Carrot Creative Leads the Employer Storytelling Revolution
Hit the play button and you see sweeping shots of New York, followed by the bright, colorful interiors of an office; later, a sledgehammer cracking a hole in a wall and a fierce man jumps out of it, growling fiercely. This isn’t the trailer for a new blockbuster film, it’s the recruiting video for Carrot Creative, a digital creative agency in New York, and the type of employer storytelling that’s quickly becoming the key to attracting top talent. As a VICE company, it’s no surprise that Carrot Creative has developed a strong employer brand. The digital agency’s recruitment video shows that their working environment is collaborative and laid back. Even the city of New York is shown as part of the company itself. Just as the video mentions that they are hiring, we see close ups of baked goods, beer, and a rollicking party. “We filmed our reality,” said Carrot Creative’s Co-Founder and CXO Chris Petescia. “It becomes easy to demonstrate perks and benefits when you actually build them into the daily employee experience.” While their video is definitely more interesting than talking heads explaining 401k benefits and health plans, what really makes Carrot Creative’s employer brand stand out is their outside-the-box application process, which they call “Submission Impossible”.
We filmed our reality.”
Submission Impossible is a 3-part creativity test. Applicants are instructed to create a haiku, write fridge magnet poetry, and send in a doodle. The submissions are showcased anonymously in Carrot Creative’s Tumblr. But they take this approach not just for the sake of being different. According to Petescia, it was all about attracting like-minded people: “We branded Carrot’s application process and brand in a way we felt would attract us, with the intent to find others like us.” The response was overwhelming. Many applicants thanked Carrot Creative on Twitter or shared their application with friends. “We were surprised to hear from applicants — and we have many (hundreds per month) — that our initial application process is a breath of fresh air,” Petescia said. Carrot Creative’s employer brand and laid-back application process also have an additional business benefit: they get to retain more of their employees. While most advertising and creative agencies have an annual employee turnover rate of 30 percent, Carrot only has 3 percent. According to Phillip Lane, Brand Consultant for ThirtyThree, an employer branding agency, a high turnover might reflect an inconsistent employer brand. If this is the case, employees might struggle to understand their purpose and goals. It might be more difficult for them to collaborate. “In financial terms, the costs of replacing an employee have been estimated as up to 150% of salary – so if inconsistency is leading to higher than average turnover, then a company would certainly benefit from a more strategic approach to managing its employer brand,” he said. Given their numbers, Carrot Creative certainly doesn’t have this problem. Plus, they get an additional competitive advantage: “We treat our branding less like a campaign and more as an effective way of operating,” said Petescia. “We get the people that competing companies can’t.”
The founder’s story
After showcasing the work experience, one of the best way to establish your employer brand is to make sure that your company has a strong, purpose-driven founding narrative. Take the case of HubSpot, an inbound marketing software company. HubSpot created a slideshow manifesto called “Culture Code: Creating a Company We Love“. This manifesto emphasizes HubSpot’s founding story that traditional marketing is broken, and they are set on fixing it by changing how their customers reach consumers, by making it more relevant, meaningful, and even remarkable.
We treat our branding less like a campaign and more as an effective way of operating.”
So far, Culture Code has over a million views on Slideshare. Leslie Mitchell, HubSpot’s Recruiting Manager, explained that this effort has helped them attract the candidates who are truly interested in their culture and work environment. “Potential employees win because they don’t have to guess what it’s like to work here — we show and tell them, and we win because we have a world-class site to keep people energized and excited about the possibility of working here, “ she said. The purpose-driven essence of their Culture Code isn’t just limited to the slideshow, it permeates throughout the content of their Jobs page. Their main headline reads: “Let’s Change the World. Together.” Keith Frankel, HubSpot’s Head of Creative and Design, led the team that built the company’s Jobs page. Their goal for this page was to bridge a connection between HubSpot’s universal mission with the unique personalities of each team.
Let’s Change the World. Together.”
“On a tactical level, the copy and videos go a long way towards highlighting the idiosyncrasies of each team and job, but really the larger aim was to create an aesthetic and tone that humanized HubSpot and each of its teams, that made the open positions more than just a series of bullet points,” he said.
Attracting top talent
Regardless of the industry, it’s the employer brand that drives top talent. A LinkedIn survey found this to be true for 83% of talent acquisition leaders. In fact, job seekers are more likely to look at a company’s employer brand and not its consumer brand. This presents an opportunity for brands that want to get an advantage over their competition. Rather than poring through the numbers, ask instead: “What’s our story?” If it’s compelling enough and you tell it right, you can attract your dream employees and keep the ones you already have. Just be careful with that sledgehammer.
Image by pasotraspaso/ Flickr.com