Employer Branding Strategist Kate Klingman recently headed up a video project featuring BASF employees to help bring their employee value proposition to life.
In late 2017, Kate and her team got together to discuss creating videos to help humanize the BASF brand.
Her boss had a passion behind the video project and gave the green light to move forward for 2018 production.
As a BtoB chemical company, Kate’s team faced the challenge of being a mostly unknown employer without a solidified persona. “Our goal was to bring a warm, humanistic, emotive sense of who we are as an employer of choice,” she said.
They first met with their video agency to begin working on a brand video.
Kate and her team had a rough idea of what they wanted the overarching brand video to look like, but she felt strongly about creating separate videos to go alongside it. “We have four pillars of our employee value proposition, so we should also craft four videos to complement that brand video,” Kate explained.
Each of those four individual videos would represent one of their pillars: caring, engaging, learning, and connecting.
From there, they partnered with internal teams to start building a list of employees to feature in the videos.
Kate’s team asked the diversity and inclusion team and leadership for recommendations of employees who might have compelling stories to tell. “From there, we introduced ourselves and explained the importance of this project that we are working on,” she said.
They asked the employees if they’d be comfortable speaking with the video agency. The agency held about 20 interviews to get to know the employees and find the stories with the most meat behind them that could be crafted into a script and video. Then, the agency vetted their stories.
Once Kate’s team and their video agency made their final selection, they moved forward with the filming process.
They made sure the chosen employees were comfortable on camera and knew the videos would be shared across their external platforms.
“They did need to also get approval from their manager because some of these video shoots took two or three days.” Kate said. “It was very labor and time intensive.”
Fortunately, they didn’t run into any issues with scheduling. “I think all of the managers felt really good that one of their employees was being featured and the reasoning as to why they were being featured.”
The employees’ stories each correlated with a different pillar and showed the ways BASF has impacted their lives.
The first video was created to convey the “caring” pillar. “Raise the Flag is all about our LGBTQ community within BASF and how we’re an inclusive employer of choice,” Kate said.
The video features BASF’s LGBTQ employee resource group ALLchemie and three employees who identify within that community. “They talk about what it means to them to be able to come out in their workplace and be their full selves at work every day,” she explained.
Core of Me — which correlates with the “engaging” pillar — spotlights a mother whose daughter was struggling with debilitating panic attacks, and how an employee group, called Parents at BASF, allowed her to find resources to help her daughter. “It’s really struck an emotive chord with many people because mental health is such a relevant, important topic that often does not get talked about so openly — especially at work,” Kate said.
Change My Stars, in alignment with the “learning” pillar, features a veteran who was able to pursue his degree with the help of BASF. “He grew up in Detroit and had a tough start,” Kate explained. He joined the military at a young age and after transitioning out, found an opportunity at BASF — and has since moved up within the company and earned a college degree.
Lastly, in correlation with the “connecting” element of their EVP, My Full Circle features a woman in BASF’s concrete division. She talks about how her father had worked in the industry, and the role her job played in meeting her husband. “BASF has been a family element in her life,” Kate said.
The videos live on YouTube, but were also posted across BASF’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
They were launched the first week of February — one video a week for the entire month. And the team plans to recirculate them through their social channels again, starting on Memorial Day.
“That week we’ll feature the veteran’s story,” Kate explained. “Then, the next week will be in June, which is Pride Month. So, we’ll kick off Pride Month with the ‘Raise the Flag’ video, and then we’ll do ‘Core of Me,’ and round it out again with ‘My Full Circle.’”
According to Kate, the project has not only attracted talent to BASF’s workforce — it’s also given an overarching sense of pride for employees across the organization.
She said the videos were able to make such an impact because of the employees who participated. “They were willing to be vulnerable,” Kate said. “Everyone has a story, and if we as organizations took the time to hear and understand, we would be floored about employees’ day-to-day struggles, issues, and successes.”
“It’s really pulled back the curtain with some of their struggles and how they’ve overcome them in such a positive manner,” she said.
The team is pausing production for the time being as they continue to launch the videos, but Kate has plans to grow the project in the coming year.
“We’re hoping to dive back in,” she said. “I’d love to continue to learn more about our employees.”
And now that they have a solidified launching group of employees who’ve participated already, the team is more likely to find more people to share their stories for future videos, Kate explained.
“I would also like to see us continue to stay in the veins of the four pillars and bring a humanistic feel to this BtoB chemical company,” she said.
For others in the process of kicking off a similar project, Kate emphasized the importance of patience and authenticity.
“Make sure you’re finding the right story,” she said. “If it doesn’t feel like it’s going to resonate, or it won’t be authentic, it’s okay to back away and find another option.”
She added when working with an agency, they may want to add more drama or theatrics to the finished product, but it’s important to stick to your gut. “You know your company best,” Kate said. “Always stay true to the organization.”
Kate Klingman has been a member of the Talent Marketing Board since 2017. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.