In the last few months I’ve seen ‘consumer grade’ creative getting a lot of attention. Consumer grade for those still in the dark, is creative execution in internal marketing or employee communication of a standard or quality that is equal to external advertising – in other words, consumer grade.

Firstly, the very idea that we need to define a term to agree that what we produce for employees should be of a standard equal to that which we create for our clients offends me. Didn’t we all agree somewhere back in the Mesolithic era that employees were our most important audience? I thought we did. And it’s for that reason and several others that consumer grade just doesn’t make the grade. The work we produce for employees has to be of a far better standard than we produce for our consumers for the following reasons:

  • Our employees are more important. They create the brand experience.
  • Exposure and therefore inoculation are higher. Your customer may see your billboard twice a day, maybe four times a day. Your employees may see a screensaver, poster (do we still use those??!?!) or pillar wrap 10 or 12 or 14 times a day. With that level of exposure, consumer grade isn’t enough.
  • Lastly, employees see you with your make-up off and your teeth unbrushed. They hear the rumours, go through the restructures, experience the retrenchments. They know the worst about your business and so we have to work harder to look better.

Consumer grade is fine for consumers. We need something better for employees, we need something more impressive, more meaningful, more attention grabbing – we need employee grade.

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