Small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) are the backbone of the nation’s economy, representing over 98% of the workforce, producing approximately 50% of the US GDP and nearly 40% of scientists and engineers. This is where innovation is happening. These small business owners report that HR-related needs—handling payroll/employee taxes, providing access to the best benefits package for employees, complying with state and federal regulations, reducing admin costs―are a major drag on time and energy.
Over 900 organizations in the US offer human resource products and/or services to SMBs. The market is crowded and largely undifferentiated, filled with me-too messaging. Breaking out of the pack with a distinctive brand identity, message and voice represented a significant potential for awareness and growth for our company.
Since our founding in 1988, we have served thousands of SMBs with human resource expertise and comprehensive HR solutions. Yet, under-investment in our brand contributed to low company awareness and long selling cycles.
We redefined the HR category centered around the theme of humanity. Our creative message was simple: these people matter. They are visionaries and dreamers—often quirky, yet always determined to realize their big ambitions.
Our brand campaign celebrates the hard-working and diverse employees of our 16,000+ customers. The SMBs featured in our campaign are a cross-section of American entrepreneurism. We highlighted the people in an authentic way in their everyday work settings, captured by world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz, in candid and powerful black and white photos.
The campaign included creative collaboration with additional distinguished artists—including a digital docu-series produced by Galen Summer and The New York Times—and encompassed TV, radio, out-of-home, digital and a takeover of Grand Central Station.
Our impressive results include:
• Omnichannel campaign generated 240 million impressions during first half of 2019
• Unaided brand awareness increased 300% in 2019
• Share of media voice increased 30% with a 97% positive media sentiment
• Out-performed industry norms in digital and social
• Double-digit increase in inbound marketing leads
Most gratifying is that we shined a light on the unsung heroes of our society. Heroes that are building a dream and making life better. And we are proud to share their incredible stories.