A global company … seen through the eyes of its employees

One organization with workers all over the world uses Instagram to build community and boost morale

instagram logoI have to admit, when I first learned about Instagram, the photo-sharing social media site, I had no idea how it could be used for internal communications.

There was one major problem, as far as I could see:

It’s a PHOTO sharing site . . . and most corporate photos suck. And who wants to share suck? Who wants to share photos of constipated-looking white executives? Who wants to swap shots of people receiving oversized checks, or those same constipated executives holding shovels or cutting ribbons?

I mean, here’s the typical photo that comes out of the corporate world. Would you want to share it?

Commitment to Excellence

And, of course, you can comment on the photo. Can you imagine the types of comments you’d get? Stuff like:

“Why is that old guy in the white shirt holding on to his dinger?”

“You can’t tell me that chubby looking pervert with the beard and the tie is ‘Committed to Excellence.’ If anything, he’s committed to finding the best porn on the Internet.”

“So THAT’s what happened to George W. Bush!”

That’s why I thought it would be a disaster to try and use Instagram for internal communications.

I was wrong. And Tanja Kjaerside, a communicator at the Copenhagen-based, global company MAN Diesel and Turbo SE, showed me just how wrong I was.

Kjaerside wanted to use Instagram as way to bring her spread-out, global company together through the use of local photos from each location. So she started an Instagram account and asked employees to post photos that represented something unique about the culture at their particular outpost of the company.

And employees responded. Hundreds of photos flooded in, and together they became a mosaic of the company as a whole. Here are just a few samples, with the captions:

Liberty Bell
































Man Diesel 1

According to Kjaerside, the photos really brought the company together.

“We are a big global company, and it’s not always easy to work together as one,” she told Low Hanging Fruit. “Personally, I have found that I get a unique insight to my colleagues’ workday, an insight which I wouldn’t have been able to get in any other way. It makes me feel more connected as one company. I get a better understanding of my colleagues and how they work, and that we work together towards the same goal.”

The beautiful thing about the Instagram campaign is that, like so many great communication ideas, it took on a life of its own. The employees themselves grabbed it and ran with it.

“Our office in Pakistan made a huge landscape picture [of the photos] and placed it in the cafeteria [pictured below],” says Kjaerside. “I have been told that the employees spend some time watching it and think it’s cool that there’s a unique story behind each picture. It all helps to visualize our culture.”

Man Diesel 2

And Kjaerside ran with the campaign, too. She created a print piece based on the photos, pictured below. Not only does that give access to the photos to people who might not be online, but she also uses it to push people online.

Man Diesel 3

Not a bad integration case study. Use an online social media site to gather photos from around the world, and around the organization. Use those photos in various formats—a cafeteria banner, a print publication, etc. And then use those other formats to push people online to see even more photos.

As the world becomes more and more visual, and sites like Instagram and Pinterest take off in popularity, savvy communicators need to find ways to tap into their power for both external and internal communications.

Kjaerside has shown us one way to do it. Has anyone else figured it out as well? Let us know, so we can feature it here! Contact Steve at Low Hanging Fruit.

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