As a specialist in employer branding and HR communications, I’m always looking for hiring, onboarding, and training samples and ideas. Here’s one I recently came across. It’s a training video, produced by Wendy’s, instructing employees on how to prepare hot beverages. The video seems to have been produced in the late 80s or early 90s.
Here’s why I love it:
It’s actually informative.
I work just a block away from the Wendy’s on Fifth Avenue but rarely have a reason to go inside. Watching the video, however, I learned that Wendy’s sells not just coffee and decaf but also hot tea and cocoa. I honestly had no idea that I could get hot chocolate at Wendy’s. And who wouldn’t want their drink served with a “juicy slice” of lemon?
It wasn’t posted by Wendy’s.
At least, as far as I can tell. The video is posted on a personal YouTube account with no affiliation to the restaurant. The video is so entertaining (or so kitschy) that someone decided to post it for the world to see – and more than 225,000 people have viewed it. Rather than trumpeting this video to the public, Wendy’s was simply trying to educate and amuse their employees; the fact that it’s going viral without their help makes its success completely authentic.
It didn’t have to be fun.
The training video for preparing four hot drinks could have been straightforward. A smiling Wendy’s employee could have conveyed the information in two minutes, at little cost. But Wendy’s took this video to a whole new level, writing an original song, adding effects, and turning a simple one-shot setup into a production with multiple cuts and angles. I’m sure that employees watching the video would go from smiling to laughing to tapping their feet. Even if they’re laughing for the wrong reasons, they’d at least know they’re joining a company that values fun.
This video is proof that it’s possible to be cheesy, fun, and informative all at the same time.
The next time you’re about to create training materials, remember “Hot Drinks” and ask yourself: Is this as fun as it could be? Will it keep the employees’ attention? And if an employee posts it online – a real possibility in the digital age – how will our brand look?
As Jobvite’s recent survey has shown us, social recruiting is here to stay, so we at Brandemix are constantly looking for the brands that are doing it innovative ways. This year, we’ve honored Zappos and State Farm, and now it’s time to recognize another Social Media Superstar: Taco Bell. Here’s the restaurant’s employer branding statement: “At Taco Bell, we know what it’s like to blaze some trails, kick up some dirt, and take tacos to where they have never been before. We are a brand of firsts and we invite you to join our team. Inspire. Lead. Learn. Grow. Work here and Live Más.”
Lots of unique, differentiating phrases in there. And it includes the new consumer brand at the end. Photos and Conversations on Facebook The Facebook Page for Taco Bell Careers has 127,200 likes. The Page features 12 photo albums, with pictures ranging from clever employee events (the Peeps model contest is not to be missed) to celebrities who have stopped by the restaurant (most recently, Lance Bass). One image of Taco Bell products actually addresses the employees, asking, “What’s your favorite item to make?” That’s a bold move that could easily lead to embarrassing answers. But the pic has 34 comments and more than 200 likes. My favorite response: “I like making customers happy!” Taco Bell’s Careers Facebook Page also features four videos and the BeKnown app with job listings, showing once again that some brands are fully recruiting on social channels. My only quibble with their Facebook effort is the underused Notes section, which has only one entry – for the chain’s college scholarship program.
Active Engagement on Twitter Taco Bell Careers isn’t quite as popular on Twitter, with 1,339 followers. But what sets them apart is that they don’t wait for @mentions; when someone mentions interviewing at the company, Taco Bell wishes them luck. When someone announces they’ve been hired, Taco Bell welcomes them. When someone says they’re leaving, Taco Bell tells them goodbye. This shows attention to both employees and job-seekers, and that Taco Bell is rooting for its workers to succeed. Authentic Employee Profiles on YouTube As for YouTube – which, don’t forget, is the second-largest search engine in the world – Taco Bell has its own careers channel, with seven videos and more than 44,000 views. Four of the videos each focus on a single employee, from a 17-year-old team member to a franchise owner with 20 years of experience. This may sound silly, but I also like that the videos clearly show the employees preparing and serving food. You’d be surprised how some brands seem to ignore what their workers actually do. Or maybe a career at McDonald’s involves sitting on steps? Pioneering Pinterest
Taco Bell is one of a growing number of brands that’s recruiting on Pinterest. Taco Bell Careers has more than 300 images on 24 boards on the site. Five boards are devoted to individual recruiters and include pictures of the their pets and hobbies, a great way to relate to candidates. A board of inspirational quotes is cleverly called “Food For Thought,” while another is devoted to “Leadership Development.”
A few of Taco Bell Careers’ boards on Pinterest
You can see that Taco Bell reaches out to both current and future employees on four social channels. The chain’s fun attitude can be seen in its fast-paced videos, its whimsical employee event photos, and its active dialogue on Twitter. Taco Bell has also recognized the power of Pinterest and posts images that are both cool and useful. For all these reasons, I declare Taco Bell Careers a Social Media Superstar!
Learn about more employer branding superstars at our free webinar, “Employer Brands Undercover: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Authentic Employer Brand in the Digital World.” Tuesday, November 27, at 11 am, 2 pm, and 5 pm Eastern. Register here.
Brandemix has been working on a lot of video projects recently. I see the same challenges whether the client is a manufacturing giant or a local nonprofit, whether the video is for employees or the general public. Here’s a brief list of hints and tips to make sure your video shoot goes as smoothly as possible.
Lights: Hot Set
Unless you’re shooting outdoors, you’re going to need lighting. Fluorescent office bulbs bleach everyone out, while house fixtures and lamps cast strange shadows. A good video requires at least two lights: a “key” to light the performer and a “fill” to fill in the shadows created by the key.
The lights get hot, so bring gloves – and be ready with makeup powder and towels for the performers sweating under in the heat. In a pinch, reflectorscan bounce the nearest light onto a performer’s face. You can even use your car’s sun shield! Rental budget: $75
image courtesy of CSI Rentals
Sound: Hearing is Believing
Without a doubt, the number one indicator of amateur video is poor sound. All too often, the microphone attached to your camera (or phone) isn’t sufficient. When you listen to the footage weeks later, suddenly you can hear the air conditioning, or traffic outside, or people down the hall talking. There are two ways to avoid this problem:
– A boom pole allows a crew member to hold the microphone above the performer. This boom operator wears headphones to monitor the sound of every take. They move and angle the mic so it’s always facing the right direction. This option requires an extra person on your set, and holding the boom can be tiring if the shoot goes long.
– Lavalier or lapel microphones clip to the performer’s clothes. No one has to hold a piece of equipment all day and the mic is always near the performer’s mouth. But the mic sometimes picks up the sound of clothes rustling, so you have to be careful where you place it. Also, lavaliers run on batteries, so have plenty of replacements handy; sometimes the batteries quit halfway through a take.
Rental budget: $50
Music: Don’t Skimp or Steal
Movie scores have shown that effective music can heighten the mood and create an emotional response from an audience. Just because music is one of the last elements you’ll add to your video, don’t leave it until the last minute. Take the time to search for the right piece that supports your message and tone.
Also, don’t steal music for your video. If you post it on YouTube, you may find the soundtrack removed or the entire video taken down. Affordable, royalty-free compositions can be found at Music Bakery, StockMusic.com, Getty, or even from individual composers. Music budget: $200
A small investment and a willing, talented team can produce a professional-looking video in a problem-free environment.