To create Wagamama an Employer Brand that would ‘reimmerse them in the cool space’ of today.
In 1992, when they first opened in Bloomsbury ,London, wagamama represented the high watermark of cool, new, exotic eating experiences. Fast forward to 2011 and wagamama had grown to become a fixture of UK high street eating. However, in order to meet the increased demand for staff, the stringent ‘cool’ policy – that had given wagamama its distinctive identity – had to be relaxed. New people joining the business had the skills but weren’t necessarily aligned with the ‘cool’ individualistic brand identity that had first brought success. wagamama wanted to be cool again but (Nineties revivalism aside) things had changed since 1992.
The Employer Brand we developed – based on the strapline ‘be you. be wagamama’ –revolutionised wagamama’s employee communications strategy. Showing their employees in all their unique glory – whether they had pink hair, tattoos, body piercings or whatever – won over the hearts and minds of existing employees and the target audience of candidates who would being their vibrant personalities to the business. We developed new UK and US staff handbooks as well as internal and online external recruitment campaigns including banners and Facebook ads, all pushing the enticing blend of diverse individuality and blue-chip security. Filled with vibrant colour, motion and a playfulness deeply embedded within wagamama values, the refreshed Employer Brand is a highly sophisticated reimagining of an already huge success story.
Our advertising campaign drew applications from some of the most talented – and remarkably dressed – people in the industry. We also took the brand global with a new staff handbook, spec sheets and attraction campaigns for the USA. The figures add up to a phenomenal ROI, with:
· Daily applications (which had gone down to 4 per week) leaping to 75 in the first month, and later peaking at 140
· Applications doubling for team member roles in new restaurants
· A 16,700% increase in difficult-to-recruit kitchen porter applications
On paper, it looks like we worked miracles. Though things worked out very well for wagamama and won us the award for Best Employer Brand at the RADs (the advertising industry’s Oscars), all we did was add some creative spark to our accurate, research-based insights. The perfect recipe for Employer Brand success.