According to Jennifer Lashua — who leads Intel’s Employer Brand team — employer branding has only been a defined discipline at the company for about three years. She and her team had their work cut out for them to develop marketing efforts around their employer brand to show the inside of Intel today and to expose a more modern view into what it’s really like to work there to their talent audiences.
Their top priority was challenging the preconceived notions of Intel as an employer.
“I think that there had always been this mystery around what we actually do,” said Jennifer. “Through our research we saw that, when people think of Intel, they thought about either people wearing ‘bunny suits,’ or they had this dated perception that Intel was a homogeneous space where employees were predominantly male, white, and working in cubicles. But, it’s really not that way at all.”
Jennifer and her team started developing new initiatives to show a different side of Intel and spotlight employee experiences from across the company.
Over the past year, they’ve focused their work around testimonials that would show the vibrant, diverse culture of Intel and enable employees to let their voices be heard on their social channels.
“We profile different employees’ jobs as well as the more personal things they do — whether it’s community service or what they did on sabbatical, all the way to more personal stories about employees’ experiences with disabilities or other unique challenges they have,” she explained.
For that initiative, they first had to align their marketing strategies to places in the business where they had the greatest need to hire or the greatest challenges in hiring.
In some cases, that meant looking at countries and job types where they needed to make their audience aware of Intel and the kind of company they were. In other cases, it was less about the hiring volume and more about how difficult it is to attract talent (or the specific talent they needed) in that space.
“An underlying theme for us is ensuring that we’re reaching a representative audience in our attraction efforts,” said Jennifer. “We do very careful planning to ensure a diverse set of audiences is aware that Intel is a great place to work — not just the audiences who might most naturally gravitate towards Intel.”
The team also worked to figure out how to approach those audiences based on what they knew about Intel, what they thought about them, and what they were looking for.
“We developed talent personas and did quantitative and qualitative research to dive into our key target audiences,” said Jennifer. “Then, we further defined those target audiences so we’re able to market to them better and understand their perception of Intel and what they’re looking for in their next role.”
Through that research, they found that for some people, career mobility was a very important attribute. Whereas other segments valued the opportunity to connect with community or cause-related activities they really care about and dedicate a part of their work towards those causes.
“We really dug into who those talent audiences were and what was meaningful to them,” explained Jennifer. “Then we tried to design our messaging and creative in a way that matched their interests.”
Then, they started directly applying those findings in this past year’s testimonial program to best tell their audiences the story of Intel.
After honing in on the priority hiring areas, job types, and attraction challenges, Jennifer and her team looked for employees who had those jobs and met their criteria.
“We wanted to have a diverse range of ages, ethnic backgrounds, and other attributes — both visible and not visible — in the talent we selected,” said Jennifer. Through manager recommendations, colleague recommendations, and volunteer efforts, they reached out to those employees.
Once they found the right employees, they set up photo and video shoots to put the testimonials together.
“We did some shooting in an office or lab setting, but we also tried to ensure that there was also a personal component to it,” said Jennifer. “We showed the city they lived in and involved their families when it made sense.”
According the Jennifer, one challenge throughout the filming process was locking down time with their busy employees.
“The videos shoots took anywhere from a few hours to a whole day. Sometimes, an employee we’d planned to feature would have an urgent project come up and despite best intentions, they just couldn’t make time available for an employer brand video,” she explained. “We just learned to be flexible and to work around these constraints. Often the employees we were featuring were working on key projects, so we couldn’t just pull them away from meeting a critical milestone.”
She said they were also challenged in thinking about language for the video testimonial pieces — for authenticity of storytelling and best resonance with the local audiences, it was important to film in their local language.
“This created production challenges for our primarily English-speaking marketing team and agency partners,” said Jennifer. “But, through collaboration with local teams and some good on-the-ground translators, we were able to navigate language and translation challenges. It did take a bit longer and required more planning and resources, but this was a really critical piece in the authenticity of storytelling.”
Jennifer reported a strong response to the project so far.
She said that in addition to the external employer brand efforts, they have used a lot of this work internally for employee communications, and the videos have been beneficial for connecting employees from across different areas of the company.
“As a company with 100,000+ employees, there are a lot of people doing jobs that you are not aware of,” explained Jennifer. “And it’s great to be able to learn who’s doing what around the company and get better acquainted with some of your colleagues, whether they’re people who might sit down the row from you or people who sit around the world.”
Externally, Jennifer and her team are using the testimonials as multi-functional building blocks for their content strategy.
The testimonial project resulted in marketing building blocks, including photography, quotes, and videos which are being used in a multitude of ways to tell the Intel story to future talent.
“Now, with this stockpile of creative assets, we can create marketing pieces that are custom-built for the audience and purpose. We’ll stick videos into blog posts, put the photos in an Instagram carousel with a quote in the accompanying copy block, or use a video with a snippet of the employee’s commentary on LinkedIn. Videos are even being cut down into clips used in internal or external emails,” explained Jennifer. “It’s less about measuring the success of a single video, because we’re really using them as part of our repertoire of content to help us explain who Intel is.”
Jennifer emphasized that developing this project telling the story of their evolving employer brand successfully has been a real team effort.
The project relied heavily on collaboration between her team for the creative ideation of the project and their internal creative team, agency partners, talent acquisition, and diversity and inclusion teams, as well as legal and privacy teams — not to mention the critical local partners across Intel’s different regions.
“I am really proud of my team and the collaborative approach they took on this project,” said Jennifer. “It required a lot of cross-border, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and there were certainly hiccups. We had never done this type of employer brand marketing before, so there were plenty of questions from local teams on the approach, the ROI, and the creative methods we were employing. Not only did my team demonstrate terrific marketing acumen and campaign planning, they were also excellent partners, negotiators, and coaches as well.”
Moving forward, Jennifer and her team will continue to look for ways to re-define and evaluate their employer brand to best connect with their audiences.
“Though employer branding at Intel is still a relatively new field, we must constantly adapt our approach to stay current and relevant with our audience,” said Jennifer. “The culture here is vibrant, exciting, challenging, and rewarding. And our challenge as an employer brand team is to tell that story — the story of today’s Intel — and the opportunities here for talent.”
To do that, Jennifer emphasized that she and her team needs to focus on bold and different ways to tell that story — and that they will always be evolving. “The ways we’ve done employer brand marketing in 2018 may not work in 2019,” she said.
For anyone looking to start a similar initiative, Jennifer offered the same advice she often gives to her team: question everything.
She emphasized that just because they did something in the past, doesn’t mean they should do it in the future.
“The infamous ‘What got us here won’t get us there’ holds true. We live in a world of scarce resources, fierce competition, and ever-changing landscapes,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer summarized, “We must question every assumption and every tactic before investing marketing dollars into it. If you’re wondering why we do something this way, ask. If you have a gut feeling that we should do something differently, please say so. If you have a ‘crazy idea’ of something new we should try, let’s explore it. I try to hire people who are smarter than me. I don’t have all the answers, or even know all the questions. But that’s part of what makes for a strong, successful team.”