Schwarz IT

Schwarz IT Bulgaria #UpgradeToGreatness

Employer branding from scratch

We had the goal to build Schwarz IT Bulgaria’s image as an employer basically from scratch, and subsequently lay the grounds for a successful recruitment campaign. All of this was to unfold at an already fairly tough market which according to statistics from the end of 2021’s second semester was characterized by exploding demand verses scarce qualified workforce (approximately 600 job postings per 1 IT developer).


Further complications came along with the post-Covid changes in the way of work which were even more amplified in the IT sector. Companies faced the challenge to keep their employees engaged, which resulted in lower retention levels. On the other hand, the big brands in the IT sector added more fuel in their employer branding communication in order to sustain their awareness.

We accepted the challenge to raise Schwarz IT Bulgaria’s awareness by a robust 30% and help the company recruit as many as 80 new team members.

The main problem we faced was the lack of awareness which at a market cluttered with messages with well-established competitors was reminiscent of the battle between David and Goliath. 

Employers branding campaigns had spread predominantly across ATL media and the big players on the market were investing substantial budgets in communication to sustain awareness. Their messaging had become very provocative and exclusive as a follow-up of the communication of the biggest fin-tech company on the market which many chose to follow.

We had to find a way to stand out from the crowd in a positive and inclusive way and communicate our employer value propositions. What we did was to face the challenges and turn them into opportunities. Indeed, it was a tough market and it was about to become tougher so we had to make sure to establish Schwarz IT Bulgaria as Tier 1 employer in a process of transformative growth. Since the top-tier job offerings were almost identical our way to differentiate was by the great variety of meaningful tech-forward projects with global impact. Last but not least, the remote model had challenged an already fragile loyalty in which we recognized an opportunity grow in a stable committed team.

Furthermore, we had to think in perspective and search for a long-term solution of the recruitment problem. Thus, we identified as main CSR topics education, empowering women in IT, and well-being as we recognized the potential to attract more talent to the IT sector by positioning it as more desirable to young people and women and by facilitating a good work-life balance which is a core value for both Gen Z and women juggling with multiple social roles. 

Strategic approach

Since our key goal was to increase the awareness by 30%, we started with some ground work. 

We carried out research in the IT sector: developers, IT media, stakeholders (Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies, Bulgarian Association of Software Companies, Bulgarian Outsourcing Association). The findings showed that only 10% of the respondents recognized Schwarz IT Bulgaria and the sector wherein it operated, and 20% of them associated the company with a positive image. In order to measure results we planned a second wave of the survey to take place one month after the campaign’s end.

At step 2 we cross-examined findings from the research with data collected during interviews to get a conclusive idea about the decision-making of our target group – highly-qualified job seekers in the IT sector. We identified 5 key motivators: better recognition, better potential, better position, better package and ultimately better team dynamics. This was important as our second goal was to facilitate the recruitment of 80 new top-skilled employees.

We matched the company’s core values with the key motivators to define the company EVPs:

Performance >> Better package >> Our remuneration is high, because our teams are high-performing

Responsibility >> Better recognition >> We bring innovation to billions of people around the globe

Vision-driven >> Better position >> We make the vision and we make it happen together

Enthusiasm >> Better potential >> We make challenge and stability co-exist. We are in for the long game

Partnership >> Better team >> We make tech but talk human. Once you are in you are part of the team.

In a market where everyone claims to be better, we opted out to be great. Based on the insight that to prospects, working for a great company, with great people is a true career upgrade we launched the #UpgradeToGreatness brand platform. As a great company we were looking for great people so we offered them exactly what they needed: a career upgrade to greatness.

This powerful brand platform enabled us to plan strategically a meaningful mix of content and adopt an always on approach across all stages of the marketing funnel.

The main requisites of our communication were a powerful employer brand video, a supercharged recruitment campaign, always on insightful content series, contextual comms at strategic touchpoints, internal team boost and of course, an integrated PR push.

Campaign roll-out

We launched the campaign adopting a multifaceted approach with a mix of PR, digital, events, out-of-home, internal comms and Schwarz IT’s own media.

We made an inspirational video with Schwarz IT people as a main vehicle of the campaign. We ran it on Facebook, LinkedIN, Instagram, and launched a programmatic campaign for detailed targeting. With a keen eye on relevance, we positioned the brand among players of Minecraft and World of Warcraft. We also ran the video in cinema with the screenings of Marvel movies and Avatar 2.

Meanwhile we ran sharp tactical campaigns with the #UpgradeToGreatness umbrella charged with all Schwarz IT unique value propositions aimed to recruit new talents.

We created a persistent flow of content across SoMe channels to raise the temperature of communication about what #UpgradeToGreatness exactly means. To create a strong and engaging content flow, we launched a number of content series that were continuously refreshed and upgraded on the way.

The #UpgradeToGreatness blog on the company’s website was created to feature Schwarz IT career upgrade stories. 

We created a PR platform based on the EVPs and key CSR topics. We carried out an integrated PR push with a powerful and differentiating employer brand narrative based on true value propositions across the most efficient channels:

  • Media relations (earned & paid)
  • Use of key organizations as media vehicles
  • Engage with targets audience through events & partnerships
  • Leverage CSR to earn media

We identified faces from all levels of the company to act as brand ambassadors in media, events and Schwarz IT digital outlets. We showcased their personal upgrade to greatness in a series of interviews and features in leading IT & business media.

Since alienation had been established as a problem, we made sure to stay on the pulse of all important events related to our main topics and demonstrated greatness first-hand via various formats: 

  • Insightful participation in panel discussions
  • State-of-the-art stand with VR experience on the future of retail
  • Tasty treats with playful yet straightforward recruitment messages

Schwarz IT’s sports community showed greatness in a few tournaments all year round and shared their love for sport with the IT sector by organizing the first corporate bike relay in Bulgaria.

To boost awareness, we upgraded communication with an OOH campaign on cherry-picked locations close to competitors’ offices.


During the course of the campaign, we upgraded to greatness with:

  • 88 media insertions in 12 months (average of 7 insertions monthly) with a PR equivalent to the tune of EUR 126,000
  • More than 3,600,000 video views: 3,000,000 in digital and 600,000 in cinemas
  • 8,000,000 impressions on social media
  • Estimated 1,100,000 reach of the OOH campaign
  • Meaningful participation in 20 events

We overachieved our recruitment goal by a striking 50%! As in result of the campaign Schwarz IT recruited 120 instead of 80 great IT developers

The campaign influenced positively the internal audiences as well resulting in a higher retention rate.

Last but not least, we carried out a second wave of the survey one month after the campaign’s wrap up which suggested that 62% of respondents recognized Schwarz IT as a leading company in the IT sector as opposed to 10% in the first wave. This means that we overachieved by 22% the initial goal to raise awareness by 30%.

Furthermore, the findings showed that the company’s positive image has increased from 20% in the first wave, up to 79%.

The results clearly demonstrate that #UpgradeToGreatness surpassed its function as an employer branding platform.