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How Small Ideas Really Can Make a Big Impact (Top Tips for Small MarComms Budgets)

By Alexandra Earl | August 16, 2022 | 0 Comments

As we start planning for 2023, many Marketing & Comms professionals are already anticipating the storm of economic headwinds heading their way. Our 2022 Leadership Vision research predicted that CCOs would have to work hard this year to balance higher demands with flat budgets, but they may need to be even stricter with resource allocation for 2023.

However, the good news is that not all activities in Marketing and Comms need a huge budget to get them off the ground. As our 2022 Gartner Awards showed yet again, sometimes big things really do come from humble beginnings. Small tweaks, improvements and innovations can translate into major impact on internal and external audiences, as entries for our award for Small Idea, Big Impact have demonstrated.

This award recognizes the impact of teams, big and small, who demonstrate the following:

  • Small Idea: Initiatives of modest resource commitment and outlay.
  • Big Impact: Impact on audience attitudes and behaviors, and organizational outcomes.

Big Impact in Talent Attraction

Interestingly, the two winners for 2022 focused their efforts on supporting talent attraction and recruitment, within an incredibly tight labor market. We are increasingly seeing Comms and Marketing getting involved in recruitment, as organizations struggle to cope with the ‘Great Resignation’ and war for talent that is impacting so many industries.

Starting with Most Innovative, this award went to BITĖ Lietuva & Coagency for their Career Update campaign. BITĖ is a leading telecomms company in Lithuania whose main problem was a lack of employees. To address the problem, BITĖ used the Tinder dating app to conduct a “Career UpDate” employer branding campaign. The main goals were to attract new employees and strengthen its image, both in the media and among potential applicants.

This was a risky, but creative use of Tinder as a way of recruiting in a talent challenged environment. Amongst the various examples of Comms being leveraged to support talent attraction campaigns this year, this was one of the most memorable! The judges felt this was a really interesting and innovative way to cut through noisy channels to reach a new, untapped labour market.

The Winner for this category was awarded to Raising Canes Chicken Fingers for their 50 in 50 campaign! Restaurant worker turnover is traditionally higher than most industries — and the expanded labor shortage put an added strain on an already scarce resource. Canes found itself in a situation never encountered before, with employee shortages forcing a choice between drive-thru-only or temporary closures.

Faced with this dilemma, they ran an ambitious, but exciting campaign to raise headcount from 35,000 to 50,000 Crew members in just 50 days! It involved employees from all parts of the company working within their restaurants and sharing experiences on social media to promote the roles. These grassroots stories drove media awareness – including being featured on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, CNN, and more. The result was exactly what was needed – 50 in 50 awareness grew, driving more hires. The judges were so impressed with this well planned and executed campaign that achieved such demonstrable business results.

Big Impact on Safety

Beyond impacting talent attraction, we’ve also seen incredibly powerful examples in this category of how safety can be improved with just a few small ideas and budget.

In 2021, Ivanti was recognized as Most Innovative in this category, for their Phishing with Cookies campaign. To differentiate MobileIron’s new phishing protection product, and highlight common attacks that put users at risk, the MobileIron team tempted media and influencers with hand-delivered sugar cookies bearing a QR code iced onto their surface but with no note or explanation. The team relied on the curiosity of recipients who, after scanning, got directed to a landing page explaining the risks of following links (and QR codes) from unknown sources. The treats were scanned by over 97% of those who received them. As a result, MobileIron’s PR team secured 10 media articles in key business, tech and security publications and it even became the main topic on one of cybersecurity’s top podcasts.

Highly Commended was then awarded to Kimberley Clark for their ‘My Safety Why’ campaign, focused on the reasons why safety matters—our loved ones, families, friends, and co-workers who depend on us. The Comms team developed a series of simple, yet powerful visual messages focusing on the emotional impact of safety. These included a picture of a family dancing together with the caption: “I watch where I’m going … so I can watch them grow up”.. The visuals were shared as posters in their sites, as 2-minute videos, in Manager toolkits and Leader presentations, and within just a few months, they saw impressive improvements in safety metrics.

And finally the Winner of this category for 2021 was Queensland Rail for their High Voltage Can Jump Phase Two Campaign. They developed a social media campaign to target their main audience: teenagers. A local rapper was recruited as the face of the campaign, and they leveraged his social influence (as well as that of other influencers) to reach over 140,000 Instagram followers. The campaign was also rolled out across Queensland Rail’s owned advertising assets, cross track digital screens, passenger information display screens, website, external train wrap and intrain posters. Their fantastic use of social media helped keep it cheap, scalable and achieved high engagement with their target audience, reducing safety incidents by 22% from the previous year.

So, whether you’re looking at driving up safety in your organization, attracting new talent, or exploring other ways to make an impact in Comms & Marketing, rest assured that big things truly can happen with little to no budget! More examples can be found in our Video Showcase. We’d love to hear how you’ve had an impact with minimal resources. Submit an entry for global recognition in our 2023 Awards which opens next month!

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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