Two dozen underclassmen enter a conference room, eager to begin a two-day Career Camp put on by well-known corporation. Two dozen expectant faces fall to confusion, then a mild panic, as they survey the scene.
Instead of an inspiring introduction and low-stakes icebreakers (“My name’s Matt and I like mayonnaise!”) they’re presented with a messy room, a clock counting down from 30 minutes, and a shockingly vague objective scribbled on the board...
Figure it out!
Gradually these bright minds begin to piece together clues placed throughout the room and, within minutes, they are leading the first workshop themselves.
Two dozen underclassmen that arrived expecting lectures about leadership and collaboration are now living it in real time.
Engineering an experience
This experience, wacky as it was, was not designed as a stunt or out of a sadistic desire to make college kids sweat. It was engineered to solve a business need (a prime example of what we call Artful Problem Solving).
Our client, the host of said career camp, was an employer of choice for decades. But their relevance with younger audiences was dwindling, along with their pipeline for top talent. After extensive research and analysis, we determined that what made this company attractive to candidates—and untouchable to competitors—was the enormity of what they did, combined with the very human way they grew leaders to do it. A sentiment summed up with the phrase...
“We build big things. Your career could be one of them.”
Cue the manifestos, the messaging matrixes, and recruiter talking points. Cue the new imagery, anthem video, and trade show booth design.
But words and pictures alone were not what netted our client an eight-fold increase in applicants.
Words and pictures were not what compelled a candidate to refer to the career camp as “the single most fascinating experience of my life.”
What sets brands apart?
The crucial and oft-overlooked X-factor is an experience strategy.
An experience strategy is a plan for fulfilling the promise of your brand through the customer, employee or, in this case, candidate experience. For this particular employer brand, we developed a set of experience principles that would give candidates a taste of the dynamic career we were promising through all those words and pictures.
One such principle was “A Step Into Uncertainty,” born from the insight that thriving in ambiguity was a hallmark of both the company culture and their desired candidate. With this as one of the guiding principles, that wacky career camp starts to make a lot more sense, doesn’t it?
And there you have it, a single strategic thread that connects the business problem to the brand strategy to the experience.
Finding your X-factor
The greatest tool at your disposal to promote and grow your brand is the experience you deliver. Instead of asking how you can make your CX (or EX or whatever X) better, ask how it can better fulfill the promise of your brand.
A smart brand experience strategy elevates the picture of success from generic, table-stakes improvements to signature experiences that breed enthusiasm, loyalty and distinguish you from the competition.
If any of this hit a nerve and you’d like a little guidance on the next steps, we’re here to help.
Or you could just “figure it out.”