Jared Nypen, Vice President of Talent, leads the recruitment marketing department in developing and managing the employer brand and recruiting strategy resources for Great Clips® franchisees.
Last year, Jared and his team decided to create a new employer brand advertising plan from scratch. Utilizing graphics, taglines, and a comprehensive SEO strategy, they worked to identify and target the most effective places to promote jobs online.
“But what we didn't really have in place was an engagement strategy,” says Jared. “We needed to think about how we could get stylists to really look at the Great Clips® brand and feel like they could be a part of it.”
So they started work on a project that would become an extensive, successful, and personal video series.
Jared and his team set out to create engaging content that would resonate with stylists and help them see themselves working at a locally owned Great Clips® salon.
“The first thing we did was an extensive photo shoot that would become the basis of our assets. And we did that with stylists who actually worked in local Great Clips® salons — it was important to us that we didn't use actors or models,” explains Jared. “But static pictures don't tell the story.”
So Jared and his team partnered with a creative shop to help them create the video campaign. Together, they settled on a testimonial-style video concept.
“We captured stylists, put them in a chair in their local salon, and just asked them questions,” explains Jared. “It became a game changer for us because it allowed us to really get stylists to connect with the Great Clips® brand through seeing individuals who are just like them.”
To find their subjects, Jared and his team reached out to Great Clips® franchisees in particular markets and asked if they knew anyone with a story to tell.
As people started surfacing, they would connect with them on Facebook and look at their content. “We wanted people who would be good on camera,” says Jared. “Then, our creative company would actually do an interview with them and we would move forward from there.”
Jared's priority was to make sure the videos were as genuine as possible by showcasing each stylist's unique story.
“Something that I was really passionate about was filming them outside of the salon and learning about their personal lives,” explains Jared. “So we didn't just have them talk about what it's like to be a stylist at a Great Clips® salon. We had them talk about their life and how being a Great Clips® stylist fits into that.”
For Jared and his team, a lot of the success from these videos came from championing authenticity.
“We've got single parents and people who are in school and people who have moved across the country for their kids,” says Jared. “The idea was to be able to have an emotional connection, because we think that emotional connection is so important. There are a couple that I can't watch without crying because the story is so compelling.”
“And the individuals we shot love the Great Clips® brand and their franchisees. They're so dedicated to the brand and what they do — and it's pretty clear when they talk about it. You can really tell how tied they are to it.”
Jared shares, “When we talked to them and told them we wanted to feature them and share their story, the response we got was just overwhelming. Franchisees — the owners of all the Great Clips salons in the U.S. and Canada — also really loved the idea that their best and brightest stylists would be honored in this way.”
He goes on to explain that because the videos garner about 70,000 – 80,000 views each, the stylists get a real sense of pride from being recognized in their industry on that scale.
When the videos were complete, Jared's team put them up on the career site and started incorporating them into their social media strategy.
His team created a YouTube channel where the videos could live at their full length and promoted clips of them across their other channels. And in creating this channel, Jared found the platform was a perfect fit for the audience they were trying to reach. “Hair stylists actually use YouTube quite a bit to look up specific hairstyles, techniques, and trends,” explains Jared.
To promote the videos on YouTube, Jared and his team developed 15-second and six-second spots to play on other videos on the platform. Each spot had a call to action that Jared strategized to urge viewers to “Go Finish the Story” rather than provide a link to an application page. “So we've got thousands and thousands of views of these online, and they are by far the highest engagement on our social pages of any type of content that we have out there,” Jared reports.
Measuring the videos' effect on recruitment is difficult, but Jared is sure they're making an impact.
With so many sources of influence, tracking which has the highest impact on each stylist submission of interest is nearly impossible. But, as Jared mentions, it's clear that the videos are helping increase the flow of stylists who want to connect with Great Clips® franchisees about employment opportunities.
“One of the things I noticed was, in 2017, we started the year pretty strong with submissions of interest and started to dip down towards the middle of the year. And then as we incorporated these videos, we started to see an uptick,” he says.
All told, 2017 ended with just as many submissions as had occurred the year before, even with the mid-year dip. Jared says, “A lot of the stuff we were doing towards the end of the year, including releasing videos, helped turn our year around.”
Jared is hopeful about what this new medium can offer the Great Clips® brand in the future.
“The good thing about these stories is that they can live on,” says Jared. “We'll create new videos out of them, and we'll even just replay the ones we've had because the first one was well over a year ago, so that video can be resurrected and put out there again.”
Now with 13 videos completed, Jared and his team plan to end the series and see how they can continue to adapt their video strategy as they continue to market the Great Clips® brand and its nearly 4,400 locally owned salons to stylist candidates.
When it comes to video testimonials in general, Jared advises, “Be as real as possible, as authentic as possible, and don't be afraid to make emotional connections.”
“While our videos are produced, I think we're very unique in that we're telling personal stories and not just the work part of that. We're talking about how it applies to their entire life. And so that would definitely be my number one advice,” he says.
His second piece of advice is to not overthink the cost or allow apprehension about production deter you from developing a video testimonial campaign. “Don't overthink it. It doesn't have to be high production, there's nothing wrong with being real. Don't be overwhelmed by production. Make it simple.”