UNBOXED: The recipe for an award-winning DE&I campaign [video]

A look behind creating B&Q’s most recent DE&I campaign, centred
around stories of belonging.

  • 2 minute read
  • DE&I

Rewatch our webinar for a behind-the-scenes look at how one of the U.K.’s most recognised consumer brands created an employer brand that speaks to its culture of belonging.


Emma Jennings 00:05:26

"Hello and Welcome to UNBOXED! We are 33 for those of you who just joining us."

Emma Jennings 00:05:31

"and we will be covering the recipe for an award-winning Dei campaign. So welcome join in the chat box when you're ready."

Emma Jennings 00:05:35

"My name's Emma Jennings. I'm the DEI communication specialist at 33 and I'll be guiding you through today's event."

Emma Jennings 00:05:48

"So before we begin I'm just going to go through some webinar housekeeping."

Emma Jennings 00:05:52

"Okay so you have entered the session on mute and off video. This session will be recorded and will be available on our website for replay. So if you have any colleagues or anyone within your network that you'd like to send this on to watch out for an email after this event in due course."

Emma Jennings 00:06:01

"So this event will conclude by 4 o’clock. There is a chat function if you would like to connect or share your thoughts but if you do have any questions throughout this presentation we would ask that you please use."

Emma Jennings 00:06:06

"The Q&A function to ask any questions that you have."

Emma Jennings 00:06:36

"This will help us to theme questions. And if we have time at the end we are hoping to put some of those questions to our panellists."

Emma Jennings 00:06:43

"So I'm just going to run through very quickly uh the agenda for today before we uh introduce our speakers."

Emma Jennings 00:06:54

"So for our agenda today here's a little bit of an overview. So after this very short introduction from myself. I will be handing over to Eleni Antoniou, Head of DEI at 33, who will be taking us through what makes an inclusive employer brand."

Emma Jennings 00:07:07

"This will be followed by a presentation by Jess Middleton and Sophia Burchell from 333 is creative team who have worked really closely with B and Q to create the belong at B and Q campaign."

Emma Jennings 00:07:20

"We will then open up our panel discussion and invite guest speakers Hollie Parsons, Talent lead, and Kate Benge, Talent acquisition and employer brand lead at B&Q and in this panel they will share some insights and provide examples of how this collaboration between B and Q and 33 formed a successful and award-winning Dei campaign. Hopefully leaving you with plenty of key takeaways."

Emma Jennings 00:07:54

"So here's just a quick overview of that agenda. Now before we begin I just want to open up a very quick poll. I'm curious to learn."

Emma Jennings 00:08:02

"A little bit more about our audience. So I'm going to ask Sarah if you can draw up that Poll for me."

Emma Jennings 00:08:08

"And we'll just have a few moments for you to take a little look at that question. And it's really - have you run a Dei campaign in the last 12 months? Very simply yes or no just to get a little bit of a sense check of who we have on the call and also where you're at. Maybe you're starting to think about a Dei campaign or maybe you've already run one and are looking to have a few more insights into how you can make it award-winning."

Emma Jennings 00:08:31

"So I'll just leave a few more seconds for you to complete that."

Emma Jennings 00:08:44

"Okay. So Sarah if you are able to share those results quickly."

Emma Jennings 00:08:50

"Interesting. Okay. So we've got the majority of people that haven't yet run a DEI campaign in the last 12 months. So this will be um hopefully a very fruitful um and have lots of key takeaways to take by the end of this session that can potentially help you in future endeavours."

Emma Jennings 00:09:08

"So let's dive into the main presentation. Our first speaker is Eleni who will be answering what makes an inclusive employer brand and a successful Dei campaign over to you."

Eleni Antoniou 00:09:20

"Thank you Emma. Hi everyone. So as Emma said I head up the dei capability here at 33 and I obviously a lot of the work that we do for clients in this space. So I'm going to take the next 10 minutes to talk to you about what makes an inclusive employee brand and how we can then take that employer brand and translate it into a successful D&i campaign as well."

Eleni Antoniou 00:09:46

"So in a nutshell it all boils down into these 3 core principles. We know that inclusive employer Brands reflect the communities that they serve and they actively attract and welcome diverse talent and kind of the key word I want to sort of focus on there is the word actively and it's very important to not kind of passively sitting back assuming that candidates will know that kind of if you're welcoming of all backgrounds but showing that intention in all of your Communications to your talent audiences um."

Eleni Antoniou 00:10:02

"The second Point focuses around the inclusion element we know that inclusive employee Brands create an environment where all employees feel had valued respected and powered to share their views and to be their true selves to be their best selves at work."

Eleni Antoniou 00:10:27

"And finally the last point it is a point that often gets overlooked but um inclusive successful inclusive employee Brands communicate all of the above effectively to their employees and their candidates to build reputation. And when as it comes agency when we work with our clients we focus a lot on on that last point when we audit their website or their social channels from a dni perspective we look at the ways that they're communicating those intentions and those commitments to their audiences."

Eleni Antoniou 00:10:54

"So let's break it down a little bit more. What are those key elements that we need to focus on and talk about in our talent Communications."

