How we helped a Silicon Valley tech company recruit talent in the world’s most competitive market.
Seeking talent in a crowded market.
AppLovin offers a comprehensive platform where app developers of all sizes can connect with their ideal consumers and get discovered. With headquarters in Palo Alto, the company is expanding to open up additional offices around the globe. They needed to launch a strong recruitment campaign to reach talent both at home and abroad.
Be different. No, really.
You’re probably well aware of the ongoing tech talent war. Attracting and retaining quality employees is no easy game—particularly in Silicon Valley—even when you check all of the boxes (Well-known? Great salaries? Dog friendly? Flexible working? Paid vacations? Catered lunches & free dry cleaning?). AppLovin needed a fresh take on the typical recruitment video if they wanted to make an impression.
We knew what kind of video we definitely weren’t going to make: the upbeat montage of laughing employees playing ping-pong, high fiving over Friday beers and talking about ‘unique problems only we get to solve’. When every company in Silicon Valley is ‘special’, special no longer becomes a differentiator to prospective employees.
Hunches in hand with which direction we wanted to avoid, we set out to do some research. The obvious place to start was to look at highly successful recruitment videos for other tech companies, then reverse engineer what made them so effective.
It became quickly evident that the videos making an impact took a fundamentally different approach: through humour, zaniness, unexpected treatment, etc. This confirmed our general sense that the ‘safe’ route was not the way to win over Silicon Valley’s top engineers. We also knew that things like work/life balance, teamwork and collaboration are important to millennials—a key demographic AppLovin wanted to reach. What makes people most likely to collaborate? Could it be when they feel like they ‘click’ with their coworkers and are safe to share their ideas?
Next, we looked internally at AppLovin. We wanted to know who works there now. What are they like? What’s interesting about the people who call AppLovin home? Of course there are likely to be interesting people at just about any company, but highlighting the ‘human capital’, specifically as it pertains to the individuals who make up the team, seemed to be an untapped opportunity.
Was there a way to focus on the individuality of an existing employee, create content around one of their hidden ‘skills’, and turn that into a strong pitch to join the AppLovin team?
Bring yourself to work.
The client provided us with highlights of some key team members. As it turns out, they were quite a well-rounded bunch! With client approval, we moved forward with our ‘branded content’ concept for the San Francisco and Palo Alto offices, where each video starred an employee, sharing a non work-related skill with the audience, while weaving in the necessary company selling points we needed to hit to drive traffic to the AppLovin jobs page.
From the AppLovin team, we chose a sourdough bread-making enthusiast, a dog rescue shelter volunteer, an artful terrarium-maker and a wine aficionado. Each of the three videos walks the viewer through how to do something new (make bread, create a terrarium, teach a dog some basic commands, taste wine), while interviews with the main characters tell the company culture story, each grounded in a uniquely personal experience.
Next came the global offices. The teams in Beijing and Tokyo (Dublin is in production now) were looking to recruit local talent as well as applicants from the broader region. As it turned out, each of the global offices had its own distinct personality, too. So we extended the concept we’d used for the California offices, tweaking it slightly to personify the office, vs specific people in the office.
Each team had hands-on involvement in how they wanted to portray themselves. The Tokyo team chose a superhero-style concept where employees were introduced with a cool comic-book graphic treatment, then took turns guiding the viewer through a ‘day in the life’ at the office. The Beijing team wanted a sophisticated, professional introduction to their team that also celebrated the best of the city, in order to attract talent from across China. Dublin is being planned as we post this.
The Moral of the Story
Impact beyond the numbers.
While the videos garnered the attention of tens of thousands of viewers, the results among internal employees were even more inspiring. The employee-focused videos boosted internal morale and improved culture, making everyone more excited to be a part of AppLovin.
So after filming all of these office videos, what did we do next to continue the AppLovin story? We had the foresight to film small clips in each city of the employees holding something that represented them while we were there. With these extra clips in hand, we were able to make short videos optimized for social media to share the face of AppLovin in a fresh way. And with the content we have filmed from around the world, we are prepared to easily produce all kinds of short videos whenever pushes in recruitment are needed.
One Net provides creative and fun ideas backed with a strong process and follow-through. Because One Net offers many marketing services, the concept was strong enough to work as a full campaign. Their team is fun and easy to work with, but still has deadline-driven leadership who provide a unique edge and keep projects moving. We continue to work with One Net and I refer them to friends and my network regularly.—Katie Jansen, CMO at AppLovin
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