New Employee Benefits Communications Campaign

Drive employee benefits awareness, value perception, enrollment, and activation.


In an effort to continue to lead innovation in healthcare, Cambia made a strategic investment into a leading-edge start-up company, SpendWell. SpendWell is an e-commerce-powered marketplace designed to transform the way people shop and pay for healthcare, specifically for routine services at competitive prices. To drive adoption and use of SpendWell’s benefits program, Cambia and SpendWell turned to us, to create awareness, drive enrollment and activate Cambia employees to use their new benefit. Using targeted multi-channel employee engagement strategies, behavioral science and compelling creative we achieved all enrollment and activation goals; and did so in less time than SpendWell and Cambia expected.


Rapid Insights & Planning

The essence of our assignment was to introduce SpendWell to Cambia employees who were eligible; inspire those employees to enroll and then activate them to participate in using the benefits marketplace within three months of enrollment. To do so we collaborated with Cambia HR and SpendWell executives to craft precisely the right enrollment and activation programs. In order to achieve our collective goal, we had to overcome several challenges. The first challenge was to introduce a totally new benefits service which possessed an unfamiliar service model. Then we had to craft a positioning that would resonate with employees and their families, and clearly express SpendWell’s unique value. Finally, we had to educate employees as to how to use this new service and, as soon as possible, activate them in order to create new benefits-related behaviors. SpendWell’s leadership team had been working on the launch of their product for months but realized that they weren’t going to achieve their goals without the support of a partner. To get Cambia and SpendWell on track as quickly as possible we engaged our proprietary approach called Rapid Insights & Planning (RIP). Designed to accommodate both immediate and long-term planning, the RIP quickly aligned both the SpendWell and Cambia HR teams and enabled us to rapidly gain vital insights. Insights included the target employee audience, their communications preferences; a deep understanding of the Cambia culture, and lastly operational capabilities and capacities. Using these insights, we generated the following:

  • Audience & Segmentation: Of the 5,500 Cambia employees, we identified 3,500 that were eligible for SpendWell’s benefits offering based on the type of medical insurance plan they had. From there we identified three sub-segments based on role, generation, and communications preferences so we could deliver highly targeted content and personalize the messaging. The more personal the communications, the more relevant to the employee and the higher the enrollment and activation rates.
  • Messaging: We guided SpendWell and Cambia HR through an exercise to define key message points, hierarchy, and timing. Using segmentation, we customized messaging by segment to ensure message relevance as this increases activation.
  • Style Guide: We developed a new style guide that shared the visual essence of SpendWell’s brand with Cambia’s employer brand; bringing balance and cohesion to the creative executions through expanded color palettes, engaging typography, and photography; plus infographic styles that enabled employees to quickly scan our content and know what actions to take.
  • A Phased Approach: With two core objectives, enroll and activate, it was optimal to take a phased approach to achieve the desired results. We took this approach in order to balance expeditiously moving employees toward activation with their need to not feel rushed in making important benefits decisions. This approach also enabled us to put employees on a progressive path from awareness, to education, to consideration, to decision to activation. This approach built a new relationship with employees, opened them up to an entirely new concept regarding their medical benefits and convinced them to take a more active role in their well-being.
  • Communications Tactical Plan: We audited Cambia’s internal communication channels and developed a plan inclusive of digital, print, and in-person meetings. We developed specific tactics designed to create the retail-like behaviors we needed and deployed specific channels in order to target motivational triggers within each of the audience segments. One of strongest activators was the use of an incentive —an Amazon gift card. We used this tactic because, in analyzing employee behaviors and motivations, we knew that they would need a material reason to take post-enrollment action and that instant gratification would have the greatest impact. We included the gift card in a welcome kit that was mailed to the employee’s home immediately after they enrolled, helping them and their families to better understand SpendWell’s value. This was done in recognition that families play an important role in an employee’s choice of benefits.
  • Calendar and Cadence: Because of the unique nature of SpendWell’s benefits offering and the behaviors we had to trigger, we crafted a retail marketing-like cadence of communications to drive activation. This approach enabled us to move employees through a well defined “purchase process” similar to the purchase funnel used in retail marketing.

