A powerful employee health and safety engagement campaign for Howden

Bruce-Banner-image
It may be synonymous with campfires, libraries and childhood bedtime, but the power of storytelling extends far beyond our traditional associations. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful forms of comms and marketing. Here’s how we used storytelling to amplify a health and safety message for global engineering giant, Howden.

The brief

Howden approached us to create a campaign built on emphasising the importance of health and safety in the workplace.

Howden has multiple manufacturing sites across the world with thousands of employees working in industrial environments. The key aim of the campaign was to lower workplace incidents and eradicate accidents that might result in life-changing injuries.

The company envisioned an internal, global campaign that would command the attention of its audience and deliver a hard-hitting message that distinguished itself from more surface-level health and safety comms. 

How we approached it

One of the company’s core values focuses on the idea that Howden is a ‘family’, and we used this to form the basis of our campaign. We wanted to share the message that your family – both at work and at home – want you to come home safely. This was the genesis of the name of the campaign, ‘Safe Home Howden’.

We quickly identified video as the most powerful medium on which to communicate first-hand stories of those who had been injured in the workplace. We organised four video testimonials of Howden staff members across Europe, APAC and Africa, giving them the platform to explain what had happened to them and how the company had supported them through their recovery. These videos were sent out via the company’s intranet, the internal digital employee magazine and in email newsletters. 

We commissioned one of our trusted video production partners to create the video testimonials. One of the videos featured Bruce Penner, a Site Manager at Howden Australia, who became the launch example supported via Howden’s comms strategy and on the company’s intranet site.

In the video, he described an accident at work that crushed his ankle, leading to a three-week hospital stay and four month recovery period. He returned to work with a completely different attitude to safety, and went on to train as a Site Safety Officer, ensuring Howden’s rigorous EHS processes are adhered to. 

The campaign’s impact

When heading out on international site visits going forward, Bruce was surprised to be recognised by colleagues he’d never met. They knew him from the video, which had been viewed many times internally and had a profound impact on other Howden employees, whose own perspectives on safety measures in the workplace changed drastically. Hearing first-hand accounts of workplace accidents helped to foster more awareness and respect throughout the company, on a global level.

We also created striking supporting materials, including Environment Health and Safety (EHS) guides for leaders and staff. Our team designed impactful posters of domestic or work scenes featuring a dotted cut-out of where a person should be. The text read: “Is Bruce safe home?”. 

The text and design aimed to work together to really underline the campaign’s messaging: that every time a health and safety oversight occurs in the workplace, it has a ripple effect, changing the lives not just of the person directly affected but for their friends, family and colleagues.

By featuring a relatable scene – one which the audience could easily place themselves in – it makes the story seem more real; and therefore, very powerful.  

Bruce posters
Bruce's posters get employees thinking about the impact on their potential absence at work and at home.

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Bruce-Banner-image

A powerful employee health and safety engagement campaign for Howden

It may be synonymous with campfires, libraries and childhood bedtime, but the power of storytelling extends far beyond our traditional associations. In fact, it’s one of the most powerful forms of comms and marketing. Here’s how we used storytelling to amplify a health and safety message for global engineering giant, Howden.

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If you’d like to work with us on a similar project, get in touch. We’d love to have a chat.