CategoryA10. Brand voice (incl. strategic storytelling)

The Campaign

SAP launched a new global marketing campaign to promote its solutions in tackling complexity for customers. The campaign made the promise to help customers Run Simple. It’s success relied upon SAP employees delivering on that promise, not only in the customer solutions provided, but also in the way all employees operate and interact with customers, partners and suppliers. SAP in Asia Pacific Japan (APJ) needed an effective regionwide internal communications initiative to ensure all 7,500 regional employees understood how they could engage in and deliver on Run Simple, tackling complexity in their own lives. They needed everyone in SAP APJ to take ownership and take action. The campaign took the external brand proposition, Run Simple, and internalised it to create a rallying cry that all employees could get behind. We called it Our Simple and added the supporting message: “How We Run Simple in APJ”. Launched by the Regional President at the company’s largest annual employee event in January 2014, senior leaders made a visible commitment to Our Simple by signing a Commitment Wall. A series of communications followed, using the employee intranet to show an Our Simple video and invite each employee to make their own online pledge. Commitment walls in each local market also enabled employees to sign up to Our Simple. Most importantly we showcased actionable projects resulting from the campaign that successfully tackled complexity and created tangible change through a creative series of posters and postcards, inspiring even more teams to undertake Our Simple projects.

The Brief

Going beyond just explaining the message and promise of the brand campaign to employees, the bigger challenge lie in ensuring employees actively engaged in the customer promise and tackled complexity in their own working lives. It was critical that every single employee felt that they were a part of Run Simple and took ownership in their specific role. Ultimately the goal of the campaign was to drive tangible behaviourial and process change within SAP through actionable simplification initiatives and projects that improved process and efficiencies, so that SAP could demonstrate that it practiced what it preached.


Campaign success was defined not by numbers of employees reached, but by change projects created. Our Simple projects to tackle complexity and improve operational efficiencies include: Our Simple Expense Claim Process which achieved significant time and cost savings by reducing the astounding 24,000 days per year spent on claiming expenses through a new paperless, automated, streamlined system with no more glue! Our Simple Bid Success Process prioritized the process in managing bids to focus on the most important deals and improving efficiency in fast turnaround services bids. Our Simple Deal Registration System delivered a simplified way for partners to communicate with us, with the initial pilot project already contributing to new business worth Euros144 million. Our Simple Sales Forecasting created a new framework for improved product sales predictations for sales teams, removing complicated Excel spreadsheets from the process. These demonstrate Our Simple in action and more projects are in progess.


To ensure Our Simple was endorsed by leadership, the campaign was launched by Regional President, Adarie Fox-Martin at the firm’s largest annual employee event, featuring a video to convey what Our Simple means, who it impacts and how employees can get involved. Leadership support for Our Simple was showcased by the signing of an Our Simple Commitment Wall. Following this the SAP APJ Intranet portal was leveraged to take Our Simple to all employees, delivering the video to all intranet users and inviting employees to make their own personal commitment to Our Simple through an online pledge, which we then took offline with Our Simple Commitment walls in each SAP APJ market. Most importantly teams were invited to submit simplification projects that had resulted from Our Simple, with the best featured in posters and postcards that inspired more employees to get involved and more Our Simple projects to get underway.

The Situation

The new SAP global branding and marketing campaign, Run Simple was based on the premise, ‘Why Simple Wins’. This simple but powerful customer promise was inspired by the SAP vision to deliver business process, technology, and management solutions that ‘help the world run better and improve people’s lives’ along with its mission to ‘help customers run at their best’. But Run Simple was more than a tagline. SAP in Asia Pacific Japan recognized it was critical that all SAP employees fully understood Run Simple and delivered on it in all their customer interactions, indeed in all that they do.

The Strategy

Our strategy centered around developing a campaign, as simple and powerful as the external ‘Run Simple’ campaign, that employees could take ownership of, be part of and take action on. From Run Simple we developed Our Simple, an internal rallying cry for all 7,500 employees across the 16 regional SAP APJ markets, and across all client facing, leadership and support roles. Translating the ownership element of the message into nine local languages, the objective was to make sure each and every employee understood that Our Simple was important and relevant to them. The relationship between Run Simple and Our Simple informed employees about the importance of tackling complexity for customers and for SAP, and provided a platform for actionable projects that delivered efficiency improvements and real change.


Name Company Position
Chris Plowman Bluecurrent Group Senior Vice President
Khoo Yin FleishmanHillard Senior Vice President
Anita Chan BlueCurrent Group Art Director
Esmond Yan FleishmanHillard Senior Account Manager