Campus Giveaways: To Swag or Not to Swag?


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Campus Giveaway Item:
The Choice is Yours … OR Is It The Students’?!

college grad thinking
Don’t you want this student considering a job offer at your company? Read on to find out how the experience around your campus giveaway can help you close the deal.

As you learned in my Monday post, the pros outweigh the cons in terms of the value of campus giveaways. This post builds on my point that your giveaway is an extension of your EVP and company culture.

My prompt: should you make all of the decisions about your giveaways? OR Should you empower and engage your target audience in the process?

Case Study 1: Grant Thornton LLP
(You Won’t Believe This!):

Grant Thornton LLP had a brilliant plan on maximizing the reach of campus giveaways, while at the same time showcasing their company culture and EVP of “Our people make a difference, every day”.

Tired of the usual giveaways, they launched an innovative approach by giving away environmentally friendly cards with a call to action highlighting and engaging students in their CSR (corporate social responsibility) efforts.

Their Call to Action:

  • Visit their career site via QR code or url link on the card
  • Choose a charity from their preferred list of 3
  • The charity with the most votes received a $10,000 donation (giveaway budget)
  • By voting, the candidate was entered into a draw to win an iPad
  • Their Results were Staggering:

  • 1st year – Average visits to their site were up 742% from preceding 8 months
  • Averaging all September/October from previous 4 years, still up 135%
  • 2nd year – total visits and unique visitors each up over 130% from 1st year
  • 3rd year – upward trend continues
  • What Can you Learn from Grant Thornton LLP’s Approach?

    Students want to support a company where their voice is heard, where they feel they are making a difference, and that they are accountable for their choice.

    Do you think this is a unique case? Or do you think another company could generate similar results?

    Enter in FreddieMac – another brilliant campus giveaway success story.

    Case Study 2: FreddieMac
    (Are You a Believer Yet?):

    FreddiMac doesn’t use a physical giveaway on campus.

    Their student engagement is aimed at gaining the email addresses of each potential candidate and also their parents’ / family member. In order to attend their info session event on campus, a day they call “Freddie Day”, each potential candidate receives a targeted invite via an E-Card. They can RSVP through the E-Card and have the chance to extend the E-Card invite to their family and friends to also attend the session.

    After meeting each potential candidate (and their family virtually), they send out a Thank You email with a $10 Starbucks gift card attached. The gift card was redeemable by clicking a link. This link takes the candidate through a survey (about their employment brand) with the gift card as the carrot at the end. FreddieMac’s goal was to improve their candidate experience and career site. Their used prospective students to help them do so.

    By having this data, the company was able to gather significant feedback from the attendees themselves and personalize the candidate experience.

    And that’s not all!

    They went a step further to execute this holistically reach out with what they called a Family Follow Up. This included an email to the potential candidate’s family congratulating them on their child’s participation in Freddie Days on campus. FreddieMac capitalized on research that parents are the #1 influencer in student’s career choices. Very smart FreddieMac!

    Read more about this case study at: http://www.slideshare.net/StevenRothberg/jennifer-henley

    Read more about this case study at: http://www.slideshare.net/StevenRothberg/jennifer-henley

    FreddiMac’s Results?

  • Improved recruitment through greater recognition and distinctive identity
  • Increased Career Fair hiring effectiveness
  • Significant increase in qualified candidate traffic to the career website
  • Visitors spending longer amounts of time looking at information on career site
  • Over 55% positive student feedback received 1 week post engagement
  • Measuring Giveaway’s Value or ROI:

    Let’s face it. Budgets are always at top of mind when deciding campus strategy. Innovative and creative ideas don’t have to be expensive.

    By having a clear method of measuring ROI (ie click through and application rates), you can validate the dollars spent on your campus giveaway strategy and close your sale pitch (i.e. having students you meet on campus apply).

    Looking at these two case studies and their impressive results, both companies ensured their ideas were innovative and also continued an in person relationship into an online space. They made current technology work in their favor.

    Whether you measure success by click through rates, time spent by candidates on your career website, a click through a QR code, or a specific URL; these are low cost giveaways that have far reach in the market place. They represent great bang for your buck when working with a limited campus recruiting budget.

    They key is an engaging “what’s in it for me?” call to action for students to want to participate.

    In Summary:

    Campus giveaways are an extension of your employment brand.

    Each company must choose how giveaways fit with your current campus strategy. No matter which choice, the important thing is the reasoning and purpose behind the giveaway – it must be connected to your company culture, be a symbol of your EVP, and an extension of your employment brand reach on campus. And – don’t forget, it’s got to be useful or have that “cool factor” that really matters to students!

    If you had an unlimited budget for campus giveaways, what would you do? If you had a shoe string budget (sound like your real situation), how can you use these creative ideas to approach campus giveaways a little differently? Comment below!

    Sources:
    Grant Thornton LLP Case Study – as presented at the May Vancouver 2013 Campus Recruiting Forum

    FreddieMac Case Study Here

    Grace Lanuza
    Grace’s 10+ years in the ever-changing world of experiential marketing taught her the importance of having the right team in the right roles. Expanding her passion for people, Grace recently grew her career in the talent acquisition and employment branding space managing campus recruiting across North America for Mosaic, a top marketing agency. You can expect Grace’s unique voice to be found blogging about Gen Y hiring, motivating your team, interviewing tips and tricks, and best practices to keep remote employees engaged.

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    • chelsea

      Awesome out of the box examples, Grace. I think FreddieMac was brilliant to involve students in their re-brand & to involve student’s parents (major decision influencers) around choosing their first job.

    • Pingback: Career Fairs: Worth the $$$? | Talent Formula()

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