Meeting Super Hero

Context

It can look like a real feat to pass sensitive management messages upon a whole international company's division. Nevertheless, it is the challenge my team and I decided to tackle in close collaboration with our client.

"Here is a document coming from Human Resources. It defines the "Meeting Ground Rules", a list of rules encouraging colleagues to better deal with meetings... Tell me what you think about it, my opinion is that it is too austere and formal. I'm afraid our colleagues will hardly read it, if they ever do."

Our client, who was a communication expert for her division, made a clear acknowledgment. If she wanted to convey the message to people to organise better meetings, she would need more than a quite boring PDF sent in an HR email.

The time spent in meeting is precious and it is unfortunately often spilled through late participants, an ill-treated time management or an unclear agenda.

Our client Emmanuelle first talked about designing this "Meeting Ground Rules" document to make it appealing. But we thought we could go further... We organised a boisterous work session through which we dug the concept of a viral communication campaign of a bigger scale which could have the impact we were planning, together with practical tools to support it.

First we thought about a virtual "meeting police", but a lot of aspects from this idea were too connotated and people outside of the US would have had trouble to get it. That was too much of an obstacle.

So the "Meeting Super Hero" was born, a fictive character with a proper personality and personal history. We would use him through a 3-step communication campaign:

  • teasing : an animated illustration video would be published on the intranet, putting our new hero under the lights and telling his story and mission statement,
  • a 6 videos campaign involving 6 Top Management members who would play with the 6 most common mistakes that weight on meetings,
  • a meeting kit dispatched through all division's sites and available as a printable PDF as well as a preparatory slide to be filled with basic agenda data and expected outcome before every meeting.

The teasing animated illustration video immediately drew the attention of all the division's employees. Its tone was crafted to be funny enough but still adapted to our corporate context, swinging between humour and a more serious tone when it needed to draw conclusions. Right away, it set the tone for the next videos to come, and with its genuine and quirky design, it quickly stood out from the usual corporate news flow in the intranet.

In parallel, we were already designing and realising the videos sustaining the core of our communication campaign: "everyone has to participate in order to drive more performant meetings". We designed 6 videos wit the support of the Leadership Team, each pointing out a precise friction point:

  • messy and mixed agendas,
  • no clear decision making at the end of meetings,
  • participants not being focused,
  • endless presentations,
  • lack of conciseness,
  • no follow-up after meetings.

We succeeded into shooting these 6 videos in a very small timespan of a few hours thanks to a drastic preparation and a spotless organisation prior to the shooting (and, of course, thanks to the professionalism and efficacy of our partner Koogaboo).

We were happily surprised by the warm welcome that our videos received: employees did really appreciate to see the Leadership Team's implication and humour in those funny and dynamic videos.

In order to ensure continuity to our initiative, we extended the virtual campaign into the real world with tangible tools available for all colleagues around the world so they can proactively work on their meetings' performance. First, we redesigned the Meeting Ground Rules formal document in a more visual and concise way. Along with it came a set of 3 role cards describing key roles during meetings and for each role a little branded badge:

  • "The Timekeeper": in charge of watching the meeting's progress and inform participants about how much time has passed and how much is still remaining,
  • "The Facilitator": in charge of ensuring fluid progression and discussions that stick to the agenda items,
  • "The Decision Pusher": in charge of pushing the required decisions listed at the beginning of the meeting and ensuring a good reporting.

The final tool to our meeting kit was a starting slide allowing participants to list their agenda items and required decisions that they could add to all their presentations prior to the meeting.

Realisations

  • Visual identity of the whole project,
  • Design of the « Meeting Super Hero » character and the associated illustrations,
  • Communication concept, study of cultural connotations and internationalisation of the concept,
  • Scenario of the 7 videos,
  • Illustrations and creation of all the shots from the teasing animation video,
  • Creation of all the communication materials to be published on the intranet and sent by internal newsletter email,
  • Creation of printed goods,
  • Copywriting of content all along the internal communication campaign.

Outcome

This project was for me a new occasion to prove my absolute versatility, oscillating between the project manager role on the provider side to the definition of the campaign's tone of voice, through illustration and video shooting assistance. The campaign proved to be a real success and was even relaunched one year later and retrieved by other divisions through the company, seduced as they were by our super hero character.