Eleni Antoniou 00:11:11

"Before I start talking about all of those little stars in there, I want to talk a little bit about, I guess, the one thing I want everyone to take away from this—the kind of focus always needs to be on showing not telling, especially when it comes to things like DEI. What I mean by that is it's not enough to tell your talent audiences that you are an inclusive employer, that you welcome different perspectives, that you welcome applications from all backgrounds. You need to show them how you are an inclusive employer."

Eleni Antoniou 00:11:30

"So all of the things that I'm going to talk about, all of these little stars, they need to be visible on your website. They need to be visible on your social channels. Your audiences, both internal and external, need to be able to find that information and see those proof points. And again, when we are looking at clients' websites, clients' social channels, and auditing them from a DEI perspective, those are some of the things that we are looking at when it comes to content."

Eleni Antoniou 00:11:54

"So let's start with inclusive Communications. What do we mean by that? We know that inclusive employer brands encourage their employees to share their experiences, share their perspectives, and use the employer's platform to amplify and represent it for specific. So that is all about putting your employees at the front and center and making sure they're comfortable sharing their experiences internally but also externally."

Eleni Antoniou 00:12:24

"Diverse representation, that is a more straightforward one. You know, this is all about making sure that you are reflecting a diverse workforce in any sort of communications that you're putting out there, whether it is an internal event that you're running or, you know, your marketing material, your website, your social channels. Bearing in mind trying to use real employees, don't kind of use stock imagery but make sure everything you're doing is reflective of your organization."

Eleni Antoniou 00:12:59

"Inclusive hiring practices, again more straightforward one, but I guess the spin I want to put on this is if you have those in place, make sure you're communicating to your audiences about them because ultimately you want them to feel empowered to apply. And if they don't know you have them in place, then as far as they're concerned, they don't exist."

Eleni Antoniou 00:13:21

"In work support and development, the key elements that make up this bucket are things like accessible and flexible benefits, well-being initiatives, targeted development programs for certain underrepresented groups, reverse mentoring programs, tailored courses that you might be offering, and a lot of organizations that we work with have all of these things in place. So, amazing stuff and again great stuff to be talking about to an external and your internal audiences who might not always be aware that all of those things exist."

Eleni Antoniou 00:13:54

"Employee Engagement this focuses around having employee resource groups and supporting your employee resource groups to grow, giving them an opportunity to kind of have an input into your strategy um using them to create external Communications as well. We know from research that we've done with um audiences in the UK that they're really interested in hearing about employees that work at different organisations and we know that content that focuses around."

Eleni Antoniou 00:14:20

"Employee resource groups and how they operate within an organization is always very popular and very welcome."

Eleni Antoniou 00:14:33

"Community engagement. This is about partnerships that an organization might have with certain community organizations, volunteering initiatives, social mobility projects, and again, amazing stuff that even your own employees might not be aware of sometimes, and especially an external talent audience. They make great content for social, great content for websites. All of these things, you know, are proof points and they go to the kind of showing not telling um feedback and communication."

Eleni Antoniou 00:15:00

"We know that inclusive employer brands have robust feedback mechanisms in place that they make sure their employees feel comfortable sharing their views, sharing their perspectives, and they actively seek feedback from their employees but they also kind of continuously measure progress and how well um they're doing and finally."

Eleni Antoniou 00:15:30

"Training and education, that is one of the more straightforward ones that is all about having diversity and inclusion training programs in place for your employees tackling things like unconscious bias, promoting inclusive behaviors, and again, lovely stuff to share with an external audience as well. Especially if you're going above and beyond the tick-box training and you're doing some more interesting things."

Eleni Antoniou 00:15:56

"So to kind of summarize this slide. Um, as I said, kind of the key thing to remember is that not everyone will be doing everything that we've talked about here. And that's fine, DEI is a journey. There isn't really an end destination and I think the goalposts keep changing as well. So don't feel like, you know, you need to be doing brilliantly in all of this to go out and communicate to your audiences about it. Sometimes communicating about the commitments you've made, the progress you've made, the progress you still need to make is kind of a solid indicator that you care about this and it's much better than not communicating at all, being kind of scared of the fact that you're not perfect yet. You're not there yet."

Eleni Antoniou 00:17:01

"Okay, so we talked about all of the proof points and the sort of things that you need to be doing and kind of content you should have on your website, on your social channels. But sometimes just having those proof points there might not be enough. Um, because those are there for an audience that is kind of actively going to your website, actively visiting your social channels. Sometimes you might need to proactively go out to certain audiences and either kind of change perceptions or invite them to get to know you a bit better."

Eleni Antoniou 00:17:32

"And those are the times where you need um a DEI campaign to do some of that leg work for you. So we like recipes here at 33. So we'll give you kind of a 6 ingredient recipe on how to design and deliver a successful DEI campaign. Uh, we always start with objectives and what we have seen is that a lot of DEI campaigns fall short at this very first um stage and it's very often because they might have very fluffy objectives which is very natural for a DEI campaign. It could be around belonging, improving culture, making people feel heard and valued. So I think what we need to do at this very first stage and what we kind of um work with our clients on is how do we make those objectives a little bit more tangible and a way to do those is by setting KPIs having fluffy objectives is okay as long as our KPIs and our measures are quite solid. So let's start by defining what do we want to achieve and how it's going to measure that and then we know the metrics that we need to put in place at the beginning and that we need to go back to at the end."

