The competitive nature of talent acquisition means that what worked for you yesterday, might not work today. In the case of talent acquisition, the medium is indeed the message. Your employer brand says a lot about who you are as a company, and when new recruits turn into employees, they become brand ambassadors. Representing yourself well in the employee marketplace with a strong recruiting video makes all the difference.
In this webinar with Tribe Pictures CEO/Creative Director, Vern Oakley, we’ll look at new technology and tactics that will drive recruiting efforts in the near future, and how companies are using them now. In an effort to continually reinvent the means and methods of attracting the very best employees, hear Vern’s take on how best to utilize new video technology to fit into the communications and corporate video strategy that you already have.
Scott McDowell: Okay. All right, everyone. I think we’re all here. Hello. My name is Scott McDowell. I’m very excited to be here with you today. I’m the director of marketing here at Tribe Pictures. I will be moderating today’s webinar and also monitoring your questions in the question pane. Feel free to ask away as the webinar’s ongoing. Someone made a comment already saying, “Hello,” so thank you Sebastian.
Feel free to ask away any time during the webinar in the questions panel. We’ll be attempting to keep this whole thing about 30-45 minutes, including Q&A. I would like to say that your host for today’s webinar is Vern Oakley, who is the founder and creative director of Tribe Pictures. He’s been doing this for 30 years and has produced and directed strategic film and video for global 1000 and top colleges and Universities with the aim of building high performance culture for all of those 30 years believe it or not, which coincidentally or not we’re talking today about recruiting and talent acquisition, the name of the webinar is Rethink Recruiting: New Video Technology and Tactics for Attracting Top Talent.
Few little housekeeping things before we get started here. Like I said, going to try to run through this pretty quickly with a Q&A. Q&A is important though, so please ask questions. Few pieces of business. Vern published a book recently called ‘Leadership in Focus: Bringing Out Your Best on Camera’, which I will link to in a follow up email to today’s webinar. It’s available on Amazon and wherever your favorite books are sold. There’s also a page on our website dedicated specifically to the information in this webinar with all the supporting materials and resources. TribePictures.com/recruiting.
That’s TribePictures.com/recruiting. You can find all of the video examples and a bunch of other stuff up there after the webinar. It’s our hope to kind of weave in the story telling techniques that are associated with these new technologies and that will be something that we’ll be discussing as we go through the webinar. Vern, if you could just back up to the last … No, this is correct. Sorry.
In today’s webinar, we’ll be exploring the uses and potential of personalized video, VR 360, and interactive video specifically for talent acquisition, and Vern, if you would like to take it away.
Vern Oakley: Sure. One of the things that I think is so exciting about the personalized video, the VR interactive is it’s creating a new way of telling stories using some incredibly exciting technology and that it really has the opportunity to connect with the potential recruits and the right kind of people you want to bring into your company. We’re going to delve into that a bit more. You know, this is an ongoing series using video to drive high performance culture. Last time we sort of covered all these different aspects in terms of brand vision, fundraising, value social responsibility, leadership communication, sales and marketing, but we’re going to focus on recruiting and retention today.
One of the things that we talked about, which is important to this, is that in all your video communication, you really want to weave in the company’s purpose, its why, so that people understand what your company stands for, what your brand means, and they can experience what the company would be like if they were to work there and that the constant repetition of that and all the different kinds of messages really helps to create a very strong and vibrant culture.
I first came across this concept when I was doing some work for AT&T almost 30 years ago. This concept’s been around for awhile. We were doing a video that was explaining the why of AT&T at that moment in time, and we chose to do a story about NASA, which had really gotten to everyone’s mind when they put a man on the moon. We set up this situation where there was a journalist going through the halls of NASA, and they came across someone who was actually just painting a wall.
The journalist asked this painter, “What are you doing there?” You figured he would be saying, “I’m painting this wall,” but instead, he said, “I’m helping to put aman on the moon.” That’s the why. That’s the big picture where people start to understand that they’re doing something much more than manufacturing a widget, making an app, making a website, making a video. There’s a much bigger why.
We’re going to focus on recruiting and retention today. Scott?
