When Seattle-based Qpass restructured its business model and redesigned its logo, it was marketing vice president Norman Guadagno's job to launch an internal communications campaign to bring employees up to speed. "We can't be successful if everyone in the company does not embody the brand every day," Guadagno says.
But how to deliver the message? He knew that a boring manual about the new game plan for the company, which provides commerce solutions for wireless carriers and online merchants, would just collect dust. Then he saw the movie Keeping the Faith, in which Ben Stiller's character plays with "Heroes of the Torah" trading cards as a child. Guadagno had his answer: a contest in which employees would compete to collect a full set of Qpass trading cards, win fabulous prizes, and become brand literate along the way.
A Seattle design firm called Methodologie Inc. was hired to create the trading cards. Each one had to present a Qpass brand concept along with critical information about the strategic relaunch. But lead designer Gabe Goldman knew that if employees were going to get into the game, the cards were going to have to exude attitude. "We really wanted the cards to be covetable items," he says.
The result was a slick deck of 30 cards, each one displaying a visual metaphor on one side and cheeky text on the other. By all accounts, the game was a hit. For three weeks in June, there was bartering in the halls — and on eBay. The grand prize, four box-seat tickets to a Seattle Mariners game, went to application engineer Brett Bentley, the happiest new employee at Qpass.
Learn more about Qpass on the Web (www.qpass.com).
A version of this article appeared in the October 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.