Eleni Antoniou 00:18:39

"Clear definition of our audience is very important. It might sound simple, but I think we need to start by knowing if this campaign is targeting an internal or an external audience or is it doing both and that is going to help us solidify our objectives as well."

Eleni Antoniou 00:19:00

"Once we've defined our audience, we need to have a good understanding of their barriers and motivators. Ultimately, that is what's going to feed into the campaign messaging, that is what's going to help us decide the angle that the campaign creative needs to take."

Eleni Antoniou 00:19:19

"It goes without saying you need some strong standout creative that helps set you apart. We know it's a very crowded market; you will be competing with every other campaign out there, not just other DEI campaigns. So, you need something that's impactful and that's going to cut through the noise, and that's when the creative comes in."

Eleni Antoniou 00:19:36

"We've been talking about this fifth ingredient a lot over the last year and a half here at 33 with our clients. And it's all about deploying ethical storytelling principles throughout. More and more, and very rightly so, DEI campaigns are using real employees to tell those stories and to showcase the organization's commitment. So if you are using real employees, you need to make sure that they're comfortable with the process, they understand how their stories are going to be used, where they are going to be used, and that they have the final sign off on how their story is being told."

Eleni Antoniou 00:20:00

"And finally, it is all about measuring your impact at the end, both in the short term and the long term. What I mean by that is you know even when the campaign is still live, being able to track progress. Is it delivering for you? Yes, no, and what can you change and optimize to make sure those things kind of improve and get better if they're not performing, but also in the longer term you know when the campaign is finished or even further down the line. If you have some harder to measure objectives like retention for example, improving retention, you need at least 6 to 12 months to see if the campaign has had an impact, that's not something you can tell in the first 2 or 3 months."

Eleni Antoniou 00:20:54

"Okay. How about making that campaign award-winning too? Well, we do have another recipe for this one. I mean, essentially if you have done everything we've talked about in the previous slides, you do have an award-worthy campaign in your hands. So this is all about making sure that you're doing it justice when you're putting an award entry together so that it actually stands out from all of the other entries."

Eleni Antoniou 00:21:04

"We judge a lot of awards here at 33, we get invited to do that all the time, and what we have seen in the last few years is that the DEI categories get a lot of entries and they're incredibly competitive. A lot of great work gets submitted. So it's hard to kind of stand out but there is a way to do it. As I said, assuming we've done everything in the previous slide, then all we need to do when it comes to the entries is these five things."

Eleni Antoniou 00:21:24

"We need to make sure we've got clearly laid out objectives at the beginning. They need to be short, succinct, no more than four or five, and not repeating each other. They need to be very clearly distinguishable from each other."

Eleni Antoniou 00:21:42

"Innovation is an interesting thing. So if you have done something in your campaign that's a little bit different, hasn't been done before, make sure you make some noise about it. You actually kind of bring that out and highlight it in your entry."

Eleni Antoniou 00:21:58

"Emotion is an interesting one; it always sways people to feel positively about something, essentially emotionally. It's what makes a campaign impactful with your audience, but also with whoever is going to be judging that entry. DEI campaigns tend to lean on emotions, so that's kind of slightly easier to achieve here."

Eleni Antoniou 00:22:14

"Community impact—if your campaign has had an impact outside of the organization itself, into the wider community or particular groups, make sure you mention that because that is not something all campaigns do, and often that is what sets a campaign apart when everyone else is doing everything else already."

Eleni Antoniou 00:22:34

"And finally, I'm going to talk about data again. It's very important to have really strong data. But data that is linked back to your objectives. There needs to be a very clear correlation between what you set out to achieve and how you've achieved that at the end and where possible try and showcase your results in kind of year-on-year comparisons. It's much more powerful showing a percentage increase compared to just showing a number out of context."

Eleni Antoniou 00:23:00

"Hopefully this kind of gave you a bit of a summary of how we approach some of our DEI campaigns at 33, how we work with our clients to make sure that we win loads of lovely awards too. I'm now going to pass you on to Jess and Sophia, as Emma mentioned, they're part of the creative team that worked on the 'Belong at B&Q' campaign, and B&Q are a great example of an organization that is doing amazing work in the DEI space and they had loads of great stories to tell."

Sophia Burchell 00:23:24

"Thank you Eleni. So today, Jess and I are going to take you through the journey we took to bring 'Belong at B&Q' to life back in 2022. So I worked as the art director on the campaign alongside Jess, who was the copywriter for the campaign, and we're really proud of this campaign overall and it's something we always come back to, so we're really really excited to give you a peek into the process today."

Jess Middleton 00:23:43

"So we all know B&Q is the home of the orange apron, home of all things DIY, but not everyone knows what it means to be part of the B&Q team. Like Eleni said, B&Q had all these amazing things on offer, but they weren't showing it in the way they deserved. So essentially it was up to us to figure out how we could take it from being a not-so-secret secret to then being on show and celebrated for everyone, both internally and externally."

Sophia Burchell 00:24:01

"And then all of these amazing things that B&Q had on offer were reflected in some of the real people's stories and testimonials that Hollie and the team had shared with us. So Jess and I sort of sat down together as a team and we carefully selected a handful of people to have a conversation with over the phone, and we knew it was really important for these conversations to not feel like an interview but more like an open conversation where all the employees felt comfortable to share their story."

