stumble upon a campaign that is currently underway by Sainsbury’s, featuring real employees, doing real jobs and sharing internal stories externally.

Sainsbury’s is one of the UK largest retailers, it was founded in 1869 and today operates 1,106 supermarkets and convenience stores and employs around 157,000 colleagues.

I got in touch with their comms team to find out more as I had a feeling there were no actors or stock pics involved, and am delighted to say it’s packed full of real employees. Hurrah.

They are currently running a campaign called Little Stories, Big Difference, which features colleagues starring in the communication around how the little things they do as a company have a positive impact on the environment, communities, products they sell and how they work with suppliers.

Thomas Knorpp, @thomasknorpp, Digital Media Manager for Sainsbury’s told me: “Rather than use actors, we scouted the country for colleagues who’d be up for a bit of fun. We provided scripts, storyboards and a professional crew, the colleagues gave things their personal angle and style and had a great time doing it.”

Here are some of the Little Stories:

Starring Joana from Longwater store:

Starring Denize from Kiln Lane store:

Martin from Winnersh store and Paige from Crayford store discovering how Sainsbury’s is saving 140 tonnes of CO2 annually:

Darren from Sainsbury’s Head Office on how the company supports the production of sustainable palm oil by sourcing from well-managed plantations:

Karen from Ladbroke Grove store on reduced packaging:

I think those films are terrific and you can sense the fun they had creating them. Well done Sainsbury’s. You can see more Little Stories online.

Switch the Fish

Sainsbury’s is currently running a “Switch the Fish” campaign and produced a Switch the Fish booklet for customers to keep (and enjoy the tasty recipes) and to aid discussions between employees and customers.

The campaign is linked to the supermarket’s commitment to fishing responsibly and helping change UK fish eating habits by understanding about responsibly sourced food.

As part of this commitment, 18,000 counters colleagues have gone through Sainsbury’s food college training which includes guidance on filleting, sustainability and advice to customers on preparing and cooking with fish. The campaign is ongoing, with five alternative fish options being offered at 20% off for three weeks from 12 March.

Thomas told me: “For the Switch the Fish campaign, we thought that rather than making a clever stop frame animation with fish, we’d have a colleague deliver the message. And Musa from our Camden store turned out to be a complete superstar!”

You can watch Musa in action below:

Could this work for your organisation? Have you featured your employees in your campaigns? I’d love to see more examples. Do please Tweet me @AllthingsIC or comment below with what you’ve done or are doing.

Post author: Rachel Miller.

First published on All Things IC blog 19 March 2014.