Scott McDowell: Yeah, so the first question we’re going to sort of ask ourselves here, or you should ask yourself if you’re in this webinar is why should I consider using cutting edge video technology as part of my recruiting strategy? Why does this matter? I want to start by sort of discussing the foundational aspects of why video is a good medium. We’ll start there. One of the things about video is it combines the audio-visual with storytelling. We as humans are visual creatures.
In fact, two thirds of the human brain’s processing power deals with the visual aspect of things. Combining that with story telling, which is innate to us as human beings, it’s how we’ve communicated as a species for thousands of years. It’s kind of this unbeatable combination that makes video addictive, which you can see in the way technology is being used and abused in some ways online. We have phrases now in the lexicon like binge watching, which sort of speaks to this a little bit.
Video really is this kind of show don’t tell medium. It works really well with talent acquisition and recruiting, because people can get a sense of what your company is all about. If you combine these two things, the visual and the great story about your company, people can kind of see themselves inside it, or not, or know that you’re not correct for them. Video can take you place where you otherwise cannot be. When it’s authentic and believable, it sort of creates this feeling that you have the inside scoop.
You have the inside track. Someone is telling you the secrets of what it’s like to be inside a company. Then, the other thing just about video that’s sort of obvious is that it’s the way that people are wanting to be communicated to today. You know, the statistics around video are completely, totally overwhelming. People watch something like a billion youtube videos every single day, so this is the way that people are wanting to be communicated to. Now, when we think about video plus technology, what does that mean?
Maybe you’ve heard this phrase, “The medium is the message”, from Marshall McLuhan. Marshall McLuhan, if you don’t know, was a meteor theorist sort of at the dawn of television, and he was known for a lot of things aside from this phrase, “The medium is the message.” He was known for coining the term global village and also predicting the world wide web 30 years before it was even a thing. The medium is the message, what does this actually mean? It means that medium embeds itself in any message creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how that message is perceived.
What this means, Vern, is that when you’re using these tools such as personalized video or interactive video, people are making judgements around who you are based just on the medium combined with the message in the video.
Vern Oakley: The way I like to think of it, Scott, is when you do a virtual reality video and you’re presenting that to potential recruits, they’re going to have a perception of you that’s going to be different than if you’re doing just a regular video or if you’re using interactive. That’s a different perception, or if you’re using something that’s personalized. It will tend to make the recruits feel like you’re doing something that’s innovative, something that’s ahead of the curve.
They might feel that they want to be involved with your company because they think that you’re great at story telling or they think they won’t be involved in your company because you really made something really cheesy. The medium is the message, you know? I like to think about it as though we all make snap judgements about the films that we see and about what the films represent. I was seeing Dunkirk last week with my wife, and the first three minutes of the show were trailers. We have a system now.
We go thumbs up, hey, we would see that movie. Thumbs down, hey, we wouldn’t see that movie. Sideways, we’ll wait until television. That’s the way that most people approach video when it represents something. I want to be part of that story. I don’t want to be part of that story. I might apply for a job at that company. Boy, you know? If this is the kind of media they’re putting out, I don’t want to have anything to do with this company. People make instantaneous judgments. I think we can tell that in our own personal reaction to these kinds of things.
Scott McDowell: Yeah, so if indeed the medium is the message, with new video technology there is a huge opportunity to make a bold first impression. Okay, so the last webinar that we did was all about culture. It was about using video to create high performance cultures, which this recruiting webinar is part of the series of. When we talk about culture, what are we even talking about?
Vern, you brought up before this Woody Allen quote that I’m paraphrasing, that I would never want to be part of a club that would have me as a member. I think that might actually be a Marx Brothers originally that Woody Allen stole from the Marx Brothers. Anyway, the main relationships between culture and recruiting are associated with attraction, employee attraction. From an attraction standpoint, culture is primarily about the brand image that a company projects.
We’ve all heard the phrase employer brand, so that’s what we’re talking about here. This attracts people to your organization who will thrive in your organization or by way of culture it sort of rejects people who are not a good fit.
Vern Oakley: Well, Scott, we like to use this Peter Drucker quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and that what we’ve observed being in the trenches over 30 years with some of the largest and best brands in the world is that you can have a great strategy, but if your culture doesn’t support the strategy, it’s just not going to happen. I’m not saying that strategy isn’t important, but culture trumps strategy because it’s where people live. It’s where people behave. I can give you an example that really brought this home for me. We deal with a large consumer products, and we were talking about this culture eats strategy for breakfast.