Sophia Burchell 00:24:22

"Our objective was to show what B&Q really has to offer for a variety of people. So it was important that we heard exactly how these people started at B&Q, what they love about working there, and hear about the benefits that they enjoy every day that they might not be able to get anywhere else."

Jess Middleton 00:24:39

"So after having these conversations and getting to know these people sort of inside and out, hearing about the real-life situations, their real-life stories, we gained a proper understanding of what it really feels like to work at B&Q. We ended up choosing five different people and their stories. And then it was time to write the scripts and get them to reflect the people for who they are and exactly what they told us. We knew these scripts needed to be very authentic, very honest, and definitely lean on the emotive side to make sure the audience could feel connected to each of these people, whether they related to them and their personal stories or not."

Jess Middleton 00:25:12

"The main thing for us was that these five stories allowed the audience to really believe that they can belong at B&Q too, no matter their circumstances or needs. For example, this is Abby's script. After talking to us, we found that she had a few children while working at B&Q, and so it was really important for us to show how B&Q supported her through her maternity leave and then made coming back to the job nice and easy."

Sophia Burchell 00:25:30

"It was really important for us to tell a variety of stories here. So from people of different ages, sexualities, and genders. Here on screen, you can see the real people we collaborated with whose stories we decided to tell through film. We worked with our film team at 33 and came to the decision to shoot the films on 16mm film. This made these films feel really warm and homely, kind of like those home videos that you had as a kid, and it felt like you were there with the employee experiencing their real life. Choosing to film as a medium using film as a medium meant that we could portray these stories in the most effective way possible and also allow other candidates to see their own lives within the B&Q employee stories."

Sophia Burchell 00:26:15

"So now we're going to show you just three of the five films we created. First, we'll see Mel's, followed by Pat's, and then ending on Dan's. So let's cut to the films."

Note: The actual films are not transcribed here.

Jess Middleton 00:28:58

"So you've seen some of the films and we can see that they're all about belonging. They're all about having the space to be entirely yourself. They're very much led with emotion, but we wanted to figure out how we could use a point-blank approach and further enhance our message. B&Q have a lot of benefits essentially, and we mean a lot. So we couldn't possibly show them all through film. That would take a lot of money and a lot of time, which we didn't have unfortunately. But these benefits essentially underpin what's really great about working at B&Q as an employee, what these employees get. They essentially act as a foundation of support that these employees have and help contribute to that sense of belonging. These are in many, many ways also validate the stories we've told through film. So it was really crucial that we had the space through static for the audience to see all of the other benefits in their glory, too."

Sophia Burchell 00:30:00

"So, per B&Q's original ask when we were initially briefed, we needed to make sure the benefits aligned with the consumer brand. So we cleverly designed all the benefits that they have at B&Q using punny copy paired with some relevant objects to sort of bring them to life. But we also really need to make sure that this aligned with our employer brand, which 'Together We Can,' and we'd created this for B&Q about a year prior. So this is where the Polaroids and employee name came into the picture. Here's just a small handful of the benefits that were created and circulated, with each of them tying back to an employee and how that benefit can really support them."

Jess Middleton 00:31:00

"So we then had the films, we had the benefits, but we wanted to know how we could bring it all together to create that greater awareness. And that's when we worked closely with B&Q to create a brand new 'Belonging at B&Q' page on their career site. This essentially took their original belonging page and revamped it. We used our Mercury technology to make everything more accessible on this page. We made sure that 'Belong at B&Q' had pride of place so everyone could immediately and very easily see the great parts of working at B&Q. Essentially, this became the hub where everything lived."

Sophia Burchell 00:31:58

"So I'm sure you're wondering how the campaign performed. We collected the results since the launch between January and March in 2023, and we really saw results across the board better than we could have hoped. It was really important for us to see the real value of our work reflected in the results and how it impacted so many people across social and the belong page."

Jess Middleton 00:32:39

"So that's essentially how we brought 'Belonging at B&Q' to life. From print to film, we were able to recognize how different each benefit and personal story was and show the many ways that B&Q can actually help an individual as an individual. The creative that we made aligned the consumer brand with the employer brand of B&Q and made sure to show every single candidate and current employee how they can flourish at B&Q."

Sophia Burchell 00:33:20

"We definitely couldn't have done any of this project without the amazing collaboration that we had with B&Q and their incredible employees who told their stories and were so open to us and so willing to help us give it the best platform that it could have. So they're the people who essentially make the project what it was."

Jess Middleton 00:33:32

"So thank you so much for listening and we'll now head into the panel discussion."

Emma Jennings 00:33:36

"Thank you so much. Uh, thanks Eleni for providing some ingredients for an inclusive campaign and employer brand and also to Jess and Sophia for providing us with a bit of a creative overview of how you capture that essence of a campaign centered around belonging. Um, so we're now going to go on to our panel discussion. And uh, so you've met Jess you've met Sophia and you've met Eleni, but I just wanted to quickly introduce our guest speakers from B&Q, Hollie and Kate. Um so very much a warm welcome to you both and thank you very much for joining us."

