BC tip: Roche - YouTube recruitment

A pharmaceutical uses a video Q&A on social media to explain a senior role and attract candidates.

The Feature

Roche, the Swiss healthcare giant, is recruiting for a head of public relations. The company published a video on YouTube this month, in which a member of the ‘Talent and Acquisitions’ team at Roche interviews James Woodhouse, Roche’s director communications, about the role.

In the five-minute video, Mr Woodhouse describes the role, the kind of person they are looking for (eg, someone who can help manage controversies and be an ‘ethical compass’), practical details such as the size of team that will need managing; and opportunities for career progression.

The video is housed on Roche’s YouTube channel, and we saw it promoted on Roche’s LinkedIn and Facebook careers feeds. At the end of the video, candidates are invited to send ‘video applications’ via a link on the corporate website.

The Takeaway

Roche’s YouTube recruitment video is innovative use of the online channel to ‘sell’ the idea of working for Roche and the specific role on offer.

When used in this way, video is an effective way to go beyond a written job description – giving jobseekers a fuller description of the role and opportunities in the organization; as well as to introduce the culture and their potential boss.

The five-minute length seems about right – it might be too long for other corporate videos, but in this case, interested candidates are likely to watch until the end. Candidates will also have a better idea of the tone they should take in their own video applications.


BC tip: GSK - Volunteer vlogs

The pharmaceutical giant has successfully adapted the ‘video blog’ trend to the corporate web.

The Feature

GSK has created a series of video blogs – known as ‘vlogs’ – featuring an employee who spent six months on a company-sponsored volunteering programme in Kenya, which finished in December 2016.

Vanina Kacheva, an area marketing manager for Central and Eastern Europe in GSK’s healthcare business, created five vlogs during her stint advising Save the Children on its communications.

They are two-minute to three-minute video diaries, in which Vanina speaks directly to camera about her experiences, in the style of popular video blogs on YouTube. The vlogs are located on the corporate website in the Responsibility section, and on YouTube. GSK promoted Vanina’s final vlog on Twitter in December.

The Takeaway

GSK has taken the trend for vlogging, popular among internet marketers and millennials, and adapted it effectively for the corporate web.

A volunteer programme, which gives employees interesting new experiences to share, is a natural application. You need an employee willing to go on camera, but an advantage is that with vlogs, lack of high production values or professional presenting skills is an advantage, and adds to authenticity.

Vlogging could have a number of uses in the corporate context – employee profiles are an obvious one, but there are surely many others.


BC tip - The Hillary Clinton campaign: Designer subtitles

A US political video gets its message across to viewers who have their sound turned off.


The Site

The creators of a YouTube film of President Barack Obama endorsing fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton have made subtitles an integral part of the design.

As Obama speaks to camera, his words appear in different places on the screen, and in varying font sizes; larger fonts are used for points the Clinton campaign wants to emphasise.

The Takeaway

A problem with video online is that so many people cannot listen to the audio because they are in an office, on a train, etc. On Facebook and Twitter, videos start playing with the audio switched off as the default.

The producers of this slick video of Obama endorsing Clinton for president seem to understand this - and have made ‘mega subtitles’ an key part of the film, rather than a small-text, crude-font bolt-on.

This means that the video gets its messages across whether viewers have their sound off or on, a potential lesson for companies looking to use video effectively on their online channels.


57,000 corporate channels (and nothin' on)

Some online channels seem tailor made for corporate communications. SlideShare is ideal for sharing investor relations presentations. Twitter can be great for spreading company news. LinkedIn is, of course, a powerful recruitment tool. But other channels don't always prove to be such a natural fit.

For example, we at Bowen Craggs spend a lot of time looking at corporate YouTube channels – and most are either awfully uninspiring, or awfully awful.

We know that we’re not alone in this assessment: you can tell this by looking at the low number of views on most companies’ YouTube pages. Almost no one is watching.

Why is this? And what should companies do about it?

To answer the first question: most companies are simply not geared up to producing the kind of material most likely to gain traction on YouTube – videos that are not only informative, but also entertaining.

Historically, companies’ efforts in this area have been focused on producing television commercials. Indeed, when they put these onto YouTube – if they are good enough - they often get large numbers of views: look at this P&G ad, as well as this one from Google, for examples.

The Google video is particularly interesting, because it was part of a campaign designed to work on both television and YouTube (a channel that Google owns).

Most companies’ YouTube channels are unfocused mishmashes of videos drawn from elsewhere – employee profiles from the Careers section of the website; executive interviews from the investor relations section; case studies from the sustainability section. Pulled out of its original context on the corporate site and assembled on a YouTube channel, such material is doomed to failure: users must work hard to find footage on the channel relevant to their interests – and when they find it, it is often too dull to hold their attention.

So what should companies do about this?

One option is to focus efforts on promoting embedded – and therefore appropriately contextualized – video content on the corporate site (YouTube is undeniably a good format for this) – rather than promoting the corporate YouTube channel itself. If your company’s YouTube channel is not yet an attractive destination in its own right, don’t bother encouraging visitors to visit it. 

Another option is to focus more effort on producing video output that is genuinely attractive – in terms of viewability and shareability. For some companies, this will be time and money well spent – especially if it spent as part of a campaign designed to work over television and other channels, as Google’s was. But for other companies, producing videos that go viral on YouTube is likely to be a lower priority than using video in more modest – but no less effective – ways on the corporate website.

- Scott Payton