Kimberly-Clark On a Hunt for ‘Original Thinkers’

They’re feeling the need to keep older workers’ knowledge with them, but simultaneously bring on millennials and brand themselves as cutting-edge, innovative companies: I’m talking about GE, Mastercard, ADP, and many others, including now Kimberly-Clark.

The maker of Kleenexes, Cottonelle, and Huggies is launching a new marketing program aimed at attracting engineers, product developers, and marketers.  

It revolves around creativity and innovation. “We’re on the quest for original thinkers,” the company says. 

Frans Mahieu, global marketing director, people strategy, at Kimberly-Clark, says that a little over a year ago the 144-year-old company realized “the market for top talent is becoming tighter and more competitive.” It asked itself what it could do better to get top talent, particularly to its large Neenah, Wisconsin, location. 

The end result is a new Kimberly-Clark website. It features a variety of “original thinker” employees: one developed a bladder-support product. A couple others changed the way Huggies are marketed. Two more developed vitamin-infused facial wipes. 

Part of the site involves an “original thinkers” quiz. You’re asked, for example, how you’d run a local recycling program. Create a slogan? Gather opinions from neighbors? Or, would you question why this is a priority in the first place, over safety and security?

The quiz then tells you what sort of original thinker you are, such as a “dreamer,” or “nonconformist,” or “inventor.”

I’m an “analyst,” it says, then showing me jobs that fit this sort of “original-thinker” personality. My job list is actually a list of all jobs; in other words, the quiz isn’t a screening tool. Mahieu says the quiz is meant to be not about the company, but about candidates, a way for them to learn about themselves as well as to show that the company is looking for different kinds of people. It’s also a good conversation-starter between the company’s recruiters and candidates, he says. 

Mahieu notes that innovation is one of the four company core values. So, he sees this whole campaign not so much as rebranding, but as showing people what the company has always been about. Kimberly-Clark is working closely with a boutique Atlanta agency called Relish Marketing on the project.

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To promote the new site, the consumer-products company is advertising on LinkedIn and Facebook, such as buying “boosts” and banner ads targeted to people by location and job to promote this program. Using A/B testing, it’s seeing what ads work.

Then it’s launching an “influencer marketing program,” approaching bloggers who write about careers, lifestyle, and similar topics to make sure they’re aware of the initiative.

The “original thinking” theme will ultimately spread throughout all of the company’s recruiting, such as its job posts and college recruiting tours. Kimberly-Clark is driving, via social media, people in North America to the new original-thinker site, but for now the company’s main career site will remain for jobs outside of North America.