Bold Content Case Study: Southwark Council Recruitment Film

How we created a down to earth recruitment video for Southwark Council


When Southwark Council needed to hire a Chief Executive, they approached us about creating a video to support the recruitment process and to help attract the right candidate to Southwark. In their brief, they said they wanted to communicate the values of the council, tell the story of the borough, and tease out what’s unique about Southwark, and talk about their ambitions moving forward.

We were very excited about the fact that they were proposing to use video as a medium to attract the best talent. Just by going the extra mile in the creation of a video showed commitment to the process, an understanding of how people like to be communicated with, and it treats the role with the importance it deserves.

In their initial brief, Southwark Council provided us with a reference video from another London borough who had recently tried to recruit a suitable Chief Exec.  Whilst the example video communicated all the key messages, it did so in a way that wasn’t very imaginative. We suggested to Southwark Council that if they were to take a leap of faith with us, we’d help them create a video to communicate their values, tell their story and appeal to prospective Chief Executives.  

We took their brief, twisted it, turned it, looked at it from all the angles, then asked the right questions to challenge the brief, to sense check it and ensure we fully understood their requirements. We looked again at the competitor video… and suggested doing the opposite. 

They liked our bold approach, and went with us. Despite the very short turnaround (7 days to be precise!) we are proud of the recruitment video and think that it effectively communicates the strong community spirit of Southwark. 

What this video also demonstrates is how to communicate an organisation’s values in film. Instead of just having people saying the values or listing them with text on-screen, we interviewed different people from Southwark Council and from the wider community in a documentary style, to give a flavour of how the council uphold those values. To make sure the video was authentic, we got the interviewees to answer in their own words – which subtly helps to communicate that this is a passionate Council that cares about its community. 

What’s more, we wanted this video to say something different. Any prospective Chief Executive will be provided with written information about the values of Southwark Council so we wanted to make sure this video showed how the values are lived, interpreted and exemplified in the work that the council do.  

We did our research and spoke to Southwark Council’s recruitment consultant to find out exactly who the target audience was for the video and what quality they were looking for in candidates.  They told us that resilience, intelligence, creativity and tenacity would be key qualities they’d look for, so we created a script and concept that would appeal to these types of people.

Southwark Council were happy for us to not shy away from the challenges that the job will bring. We felt that the prospective candidates would be more likely to be motivated rather than scared off by it, so when we wrote the script we leaned into the fact that there will be challenges facing the successful candidate.  This might seem counterintuitive as the tradition for recruitment videos is to sugar-coat what it’s like to work at an organisation, however, we’re appealing to a passionate target audience who would want to make positive change in their new role.

The result is a down-to-earth, documentary style recruitment video that gets to the heart of the council’s shared values. 

How we add value as a video agency


The council had reached out to a number of Southwark-based video companies to get competitive quotes. All of them said that they could deliver the video that was asked for in the brief, within the given budget.  Apparently we were the only ones to challenge the brief. This was a risky strategy for winning new business but thankfully the marketing team liked what we had to say about making a video that was much more authentic than the example they had provided in the brief. If they hadn’t, then they probably would have ended up with a long overly-corporate video featuring school children disingenuously reading scripted dialogue about what they want from a new Chief Executive. So we are grateful to the council for letting us create a different type of recruitment video that truly reflects the spirit of Southwark.

The London Borough of Southwark is home to some of the most exciting cultural locations in the capital. From Shakespeare’s Globe, Borough Market, the Tate Modern and the Imperial War Museum, Southwark is brimming with international tourism. But it’s also a major business hub for the city and home to a population of 317,256 residents (according to the 2018 Census). Through our honest and down-to-earth approach to filmmaking, we’re really proud to have helped to recruit a suitable new Chief Executive for such a vibrant and diverse borough of London.

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