Working with Purpose
After weeks of speculation, on March 23rd 2020 the COVID-19 virus was finally declared a serious threat to the UK. The Government imposed a lockdown on the entire country, banning all ‘non-essential’ travel and contact with people. Pretty much everything closed apart from essential services such as supermarkets.
As a major UK supermarket and food manufacturer, Morrisons found itself at the very frontline, giving support to millions of people and local communities across the UK. Many panicked, as fear and uncertainty took over their once normal way of life.
Morrisons knew it had to act fast. Reassuring customers that its food supply chain was robust and sustainable, it quickly set about introducing a raft of new ways of working. Led by cross-company task teams, radical procedures and innovations were introduced on a regular weekly basis to help supply goods more easily and efficiently to customers’ in-store, as well those more vulnerable and unable to leave the safety of their own homes. It did all this whilst diligently ensuring the safety of customers and its own 100,000+ workforce – many of whom were understandably worried about the threat posed to them in such a public environment.
As the weeks turned to months, the Morrisons team performed wonders, winning plaudits from customers, charities, investors and other external organisations for its innovative forward-thinking and the way it rose up to help tackle the crisis.
One of the ways it did this was to devise a bespoke Interim Purpose that would help give emotional guidance to what senior management knew was going to be an extremely tough and uncertain period of time. Entitled ‘Feeding the Nation’ #ItsMoreThanOurJob, the company realised that every one of its 100,000+ colleagues were going to have to adapt, think and work in a very different manner.
Having launched its new Interim Purpose, Morrisons then helped convince the British Government to formally recognise supermarket employees as being of ‘Key Worker’ status. The feeling of pride that colleagues subsequently felt from pinning a ‘Key Worker’ badge to their uniforms proved to be pivotal in galvanising them all to do whatever they could to help feed the nation during what was now a global pandemic.
The number of compelling people stories and achievements that emerged during this period of national lockdown became more and more numerous as time went by. So in an effort to capture the evidence of this pride and can-do spirit, Morrisons decided to film some of their stories for posterity… before they became a distant memory.
The company also wanted to use the emotional power of the films to help embed the feeling of pride within the company’s follow-up Interim Purpose (‘Making Good Food Affordable for Everyone’ #itsallofourjobs) – due to be announced at the company’s Annual Colleague Conference in September. Senior management knew that this was when the UK was expected to enter severe economic recession.
Over a period of 3 months, 23 different film deliverables were produced:
- Two inspirational documentary films ‘Working with Purpose’ (13-mins and 7 mins) that told the remarkable story and timeline journey of Morrisons and its 100,000+ workforce during this unprecedented time.
- Twenty bespoke ‘Personal Stories’ (90-secs each) were filmed with twenty different colleagues – each film using a different Morrisons storyteller to give a personal insight into a different aspect of the company’s UK operations.
- A highly emotional, music led ‘Thank-you’ film (5-mins) was produced to showcase some of the heartfelt thanks that were spontaneously received from customers, local communities, charities, foodbanks, NHS, farmers, etc.
Due to COVID-19 and governmental lockdown restrictions, we had to create all film content without undertaking any conventional filming on-location. Instead all 23 films were conceived, planned and executed using a variety of remote filming techniques, instructing and supporting colleagues to use their smart phones to maximum effect.
All film and audio content were originated remotely, with The Edge conducting all editorial interviews, ensuring that each and every storyteller was able to contextualise the telling of their stories. We supported them by issuing a number of instructions for specified user generated filming to take place across the UK. This enabled every colleague to bring their stories to life. Some of the filming involved the origination of tightly choreographed sequences, which we then gathered together for editing with archive footage, graphics and music into a suite of memorable films.
Due to COVID, the 2020 Annual Company Conference was held digitally for the very first time. This gave every Morrisons colleague the chance to view the live 1-hour stream, featuring a variety of senior leader pieces to camera, as well as the premiere of the films themselves. As well as forming a major part of the main documentary, the suite of ‘Personal Story films were used as part of a ‘teaser campaign’ during the run-up to the conference. After the conference, a personal copy of the ‘Thank-you’ film was given to every Morrisons’ colleague as a proud keep-sake.
The film campaign was hugely successful, with colleagues moved to tears and made to feel very proud as to what they had all collectively achieved during what was one of the toughest periods in the company’s history.
By capturing the pride so evident within frontline colleagues during this time and by showing how they all rose together as one team to serve UK society itself, the films proved to be inspirational viewing to all those that saw them
The films also helped embed colleagues’ keenly felt pride and can-do spirit within the company’s follow-up Interim Purpose ‘Making Good Food Affordable for Everyone’ #itsallofourjobs. A guiding mantra that promises to help Morrisons’ colleagues look after the daily needs of its many millions of customers as the country prepares to tackle 2020’s impending global economic recession.