Jessica McCadden from Capital One shared how they’ve built out a compelling and authentic employer brand through their video strategy

We always want to think about how a story can help develop our relationships with potential candidates, sometimes before they’re even looking for a job. Jessica McCaddene
When Jessica McCadden, Video Content Strategist at Capital One, joined the talent marketing team this past October, her number one goal was scaling their video production capabilities and finding new, creative ways to make authentic content that connects with their audience.

And, as someone coming into the corporate world from a creative background, Jessica wanted to build on talent marketing’s overall video strategy by focusing on finding new ways to create engaging content that tells the stories of real employees, and building a user-generated content library.

According to Jessica, showing human interaction was something they really wanted to get across in their videos.

She said she’d noticed a lot of talent marketing videos, across industries, often featured just one person talking to camera.

“What you’re missing there is the natural human interaction that happens every day in the workplace,” said Jessica. “I wanted to bring that feeling of connection into the videos, giving potential candidates a better sense of what it’s actually like to work at Capital One.”

We want to talk about how our benefits have real life impacts. Jessica McCaddene
And in that process, she also wanted to emphasize Capital One’s commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture in their videos. “For me, that doesn’t just mean featuring a black associate during Black History Month, or a woman’s story during Women’s History Month,” she explained. “We should be creating and viewing all of our content through the lens of being inclusive and celebrating diversity.”

To meet this new focus, Jessica and her team recently launched a video series called “Creating Connections.

This series takes Capital One associates who’ve never met, introduces them, and has them interview each other. “In that process they’re finding similarities, differences, and learning about each other,” explained Jessica. “We see it happening naturally all the time on our teams, so we wanted to find a way to share those moments via video.”

To launch this series, Jessica and her team relied on recruiters and HR contacts, as well as the leads of their business resource groups, to help them identify associates. Then, once the series got going, they expanded their reach through word of mouth and will start to use Slack as a way to engage even more associates in future marketing efforts.
Then, to execute on these videos and others, Jessica worked with internal teams who have a video background, as well as several digital agencies and production companies.

Through this series and other videos her team is developing, Jessica’s goal is to tell the story of what it’s like to work at Capital One with transparency and authenticity.

“We want to talk about how our benefits have real life impacts,” she explained. “By communicating what the culture of the company is like, from the cool amenities on our campuses, to deeper stories of associates’ experiences with mentorship and career mobility, our goal is to bring the full Capital One experience to life.”

She said through this focus, they’re trying to create content that is memorable, real, and connects with the audience.

But before they move forward with a story, they look at their high level goals and how that story can help build relationships with prospective candidates.

“We always want to think about how a story can help develop our relationships with potential candidates, sometimes before they’re even looking for a job,” she explained. “We also look at the business goals we’re driving toward.”

Through data and insights, we've learned the content our associates make themselves can be the most authentic, trusted, and relevant type of video. Jessica McCaddene
Once they have those two things, she works together with one of the integrated marketers on their team and their Social Media Strategist Madigan Cochran for next steps.

They put together a detailed brief with the business objectives, KPIs, channels, and other tactical details — as well as the creative direction. “We’re trying to tell a story with all of our work, and that story is different for every line of business,” said Jessica. “If we are creating videos to help recruit experienced tech candidates versus business analysts, the messaging is significantly different.”

Once they are aligned on the creative direction and have the video team on board, they schedule pre-interviews with the production team and associates to start thinking of how they can best tell the story.

According to Jessica, it’s important to let each associate’s actual story drive the creative.

“We want to make sure we’re not trying to shoehorn our associates into a story we’ve already developed,” said Jessica. “With a lot of our videos, we’re trying to demystify the inner workings of the company and be transparent about what it’s like to work here. We want that to be driven by what our audience wants to know and the real stories our associates have to tell.”

Once they have the stories, they start scheduling and finding locations for the shoots — which are usually their own offices.

When the videos are finished, they’re published on Capital One’s YouTube channel, embedded on their career site, and cut down to 15 and 30 second teasers that run on their social media channels.

To continue growing their authentic video content, Jessica and the talent marketing team are planning to launch a user-generated content platform in the coming months.

“Through data and insights, we’ve learned the content our associates make themselves can be the most authentic, trusted, and relevant type of video,” she said.

We're trying to tell a story with all of our work, and that story is different for every line of business. Jessica McCaddene
Through this new platform, Altru, they’ll be able to easily populate their social channels and website with user-generated content — as well as share and link to them. According to Jessica, it will also make the turnaround time for content creation and approval much faster.

“We’ll be able to log into a dashboard and, in real-time, see how videos are performing and not have to wait 12 to 16 weeks to see how people are responding to our content,” she said. “Our hypothesis is that we expect to see higher engagement with our user-generated content than we get with our professional content.”

But, Jessica emphasized that doesn’t mean they’re letting go of the polished, professional videos they’ve been working on.

“It’s important for us to determine the right time and place for those higher concept videos that take us several months to create versus something quick that could be equally impactful,” she explained.

She said the professional videos are created with specific, strategic use cases in mind that offer long-term benefits as part of their messaging, whereas user-generated content is better suited for short-term, social-oriented content. Her goal will be to make sure the two kinds of content complement each other as part of an overarching video strategy.

Jessica says her background as a television writer, producer, and storyteller has helped keep her focus on human connection at Capital One.

“It’s important to be aware of what we want people to walk away feeling after they interact with us, not just what we want to tell them,” she said. “I think that’s maybe where creative people can look at things a little differently.”

You need to think, 'How am I going to connect with the audience so they care about what we're telling them and see the value in our content?' Jessica McCaddene
She said that with videos, knowing what they’re trying to evoke and whether they can do it through humor, or common experience, or something more emotional, is key.

“You need to think ‘How am I going to connect with the audience so they care about what we’re telling them and see the value in our content?'” she explained. “I think that people connect with other people before they’ll connect with a brand, so we need to keep that mindset at the forefront.”

For anyone looking to build out or develop successful video content for their brand, Jessica emphasized making sure you stand out.

“Differentiate yourself from the competition, and make sure that your creative work isn’t a one-way conversation,” she said. “One way to do that is making sure you look to the audience to guide your content creation.”

According to Jessica, that could be through research on social channels and other places, like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, where people are talking about your company — then addressing what they’re saying through your content in a creative, engaging, and easy-to-consume way.

“And video is a great medium for that work. It’s mobile-friendly, and you can take a complex idea and make it funny and interesting or interactive through video,” she explained. “But being in tune with what your audience is talking about and what they want to know — along with your company’s strategy, brand, and business goals — is so important. That’s the sweet spot where the best content comes from.”

Jessica McCadden has been a member of the Talent Marketing Board since 2018. You can follow her on LinkedIn.