This friend of mine shared with me that during the heydays of the tech boom back in early 2000, if you were in the HR industry, you knew how difficult it was to hire people. It was an employee’s market. They were demanding tremendous salaries. They had the pick of any place they wanted to go. There weren’t enough workers to go around. Things were moving so quickly. What they did is they chose to tell a story about themselves saying, “Hey, we’re an innovative company. We’re a fast moving company. We’re a jeans and t-shirt kind of culture,” trying to compete for the same talent that Silicon Valley was getting.
They succeeded in attracting those kinds of people. What happened, she shared with me, is those people left because they had been sold something. It was not the kind of company it was. It was a great culture. It was more of a suit and tie kind of culture. It was slow moving. It was a bit more hierarchical. It was 100+ year company. Those all have values for a certain kind of an employee that you want to attract, but they aren’t the right values for another kind of employee who’s looking for something fast moving and innovative.
That’s why culture’s such an important thing. We wanted to talk a little bit about that in relationship to using these new technologies. The other thing, Scott, that I think is really important is if you look at this gallop slide here and you start to realize that almost 50% of a typical company’s work force is not engaged. If you can get this culture piece right, you have a huge competitive advantage. When you look at this number 10% being actively disengaged, these are the people that are the black drops of ink in the clear water.
They’re really messing it up for everybody else. You want to make sure that those people are not in the company. You want to make sure they’re not even applying for jobs at your company. The cost of this disengagement is staggering. It’s estimated to be almost a half trillion dollars of loss productivity, and that’s just in the U.S. alone. Attracting the right talent with the right kind of technologies is really an amazingly cost-effective investment.
Scott McDowell: Yeah, so we know that good culture equals less turnover. There’s this great Columbia University study from a few years ago that showed the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with poor company culture is almost 50%, so that’s how crucial this kind of stuff is. This next slide … So, what does video have to do with any of this? What can video to solve this disengagement, these attraction issues? You’re representing your culture in such a way that people will be attracted to your organization. I think part of it is in this great quote that you introduced me to, Vern, from the painter Roy Lichtenstein, “Organized perception is what art is all about.”
Maybe you can kind of give us a sense of what that means.
Vern Oakley: Well, I think of this as being foundational to the kinds of technologies we’re getting into here. What you’re talking about when you commission a film or your internal resources make a video for your company is you’re not just shooting pretty pictures. You’re not just telling a story. Your story has a purpose, and that is to organization a perception about who you are. We’re dealing in an artistic medium for business purposes. That’s why I like this quote.
If you could organize people to understand that you’re slow moving, conservative, thoughtful, caring kind of company and organization that perception, that’s what the consumer products company needed. Other companies need something that’s very different and that if you as a talented storyteller and film maker can use these mediums to organization that perception, that’s where the real value you can contribute is.
Scott McDowell: Great. Now, we’re going to shift gears a little bit and get into these examples of new video technologies, what they are, and sort of how they can work for you. First off is personalized video. Personalized video is maybe an obvious phrase, maybe not, but what we do know is that personalization works. It’s nothing new. You see it in email marketing all the time. Dear Vern, you know? It’s something that we all see every single day. Personalization on its own is very successful. It’s also used in direct mail quite a bit. 29% of emails are more likely to be opened by recipients than non-personalized email.
We know personalization works. We know video works. Video in email, for example, increases click through rates by over 96% in some cases. Personalization works, video works, but personalized video works best. By combining video and personalization, it increases results exponentially. We’ve seen numbers that are sort of outrageous and off the charts. Personalized video has an average 87% increased click through rate versus traditional email. It continues to show results that are kind of crazy.
We do think, however, that as this technology is adopted and sort of becomes more ubiquitous, it’s effectiveness will sort of begin to diminish a little bit. Right now, the results for personalized video are kind of unprecedented in our current marketing and corporate landscape.
Vern Oakley: That’s what’s so exciting about personalized video is that we know that we like to hear something that’s directed directly to us. We know that we like the new. When a video comes across your, if your emailing you’re clicking on it and it says, “Hi, Olivia, class of 2017,” it’s kind of things that colleges can use. It’s the kind of things that corporations can use in recruiting, because you have … The way that personalization works is you’re trying to make a one to one video and that that video is made by having a base layer of communications, which is then supplemented by graphics, which are specific to certain data that you have about potential employees, potential college recruits.
