Since Patti Temple Rocks helped introduce Dow Chemical Co.'s “The Human Element” corporate image ad campaign in 2006, it's gained a life of its own, she said. “It has taken hold in a way that's surpassed my expectations,” said the VP-global communications and reputation at Dow.
Last month, Dow rolled out the latest phase of the campaign, Web movies designed to show it “is not just a philanthropic effort—it's also a business effort, too,” said Rocks, who worked on the original “Human Element” campaign when she was an exec VP at GolinHarris before joining Dow. The two- and four-minute webisodes use candid interviews with Dow scientists to show how the company's innovations in areas such as solar energy and water desalination are making a difference around the world.
Through its agencies GolinHarris and Draftfcb, Dow is promoting the Web movies and linking to them from banners on news sites. The webisodes will also be featured on online video site YouTube.
Current TV and print ads direct users to newly redesigned Dow.com, where the Web movies are prominently featured. To date, Dow has spent a reported $100 million on the multiplatform “Human Element” campaign.
In addition to building appeal among U.S. customers, Rocks said the ads are helping Dow win respect globally as it enters foreign markets with partner companies.
The campaign has also had a strong effect on corporate recruiting. In an informal survey Dow conducted of 300 new hires in the U.S., 73% said the ads had an impact on their decision to join the company, Rocks said. Also, 91% said a branding campaign was important for a company. And Rocks added these weren't just-out-of-college recruits; many were midlevel hires.
The survey feedback was yet another validation of the campaign. “I work for a science-based company,” Rocks said. “I have to be in a position to talk about quantifiable metrics.”
Internally, employees are embracing the campaign's message, Rocks said, adding that people feel good about coming to work when they know they're doing something for the greater good.
Rocks said to expect TV and print creative in the coming year to reflect Dow's pending acquisition of specialty materials manufacturer Rohm and Haas Co. The estimated $18.8 billion deal is set to close in January.
“That moves us further along the spectrum of not just being a basic chemical company but a specialty-solutions chemical company,” Rocks said. “We're going to have to create "The Human Element' campaign that reflects the Dow of tomorrow.” —P.R.