Emma Jennings 00:34:07

"Hollie is part of work for B&Q for 8 years within the people function, following time in business partnering and employer brand. She now leads the talent agenda for B&Q and is passionate about all things Talent. And Kate is a recruitment expert with a deep understanding of best practices in Talent acquisition and sourcing strategies. She is passionate about people and is committed to delivering a fair and Equitable and inclusive environment for those joining B&Q, trying to achieve that destination employer status for active and passive candidates. Am I right in thinking that you've been here for 13 years, Kate?"

Kate Benge 00:34:55

"Thank you. Yes, that's right. Fantastic. Well, thank you to you both. Um, I'm just going to launch straight into our main panel with questions and Hollie, I'm gonna come to you first on this one. Could you just walk us through the initial steps that B&Q took to uncover the need for this campaign and also how you might have outlined the first initial steps for that strategy?"

Hollie Parsons 00:35:21

"Yeah, no problem. Thank you so much for having us. Um, we are super passionate about this campaign and having the opportunity to share it with people is really exciting. So yes, thanks for having us. Um, so in terms of the initial concept for the campaign, we had quite a bit of feedback as an organization internally from our new starters from our engagement surveys about the fact that we don't share our culture externally. A lot came from our new starters actually that said, 'Wow, this is amazing. Like I didn't know this before when I applied, we should shout more about what the culture we have here and what it's like.' We also had a culture audit, so we partnered with a company called Green Park that came and reviewed our culture. They shared some opportunities for us again to share more externally about what it feels like to work at B&Q. So, as I joined my new role as an employee brand manager, my first brief was to share externally what it feels like to work here. So capturing a feeling is fascinating and interesting, but hopefully, we've done it justice. We've had some good feedback. So yeah, that's kind of where it all started and the concept of 'best-kept secret' was where it started off. How do we share the best-kept secret of B&Q was kind of the initial concept and brief for the campaign."

Emma Jennings 00:36:46

"Fantastic, thank you for sharing that. In terms of employee feedback, how did you manage to gather and utilize that employee feedback to make sure that the strategic direction and the DEI approach was right at B&Q?"

Hollie Parsons 00:37:00

"It was really interesting and actually the most fun part of the campaign. Across the organization, we visited a number of stores and spent time with our teams in our head office asking the question, 'What does it feel like to work here?' What was pretty amazing is that some really clear themes started to emerge from people, and some really powerful, magical stories. So it was a really employee-centric campaign and we were quite open to being led along the path of just answering that question. Some really good themes started to come through from our colleagues about belonging, family at work, life balance that were really obvious. Really just understanding from our colleagues themselves what it feels like and how we can capture that magic. It was the best part of discovering what this campaign could be, just asking that simple question."

Emma Jennings 00:38:07

"Thanks, and that really comes through in the videos as well, with those personal stories and those benefits. That's really great to hear. So this next question is a bit of a 2-part question and it's looking at the collaboration, the creative agency partnership that you had with 33. I'm going to come to you Kate first on this one. What do you think are some key considerations for working effectively with a creative agency from creative direction to the execution?"

Kate Benge 00:38:31

"Yeah, sure. I think at this point we'd been fortunate enough to work with you guys for nearly 4 years. So, a really strong connection anyway. Holly and I both agreed that there were 3 key points that we thought were really important in the success. First one was a true connection. We both agree that working with someone, a team that are completely aligned on our vision, completely gets our aspiration and just really have that strong connection to who we are as a team and as a business is imperative. The second thing that came to mind was communication, quite cheesy, but just standard open transparent communication, what you see is what you get, what you hear, and that was very important to us throughout the whole campaign. Finally, being able to lean into you guys as our experts. So, really appreciating a high level of challenge and some good provocation. That really meant a lot to us because you know, you are the experts and we really needed to be able to rely on you to give us the direction and tell us which way we should go. So they were the 3 key elements that we thought were incredibly important."

Emma Jennings 00:39:33

"Connection, communication, and positive provocation. I like that. Yeah, positive provocation. Thank you, Holly. Did you have anything to add to that?"

Hollie Parsons 00:39:45

"I think just to build on that, the collaboration point is so key and actually, it was amazing to work with the project team. Everyone was equally as bold and ambitious about the vision that we had and actually because of that, the B&Q team and the 33 team were both driving each other to be really ambitious about the vision for the campaign and we spent quite a lot of time on that Vision piece. I think that really benefited the agency as well because you're really equally as excited and passionate about what we were working on. We just loved that and it was a great environment to create some awesome stuff. Finally, I would describe it as restless, but we were restless in our iterations of what the campaign looked like. I think 33 might say, sometimes I was a bit annoying, but we were really passionate, we absolutely wanted to get it right. Just making sure that we're going over, it's the best that it can be like, what about that tweak? What about this tweak? Why don't we think about that? Just not, you know, the sky's the limit kind of thing and just continue to make sure that we achieved an end result that we were all really proud of. So yeah, it was just that time to make sure we were tweaking as we go and I think the team were really patient with us. So yeah, I think that collaboration and patience is really really great."

Emma Jennings 00:40:52

"Would you agree with that, Jess? Were you patient? Did you have anything else to add to that collaboration thing, how the truth?"

Jess Middleton 00:41:00

"No, I think it was super important for us as creatives to have that back and forth and for B&Q to be so open with us about hearing our side as well. You know, it wasn't just us showing the work and them giving the feedback, it was a real collaboration project. Like Holly said, the passion that we felt from B&Q we also felt pretty much immediately when we started this project. Just getting to know all of the people from B&Q we knew that we wanted to do this justice and if that meant having multiple discussions, going back and forth between one another to find the best solution we knew that was the most important thing. Being able to listen and learn from one another was crucial."

