Attracting the best talent isn’t easy, especially in the tech field. So when Dropbox asked us to create a long-term strategy to attract top tech talent away from giants like Facebook, Amazon, and Google, we knew we had our work cut out for us. But as we’ve been an extension of their team for the better part of a decade, this was yet another opportunity to help their team win—and that we did.
Here’s how we approached the challenge, along with our tips to help you tackle your recruiting challenges too.
1) Auditing the Dropbox Employer Brand as Outsiders
If you want to attract the right people, you need to build a strong employer brand that effectively communicates who you are, what you believe in, and what you can offer potential employees. The better you do this, the easier it is to connect with people who believe in your brand’s vision (and want to contribute to it).
For Dropbox, we needed to start by assessing their current employer brand. As outsiders, this helped us understand the stories they were currently telling and how they might be perceived from an outsider perspective (as we happened to be).
Tip: Ask non-biased parties for feedback about your employer brand. What stands out (in a good or bad way)? What stories are clear or unclear? This feedback is an immensely helpful starting point.
2) Getting Inside Perspective
Instead of thinking outside the box, we wanted to get inside the box. Dropbox’s employees are the ones who show up to work each day, create the culture, and bring the brand vision to life. Having already done our outside audit, we needed their crucial perspectives.
To go behind the curtain, we sourced insights from nearly 400 employees, as well as candidates and alumni, through social listening data, netnography, and other research. This helped us understand what attracts candidates, what retains employees over time, and what differentiates Dropbox from its competitors: a mission-driven culture of autonomy, flexibility, and diversity.
Tip: Conducting your own employer brand survey is the best way to get honest feedback and insights. Follow our guide to do it yourself, which also includes handy templates to survey your audiences.
3) Finding the Story
If you want people to know about your employer brand, you need to tell a strong story—and use every channel and piece of content to reinforce that story. Based on our research, we teased out a core narrative that captured Dropbox’s essence in a simple Employer Value Proposition: “We believe the world can work better.”
With this powerful statement, we built out supporting messaging pillars (we ended up with five) to reinforce that story in different ways. This ensured we had a clear messaging framework to ideate around and tell cohesive, consistent stories across platforms.
Tip: A clear employer value proposition is the key to aligning your brand, your culture, and your content. See our step-by-step guide to build your EVP to do it on your own. Once you have your proposition and pillars, you can brainstorm content ideas that align to each pillar.
4) Building a Content Ecosystem
With clear pillars that laddered up to the core employer brand promise, we could build out comprehensive campaigns, experiment with different formats, and reach prospective employees across channels.
After all was said and done, our team touched nearly every content type and channel, including branding, web design & development, video, motion graphics, social content, and more.
Through this work, we were able to create compelling and engaging content, as well as an overall employer brand experience, that moved the needle for the company’s recruiting practice.
There’s nothing we love more than tangible results, and we got ‘em across the board.
- 7% Increase in brand perception
- #1 Best Place to Work Remote (according to CBS News)
- 4.5 Glassdoor rating (up from 3.7)
- 2:32 min. Average session duration on the jobs site
Tip: You can’t just make piecemeal content and hope it reaches the right people. You need to approach it thoughtfully and intentionally. See our guides to choose the right employer brand channels, set up the right measurement framework to track your efforts, and build out a strong content strategy template.
5) Nurturing Collaboration
Beyond our strategic approach, we attribute the success of this engagement—and our ongoing working relationship—to a streamlined production process and an openness to collaboration.
“Column Five has been super innovative in their suggestions to us. They really understand how to properly tell a story and plan for a brand. I couldn’t imagine doing this job without them.”
—Mariama Eghan, Head of Global Talent Brand at Dropbox
A few things that really helped:
- A clear work roadmap with built-in approval stages helped us keep momentum and work efficiently.
- Regular feedback ensured both teams stayed aligned.
- Creative and collaborative ideation gave us the freedom to explore the best ideas.
- Shared trust allowed us to go behind the scenes to uncover honest insights about Dropbox’s employer brand.
Altogether, this dynamic has helped both teams do their best work—and get the best results possible.
How You Can Replicate Dropbox’s Success
If you want to attract the right people to your brand, you need a clear strategy and strong storytelling. But as you continue to build campaigns, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Set clear goals. When it comes to recruiting efforts, you need to set specific goals and have a plan to measure them. This is the most important way to determine success.
- Nurture your employer brand. Dropbox has been investing in their employer brand for years, cultivating a strong culture and working to bring their values to life. If you’re not sure where to start, see our guide to build your employer brand the right way.
- Use the right partner. If you’re looking for an agency, start with our tips to find the right partner for you. (You can also find out more about what it’s like to work with us.)
Above all, remember that the most important part of promoting your employer brand is having an employer brand that is worth promoting. As you continue to build your recruiting strategy, make sure it’s aligned to your larger brand story and you’re sure to attract the right people who are in it for the long haul.