Dow Chemical’s director of digital and social media, Abby Klanecky, acknowledged that although it’s a Fortune 50 company, few people actually know what Dow does. On top of that, a huge deficit of qualified STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers leaves a substantial employment gap for it to fill. The company had to let the world know it was about science and scientists while attracting the next generation of innovators.
Dow knew that if it wanted to compete for recruits with some of the more glamorous scientific companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, it needed to reframe its brand. To showcase its passion, authenticity and expertise, it needed to get its scientists’ amazing offline reputations online.
Klanecky shared how she boosted Dow’s recruitment with the people it was all about: its scientists. Here are some key points from her presentation at SocialMedia.org‘s BlogWell Conference in New York:
- Why scientists are great storytellers: These brilliant minds are innately curious, passionate about what they do and have a deep expertise in their field. Klanecky said that these qualities made them the perfect candidates for attracting like-minded people. That’s why Klanecky started a campaign to get them talking on Twitter, blogging and connecting with LinkedIn.
- Why she made them Google themselves: As Klanecky explained, scientists live in a very “black and white” world. They believe in facts, research, and right and wrong answers. To convince them that getting involved was important, she had to show them some hard evidence of their missing online credibility.
- How the company got them started: Dow used social maps to show the scientists who they could reach out to online based on people they already knew. The company also taught them online etiquette in peer groups — like how to respond to a person “who says something positive but wrong.” Then the company set up guidelines for which topics have a red, yellow or green light for discussion online.
Watch Klanecky’s entire presentation below to find out how she warmed her executives up to the idea and why the risk of exposing their scientists to their competitors was worth it. You can find slides here.