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Award winners!

*dusts off shoulders* We’re feelin’ fabulous today because we’ve won an award for our beautiful building. Our offices – The Old Chapel picked up a gong in the Renovation/ Reuse category at  The York Design Awards! Read more about it here. High fives all round!

Wondering how this renovation task was tackled? Take a peek at our stop-motion video to see how Scarlett Abbott HQ was transformed from a shell, into our shiny new offices.

Let us know what you think!



Six short fellas: an editorial mantra for IC?

How does Nobel Prize winning, elephant-loving author Rudyard Kipling, help us write fab content for our client magazines and newspapers?

We’ll tell you how. Fancy a poem?

Kipling wrote:

“I keep six honest serving-men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are WHAT and WHY and HOW

And WHEN and WHERE and WHO.”

Good eh? Let’s elaborate.

These six little words are central to writing engaging articles, and super-important when it comes to getting a message across and telling a story.

Our journalists and writers try to get WHAT and WHO across in the intro. What it’s all about, the message, the story? What’s special about this piece and what will make people want to read on? Who’s involved, how they got involved, the team they’re part of and their role within the company?

The nitty-gritty comes in the body of the copy. We’ve got the readers’ attention, now we give them what they want, the WHEN, the WHERE, the WHY, when it happened and why the date is significant, where the action took place and why it’s relevant to the story. Finally, make clear why it’s here – what’s the call to action in this article and what should colleagues do as a result?

Next comes the HOW – how it happened, the challenges and processes involved, final thoughts from colleagues on impact/solutions/effect/outcomes and contact details.

We’re proud to say at scarlettabbott we produce fresh, unique, engaging and entertaining content for a wide range of diverse internal audiences, and by following the wise words of Kipling, and using our IC expertise, we make sure we hit-the-spot with them every time.



New kids on the block

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Hi, from Jeremy Petty, Client Services Director

What gets me out of bed in the morning is… usually my four year old jumping up and down on the bed. OK, being involved in the most exciting growth industry out there and working with, and meeting, great people every day.

My CV is a bit like…  a waste of ink these days. Presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs and Facebook is the new CV.

Out of work… I’m mad about sport; mainly watching these days but still manage to play a bit of football and cricket. Chasing our two young boys round the football pitch/garden/swimming pool/house seems to occupy the rest of my time…

In the office… I’m helping to spread the word of scarlettabbott across the land and ensuring we nurture and grow all of our client relationships.

For me, internal communication is… the opportunity to create and drive a loyal, bonded colleague base who will deliver improved business performance.

If I wasn’t me, I’d like to be… flying down the left wing at Anfield. 



Hi, from Tony Beresford, Creative Director

What gets me out of bed in the morning is… normally my wife Louise and the promise of coffee! But being a designer, I like going to work knowing that fresh challenges await me every day.

My CV is a bit like… The truth is I’ve not moved around a lot so I’d most probably compare myself to a lighthouse. Tall, bright, well-weathered and stalwart, that’s me! I’ve seen all sorts of ships come and go – in all weather conditions – from large tankers to little dinghies and I’ve helped steer them all away from the rocks and sent them on their way.

Out of work… I’m moving to York from London so I’ll mainly be exploring the city and the beautiful countryside.

In the office… I’m dedicated to design in all its forms – from what we do with print and digital – to clothes, buildings, machines and technology.

For me, internal communication is… helping people on IC budgets achieve levels of design they had thought were reserved for those with external budgets.

If I wasn’t me, I’d like to be… Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”, but if I had to give a name it would be Dr Peter Venkman.



Hi, from Minda Galvin, Senior Internal Communications Consultant

What gets me out of bed in the morning is… Usually a small pale boy called Caspar whispering “Is it time to get up yet?” (Not the ghost, but my eldest son).

Out of work… I like playing eye-spy, bike rides, getting lost in books (not always good ones), buying red lipstick, going to farmer’s markets and snowboarding – if I get half the chance.

In the office… I’m first and foremost part of a team. I’m always amazed by the ideas people have when they put their heads together. I try to be true to myself and authentic in everything I do. I’m big thinker, but I’ve also got loads of experience, so I’m practical, pragmatic and passionate about great execution. People tell me that my eyes light up when I talk about business culture, great places to work, good design and well put together communications. I’m an enthusiastic sort, so having me around can help keep energy levels up.

For me, internal communication is… an absolute passion. It is the backbone of any good business. Good quality internal communication changes the game. Without it, employee engagement diminishes and companies can’t change effectively to be ‘match fit’ for the future.

If I wasn’t me I’d be… JK Rowling – getting lost in a magical world for more than a decade, I can think of worse things to do.



Hi, from Rebecca Marsden, IC Editor and Project Manager

What gets me out of bed in the morning is… a big mug of coffee and a to-do list.

Out of work… I like escaping to the coast, watching old films, listening to old music, dancing, trips to the Tate and meandering around markets.

My CV is a bit like… a smart kid’s toy box – full of fun, creative and educational jazz.

In the office I’m powering through my list-writing, interviewing, proofing and meeting up with like-minded creative people.

For me, internal communication is… about letting people know they’re valued and part of the bigger picture.

If I wasn’t me, I’d like to be… in the 80s, singing backing vocals for Bryan Ferry.



Changes Ahead? Use the IC Force to Guide You


These are tough times; businesses are facing rapid change on a scale like never before. But how effective are we at communicating change to our people? Unsurprisingly, communication is often at the centre of why change initiatives fail to fully achieve their objectives. So why is communication often the last function invited to the change programme party?

Here at scarlettabbott, we love a change communication challenge; we’re experts at developing impactful change communication strategies that really put employees first.

