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Marketing Your Collaboration Initiative Internally, a Lesson from Yum! Brands

Posted by on September 7, 2012

We underestimate the crucial role that marketing plays when it comes to enterprise collaboration initiatives.  I’m not necessarily referring to the marketing department but to how the organization notifies and encourages employees to participate.  When companies release a new product or service they spend a considerable amount of time and resources behind marketing, messaging and branding.  Why should launching an internal collaboration project be any different?

It’s always interesting to hear about what organizations do around internal marketing.  I’m oftentimes surprised at how many companies do very little.  In fact I’ve spoken to many companies whose marketing efforts span a newsletter mention and a town-hall presentation by an executive…and that’s it.

One of my favorite internal marketing examples comes from Yum! Brands which deployed a solution called iCHING (built on Jive Software).  For those of you not familiar with Yum! they have around 400,000 employees and are the parent company behind brands such as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, and others.  They clearly put a good amount of effort and creativity in what they did, here are a few examples.

They created t-shirts which employees wore at work which promoted their collaboration platform.  You can imagine that if you’re an employee not familiar with iCHING at Yum and come across someone wearing this t-shirt, that you’re curiosity might get the best of you and cause you to find out about what iCHING is.

These starter kits were also given to employees which walked them through how to set up their accounts an got them started with 5 action items.  They cleverly designed the started kit to look like an iphone box.

This is probably one of my favorite things that I have seen a company do.  They places decals in the bathrooms which simulated a profile of an employee.  When someone went to go wash their hands they would be starting at this mock profile with their face as the profile picture.  This helped encourage employees to go sign up and fill out their own profiles.


The iCHING logo looks like two people who are coming together to shake hands.  Yum placed decals on their elevators (inside and out) to make it look like two people are coming together every time the doors close.

You can certainly see how something like this would be more effective then a simple newsletter blast yet many companies keep assuming that if they deploy a tool and send out a few emails that all of the employees will magically sign up.  Not going to happen.  Internal marketing is important to the success of any collaboration initiative.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

  • make sure to plan your marketing in advance anything from 30-90+ days out with various campaigns deployed during that timeline
  • make your marketing fun and creative, you can do better than a newsletter blast!
  • this doesn’t need to be led by the marketing team but it is a good idea to get their ideas and feedback around this
  • whatever you do needs to be engaging
  • break down weekly tasks to team members so that you have some sort of a “drip” approach
  • coordinate with the strategy team (or whichever team is responsible for the overall effort) around timelines, messaging, and branding
  • don’t stop once you launch, keep it going!





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