Top Banana’s Strategy and Innovation Director, Marc Hazelden, has been around the block. With nearly 20 years’ experience (6 of which he’s spent as a full-time Banana) in the industry having worked for a plethora of clients, he knows how to provide a service to rival the best in the business.

He’ll tell you in a heartbeat – insight is everything. “As an agency partner, we have to strike the balance of knowing enough about a business. It’s as if we’re part of the furniture, whilst maintaining the external perspective and objective viewpoint you can only get from looking from the outside in.”

“How we get to that point often depends on the client relationship, but we do have a process to help us get there and it all depends where the business is at and what data they can share with us.”

Top Banana lives to ‘bring it to life’ – it being whatever our clients need from us… a new product launch, a business transformation project, an incentive, a comms campaign. But we can only give our briefs the love they deserve if we know enough about where the business is headed and how people are feeling in that moment. It’s that deep knowledge and insight that enables us to inject the emotional wizardry to our communications that truly connects the head and the heart of our audiences, and deliver the impact intended.

inside out

And so, the InsideOut™ methodology has not only been refined and tested to perfection, but it’s also been trademarked. Without regurgitating the business case for it, we enter (with Marc’s expert guidance) behind the scenes to see what it all entails.

“When we first start to work with a new client, we have to dive in quickly to assess as much about their current culture as we can.  Some businesses are so far along the Maturity Model that they can provide us with all the information and data we need to get stuck in. And by that, I’m talking Engagement Survey Results, Attrition rates, Diversity measures and listening session outputs.

Some clients are less advanced and that’s where we can step in and do the work for them. We take all our findings alongside the objectives of our initial brief. Then we can understand the behavioural change required from the targeted audience.

In practice, the ‘it’ might be a launch event for a global sales team. We then need to know who the audience are from a profiling perspective, where they are at culturally as a business, current barriers to communication, past results and future targets in order to develop an outstanding experience that will make a difference.

We’re basically trying to establish exactly what we need that audience to do to help the business succeed, and how we can help you (the client) get them there.”

That’s the why… and for the how, the InsideOut™ model has three phased options. Having operated like this for many years, we’ve simply applied a diving analogy to the process and just as we would with any great piece of work, given it an identity.


This is the lightest touch approach and is about getting under the skin of our clients just enough to work out exactly what IT is that you need to transform or deliver, and how we can go about fixing it in a way that connects the head to the heart.

We’d request information around your brand and tone of voice and ask for insights from similar pieces of work you’ve done in the past, so we can raise the bar and demonstrate where we can add value that delivers measurable ROI. Working at this level involves activities like:

  • Initial Discovery Session
  • Audience profiling
  • Defining the desired outcome
  • Brand and Tone of Voice Review
  • Satisfaction Survey to assess success


Taking your problem statement to another level by uncovering the barriers to change, exposing the risks and developing solutions that build genuine emotional engagement. Here we would run workshops to probe a little further, looking at your existing journey and immersing ourselves into your culture.

We’d help you define where it is you want to get to and what’s standing in your way. This kind of work often lends itself to projects like live events and communicating your important business messages and strategies. Highlights of the deep dive may include;

  • Journey Mapping
  • Barriers and Risk analysis
  • Colleague and engagement survey implementation and analysis
  • Phased workshops to define and tackle the brief


Complete immersion into who you are, what you stand for and why your people are where they are. We work alongside you, as a consultant, to establish your business values and strategic comms planning, so that when we do the work, the change lives on!

This kind of work would involve:

  • Focus groups
  • 1-2-1's at an Exec level
  • Longer term strategic comms planning
  • Bananas working as implants within the business
  • Implementation of surveys and analysis to make cultural and creative recommendations

If we’re honest, this is our favourite kind of work because we get to go deep.  At this level, we would bring in some external expertise to strengthen our consultancy services. We work with specialists in all areas of communications, culture and engagement and when it comes to working side by side with a client, personality is everything – so we’d make sure the whole team were a great fit for the brand, because you’d likely be seeing a lot of each other!

Marc sums up the process as the enabler for the Top Banana creative teams to do their best work. “It’s simple really, the more we know and the more we can experience first-hand, the more we can make a difference. When clients really let us in… that’s when the magic happens.”

“I’ve worked closely with businesses as they’ve travelled on this journey and it’s been a privilege to see the impact of the combined work come to fruition. My hairs have stood on end at numerous live events, but what feels especially good is when you can track the success of our investment (from both an energy and monetary perspective) in bringing to life engaging, meaningful communications that result in a measurable, commercial change for a business.”

If you want to talk more about how the InsideOut™ model can transform your communications strategy and drive genuine emotional engagement and behavioural change from your people – reach out to Marc by email at