Tina Toutounchi Jan 16, 2018

How your company can support young people in getting into the creative industry?

So, you want to hire young, creative and passionate people intrigued by the world of marketing, but you’re afraid that they don’t have enough experience? How can your company in a real way contribute to the education of the next generation? How can you give opportunities to fresh ideas, as well as to people who often know the youngest group of recipients of messages, advertisements or products better?

Performante along with mytaxi added a brick to the education of new generation by organising the JustBrief competition. It was aimed at students and young graduates interested in the marketing industry and consisted of creating marketing campaign strategy for the service mytaxi match.

Why did we organise the JustBrief contest?

We decided not to take part in the autumn edition of any job fairs — this budget we devoted to do something on our own, an unusual initiative that can bring better results and present Performante as an attractive, growing and youth-friendly company. And this is how the JustBrief was born — the contest co-organised with the real client, mytaxi, a real brief for the campaign and a real marketing strategy to prepare. We knew it was the kind of experience universities can’t provide to students. Although theoretical knowledge which young people gain during their studies is always useful, the real work in the agency, on the real market, with real competitors may be a big surprise. What’s more, we perceived JustBrief as a long-term activity. Apart from image-related effects, we have established a bond with 40 participants of the competition — people that cooperated with the agency for almost a month.

How did the selection of the participants and the contest itself look like?

The process of JustBrief consisted of following steps:

  1. The candidates filled in the form at http://justbrief.pl/ — for each of them, the form indicated the most familiar position within creative team: Project Manager, Strategist, Social Media Manager, Copywriter, Art Director;
  2. After first verification of applications, we selected a group of participants and divided them into 8 teams. We chose those teams on the basis of the form filled by each candidate: apart from pointing the preferred position in the creative department, they had to answer various questions that checked which role they were actually best suited for. We also selected the participants not only by their answers and the position they preferred, but also by their place of residence: in the end, applications came from all over Poland. At the beginning, we discussed the form of applications: should contestants be able to register the whole team of 5 people or just one person — themselves? In the end, we decided that they should register only themselves, without the ability to create their own project group. We wanted it to be as true and genuine as the real life. Nobody joins new working environment with friends: people get to know each other on the spot and nobody has enough influence on the choice of the co-workers;
  3. Selected participants took part in a strategic workshop run by Performante, as well as in briefing provided by mytaxi — their first real client;
  4. The teams had to create a digital marketing strategy for the new feature of mytaxi — with the engagement of each team member and with a support of Performante’s Creative Department experts;
  5. We also organised an open day in our office. This way, participants could meet their teams in one place, use the knowledge of various specialists and see how the agency works on a daily basis. We also gave them real-time feedbacks via e-mails and through our internal communication tool.

What problems did the participants have?

We wanted this initiative to have a substantial content — both for us and for the participants. These people came with real problems that they would not normally have when working as interns.

It often turned out that they needed an external mediator, a meeting related to managing or motivating a team. We must say, we hit the name of the competition well. 90% of the teams did not focus on the brief: they created strategies for the brand, not service, concentrated on about 20 not related to each other ideas, instead from choosing one, a good one. They realised the task was harder than we have thought. Usually, as an intern, you support someone in their work, doing the simplest tasks for which your supervisor doesn’t have time. Here the participants were thrown into deep water, they had to take responsibility for the project themselves, for the team and for the customer’s satisfaction.

What did they fight for?

The prize in the battle was 10,000 PLN for the winners. Additionally, all participants got an opportunity to start an internship at Performante agency, in the marketing department of mytaxi or Business Insider — media patron of JustBrief.

The great final of the contest looked like a real competition did by the client looking for a marketing agency. The teams presented their ideas in front of representatives of Performante, my taxi, Business Insider and all other participants. After all, the first place was taken by the “WRobota” team from Wrocław. The campaign concept presented by them was supported by a thorough analysis of the target group as well as an innovative idea. At first glance, it could be seen that the group was very well integrated during the competition and it was certainly an important factor in their pace.

What was the effect? Was it worthwhile to involve so much resources in the organisation of JustBrief?

Of course, just in terms of recruitment, it would be easier to post a regular job offer. However, JustBrief was an employer branding and image branding project. We didn’t collect CVs and we didn’t check each participant during the competition by looking at them as our future employees. We wanted JustBrief to be the real competition, not a complicated and demanding recruitment process. What’s more, we were mainly in touch with project managers who were responsible for their teams. Thus, we weren’t able to see how every single team member really involves in his or her work. Still, if someone wants to join us for an internship, we believe this person would have a chance to quickly implement and engage: in the end, this people already know our company, office and even the team. Also, in the future, they may find themselves in agencies or internal marketing departments. So, for the participants it is also a great networking benefit: they might work or cooperate with each other (and with us) in their professional career.

“Yes, we had to involve many resources and yes, just by counting man-hours, an average CFO would kill us, but still it was a one of a kind opportunity to step inside the young generation’s world and see how they think, create and execute. Especially if the brief and the product is aligned with their entourage. The output is unbelievable. WRobota team, even at the early stage, presented complex, wide and authentic idea that, together with our team, was crafted to something bigger. Can’t wait to launch it and see how this simple idea resonates between people” says Adam Borczyński, Head of Creative of Performante.

We strongly believe we helped those students and young graduates make their first steps on their career paths. Practically speaking, it looked like we have accepted up to 40 students for an internship. Even better: they were responsible for their own project, thrown into deep water. They could get to know the job not only by the position they chose — they had the chance to cooperate with various agency specialists:

“Our knowledge of the creative industry was quite general. We already had some knowledge about it, but it was not supported by real activities. We did not have specific and specified expectations, it was rather a vision of our work, or what we want to achieve and what to learn. We did not know the exact mechanisms of action or the creation of a marketing campaign. Taking part in the competition allowed us to work on a real project under the supervision of specialists, which largely enabled us to develop knowledge about the creative industry. Our entire team was fascinated by the way of acting, building and developing the project. The very specifics of the work suited us well and allowed some of us to decide on the path of our future professional career. Considering all the factors, the biggest challenge in this industry is to face an invented project with a grey reality. You can have great ideas but you often have to make concessions and adapt to changing expectations.” says Olivia Ciupa, Project Manager of WRobota team.

It was also a very big test in terms of trying to “recruit” and prepare an “onboarding” for so many new people. In the following years, we plan to employ more or less as many people as we accepted for the competition,

which is why it was a very important exam for our communication or onboarding processes within the teams.

The competition also met a very important team building function for Performante employees — the whole company, all departments were involved in its organisation! Moreover, our employees came to the HR room and asked about the number of applications, work progress or final projects.

Working with Just Brief teams reminded me how important the team work actually is. I’ve noticed it both in case of our contestants and our Creative Division. We were discussing the ideas, thinking about possible solutions and getting excited about the results of the competition. It was definitely something we want to repeat in the future!” says Natalia Trębicka, Copywriter of Performante.

We also learned some important lessons on how to talk and work with young generation. Expectations are getting higher, young people expect commitment, professionalism and at the same time many benefits, great atmosphere and partner relationships. Constant feedback is strongly expected by them, but to be well received it must be very constructive and directed to further, appropriate actions. Companies which won’t consider those aspects and won’t start to implement a correctly innovative approach to recruitment and onboarding processes may feel the full magnitude of current situation on the labour market. The new generation dictates the conditions and decides where to stay for a longer time. As Performante, we feel we’re now more prepared for those candidates.

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