You can speak in their language and tell them the kind of story that they want to hear and that the issue that we’re going to be dealing with is that as companies have more and more data on us, we don’t want to be creepy about how we personalize our videos to them. We’re at the beginning of using this technology, and it’s going to require new story telling skills, knowing when to use data effectively. You don’t want to say, “Hey, Vern, we know you live at 27 Main St.,” or something like that. That’s just plain creepy.
You know, letting people know that you have the kind of benefits that are helpful to them or letting them know that their location is close to the house or letting them know they have a great continued learning situation may help to actually get the right people into the door.
Scott McDowell: Yeah, exactly right. The thing is that this kind of video is not being used too often in recruiting these days. I think there’s a real opportunity for somebody to sort of separate themselves from the pack and really prove this medium is the message concept. Moving along to virtual reality 360, what is it, and why will it help me?
I think there’s some confusion around virtual reality versus 360 video. 360 degree video is a type of immersive video where every direction you look is a view that’s recorded at the same time. It’s shot using an omni-directional camera, or a collection of cameras. As a viewer, you have control of the viewing direction. This happens in different ways. You can either wear VR goggles, which you’ve seen people, I’m sure, in the Samsung commercials and elsewhere, maybe even worn them yourselves, or you can just swipe with your finger on your mobile device or by tilting your device in a gyroscopic way or by mousing around with your mouse.
360 degree video is sort of the most accessible type of virtual reality that is coming down the pike, because it already works on YouTube. It’s already been adopted by the New York Times for example. You’ve probably seen 360 video on Facebook if you’re a Facebook user. You don’t need additional technology. However, it is greatly enhanced by the use of virtual reality goggles. One of the examples we have for 360 is for a series of recruiting films for the company BASF, and Vern, if you could just talk a little bit about how the storytelling for those videos was developed. That might be interesting to hear.
Vern Oakley: Sure. Michael Chomet, who is a senior creative director at Tribe, and myself are really trying to embrace how do you tell a story in this medium? I felt lucky because I came out of a theater directing background. I sort of, for me, I sort of applied the thinking of being a director of a play that’s in the round, because you can look forward, and you see a certain amount of information. You look to the right, certain amount. To the left and behind you and above you. There’s information in all those directions. If you’re wearing the virtual reality headsets, that’s the most immersive experience.
What we tried to do in that is to have action happening in all those planes and to put little Easter eggs in our story so that if you were curious and started looking, you start to realize there was a little saying or a little graphic that was there that was welcoming you into the company. We felt that once people started to see those they would become even more curious and look more deeply. They’d want to spend more time with it.
What’s great … We talked about a foundational thing about video is it can take you places you can’t go. Virtual reality can take you places that you can’t go and really let you experience in them. We were on the top of a huge gas plant. We were by railroad cars. We were in a lab seeing these being invented. The potential recruits that were seeing this really got to experience where they’d be working and what kind of environments it would be. They got to see who their fellow coworkers were going to be. They got to get the sense of the vibe and energy of the place, and they’ve been very effective in terms of this kind for storytelling.
I think the thing that is interesting to me is that virtual reality is in its infancy. To begin with I personally have to say I was a little like, “Hey, who is going to wander around wearing headsets and watching videos?” Think about it a little differently. This is just the beginning. When movies started, they were Nickelodeons, and you were sticking a nickel in and turning the crank around and seeing pictures flip by you. That was the beginning. Now, we’re sitting in comfy movie theaters and watching IMAX.
If you look at this as just the first steps towards a new industry, it’s going to be huge. It’s already being used. It’s being used in surgery. There was an article about, in the Times, how they separated two conjoined twins using virtual reality. It’s being used for people with disabilities to give them an experience of what it’s like to hike in a mountain or swim in the ocean. These kinds of things are just beginning as to how you’re telling stories and how you can pull people in. The medium is the message. The smart companies are actually trying to tell stories in these ways that capture people that are excited, innovative, curious.
