The Caring Gene: recruiting healthcare professionals when New York State needed them most
Mower won the Grand Prix, as well as the ‘Best Response to Change’ category at The Drum Awards for B2B in 2021 with its work for the Iroquois Health Association. This rallying cry to recruit healthcare professionals and support workers became even more urgent when Covid-19 hit New York State. Here, the team behind the entry explains how it pulled off this successful pivot.
This omni-channel campaign overwhelmingly beat its targets, recruiting nearly nearly 35,000 qualified candidates.
New York state has an aging population and is facing a critical shortage of healthcare workers. Healthcare work can be physically and mentally challenging - but also very rewarding. It takes a special type of person. Those who have an innate desire to help others - in their DNA. For some people, care is their calling. We’ve identified this unique trait - we call it the “Caring Gene.” And it makes them perfect candidates for a career in the care industry. So we created an integrated campaign to get their attention. Then, just months after the launch, everything changed with Covid-19. So we quickly pivoted to a message that recognized the unprecedented times we’re in - and the immediate need for healthcare heroes in both clinical and support roles.
Despite these challenges, there were now even greater opportunities for heroes-in-the-making. Those with that intrinsic desire to care for others. So we conducted focus groups with providers across New York state to gain insights into their challenges and the tone the message should take. We quickly pivoted to a message that recognized the unprecedented times we’re in - and the immediate need for healthcare heroes in both clinical and support roles.
The Caring Gene ‘Call to Care’ recruitment campaign asks potential candidates to consider whether they possess the instinctive desire to help others - the Caring Gene. And if so, to answer that calling. Our design concept channeled the spirit of World War II civilian morale posters (think Rosie the Riveter) - which was fitting given the ‘war’ against an invisible enemy - Covid-19 - that healthcare providers were fighting against.
We started by first thanking those healthcare heroes in all of our local markets who had already answered the call with digital banners, OOH, TV and social. We then shifted to imagery and messaging that highlighted the various roles that were needed - aimed directly at potential recruits. Using data analytics and personas to inform our paid media and content strategy, we identified 264 unique microtargeted segments across New York who, through their profiles, possess caring tendencies. And deployed an integrated mix of performance digital media, targeted OOH and OTT, and social media to connect with them.
We then sent interested candidates to CaringGene.org to immediately apply for employment in the caring industry. There, using an online quiz and application, candidates quickly found out if they were a perfect fit for the rapidly growing care industry. We even created a Snapchat filter for new healthcare heroes to tout their new hero status. All of this was a win-win for both the healthcare organizations that desperately needed help as well as the recruits - many of whom had lost their jobs due to Covid-related cuts.
In the first six months of the campaign, more than 700,000 unique visitors searched for a job on the Caring Gene website - which is seven times greater than the previous year. This resulted in almost 100,000 job searches and nearly 35,000 qualified candidates driven to provider opportunities - a 250% increase.
We built the Caring Gene brand utilizing a multichannel mix of broad-based media and micro-targeted interactions - a mix of TV, OTT, radio/streaming audio, out-of-home, programmatic, social media, search ads and more. Key to our success, was deploying imagery and messaging that highlighted the various roles that were needed - aimed directly at potential recruits. Using data analytics and personas to inform our paid media and content strategy, we identified 264 unique microtargeted segments across New York who, through their profiles, possess caring tendencies. This level of personalized targeting dramatically and rapidly accelerated the growth of our talent pool.
This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for B2B. To find out more, including which competitions are currently open for entry, visit The Drum Awards website.
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