Mr Price “Join the Dreamers” graduate recruitment campaign for 2019 won the SAGEA Award for Best Integrated Campaign in the category for employers who recruit up to 20 graduates per year

MR Price Delivers on their Dreams

The Mr Price “Join the Dreamers” graduate recruitment campaign for 2019 won the SAGEA Award for Best Integrated Campaign in the category for employers who recruit up to 20 graduates per year – a dream come true for the Mr Price team who introduced their graduate recruitment programme in 2017.

If, like me, you think BIG when you think Mr Price you will be surprised to learn that this campaign was formulated and executed on a relatively small budget.  So, how did Mr Price pack so much punch with limited resources?  I spoke to Roxanne Swanepoel, Talent Acquisition Manager, Cloe Murugan, Talent Pipeline Specialist and Aimee Foss, Talent Acquisition Specialist at the Mr Price Group to find out.

The campaign had the following key objectives:

  • to position careers in retail as careers of choice; showing students how the retail environment can allow them to apply their learning, add value, and continuously develop new skills in various roles relevant to their qualifications, interests and personality;
  •  to create opportunities for students to experience the Mr Price Group culture and connect with the brand in a meaningful way;
  • to make connections, for students to express their interest and apply, culminating in good fit placements.

The Campaign Elements

This integrated campaign made use of elements such as banners, handouts, video, social media (Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn), website, competitions, presentations and career fairs, to ensure meaningful information at various touch points and to cater for different ways of consuming information. The aim was to communicate the Mr Price Group culture – dreaming big, making things happen and ordinary people doing extraordinary things, in addition to technical information around roles, development and benefits. The messaging and look and feel used across all platforms were consistent, with additional content (with different messaging) on social media. Each medium had a slightly different purpose; the banners let students know who the Mr Price Group is and their identity at first glance. Video’s spoke to culture, MRPG people and their experiences. The conversations at career fairs and presentations gave students more detail about the roles (from finance to planning, merchandising, buying and design to textiles and logistics). Handouts were a keepsake with information about the roles as well as the teams’ details and a reminder for them to connect.    Finally, social media platforms were used to create brand awareness and facilitate engagement through posts and a live competition at career fairs as well as to facilitate a call to action.

Campaign Development

The talent acquisition team worked closely with local Durban agency, PlusNarrative who have also partnered with Mr Price on community management programmes and have a deep understanding of the brand.  PlusNarrative designed the look and feel of the campaign as well as rolling out much of the social media execution, including the mechanics and algorithm behind the live Instagram competition held at career fairs.  Career fairs and presentations were executed by the talent acquisition team with input from key areas of the business that they wanted students to learn more about.

Return on Investment

Much of the social media success of the campaign relied on organic, rather than paid-for reach – and this objective was achieved with some posts generating in excess of 15 000 impressions.  Applications for 70 positions on the work experience programme increased from 1500 in 2018 to around 2000 in 2019.  Following the work experience programme, feedback from line management suggested that 85% would hire the graduates they had interacted with during the programme – testimony to the quality of graduates that were attracted.

The future of the campaign

The team have been delighted with the results delivered by their 2019 campaign and are already thinking about plans for this year.  They are in the fortunate position of having a strong retail brand which appeals to a young target marke, coupled with high brand recognition.  What they do have to work on is attracting young people to a career in retail and educating them around the exciting opportunities available.  Their 2020 campaign will represent threads from last year’s campaign, but it won’t be the same!

Lessons Learned

Roxanne, Cloe and Aimee felt that their focus on the individual and connecting with students before they had a conversation about Mr Price had been a key success factor.  In other words, they made sure their interactions were, firstly, about the student and who they are, with talking about Mr Price being secondary.

Because Mr Price believes strongly in “hiring for attitude and training for skill” they are more focused on what is unique about each person which means they are slightly less concerned with academic excellence – they must have the right processes to identify the x-factor they are looking for! 

Finally, they have realised that there is still a lot of work to be done in educating young people to see retail as more than just fashion, homeware or sporting goods stores – it is an exciting industry to be part of with a dynamic variety of career opportunities.