Dec 01, 2015

Staying Power

The Art of Creating Long-lasting Content
By Susan Pennebaker

Recently, I got a nice reminder, courtesy of long-time client Bristow Group. When the offshore helicopter transport services company said it was reprinting a brochure we created for them nine years ago, I was surprised and curious. What was so special about this brochure that it could withstand nearly a decade of use and still be considered a relevant communications piece? Were we that smart? I wish.

In fact, it was the client who was smart, for seizing an opportunity to improve, setting a big goal, supporting that goal and never backing down. Target Zero, launched by the former CEO and continued by the current CEO, is the Bristow program to reduce accidents to zero and make Bristow the safest offshore helicopter transport company in the world.

For most of the past nine years, Bristow has ranked number #1 in safety in its industry.

I’m convinced that if Target Zero had been conceived and perceived as a communications program and not as a permanent shift in culture and core values, it would have failed.

The reasons that Target Zero is so successful won’t surprise you, but I think they are a great reminder for companies with a transformative goal in mind:

  • Senior management and leadership are genuine and visible advocates, with their compensation tied to reaching that goal
  • Employees are involved and recognized for their efforts
  • There is clear communication of expected outcomes
  • Written systems and policies are in place
  • Listening and speaking up are valued and encouraged
  • Ongoing training and improvements reflect best practices
  • Successes and failures are tracked and reported
  • Innovations are developed and implemented on an ongoing basis

Bristow did something else really smart. When it was clear that Target Zero was working, it offered to share the program with the industry. They want the entire industry to be safer.

The brochure we created in 2006 was a foundational piece. It described the mission, the company’s commitment and made safety a companywide mutual responsibility. None of that has changed in nine years, which makes the brochure still relevant for new employees—and a great testament to Bristow’s vision and tenacity.

Well done, Bristow!

Case Study: See more about the international offshore helicopter service.

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