Accelerated brand positioning illuminates a new image for an Internet pioneer


Far beyond ‘You’ve Got Mail’

On December 24, 2014, AOL asked if we could rally and rethink its careers portal – and launch it by January 1st. The project was more than site restructuring; it was a comprehensive employer brand initiative. While many of our staff had already left for the holidays, those who remained in town were up to the challenge.

Long known for ‘You’ve Got Mail’ and considered by many as an antiquated email provider, at first it was tempting to dispel this mythical image. Then we realized that wouldn’t be wise. We told AOL, “You’ve got to embrace your past or you can’t activate your future.”

That was the moment AOL’s core message emerged. Then we went to work reinventing AOL’s employer brand to raise the company’s talent acquisition efforts to stunning new heights.

Desktop with work sample for client

Embrace past. Activate future.

‘We’re taking reinvention to a whole new level’ became the new employer brand theme. There was still much more work to be done and not a lot of time to do it. We developed a new model for accelerated brand positioning. The cornerstone of this model – Create messaging with the right expectations so the right audiences take the right actions – kept the project team extremely focused.

We positioned AOL careers as unique, diverse and dynamic. Effectively expressing this relied on strong storytelling.

A dynamic brand system

We developed a brand system with unique careers identifier across story sections. We designed engaging icons to help jobseekers see beyond ‘You’ve got mail’. We scoured thousands of images to visually illustrate what it’s really like to work for a founding father of the Internet.

While AOL blazed the email provider trail it has adapted and changed with the times. Today it is an impressive array of brands, services and products. That’s why we shared the AOL story in its entirety. Each site section reveals a unique AOL value proposition with surprise and wonder at every scroll, click and hover.


Before ringing in 2015, we had an active career site that was simple and elegant. In the first few days of the campaign launch, metrics far exceed expectations and the quality and quantity of applicants skyrocketed.

Key Stats


New unique site visits


Ad impressions served
across the Internet


Reply rate for LinkedIn Inmail

All Work

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