Emma Jennings 00:41:46

"Yeah, absolutely. It sounds like that relationship was really important. Just on that note as well, in terms of collaborating, how was that collaboration so successful between B&Q and 33? Kate, can I come to you on that?"

Kate Benge 00:42:00

"Yeah, in terms of successful collaboration, I think it's pretty much what we've discussed so far. It's the simple things that really make the difference. So from everything I talked about around those 3 key areas to some of the elaboration Holly's given there, it's that relentlessness to get it right but also that relentlessness to understand us and be working towards the same goals. As I said at the start, I think we're fortunate enough to have had nearly 4 years under our belt working with 33. So that was a really big game changer and certainly made the difference for us. Just a relentless drive to get to the same point I think in summary is what made it successful."

Emma Jennings 00:42:50

"Thank you. Holly, would you echo that?"

Hollie Parsons 00:42:53

"Yeah, I think so. The most important thing was the collaboration virtually, but we were having a lot of time to build that connection and I think just having that personal connection as well with the team and just getting to know each other, build that trust. Having worked with 33 for such a long time, they understood our brand, they knew what we were about, and actually this felt like a really natural evolution of bringing our own employer brand to life. There was an ease in that because of that if we knew B&Q and understanding our culture already. So I think just having those relationships and when we hit any challenges, we were just kind of like right we're in this together, we're all one big team. I think that just made it fun and easy. Easy is probably a bit strong but you know, it made it much easier having those relationships already."

Emma Jennings 00:43:38

"That's brilliant. Thank you. Sophia, would you add that from a 33 perspective?"

Sophia Burchell 00:43:45

"Yeah, for sure. I think what made the collaboration really successful really comes down to sort of trusting each other and also both of us being prepared for something different and really new. Throughout the process, Holly and the team really knew what me and Jess were the creatives and they really trusted our decision making based on our expertise not only in the creative space but also the agency's experience in the DEI space as well. Overall, during this whole journey, we really saw ourselves as an extension of the team at B&Q."

Emma Jennings 00:44:17

"Great. It's very heartening to hear. Going back on to the engagement side of things, storytelling, how did you effectively engage your employees to take part in this campaign? Holly, I'll come to you on this one first."

Hollie Parsons 00:44:34

"Yeah sure. As I kind of started to talk about earlier, this was the most fun and actually so much easier than I thought it would be initially. We did our road trip, we went and met with colleagues and individuals in stores and at our head office, and it came really naturally where people talked really passionately about the brand. Coming back to the best kept secret, people really want to tell that secret. We had so many colleagues that we spoke to that we could have told their stories. The hardest part was choosing which stories we wanted to bring to life because we had a budget. We could have done 10 films, but we couldn't afford to so we did 5, but we absolutely could have picked a number of different amazing stories. The overarching theme was this general sense of belonging, people feel like they can be themselves here. What's really interesting, and I think it gives some people that ick, but genuinely the word that we kept hearing was even though we're a really large employer people kept using the word family. Coming to work feels like an extension of their family for some people that work here. These are the people that they love, care about, trust, and see every day. Some people don't necessarily have that family outside of work. It was super easy and powerful to hear the stories and engage our colleagues and so many wanted to be part of this. Leading on to the fact that the films are of our actual colleagues. We didn't use actors. The colleagues wanted to be part of this campaign. So yeah, really powerful."

Emma Jennings 00:45:47

"Wow, okay, so that's so lucky to have so many people forthcoming and sharing those stories and willing to be a part of it. Sophia, from a 33 perspective, how did you work with those B&Q employees to actually bring those stories to life?"

Sophia Burchell 00:46:00

"Yeah, so I think you obviously facilitated the introductions with all of their people and we needed to do this really ethically so we had quite an organized process to engage with the employees. We spoke with them over the phone and we started to build a relationship with them, made sure we created an environment that enabled us to build that relationship. We really wanted to tell these stories in the right way. When you're working with real people there needs to be that level of sensitivity involved. Making them feel comfortable was always our main priority. Once we had established the stories we were going to tell, we ensured that we discussed all creative decisions throughout the process with them."

Emma Jennings 00:46:40

"Thank you. In terms of embedding the campaign, Kate, I'll come to you on this question. What strategies did you use to embed the 'Belonging at B&Q' campaign?"

Kate Benge 00:46:50

"So with no additional budget allocated, that was quite a big challenge in itself. Initially, we took a business-as-usual approach. We decided to run the 'Belong at B&Q' creative in place of our main employer brand, 'Together We Can.' What this meant was that the creative did a lot of the heavy lifting to both raise awareness and also help drive on the application front. In the early days of the campaign, it was very much limited to our usual tried and tested core media like Google, Indeed, programmatic, and LinkedIn. We were monitoring and having quite a strategic approach in those four areas. Beyond the business-as-usual campaign, we gave the creative quite a prominent home on our career sites, alongside our other DEI messaging. We actually saw a 60% increase in page views in the first three months of the campaign, which we were super chuffed with. The creative was also shared via our organic social channels and was supported with assets for a rollout of the campaign internally. For us, this campaign was just as much about retaining our talent as it was about attracting new talent, so that was really important."