From Planning to Creative Execution

With planning complete and all three teams completely aligned it was time to execute our plan. Over the course of several weeks, we transformed message points and style guides into copy and creative; tailored to each segment of the Cambia employee audience. The campaign was comprised of:

  • Messaging: To move employees smoothly through the enrollment/purchase funnel we established a phased messaging structure that mapped directly to the employee audience segments and campaign phases. Each phase of messaging encouraged movement to the next phase; ending with the employee using SpendWell’s marketplace.
  • Channels: We leveraged email, Cambia’s intranet, printed materials, the SpendWell website and landing pages, and leadership-driven events at each office to drive enrollment and activation.
  • Vehicles: Upon launch of the campaign we executed daily events where Cambia leadership presented the SpendWell benefits to groups of employees along with sign up stations with SpendWell reps. This tactic was one of the strongest drivers of hitting our first phase enrollment goals. Additionally, we placed promotional ad units on the intranet homepage, deployed our newly designed email templates, sent out welcome kits, and placed workplace disruptions (branded clings) placed on office walls, stairs, and cafeteria floors.
  • Campaign Management and Optimization: As campaign elements were activated, we monitored and measured activity and optimized the benefits communication on a real time basis. We also generated regular reports, accompanied by recommended actions plans, throughout the campaign; plus a final report detailing insights, lessons learned and recommendations for upcoming campaigns.

A Proven Success

Our retail marketing-like strategy expeditiously achieved the SpendWell’s business KPIs and helped Cambia HR take more progressive steps towards engaging their employees. Because we successfully enrolled and activated the majority of the targeted Cambia employees, we were able to validate SpendWell’s business model which helped SpewndWell acquire new customers and Cambia HR to recognize new beneficial; ways to engage and activate employees around new benefits and programs.  

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Direct to Consumer Leadership Training

When you innovate on the outside you also have to innovate on the inside.

 Nike: Global Innovator & Retailer

Nike, the world’s largest athletic equipment company, is known for their innovative products, athletes, and ground breaking advertising campaigns. What is not widely known is that Nike is also a multi-billion dollar direct-to-consumer retailer which operates thousands of locations and employs 50,000+ retail employees (with over 20+ languages) across the globe. Nike’s Direct to Consumer (DTC) leaders were seeing gaps in their reach to deliver engaging internal communications to their retail associates. Important content from operations, human resources, and product teams were not effective, proving not to engage or drive activation of the targeted audiences. Key information about customer engagement, promotion opportunities, and HR benefits were being compromised. And because not all internal communications were culturally translated into local languages, half of all retail employees could not consume what was being delivered. When these gaps were multiplied across the global fleet of stores, the urgency to solving these problems became DTC’s core priority.

Our Assignment to Help DTC Better Connect with athletes (in-store associates)

To help Nike’s DTC business better connect with athletes (in-store associates) by first empowering the DTC’s HR teams to better understand the behaviors and habits of employee audiences. Followed by the delivery of information and instruction in ways that more meaningfully serve athletes and coaches in the stores.

Internal Communications Insights

We collaborated tightly with Nike DTC executives to isolate the gaps in internal communication that were holding back the effectiveness of retail employee communications. Three key insights were uncovered:

  1. Localization: With over twenty languages spoken in stores and through internal communications, immediate cultural translation was required. Traditionally, tools and internal communications were developed with an ‘American English’ first mindset, yet 51% of retail employees didn’t speak English. Many times translation wasn’t implemented, which meant that half of their store employees weren’t effectively engaged.
  2. Understanding Retail Associates: While there were hundreds of desk-based HR managers and directors across the globe who were empowered to produce employee communications for their region or country, most of them had never worked in a retail environment. This meant they had no firsthand knowledge of the day-to-day challenges and realities athletes and coaches face. Because training in-field was not practical, our challenge was to bring the retail education and environment to HR managers and directors.
  3. Alignment: There was no alignment between global stakeholders around the value between employee engagement and business performance. Nike always has aggressive growth and performance goals, but often move so fast that they aren’t always supported by and through employee communications.

