The Drum Awards Internal Communications Awards Case Studies

HCL Technologies on creating the Covengers to carry pandemic internal messaging


By Awards Analyst, writer

November 4, 2021 | 5 min read

HCL Technologies won the ‘Best internal content marketing strategy/campaign’ category at The Drum Awards for Content 2021. Here, the team behind the winning entry shares the secrets of this successful project...

The challenge

As the Covid pandemic intensified across the globe, so did information fatigue among people. The sheer volume of information being disseminated through every available media channel created a huge blind spot. After a short while, getting through to audiences with relevant health messages became a big challenge.

At HCL, we knew we had to reach out to our colleagues across the globe with relevant messages that could minimize their risk exposure and offer support. The challenge lay in engaging their attention and ensuring that the messages got through. Considering the varied cultural and linguistic nuances of a global workforce, the need was for universal appeal and trust.

The strategy

The process of creating a solution was started with a quick survey to find the audience’s attitude to COVID related information. We found that everyone wanted information, but the constant bombardment of messages preaching health and remedies from every possible source had created a wall of apathy. To make things worse, there was no sure way to ascertain which of the messages propagated true information and which ones were false.

We therefore decided to break away from any templated and previously used formats developed for employee communication. We developed our strategy from a simple human insight - every person at one time or the other believed in superheroes, and some still do. We conceptualized unique brand ambassadors that would talk to a global audience in an engaging and unusual manner. The messaging was to be kept lighthearted so as not to burden already troubled minds and talk to our audience at every possible touchpoint through location-appropriate messages.

Covengers 1

The campaign

Thus, the Covengers landed on the planet of HCL to send a message of health to its inhabitants that were at once engaging, believable, concise, and relevant to their environment.

They were a league of illustrated superheroes symbolically characterizing the five basic hygiene must-do practices during the pandemic. We named them Soapman, Sanitizee, Maskman, Glovey-dovey, and Liqwash.

Their dialogue centered around:

• Motivations on hygiene do’s and don’ts;

• Day-to-day updates on risks, instructions, preventive measures, health initiatives, etc.;

• Announcements on helpdesk facilities.

True to the nature of superhero communication we created a unique visual language with illustrated representations. The Covengers were simple yet intriguing. We made them talk to the audience through illustrated day-to-day scenarios. In some, they individually talked about respective hygiene practices, in others they came as a group to present generic facts. Whatever the purpose, the layouts were consistently intriguing showcasing our heroes trumping the coronavirus’ designs.

We used our internal media spaces strategically. We made static and animated banners for HCL’s employee portal, log-in points, and screen takeovers, EDMs, videos, and had the characters make appearances during leadership talks. We linked every artefact to a segregated section on our dedicated COVID-19 microsite. Gradually, we made them visible on office brandings like development centers, elevators, cafeterias, parking area, and health-centers. We also extended it to an engagement program called the Covengers Buddy where employees organically connected on the digital front to help each other cope with COVID-19 emergencies, and as a token of appreciation, got badges of honor. Importantly, every effort was directed to connect our employees to the HCL health desk for any assistance required.

In 2021, when vaccines became more freely available, we extended our league of superheroes to include a new character – Vaccini. Our new superhero busted the false myths around vaccination and nudged our audience to seek the safety of the jab.

The results

Sooner than expected, the Covengers became an integral part of the dedicated COVID-19 initiative, and the central force in driving internal communication with surprising reach and acceptance.

The team got a unique viewership of 87067, a whopping average reach per day of 75000 approximately, and a record 1535440 site visits. Organically, the Covengers Buddy program catapulted reach to all the employees across the globe. In campus, we garnered an overall footfall of approximately 4000-to-7000 employees, interacting with the messages in facilities across offices.

Since then, the campaign has not only become a rage with employees and leaders but has also managed to give a unique expression of relief and light-heartedness against the rising panic.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Content 2021. Click here to find out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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