Emma Jennings 00:47:45

"Thank you. That's really helpful to hear. In terms of the challenges and solutions, what were some of the challenges that you faced during implementation and development of the campaign and how did you overcome them? Holly, I'll come to you first on this one."

Hollie Parsons 00:48:00

"Yeah, thanks. It wasn't all a bed of roses. There were definitely bumps in the road that we had to go through together. A couple of the biggest challenges were at quite a late stage in getting ready to film. We had two individuals that dropped out for different reasons. One had a family emergency, so the timing of filming didn't work for that individual, and the other individual just decided not to be part of it. It's really important to us that our colleagues felt comfortable and everything that we were doing, we were really clear around what would be involved, and they absolutely had the option to say actually it doesn't feel quite right for me. We were really honest around all the platforms we would share it on, where we were going to put it on the website. These films would be shown in a number of different areas internally and externally. So with all of that context, people just, you know, those two individuals had their reasons, and that's okay. But what that brings with it is the challenge of quickly trying to turn around and find additional stories to tell. Luckily, we did have a number of stories to choose from. However, the agility of what actually goes into getting to a film, like the relationship with the individual, understanding their story, the scriptwriting, and everything that goes into making sure we're really clear, we had to be super quick with some of that. Lining up that additional person was probably one of the challenges logistically for us. Also, it was really important to us that we work sensitively with our colleagues. We wanted them to be 100% themselves, so getting the balance right with the outcomes that we wanted to achieve from the films with the individuals feeling like they could be themselves and tell their story was important. For the individuals that did take part, these are really personal stories that mean a lot to them. It was really important to us that we portray them genuinely and in the right way, so navigating that sensitively was super important. The only other thing that I noted down was naming the campaign. Interestingly, we had so many names. What do we want to call it? The thing that felt so natural to us was 'Belonging at B&Q,' something that we use internally within our DEI activity and strategy for about three years. 'Belong at B&Q' felt like the right thing but the iterations we went through to get to that was a lot to get it right. So yeah, they're probably my top three things that spring to mind."

Emma Jennings 00:49:58

"And that makes so much sense considering so many of them were talking about family and that sense of belonging, and it ties really nicely into all of that. Jess, did that resonate with you in terms of your experience?"

Jess Middleton 00:50:10

"Yes, definitely. Holly and Sophia both mentioned about that comfortability in making sure that people were comfortable when they had the trust. Obviously, there was trust between us and B&Q but there also needed to be trust between us and the employees that we were going to do the best with what they were giving us. These are real people with real stories, and again, we had to be very sensitive in places. It was super important to build that trust and keep them in the loop the whole time. Going back to the ethical storytelling principles that Eleni was talking about, we made sure to listen to the input all the time. Especially when it came to filming, some people were comfortable with doing everything and anything, but others didn't necessarily want to film specific things. It was really important that we adapted creatively to make sure that everyone was comfortable."

Jess Middleton 00:50:58

"This was also pretty important when it came to the VOs. While the people that we see in the films were the real B&Q employees whose stories we were telling, the VOs were done by professional VO artists. These employees that we were filming weren't actors or professional artists, so they didn't necessarily feel entirely comfortable recording themselves reading their stories while they were entirely comfortable giving them to us and sharing them with us. They didn't essentially want to act out the script and follow our direction with that, so that led us to finding professional artists instead. But obviously, all of the choices in the actors and the artists ran past the B&Q employees every single time. That ties really into that sensitivity of figuring out what they're comfortable with and what they're not comfortable with."

Emma Jennings 00:51:43

"Thank you for sharing that. I think the next question, and we do have one question from an audience member which we'll come to in just a moment, but the last one of the last questions that we have here is how have you measured the impact of this DEI initiative? Kate, I'll come to you on this one. Measuring the impact of DEI initiatives and also this employer branding campaign as a whole and I guess the second part of that question is how you might continue to measure that success."

Kate Benge 00:52:06

"Yeah, of course. Being honest, initially our tracking didn't enable us to record results on ethnicity or many other DEI measurements as well as it could have. However, since the campaign launched, as Jess and Sophia mentioned earlier, we have seen a 32% year-on-year increase in our applications. We've seen a 111% engagement increase on Instagram and we've seen follow-up and repost increases on our LinkedIn pages too. So, definite uplift in activity in those areas. However, I think the biggest measurement of impact, as I mentioned earlier, has been internally. Holly said it, belonging is now really ingrained in our DNA. What was initially set up as an external campaign has actually had a really significant impact internally, which we've loved. In terms of measuring future success, we now have enabled elements of our DEI tracking. So quite simply, future success measurements for us will focus on a visible uplift in application hires, but also retention of diverse communities as well. So that's how we're going to be tracking moving forward."

Emma Jennings 00:53:05

"Thank you. That's really helpful to hear. The question from the audience is quite similar in terms of tying into measurements. The question is do you have stats on the impact of diverse applications at the moment? Obviously, it's looking ahead in terms of improving and uplifting that. Did you want to add anything else on that, Kate?"

