Due to their meteoric success over the last two decades, Dyson are experiencing an increased demand for talent, aiming to double their headcount by 2020. A significant portion of this involves attracting people early in their careers across all departments in their 14 offices – everything from engineers to designers, software developers to human resources.
A rigorous analysis of Dyson’s current talent, their future talent, and the competitive world highlighted a significant perception gap that needed to be bridged if they were to hit their goals. Dyson are competing for the same talent as the tech elite (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Airbnb, etc) but they are currently perceived as ‘a vacuum company’. This means when they’re thinking about where to work Dyson aren’t even on the consideration list.
Our job was to find a way to reach that elite pool of talent across all departments around the world, reframe Dyson to sit alongside the tech elite, and increase the pool of people interested in working at Dyson.
Our biggest challenge when approaching this brief was the wide diversity of skills, experience, job titles and locations we were trying to appeal to. Dyson has key 6 attitudinal archetypes they look for in employees (ingenious, explorer, architect, attuned, fighter and shrewd), but uniting those into something single minded was challenging, and finding the people who exuded them even moreso. Given the global nature of the brief and the lack of departmental focus, we needed to find a commonality between a huge spectrum of people in order to have a single minded creative idea.
After running interviews with the relevant audience we discovered that even though they had completely different CVs and portfolios, there was one powerful hook that united every person Dyson were looking to recruit – their competitive edge. To become the best in any field you have to be motivated by an internal drive that sets you apart from the competition. You need to be filled with the confidence to see a problem that 100 people have failed at and feel you will be the 1 who can solve it. This was true across all departments, all locations, and is also built into the Dyson spirit – Dyson are a company built on their ability to step into a category that hundreds have failed at and still manage to reinvent it. This competitive edge was true for the audience, true for the brand, and acted as our key insight for the campaign.
Dyson’s recruitment strategy up until this point had been focused on going where candidates already were – recruitment fairs, University days, and advertising on recruitment websites. We wanted to flip this on it’s head, and do something that would pull our audience towards us by creating a campaign that tapped into their strong competitive spirit. Our strategy was to challenge the brightest and best to prove that they were up to working at one of the world’s leading tech companies.
Rethinkers – a cryptic online challenge that pushes candidates to their limits to determine whether they are up to the task of working at Dyson.
The challenge had 4 key stages – the key, the maze, the journey and the lab.
We kicked off with the key, a cryptic video that allowed for maximum distribution. The voiceover told the audience that Dyson had created a recruitment challenge in order to find Rethinkers, and that the winner would be allowed unprecedented access into Dyson’s secret R&D lab, as well as a private 1 on 1 with Dyson’s CEO. However, instead of building a call to action or driving people to a new destination we decided to build the first clue into the video, prompting viewers to spot hidden clues throughout and build an origami cube from them. Once this was built they were taken to the Dyson LinkedIn page where the next clue awaited them.
The next 3 stages weaved them through different Dyson channels – YouTube, LinkedIn and the careers website – and immersed them in the world of Dyson’s recruitment. Each stage got progressively harder and tested different aspects of what was required to be a Dyson employee.
As time went by we got more and more momentum and a loyal following built up. After 2 weeks they got funnelled down to a race in the final stage – a complex challenge that would result in only one winner. The whistle blew and after just 26 hours we had our winner.
We launched the campaign through reddit, offering them exclusive access 2 days before mainstream press, and also creating a subreddit specifically for the campaign. We successfully managed to create a community in one of the most challenging online communities, and the response was overwhelming.
Our awareness goal was to hit 1.92M media impressions, which was smashed. Social media analysis of organic Twitter usage resulted in 8.82M potential impressions, which based on industry standard estimations (10% audience viewership of tweets) gives us 882k estimated impressions. Through PR we estimate 16M reach, based on daily unique users of the major publications. On YouTube we also received 73k views, all unpaid. In total we estimate we received 16.94M media impressions, representing an over delivery of 782%. Sentiment analysis also revealed that it was overwhelmingly positively received, with 75.3% of social mentions being positive, and less than 15% being negative. Beyond the great results, a personal highlight for me was when a schoolteacher in the USA used the challenge to teach their class, which she said they loved.