A Global Approach & Strategy for HR and Internal Communication Leaders

Our assignment focused around the education and engagement of global DTC HR and Internal Communication leaders so they could better serve the retail employee population across the globe. To do this, these leaders had to understand DTC’s business and communication objectives, the behaviors and habits of retail managers (Coaches) and associates (Athletes), and feel empowered to deliver tools and communications designed to engage retail associates anywhere around the world. Instead of delivering a more prescribed corporate policy of do’s and don’ts to HR for communicating with Coaches and Athletes in the field, we developed a strategy that put HR “in their shoes.” The Think Retail First campaign used storytelling and compelling content to highlight the day-to-day in-store challenges that Coaches and Athletes face, so that HR could empathize and understand that best way to meet in-store “where they’re at.”

The Think Retail First Campaign Story redefined the internal communication approach for engaging with retail employees

The Think Retail First campaign featured a condensed education of the Nike DTC business, and established the scale and importance for HR to ensure internal communication objectives were mapped to the core DTC business objectives. Some key points:

  • Delivering educational content through learning experiences provided a measurable increase in the business acumen of DTC HR employees
  • DTC retail employees made up over 60% of the Nike Employee population
  • DTC is a key growth initiative within the company for both profit and brand engagement  

This story was told through engaging infographics leveraging company business priorities and industry data delivered in highly creative and visual methodologies. To empower and align the HR Directors and Managers, Vignette developed a simplified message strategy that redefined the internal communication approach for engaging with retail employees.

The Think Retail First message strategy composition was:

  • Understand. Our Associates’ greatest value is when they are face to face with our customers. Streamline touchpoints to maximize this time and profitability for the Company.
  • Know. DTC makes up 60% of Nike employees, across 39 countries, and 20+ languages. When we serve the retail Associate, we serve the entire company.
  • Evolve. Consider our Associates in everything we do. Do not exclude DTC.
  • Inspire. Inspire our Associates with the tools and products we deliver. Listen to our inspired Athletes.

We also the used the power of video to enhance the campaign

  1. Day In The Life illustrates the employee journey from the point of view of the retail associate
  2. Inspired Athletes. A testimonial video where retail Associates deliver honest and compelling insights of how corporate communications can improve their day-to-day
  3. Executive Validation. Brand President, Trevor Edwards and other leaders reinforce the importance of the retail Associate

Rollout & Results

To reach global HR and Communications leaders across the company we leveraged several channels and vehicles:

  • Leadership Presentations. The campaign was formatted to amplify DTC leader presentations to the HR and Communications leaders at global and retail meetings.
  • Learning Experiences. Online content was produced into a self-paced learning tool for education throughout the company.

The campaign is has resulted in an overall improvement with:

  • HR managers and directors have a better understanding of DTC and the retail Associate has become a priority across Nike.
  • The appetite for this content was so strong that during early reviews of the strategy and campaign, senior Nike executives requested versions of our work in progress to leverage with their leadership teams outside of DTC.
  • More Executives throughout Nike are leveraging the campaign content beyond HR and Communications teams.
  • Although not a traditional success metric for our clients, Vignette is very proud that our Nike client on this campaign received a promotion at the completion of the project, and to us that means success.

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Employee Engagement Campaign

Educating and inspiring employees about an innovative new product and quality outcomes.


Actelion is a leading biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative drugs for diseases with significant unmet medical needs. The company was preparing for the launch of a new drug called Uptravi, a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) that delays disease progression and reduces the risk of hospitalization. Uptravi was on the heels of receiving FDA approval, for which the company wanted to celebrate. To help drive awareness of Uptravi and the innovations behind it, Actelion turned to us, Vignette, to create an internal campaign to educate employees on PAH and drive engagement and excitement around Uptravi and Actelion as an innovative leader in their space.  