How do we do it? We equip internal communication teams, senior leaders and people managers to create meaning, focus and direction; higher levels of understanding, acceptance and engagement.

Easier said than done, we know! But we can help. Let us guide you in how to use the IC Force to communicate change in ten simple steps. Click here to download your free copy of ‘Using the IC Force for Change’.

If you’ve got a change challenge, we’d love to hear from you. Why not drop Hannah a line?



Five ways to bring your strategy to life


Being clear on what your company is about, where it’s heading and the role individuals play in it, is a sweet spot in employee engagement. Here are five tried and tested ways to help you bring your strategy to life:

  1. Create a compelling story – work with your top team to develop their narrative – where you’ve been, where you’re heading, the challenges you face and what you need to do to triumph.
  2. Equip your managers – provide the tools to enable them to have effective conversations with their teams. Support them with communication training.
  3. Share your story through interactive learning – enable your employees to come to their own conclusions about the business strategy, future course of action and the role they play in helping achieve that.
  4. Make the connections – everything you communicate should directly link to your business strategy. If it doesn’t, challenge, why are you doing it?
  5. Keep the conversation alive – share business performance updates and give people regular opportunities to discuss progress against your strategy.



Top three ways to reach a retail audience


Customer facing, on the ‘shop floor’, time-poor and with operational targets to hit – how do you communicate with a retail audience? We’ve been debating the three most effective ways to reach the guys and gals on the shop floor. Here’s our top three;

  1. Succinctly. Short, snappy, face-to-face sessions at the start and end of every shift.
  2. Mobile. Make company news and information available to people to view on the move, during lunch and at home. Responsive web design can mean that your company intranet can be read on a desktop, tablet or mobile device.
  3. Bottom up. As the face of your business, let your customer-facing gurus shape your messaging – provide them with regular opportunities to share the inside track on what’s hot and what’s not, in store and on the high street generally.



Social conversations


We’re powering conversations on an exciting new social media platform for one of our friends in the city.

Our challenge is to help land a global communication channel with a UK audience and shift the culture to one where collaboration and innovation happens organically and virally.

Here at SA Towers, we’ve been exploring why people use social media, what they get out of it and what the benefits are for colleagues and the bottom line.

As organisations figure out how to leverage the blurring lines between work and personal lives, businesses are playing catch up to engage their people at work in a way their employees take for granted outside the workplace.

Some key principles we discovered about communicating new social media platforms:

  • Sell the benefit, not the tool
  • Always tie social media to the business case
  • Get the important people involved – engage key leaders and influential colleagues to trial the platform and share content
  • Coach your managers to promote the benefits of using social media with their teams
  • People are waiting to be connected
  • Segment the audience
  • Switch on social media/switch off something else
  • Start with functionality that’s non-threatening and easy
  • Publicise your wins on social media

Keep watching our website and we’ll share more of what we know about going mobile over the summer.

If you’d like to talk about developing social platforms in your organisation, please contact Hannah with a tweet, a poke on Facebook or a call or email via our details below.



Magazines vs Tabloids



The world might be going crazy with Bieber-fever, but here at SA Towers we’ve had Dolly Parton on the brain… stick with us, it’ll make sense soon. Promise.

We’ve noticed an upward trend in requests for tabloid-style newspapers over popular ‘glossy mag’-style employee publications.

So why the shift? For starters, tabloid-style newspapers can appear more accessible than upmarket magazines. Some employee publications need to appeal to a wide demographic – from ‘the suits’ to those on the shop floor. So our collective familiarity – through a daily newspaper purchase – makes a company paper approachable as a medium. So, with that in mind, the informal and familiar tabloid newspaper can hit the mark when clients need to reach a varied audience or largely male workforce. Dolly point 1 – Friendly, familiar and loved by the masses.

Cost perception can also play a part in the choice to move from mag to tabloid. The lighter, newsprint stock can give a publication a ‘for the people, by the people’ feel, and is less likely to leave employees wondering why they have an expensive company magazine in their hands, but no bonus in their back pocket. Publications printed on recycled paper also showcase sustainability credentials, as well as a feel-good, value for money factor. Dolly Point 2 – Looks cheap but bursting with quality.

And what about design? It’s obvious that tabloid-style publications allow us to utilise bigger text, bigger images and bigger Sudoku(!), but is bigger always better? Not always certainly, but worthy of your consideration. Migrating your publication onto a mobile platform needs careful thought. But as the tabloids and broadsheets have proven, taking your paper ‘on the move’ is possible. Still it’s worth remembering that even in this mobile age, some workforces like something to grab a hold of, so to them, size does matter. Dolly Point 3 – Think BIG!

So while a smaller, glossier magazine – the Kate Moss of publications if you will – might be right for some workforces, if you’re looking for new format ideas, think about the benefits of Dolly, the tabloid-style newspaper – big, bold, loved by millions and sure to make a statement.




“We are sailing…”

Our MD Jonathan is out of the office today (we’re all still working reeeally hard boss, promise). The gaffer is spending the day preparing to do the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

He explained: “The boat is a Bavaria 40 – Phizz of Caen, skippered by Trevor Hardaker. I will mostly be ‘grinding’ (a technical term) – it’s VERY manly. The race took him 10 hours last year.

“We set off at 6.15am on Saturday morning and get back in the evening and get straight to the pub, apparently.”


And it’s over to Trevor for the final word (look after the boss!)…

“The conditions have been pretty ropey for the last three years but hopefully the weather will be kind to us this year – the only thing is that we only get to feature prominently if everyone else retires! Oh well public humiliation is good for the soul….

“We had our formal briefing down the pub last night. I had five pints and all we got onto was how to get the ferry to the Isle of White…”


Oooh and there’s GPS tracking so you can see where he is.