Scott McDowell: Finally, interactive video, what is it and why does it work? Interactive video is a type of digital video that supports user interaction. That’s the basic definition. These videos play like regular video files, but include clickable hotspots that perform an action when you click on them. When you think about video at its most basic level, video is a fairly passive medium. You just watch. Interactive is not passful. It’s engaging. You become part of the experience. It kind of makes you think, makes you consider your options related to the situation that you’re shown on screen. It can be kind of fun.
Statistics show that interactivity creates a much longer viewing time and leads to 20% greater conversion according to a recent study by the organization Bright Cove. The other big benefit to interactive video is that at each decision point you collect data from your users. You can see what their tendencies are, what their preferences are, what they’re thinking and kind of us that data in innovative ways. I’d like to definitely shout out our interactive partner, Raft Media, who have tons of examples of great interactive video. Most of the interactive work we’ve done here at Tribe has been with ethics and compliance and other sort of internal … For other internal uses for corporate video.
We can’t actually show them in public, but we can give you some great examples by Raft. One of the main principles of interactive video is this concept of gamification, which is really kind of a trendy word. Gamification creates enhanced user engagement, and it works because it triggers real powerful human emotions, like curiosity or intrigue or excitement or some anticipation of what’s going to come next?
These are sort of positive user experiences that lead to longer engagement like I was saying. They lead to loyalty. They lead to higher conversions. You can see an example of a recruiting video that uses interactivity and gamification from Deloit. It’s not a video that we made, but I did include the example on our website on the page for this webinar. Tribepictures.com/recruiting.
Vern Oakley: Scott, when we started doing these interactive videos, as a storyteller a couple of things that really became apparent to me is we were doing both real people situations, and we were doing scripted situations. At the end of a situation, you’re asking the viewer to engage and pick option A, B, or C. The first time we sort of did our rough play throughs, we had an answer which was really bad and an answer that was kind of bad. Then, an answer that was correct.
We had to change the way we wrote and thought about those, because you don’t want the viewer to be so easily knowing what the right answer is. Then, that forced us to go back and sort of change the script. You’re looking for subtlety. I’ve noticed this in feature films. It’s like when you’re telling stories in that way, it’s not the choice between something that’s sort of really bad and something that is great. There’s no drama there. It’s shades of gray that really make that kind of storytelling interesting. I was excited to bring back the screen writer who I had done my feature film with to help us craft all these scripts.
It was fun to be really getting good dialog, good situations, and setting them up. You have to sort of simplify the complex teachings and lessons there. For a potential recruits and coming into your company, I think they’re going to see a company that’s innovative that’s using this kind of technology, a company that’s thoughtful. You really want those curious people in your company. I say that’s one of the great things that we have here at Tribe in terms of our own culture is there’s a tremendous amount of curiosity.
Scott McDowell: Yeah, so here’s the big question, Vern. What’s coming next? What is the next technological advancement that we’re going to see used in video? What does that mean for our industry?
Vern Oakley: Sure. I want to say that personalization and virtual reality and interactive video are still kind of on the leading and cutting edge, so even though we can talk about what’s next, these tools are just beginning to be used, but what I see as coming next is really artificial intelligence and big data. We’ve included a link to this fortune magazine article about how AI is changing your job hunt and what new algorithms want from you. It’s a fascinating article. I just wanted to talk about this company interviewed, which is using artificial intelligence to sort through applicants.
What they say is in their process they use natural language processing and machine learning to construct a psychological profile that predicts whether a person will fit a company’s culture. That’s why culture is so important. It’s the litmus test as to whether you’re really going to work out well in that company or not. That, combined with big data, and the amount of data that people have compiled on us is just extraordinary, is going to inform how we can do personalized videos.
What kinds of people we want to recruit. It’s going to become much more targeted. The only way to target someone is if you actually know who you are, which goes back to your culture. With the combination of artificial intelligence and big data, and this is really, really happening quickly, it’s coming much quicker than people think. We’re going to be using all these tools in recruiting and in retention I believe and of course the tools to help us make better and more compelling stories that we tell in video.
Scott McDowell: Yeah, that’s right. Vern, thank you so much for your insights here. That concludes the sort of prescripted section of our webinar, but we’d love it if there are any questions about any of these technologies that we’re talking about here or about recruiting or about culture.