Case Study: "Work Where There's Room to Play" Video

Watch: "Work Where There's Room to Play"
The City of Frederick developed a three minute film, "Work Where There's Room to Play," to showcase the benefits of working in Frederick, Maryland. From thriving Downtown Frederick to outdoor activities, the film highlights the opportunities of life outside of work.  

The project was developed after Tech Frederick, a Frederick area non-profit that advocates for the local IT industry, indicated recruiting top talent to Frederick was a priority. Frederick is the northern anchor of the I-270 Technology Corridor, and is home to many IT companies. But when it comes time to recruit talent, many local tech companies say they are competing with larger cities with tech clusters such as Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA. The video was intended to promote Frederick as a great place to live and work and give IT companies another tool to attract high quality employees. The video also serves as a retention tool, giving our IT companies a way to attract talent and grow in Frederick. 

The video was launched at a live event and simultaneously via Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Facebook analytics was the primary method of tracking the viral reach of this video.

“Work Where There’s Room to Play” specifically was produced to target the millennial workforce, and more specifically, millennials interested in tech careers. While this was the primary audience, the video was also produced broadly enough to bring out the pride people have in Frederick, so they were more likely to share the video.

The project had three main objectives:
  • Develop a Tool to Support the Local Tech Industry – IT is a targeted industry for Frederick. The video was developed to support local IT companies’ recruitment efforts. Both The City and local IT companies can use the video to grow the IT workforce and strengthen the industry in Frederick. By supporting local tech companies, the project also serves as a retention tool to help keep our companies strong and growing.
  • Brand Frederick as a Great Place to Live and Work -While the film was produced with IT professionals in mind, it was also developed to have a general appeal. It was important to showcase Frederick as a lively and active city with a great quality of life. 
  • Drive Traffic to Tech Frederick’s Jobs Page
The development, collaboration, and quality production of the video were keys to its success. Local company, Digital Bard, produced the video in partnership with The City of Frederick’s Department of Economic Development (DED). 

DED developed the video's talking points, secured the volunteer cast, and managed the video launch strategy at a live event and online to maximize results. Digital Bard refined the storyline and oversaw the production and editing.

Real community members were recruited to deliver the points in the video. All of the characters are strong supporters of Frederick and well-known in the community. None of them were compensated for the video and all agreed to be in it on a volunteer basis.  

Success relied on the viral spread of the video, not paid advertising. Only $50 was used to promote the video on Facebook, and accounted for less than 5% of video views across all platforms.

Casting was an important element to the video’s storyline. Digital Bard and DED identified four different “personas” to tell the story, and cast community leaders approriately. 
The Debut
A highly coordinated video release was planned to gain the maximum benefit and reach. It debuted in front of a live audience during “Movie Night on the Creek” on August 21, 2015 with 250 people in attendance. It SIMULTANEOUSLY launched on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The live debut was newsworthy, and was covered by regional news station WHAG and local newspaper Frederick News-Post. 

In the spirit of collaboration, partner organizations Downtown Frederick Partnership and Visit Frederick agreed to let DED use their b-roll at no charge. This supplemented original footage shot for the film. Digital Bard provided $2,500 in in-kind services to produce the project. The private in-kind contributions helped to leverage the project. For every $1 that the public sector put into the project, the private sector provided an in-kind contribution of $1.84. 

The project was a success in every sense. Within 10 hours, the video was viewed 15,000 times on Facebook (organic) and it was clear it was “going viral.” 

Facebook results* (as of May 2016) were outstanding:
  • 62,914+ viewed the video with a 26% completion rate (an additional 3,720 viewed the video on YouTube)
  • The post reached 139,372 
  • Engagement: 7,239 likes, comments, and shares
  • Post was SHARED 1,529 times
  • 22,393 post clicks
*Results are largely organic; a $50 promoted Facebook post only accounts

Reaching the Targeted Audience via Facebook
A small portion of our reach was via a promoted post ($50) on Facebook. This allowed us to access specific data on the demographics of who this post was reaching.  It demonstrated our post was primarily reaching those in our targeted millennial demographic. 
  • 65% of all video views are from people under 44 (3,100 views in this sample size)
  • 68% of all impressions are from people under 44 (9,056 impressions in this sample size)
The video has earned two awards: 
  • Silver Addy Award - American Advertising Federation of Greater Frederick (local chapter)
  • MEDA's 2016 Marketing Award - Maryland Economic Development Association (statewide) - Watch Video