Kate Benge 00:53:24

"Only to say what we are now able to do is monitor all of our diversity across not just our head office here in Southampton but across our store estate as well. It's very important that we are able to keep tracking that and linking that back to the campaign and the assets that we're using to have a really good understanding of what's working, what's connecting, and being agile in that space as well. A good learning for us having had such a successful campaign is being able to attribute that to some really strong measurements so that you can be super agile and quick to turn and change if necessary because that's just going to bring you more success if you're able to be quite responsive based on what you're seeing from a measurements perspective."

Emma Jennings 00:54:10

"Agility sounds really important to that flex. Eleni, did you want to add anything on that question so measuring the impact of DEI initiatives?"

Eleni Antoniou 00:54:18

"Sure. I think there's kind of two ways. I would split it into internal and external measures as well. Internal, there's always the anecdotal evidence that is also quite important. How was this received? That's hard to measure. What feedback are we getting from the employees from the wider business? Has this landed well? When it comes to some kind of harder metrics, again, always depending on what the campaign initiative is, we can look at whether a campaign has improved retention, whether there's been an increase in engagement with the employee resource groups, with internal DEI initiatives. I know some organizations try and encourage their employees to self-declare more so they can collect all of that data and then use it to identify where the gaps are. They often run internal comms campaigns to encourage that self-declaration as well. External is slightly more straightforward. Kate covered a lot of the measures that we would look at as well. So, things like engagement with the campaign, clicks, likes, shares, comments, all of those things, the year-on-year improvement in terms of applications overall, but also applications from certain demographics. An interesting point on that is that we did some research recently, and what it showed us is that a strong commitment to DEI and a DEI campaign will encourage applications from all backgrounds from all audiences, not just those that we might consider to be underrepresented or in the minority. Although we might set up to achieve a specific objective, we can see wider positive impact from a DEI campaign not just across certain demographics. Another external metric is looking at if we are targeting specific demographics and they are applying, also trying to track how successful they are during the selection process as well. A lot of organizations run social mobility campaigns especially in the early talent space. It's great to attract those audiences but we need to make sure we're also supporting them through the application process and ultimately, the hires that we're making. Although there are things that are going to be measured in the short term, very often the campaigns are about changing hearts and minds as well. Sometimes it might take longer than 6 months or a year to drive the message home and see the real impact the campaign has."

Emma Jennings 01:00:00

"Thank you. I'm slowly coming to the end of the session here, but very quickly, Eleni, what are some emerging trends or areas of focus of DEI for employer brands that are watching this?"

Eleni Antoniou 01:00:15

"Conscious of time, I can give you two that we've noticed working with our clients, especially in the last year or two. There is a move across the board towards, and I think that's been especially since the pandemic and the return to work, a move towards more proactively communicating about things like well-being, employee benefits, work-life balance, flexibility, and organizations using those as differentiators from their competitors. We never used to talk so much about these things or even run campaigns about those things before the pandemic. There's certainly a move towards that. The other thing we've noticed, and Kate alluded to that as well in some of the results that they've seen, is that DEI campaigns are not, a few years back we used to run DEI campaigns as a bit of a side thing. We had our main campaign and we had a small DEI campaign on the side. I think increasingly, we see the two merge. We see big recruitment campaigns that have DEI as a core objective and have DEI embedded throughout. We also see DEI campaigns being used as a wider recruitment initiative across the organization. Where we had two things running alongside each other and even competing with each other at times, we now see everything being more holistic and coming together."

Emma Jennings 01:01:30

"Thank you very much. That's a great way to end, looking at the future and looking ahead at what is merging. Thank you very much to our guest speakers today. Thank you, Holly, thank you Kate and to all at 33, Eleni, Jess, and Sophia. Just very quickly, a thank you to all in terms of key takeaways. I've noted down connection, communication, positive provocation as a good takeaway in terms of relationship building. Gaining employee feedback is really important, utilizing your data, measuring that impact, and taking learnings to identify those gaps and really tailor that to your future campaigns. Thank you to all of you for joining today's event. We hope you found the session informative. We'll be sharing the recording of the session and circulating that to you. If you have colleagues, friends, or networks that you want to share that with, please do share that around. We'll also be following up with a white paper on this topic covering those key themes that we've talked about and key takeaways. If you would like any further information on how 33 could support you with your DEI endeavors, campaigns, or projects, please do reach out to us. We'd love to hear from you at diversity@thirtythree.co.uk. We'll pop that on the slide in a moment. So just a thank you from me. Thank you to all of our speakers and thank you for joining. Have a great rest of the day. Thank you."

In this session, we discussed the steps B&Q took to uncover their truths and how ThirtyThree helped them to develop the 'Belong at B&Q' campaign which won Best Diversity and Inclusion Strategy at the EBMA Awards 2023.

Rewatch this session to:

  • Gain an understanding on how to work with a creative agency from creative direction to execution.
  • Understand the importance of effectively communicating your organisational challenges to develop a successful campaign.
  • Learn how to develop storytelling and communications to engage employees on culture and belonging.
  • Understand how to embed a campaign effectively and measure its impact.
  • Learn key takeaways for creating a successful DE&I campaign.

At ThirtyThree, we discuss practical ways to embed inclusion throughout your creative process to create content and experiences that resonate with diverse audiences.

Want to discuss how to create more inclusive communications?

Get in touch with us at diversity@thirtythree.co.uk.


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