This campaign impressed with very clear objectives, including a focus to improve customer centricity measured by an external benchmark. All objectives were exceeded, demonstrated by clear measurement. The team showed creativity to bring to life ‘boring’ corporate behaviours using the concept of WOW (ways of working). This made the content more easily understood by colleagues and shared using innovative sets of trump cards. The use of printed materials helped the campaign be inclusive for the frontline and more easily led by line managers. The additional anecdotal evidence provided showed that this campaign clearly captured the imagination of Tower Hamlets Homes colleagues with consequent and demonstrable organisational impact.

Mark of Excellence:

  • Wheatley Group
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This campaign impressed with a mission to improve employee wellbeing and literally save lives, encouraging colleagues to make positive lifestyle changes to improve their health with a demonstrable reduction of deaths in service. The excellent research which underpinned the campaign effectively used both internal and external data to identify the ‘at risk’ target demographic within the organisation and then shape the campaign around their areas of interest using a familiar local colloquialism and strapline – ‘Gaun Yersel’. The great creative and employee generated content brought this campaign to life, clearly engaging a difficult to reach audience with an important call to action.


  • Bank of England
    Celebrating 325 years of the Bank of England
  • Bladonmore and P&O Ferries
    Celebrating employee achievements in a time of transformation
  • GMP Group and Lidl Romania
    We are Lidl, changing culture through internal comms
  • Sanofi
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  • United Utilities
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  • Valuation Office Agency
    Valuing our Future

Winner entry:

Brief, objectives and budget:

Tower Hamlets Homes (THH) provides homes for 21,000 residents which includes some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country. The need for great housing services in is unquestionable. In 2019 we were proud to be the UK housing awards Landlord of the Year because of our track record in improving the services that mattered most to residents. The next step was to embed our corporate behaviours with our 500 staff and in so doing, contribute to great customer service.

Our WOW campaign aimed to:

  • Embed customer service in the culture
  • Change behaviours
  • Increase staff advocacy; and
  • Reward performing staff.

We set ourselves these objectives:

  • Increase our staff survey scores by 5% for:
    • Residents at the heart of what we do
    • Recommend THH as an employer; and
    • Satisfaction with job.
  • Increase the rating for ‘THH is a customer-centric organisation’ from 67% to over 70% (the Institute Of Customer Service accreditation level). We measure this annually during customer service week.
    • 80% finding campaign messages useful
    • 80% approval for design and imagery; and
    • 80% recall of some or all of key messages.

The budget was £5,000.

The idea, research and planning:

We needed to embed our behaviours and use these as a catalyst for cultural change. The first task was to make the language used in our people strategy more accessible. The behaviours, called the ‘Excellence competency model’, were, at best, boring:

  • Customer excellence
  • Working together for excellence
  • Planning and prioritising excellence
  • Delivering excellence; and
  • Striving for excellence.

These became:

WOWs (Ways of Working)

  • We put the customer first
  • We work together
  • We plan our work
  • We take responsibility; and
  • We find better ways.

Feedback from staff surveys and working groups consistently said that reward and recognition needed improving, top-down messages were dull and that people’s preferred method of communication was talking directly with their line manager.

Feedback from managers was that we needed to embed customer service as a value and that staff living the WOWs was the best way to achieve that.

The campaign needed to include printed materials to reach our 200 caretakers and gardening staff, who cannot access our intranet.

Our brief was to run a campaign that engaged staff from all levels, rewarded them and involved managers in delivering key messages.

Our idea was to feature staff in top trump style cards, rewarding people who were already demonstrating the WOWs – our customer superheroes. While the cards were fun, each contained a key message from the campaign.

Strategy, creativity and innovation:

The trump cards only featured staff who performed well and were recommended by their managers our colleagues. They worked with us on the key messages for that particular WOW. While the campaign ran across all communications channels, we think the biggest impact was from giving managers accessible materials to help them talk to their staff with.

This was the first campaign of its kind for Tower Hamlets Homes and our senior management was nervous of using a creative approach in a business that had previously simply sent out messages. To help gain their confidence, we asked our LinkedIn networks to evaluate some for the materials before we used them. The response was 100 per cent positive. The WOWs trended in #CustomerService and #Housing.

Delivery/implementation of tactics:

To help make the link between the WOW and the benefit to customers, we launched the first round of the campaign – we put the customer first – during October’s customer service week.

We covered each of the five WOWs with an explanatory leaflet and set of cards. They were launched on five separate days between October and December, with all managers giving briefings to their teams on the same day. The WOWs were extensively covered our intranet, on display screens and in posters in our offices. So on the same day, every member of staff received at least a leaflet, a set of cards and a briefing from their manager.

We also commissioned a video featuring as many staff as we could fit into a one minute animation. This was shared on our intranet, on Facebook’s workplace and in staff WhatsApp groups.

Outside of the campaign, all other messages were hashtagged with the relevant behaviour.

The final piece of the jigsaw was…er…jigsaws. We made some of the trump cards in to jigsaws which staff completed in our breakout areas, often spending over 20 minutes looking at a key message.

Measurement, evaluation and impact:

Evaluation showed staff ratings for:

  • Residents at the heart of what we do increased from 82% to 91%
  • Recommend THH as an employer increased from 81% to 94%; and
  • Satisfaction with the job increased from 85% to 93%.

The target was a 5% increase.

The rating for ‘THH is a customer-centric organisation’ increased from 67% to 76%. The target was the Institute of Customer Service’s 70% benchmark. The public sector benchmark is 72%.

Campaign evaluation showed:

  • 84% finding campaign messages useful
  • 98% approval for design and imagery; and
  • 82% recall of some or all of key messages.

The target for these was 80%.

In addition, 61% of staff said they had changed an aspect of their behaviour as a result of the campaign.

Staff comments:

  • ‘Being on one of the cards made me feel truly valued’
  • ‘Gorgeous, I put them (the cards) on my fridge at home’
  • ‘It made me mindful of getting that phone call right first time for the customer.’
  • ‘This campaign is so cool, I love it!’
  • ‘WOW, just WOW!’

It’s difficult to describe how this campaign captivated and energised our staff. The week after the launch, our call centre staff came to work in superhero capes and masks. The demand from staff to be part of campaign outstripped our ability to feature them.

Managers discussed ‘WOW moments’ – a term they coined themselves – at team meetings so that we could share great customer service examples.