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  • Ton Rodenburg

It pays not to get hot in the Coolbox

The article below is the full version from the case study published in the World Employer Branding Day 2018 e-book where we asked industry experts from leading employer branding vendors around the world the following question,"What is the best employer branding initiative you have seen and why?

To us, the ultimate employer branding case was a project we did for the Amsterdam fire brigade. Their challenge was to recruit an extra 80 people, with a focus on more cultural and male/female diversity. The challenge was to reach this ‘hard to target’ diverse group of sportive people and ask them to change their lives and consider a career as a professional firefighter.

Everyone has images of working as a fireman/woman, but how can you communicate the challenges of the actual work undertaken? Not only reach people in their heads, but also in their hearts and even hands? It was the core behind the idea we developed: ‘Will you stay cool, when it gets hot?’

We created the ultimate fire fighter experience by developing the ‘Coolbox’ concept.

We developed an interactive event in the streets of Amsterdam, in markets and at festivals where we met our target audiences.

We build a complete simulation of a house on fire in a ’branded,’ rebuilt 24 foot container. Interested passers-by were invited to go in and save a person from this ‘house on fire’.

It became the ultimate recruiting instrument: attracting and very self-selecting. One group of people already decided it is ‘not for me,’ once seeing and hearing the Coolbox. Other groups thought, ‘let us try’, and came out coughing and disoriented after 30 seconds, having pushed on the emergency button they had around their necks. The third category was really challenged, and came out with the rescued ‘person’, full of pride and pumping with adrenaline.

It has been 10 years since the Coolbox was launched. Today, we see fire brigades all over the Netherlands using the same slogan, and the Coolbox is still sometimes used at fire brigade festivals to offer people the essential experience. The campaign generated hundreds of ‘pre-selected’ candidates and delivered 80 extra hires within 3 months, 9 months earlier than within the targeted year.

Meet Ton Rodenburg, strategy director at ARA Creative Agency at World Employer Branding Day 25-27 April 2018 when he presents with Danielle Valk and Danielle van Muijen, recruitment marketing advisors at Erasmus MC in a joint presentation to showcase the outcomes of a successful agency/client relationship: "Employer branding Erasmus University Medical Centre: working to get better"

To view the full agenda please click here>>

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