Immersing Ourselves in Actelion

Using a workshop format facilitated by Vignette, we began with Actelion immersing our team into the company, learning all we could about:

  • Actelion’s culture: Actelion’s internal communications leadership team onboarded our team to better understand their culture—how they think, work and play. We learned that the Actelion culture was competitive, and employees liked to work hard and have fun. We analyzed the types of communications channels and vehicles that have been most effective.
  • Product knowledge: We also needed a quick education on the disease and the treatment. The Uptravi product team members immersed our team into a technical discussion about PAH, Uptravi and recent outcomes. We also explored multiple perspectives on why Actelion employees should care about Uptravi’s upcoming release.
  • Employee audience profiles: We closely examined the employee audience to identify nuances between age, generation, roles and responsibilities. This enabled us to segment and plan for targeted content.
  • Measures of success: We guided Actelion’s internal communications leadership through discussions to understand what the campaign must communicate, what actions they wanted employees to take, and ultimately what would define success.
  • Resources and constraints: We identified constraints and ways to work around them,  including regulatory and compliance review requirements, limited access to enhance the intranet experience, use of global internal resources, limited existing source material, and limited channels, tools, and technology.

Thematic Concept, Key Message Points, and Style Guide

From these insights, we developed a campaign theme, explored new communication channels, created a messaging platform, and produced a variety creative elements to engage the workforce around a common theme. Together with the Uptravi product team, we created “More is Possible” as the campaign theme to communicate the mission of the company and its overall outlook on its culture, while also communicating success is always within reach. To develop our message strategy we worked through key message points and their hierarchy to align with Actelion’s objectives. This document acted as a guide to develop campaign content. In parallel, we developed an employer branded style guide to explore and align the campaign’s brand identity, from colors and fonts to graphic styles and imagery direction.

Channels, Tactics, and Vehicles

The core campaign tactics were designed to provide both education and inspiration to employees, connecting them more closely to the innovation behind Uptravi and Actelion’s ability to provide quality outcomes. The channels, tactics, and vehicles we used throughout the campaign included:

  • Microsite: A responsively designed microsite acted as the hub for all campaign communications, providing more information about PAH and Uptravi as well as an event calendar with notifications.
  • Gamification: As a core driver behind the campaign, we developed a fun, engaging gamification experience including an interactive quiz released weekly over ten weeks with weekly winners and prizes. The site also included a leaderboard feature to drive healthy competition within the walls of Actelion and encourage employees to come back to the site to see weekly results. All gamification elements were accessible via the microsite.
  • Email: We wrote and designed several emails to communicate campaign information, notification of upcoming events and announcement of weekly winners. The cadence of emails was aligned to an editorial calendar we developed, which guided timing and follow-up. Each email template was designed to keep content short and visually impactful.
  • Intranet: We designed a set of intranet homepage ad units to promote the campaign and drive activation.
  • Events: Together, we produced a constant stream of events to bring people together to learn and engage. The first event was a kickoff event to announce the campaign and all it would involve over the next few months. Our mix included larger employee events such as PAH Awareness Month activities and fundraisers; as well as smaller engagement opportunities such as town halls with patients and medical experts, and a discussion with the Uptravi product team. Our final celebration event to commemorate the drug’s FDA approval featured food, entertainment, and a gameshow-like experience to celebrate the weekly winners of the quiz along with the grand finale winner.
  • Workplace Disruptions: We designed campaign branded clings that were installed on walls, windows, floors, and stairs around the office. We also developed short-form branded content to be displayed as environmental signage and on all digital displays in the lobby, bistro and in other high-traffic areas throughout the building.

The Outcome

The “More Is Possible” campaign achieved its measures of success. Employees across the company gained a much better understanding of the impact of Actelion’s innovations on the traditionally underserved PAH community. The campaign reminded employees of their common purpose and generated positive feedback through post-campaign surveys.  

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