Recruitment, Branding, and Marketing Services for the Defense Contract Audit Agency
MarCom Group has had a strong professional relationship with the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) since 1999. The primary objectives have always been to attract applicants to DCAA's mission-critical, hard-to-fill auditor occupation and to increase the return on investment related to its recruitment and hiring activities.
Our original work for DCAA included designing a distinct recruitment brand for the agency, including a logo, tagline, and associated branding guidelines that we then incorporated into brochures, fliers, and a new career portal on the agency's Web site. Since then, DCAA has called upon MarCom Group periodically to update materials or create new ones using the same brand design. The materials we have created have been instrumental in DCAA's success in recruiting auditors and in the positive positioning of the Agency to achieve its overall targeted recruitment goals.
In 2011, DCAA tasked MarCom Group with developing an entirely new brand for the agency, as the existing designs were now nearly 10 years old and both DCAA and MarCom Group agreed that the time was right to refresh the Agency's image. To do the best possible job for DCAA, we approached the challenge as if DCAA were a brand new client, rather than one with which we had such a long, successful history. Our Director of Account Planning worked with DCAA leadership to arrange a series of focus groups with DCAA auditors and managers to understand the current personality of the Agency, what unique career opportunities it has to offer, and what, in the minds of current employees, are the pros and cons of an auditing career with DCAA.
The research uncovered a variety of marketing opportunities, as well as some areas where past efforts had fallen short. The focus group participants agreed with MarCom Group and senior DCAA management in feeling that that the existing collateral materials were dated in design, and they added that some of them were too bulky and overloaded with information for today's audiences. DCAA's new materials should be more concise in their content and emphasize a link to additional information on the career portal. The content would need to emphasize what DCAA auditors currently do, what is unique about the Agency's mission, and how that translates into a truly unique career opportunity, unlike a "typical" accounting career.
Respondents identified two areas of marketing opportunity: (1) emphasize the Agency's mission, and (2) align DCAA with the Government and the Department of Defense (DoD). The Agency's mission of protecting Government's and taxpayer investments in national defense is appealing to a new generation of civic-minded prospects, diverse in their backgrounds and viewpoints. Furthermore, where past experience had led to minimizing connections with the Federal Government and DoD, changes in the economy and public perspectives of Federal employment suggested that DCAA's image would now be bolstered by such associations.
Over the summer of 2012, MarCom Group presented a variety of options for the new "look and feel" of DCAA, including new logos, taglines, color palettes, and a more up-to-date writing style to communicate with today's prospects in a more approachable way. By mid-August, designs and written copy for a new brochure had been approved and sent to the printer, so that DCAA recruiters will have new tools to aid their recruitment efforts in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013. In addition, work is underway on an all-new career portal, incorporating the design elements of the brochure.
One key element of the new career Web portal under development will be a Career Preview video, already produced by MarCom Group and featuring interviews with real DCAA auditors. This realistic job preview (RJP) video explains the nature of DCAA's work, what it's like to be an auditor for the Agency, and all the benefits and advantages of a career at DCAA—all in the unscripted words of actual DCAA auditors and accompanied by original video footage of these same auditors filmed doing their jobs. Following the interview subjects as they visited contractors enabled the MarCom Group team to present the realities of DCAA work vividly and accurately, and also to showcase the kinds of state-of-the-art technology that auditors encounter as they review contracts for the Department of Defense. Featuring this video as a segment of DCAA's new career portal and using it in whole or part for other marketing ventures, such as the production of commercials, will contribute to DCAA's overall marketing and advertising efforts.