Cisco Systems - Communications Professional of the Year

 

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Company: Cisco, San Jose, CA
Company Description: Cisco is the worldwide leader in IT and networking. We help companies of all sizes transform how people connect, communicate, and collaborate.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications Professional of the Year

Nomination Title: Carmen Collins - Social Media Lead, Talent Brand

Tell the story about what this nominated communications professional has achieved since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. TEXT REDACTED FOR PUBLICATION

In early 2015, this is the kind of post you’d find on the @CiscoCareers social channels:

“#HotJob - Cisco is #hiring an #engineer in #SiliconValley. Join our team. (link here.)”

Between these job postings and regurgitating what the corporate social channels were posting, the result was a couple of likes, maybe a repost or two – all from recruiters. No one else was paying much attention (not even execs.) No engagement + low followers = nobody was listening.

Carmen Shirkey Collins spearheaded the effort to flip Cisco’s employer brand, and led the change with simple tenants.

1. Give social channels the human voice. Get real. It’s the “coworker voice.”
2. Put your best advocates – the employees – first. Feature employee-generated photos and stories for authenticity and trust.
3. Created the Life at Cisco blog featuring stories from employees, by employees
4. Have a little fun – it’s okay to let personality shine through

Now representing as @WeAreCisco, Cisco’s Talent Brand social presence grew significantly.

1. Twitter grew by 1150% in a year and a half, with 1.5-2X engagement above industry standards
2. A 1-year-new Instagram channel with little budget went from 0-15K with 3-5X industry engagement, even with an algorithm change.
3. A new addition – Snapchat. Created in May 2015 and featuring daily employee takeovers from around the globe, in 6 months, WeAreCisco has had 4M minutes viewed and a story completion rate of 60-70%.

For over a year, Cisco’s Talent Brand team talked about how to show its awesome work culture on Snapchat while staying true to the platform. The personal connections with employees and future talent had success on other channels, but Snapchat is like no other. Through social listening, the team knew there were some great #lovewhereyouwork ambassadors.

Carmen created the plan and got buy-in for Cisco’s first Snapchat channel. Carmen and team brought the ambassadors together (virtually, using WebEx) and asked them to be the Snapchat voice of the Talent Brand. They loved being a “VIP group” of influencers.

Carmen manages the logistics, ambassador comms and enthusiasm along with content prompts (the ambassadors call her “Lead Unicorn.” Employees sign up a month out on the calendar to be the Snapchatter for that day. Not only have they become mini-Cisco celebritites, but Cisco’s CEO and also its Executive Chairman have made cameos.

Due to its success. the NASDAQ asked the WeAreCisco employees to takeover the NASDAQ Snapchat account (and Times Square!) for Techies Day and a cross-over on WeAreCisco. It was the best metrics day to date for both channels!

Here’s an example of employee feedback on the program. “Does YOUR company trust you to be their voice??? Mine DOES!! This continues to be one of the best experiences I have had at Cisco and one that I think will be very rare among my peers.”

The results? Since launch (10 months ago) WeAreCisco has had 6M minutes viewed, 60-70% completion rate, and two direct hires from a platform activation.

Employees also love their new ambassadorship. “I've been an unofficial, voluntary Cisco brand ambassador for as long as I've been here (almost four years). I only knew a few of 'us' through working together and through global social media interactions. So, our voices, passionate, powerful, sincere - were not united. Carmen's Social Media project to bring us all together under the @WeAreCisco social media handle allowed us to transform from grass roots social media marketers to a small but mighty Cisco social media army.”

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) chief accomplishment of this nominated professional since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

1. Changed the social channels from @CiscoCareers (all about Cisco) to @WeAreCisco (all about the people)

2. Grew Twitter by 1150% in a year and a half, now with over 26K followers, with 1.5-2X engagement above industry standards

3. Started the Life at Cisco blog, featuring employee stories, bylined by employees. In 2016 grew it from one post a week to two, making it one of the most viral Cisco blogs.

4. Created the Snapchat ambassador program to start the WeAreCisco Snapchat account, featuring authentic, real-time employees through takeovers each day.

5. Launched and grew the WeAreCisco Snapchat account. Since inception (10 months), WeAreCisco has doubled their daily unique views and a has an average completion rate of 60-70%. Earned an ask by the NASDAQ to take over THEIR account for National Techie's Day. 20K reach that day alone.

6. Launched the first WeAreCisco Facebook Live in March of 2017. 20K reach.