Accelerating change
for a global food retailer

SSP is a global food retail business. We worked with its Comms and Employee Engagement teams to accelerate uptake of Microsoft Teams and Viva Engage amongst its frontline workforce, improving both operational efficiency and employee experience in the process.


Campaign strategy and ideas / Campaign identity / Messaging framework / Print and digital communications


The challenge

SSP runs food and beverage outlets in airports, rail stations and other locations, many of which are household names. This includes owned brands such as Millies, Upper Crust and Camden Food co, as well as franchise brands like Leon, M&S, Starbucks and Burger King.

To improve security and two-way communication across its dispersed workforce, SSP was extending the use of Microsoft Teams and Viva Engage to its 30,000 frontline employees. The aim was to improve operational efficiency, employee engagement and customer experience. They asked us to advise on and create the communications campaign driving uptake of the apps. Rollout would commence with the UK and Nordic markets before going global.

Our solution

We kicked off by immersing ourselves in employee demographics, the business context and the rollout recommendations of SSP’s IT partner. Our aim was to understand both business and employee needs to find alignment. This provided a series of insights that guided the strategic and creative direction of the campaign:

    • The campaign needed to suggest and incentivise rather than tell
    • A diverse workforce meant creative needed broad appeal
    • There was appetite for change across the business
    • We needed to highlight how Microsoft was better than Whatsapp
    • This was a pivotal opportunity for both employees and business

Using these insights, we developed a core campaign theme, #BetterTogether, supported by a messaging framework highlighting the benefits of the apps:

From there, we activated these messages across an attention-grabbing, employee-centric communications campaign featuring posters, wobblers, a microsite and a range of digital and social media assets. Everything was targeted at encouraging the download and use of the apps. Creative used the more vibrant colours of the SSP brand palette and featured photography of actual employees (not shown in this case study for privacy reasons).

We went on to develop a blueprint for converting initial awareness raising into meaningful, long-term use of the apps. Components ranged from edible Microsoft themed cookies and a tiered competition mechanic to the establishment of ‘Employee Champions’ whose remit was to explore and advocate how the apps benefit the teams at their location. Knowing that change would take time, especially in such a dispersed workforce, the campaign blueprint was divided into short and medium-term activities.

“Affinity worked quickly and collaboratively to bring our vision to life. Their thinking and design output really hit the brief, delivering a clear, creative and engaging campaign.”

Aimee Greaves – Head of Communications UK & Ireland, SSP plc