Jaclyn Welles and Maddie Gionet shared how they built out and deployed their Women of Corning campaign for Women’s History Month

We wanted this campaign to not only encourage young women to consider applying to work for Corning, but to inspire our fellow female employees to also share their stories of what it is like to work for Corning. Maddie Gionet
In early 2018, Corning Incorporated’s Corporate Communications department teamed up with Human Resources (HR) to begin planning a campaign to reach one of Corning’s target recruiting demographics — women aged 25 to 35.

That project became a series called “Women at Corning” that debuted this past March, in conjunction with Women’s History Month, and featured 11 original videos, feature content, and corresponding collateral promoted across Corning’s digital and social channels. Since its launch, the campaign has gone on to earn an honorable mention in PRNEWS’s 2019 Platinum PR Awards in the Social Media Campaign category.

It started when HR approached Jaclyn Welles, then digital communications supervisor, now communications operations supervisor; Maddie Gionet, senior social media and content marketing specialist; and Kathryn Allen, creative and design supervisor, to spearhead a project that would get women in the target audience inspired and encouraged to work at Corning.

They decided that to achieve this goal, they would feature 10 women from local Corning, N.Y. facilities and share their stories of how they're shattering myths about women in the workplace.

“We wanted to feature a very diverse set of women to target prospective employees in a variety of fields,” explained Maddie. “We wanted this campaign to not only encourage young women to consider applying to work for Corning, but to inspire our fellow female employees to also share their stories of what it is like to work for Corning.”

To begin the creative process, the team developed high-level messaging for the campaign’s narrative.

They crafted the campaign headline “Shaping a Brighter, Clearer Future” to evoke Corning’s role in developing products that can have a positive impact on the world with a subtle nod to one of the company’s favorite transparent materials – glass. The team crafted other messaging such as “The future is here. The future is her.” and “She’s a science rule-breaker.” for other campaign elements.

“We wanted to take some gender role stereotypes and flip them on their heads in a fun way with our messaging,” explained Jaclyn. “We crafted messaging around stepping up to the table in both high heels and loafers, as well as women being as strong as the glass they work with – which not only gives a nod to the stereotypes but also a nod to who we are as a materials science company.”

After deciding on their messaging hierarchy, Kathryn worked on developing the look and feel for the campaign.

It was important to Kathryn and their team that the campaign had its own signature look and feel. Through mood boards and test shoots, they identified their backdrop, color palette, and overall design style all before they started filming. They said this process helped them realize how important it would be to ensure that each woman’s personality came through in her materials.

With the groundwork for the campaign laid, the team began to identify the 10 female Corning employees who would share their stories.

And once all the featured women were introduced to the campaign, a video and photoshoot was held at Corning’s corporate headquarters.

We wanted to take some of the gender role stereotypes in this industry and flip them on their heads in a fun way with our messaging. Jaclyn Welles
They chose a glass sculpture in our headquarters for the backdrop of both the video footage and imagery. Aesthetically, they found it added visual interest without overpowering the subject. The team also liked that the sculpture is a large structure made of many smaller pieces, speaking to the idea of community and women helping one another — plus, it worked well that the artist, Harumi Yukutake, was a woman.

Throughout three days of shooting, the team captured inspirational stories from the women, learning more about their roles at the company, advice they might give to a young woman just starting her career, and what it’s like working for a materials science and engineering-based Fortune 500 company.

Once filming had finished, the team got to work on sorting through hours of footage.

“Because the women had such inspiring stories and amazing advice, it was challenging to only pick a few soundbites for each of their profile videos,” said Maddie.

“We wanted to tell stories that holistically went together,” explained Jaclyn. “There were things we had to cut from the group video that we absolutely loved, but most of the time those great moments made it to the individual videos we developed for each of the women.”

And what didn’t make it to the final cut of the videos was repurposed in the form of other content for the web and social components of the campaign.

The initial reactions to the campaign at the onset of March were overwhelmingly positive. Maddie Gionet
In an effort to ensure audiences were continually being served new and fresh content the deeper they journeyed through each of the women’s stories, the social content, video profiles, and web profiles all came from a different angle, sharing different parts of their stories.

Along with the digital and social materials, the team designed a poster series and banners for use at career and recruiting fairs for the HR team, leveraging the same look and feel as the other materials to showcase consistency throughout the entire campaign.

With all the campaign elements finalized, the team began to set a plan for a campaign launch in March – Women’s History Month.

“We couldn’t have planned the timing of the campaign launch any better with Women’s History Month,” said Maddie. “And it paid off – the initial reactions to the campaign at the onset of March were overwhelmingly positive.”

Promotions of the campaign mainly took place on Coring’s social media channels. To reach the target audience on a platform focused on careers and professional development, the team executed a paid campaign on LinkedIn. The team worked closely with HR to identify the right target audience to make sure those who were seeing the sponsored posts would actually be interested in learning more.

And, according to the team, the content has been performing particularly well so far — with click-through rates well above LinkedIn industry averages, as well as 831K impressions and more than 97K engagements to date across their targeted audiences.

On Corning’s organic channels — LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter — they have seen similar success.

But, on Facebook in particular, the team said they’ve seen a lot of community excitement and engagement with the content.

“The great part about the engagement we’ve been seeing on Facebook is that people have really been sharing it with other women,” said Jaclyn. “That’s been exciting for us because, even though Corning is a relatively small community, we can see that the content has really resonated. Even people from other companies are tagging colleagues and saying, ‘We should do this next year.’”

When you let their authentic voice shine through, their true story will be even better than what you imagined and help shape the narrative for your campaign Jaclyn Welles
Overall, through paid and organic efforts, the campaign has reached an audience of more than 1.8M and generated nearly 5K engagements. On YouTube, the videos have been viewed nearly 15K times. And they are seeing the audience cross channels to learn more – with the web pages associated with the campaign receiving 12K page views, with more than 58% of those views coming from Facebook and LinkedIn.

They have seen internal benefits to the campaign as well.

Jaclyn said the campaign was able to tie into their recently launched thought leadership program when a senior leader — who was a champion for Women of Corning program — got involved and shared the campaign with her connections and followers on LinkedIn.

“Having her share her thoughts around why it's important to celebrate women, beyond just Women's History Month, as valuable assets to Corning and other companies worldwide was really exciting,” said Jaclyn. “And we hope to continue to hear more stories of women at Corning encouraging our employees and sharing this great work across their channels as well.”

The team said the most important component of the campaign was making sure they were telling the women’s stories as authentically as possible.

“From a content development perspective, there were so many things we wanted to say, but we really needed to figure out how we could authentically tell each woman's story that makes it unique,” said Maddie.

And, for anyone looking to develop a similar campaign, Jaclyn emphasized keeping that focus of authenticity above everything else. “When you let their authentic voice shine through, their true story will be even better than what you imagined and help shape the narrative for your campaign,” she said.

“Go in with a plan but be open and flexible to let the story guide you,” added Maddie. “Be curious to understand what their story is so that you can tell that authentic, genuine story.”

To check out the campaign, visit: www.corning.com/SheIsCorning

Maddie Gionet and Jaclyn Welles have been part of the SocialMedia.org community since 2018 and 2012, respectively. You can follow them both on LinkedIn.