PR/Additional Exposure
Because of the quality and success of this video, The City of Frederick’s Department of Economic Development had additional opportunities for exposure.  They included:
41% Increase in Facebook Likes on DED Page
The DED Facebook page “likes” increased from 640 August 15 (prior to video) to 901 on September 10 (after video release). This represents a 40% increase in just a few weeks.
Traffic to Tech Frederick Jobs Page

A goal was to drive people to see the Tech Frederick jobs page. 548 clicks to their jobs page was a direct result of the video marketing campaign, as tracked by a link.  

Use of Video by Tech Companies in Frederick
Regent's Careers Page
The video was unveiled at Tech Frederick’s quarterly event. Companies have anecdotally said they are using the video in recruitment efforts and are directly sending the link to interested applicants, especially those out of town, to help influence their decision. Our largest tech company in Downtown Frederick, Regent Education, has the video posted on their Careers page. Additionally, they worked with Digital Bard to produce a companion video, “Why Work at Regent,” to accompany their recruitment efforts.

Budget and Leverage

$3,000 – Production of Video
$50 – Cost to promote the post in Facebook
TOTAL: $3,050 

In-Kind Contributions: Valued at $5,600

While there was not a direct private cash investment in the production of the film, there were several in-kind donations that contributed to the project that were valued at $5,600. The private in-kind contributions helped to leverage the project. For every $1 that the public sector put into the project, the private sector matched provided an in-kind contribution of $1.84. 

In-kind contributions included:

Digital Bard - Production costs for the video exceeded DEDs budgeted contribution. Digital Bard’s costs were a total of $5,600, which means they contributed $2,500 in in-kind services to produce the project.

B-Roll Footage – In-kind video footage was donated for the film from the following:
  • Tourism Council of Frederick County
  • Downtown Frederick Partnership
  • Mike Purks, citizen drone footage
Digital Bard, the production company, estimated that footage licensing from these entities is valued at around $2,000. 

Talent Fee for Narrator, Ashley Miles - Digital Bard, the production company, estimated that a reasonable talent fee for the narrator would be $600. She donated her time and talents. 

Use of video equipment and screen to debut film before feature presentation at Movie Night on the Creek (Downtown Frederick Partnership) – no hard figure

Cost Value of Project (calculated in December 2015) - To evaluate the value of the project from a cost perspective, DED determined the 
1) cost of each impression 
2) cost of each video view compared to the cost of the video production. Here is a summary of the results.
  • Cost per impression: $0.016 The total cost of the video production ($3,000) and to promote the post via Facebook ($50) was $3,050. The video’s Facebook impressions were 138,730. Additionally, a press release was distributed via PR Web. PR Web reported that there were an additional 49,988 headline impressions from the press release distribution. The total impressions from these two measurable distribution channels combined were 188,718. Considering these figures, the total cost per impression was approximately 1.5 cents or $0.016. 
  • Cost per Video View: $0.05 - The total cost of the video production ($3,000) and to promote the post via Facebook ($50) was $3,050. The video’s Facebook views were 62,126. Additionally, YouTube views accounted for an additional 1,494 views. The total video views from these two measurable distribution channels combined were 63,620. Considering these figures, the total cost per view was approximately $0.05 or a nickel. 
Based on these calculations, the exposure the video generated was pennies on the dollar compared to the costs of the project.  

Best Practices
A similar project can be developed within other communities. Attracting and keeping a skilled workforce is important for business retention. Developing a video that highlights the benefits of the community helps all businesses attract talent.  

Best practices for this project included:
  • Using local, volunteer talent to talk about the community 
  • Targeting the intended audience on a platform where they are active (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter)
  • Launching the video during a live event proved to draw additional media attention with local TV coverage
  • Leverage the opportunity for additional PR – Offer to guest blog about the success of the project and submit it to partner organizations
  • Provide a “toolkit” to businesses with links to the video and instructions on how to use it in their recruitment efforts 
  • Never underestimate the power of a proud community – The genuine pride in the video shines through in the testimonials from the characters and contributed to the viral spread of the video