Business Magazine

Welcome Original Thinkers

Posted on the 05 December 2016 by Candacemoody @candacemoody


I confess, I have a thing for undervalued Wisconsin Brands. I am one, myself.  (Born and raised in La Crosse, Wisconsin, named by an explorer for the game he saw Sioux and Winnebago men playing.) Many great brands have come from Wisconsin, including Bucky Badger , the newly-hip PBR, and J.J. Watt. Also Kimberly-Clarke, a 144-year-old brand that owns Kleenex and Huggies brands, among other absorbent products.

They’re headquartered  in Neenah, Wisconsin, located about 60 miles Southwest of Green Bay, population 25,000. Nearly one-quarter of the world’s population purchases their products every day, and in 2015, company sales totaled$18.6 billion. Solid company, world-class products. But as the race for talent heats up, they face a huge challenge: how to woo millennials to marketing and other jobs in a place many of them have never heard of — and that would not be considered a millennial magnet – The above-mentioned Neenah, WI.

According to an Advertising Age story, K-C needs to recruit 4,000 to 5,000 people each year to replenish and expand its workforce of more than 43,000. Attracting creative millennials to Neenah is an uphill slog, since the town offers almost none of the amenities young people crave unless they make the two-hour drive to Milwaukee or four-hour-plus drive to Chicago.

Appleton is actually a cool town that bills itself as the “Vermont of the Midwest,” so bearded hipsters may find its affordable lifestyle and stress-free commute a plus.  But you still have to help them see themselves in a role at the company.The company reached out to me to share their strategy for attracting “original thinkers”, launched in October.

Kimberly-Clark developed “Welcome Original Thinkers,” an initiative designed to “acknowledge the array of individual attributes that contribute to original, innovative thinking.” Kimberly-Clark identified eight Original Thinker types – including

Nonconformists, Disrupters, Makers and Adapters among others. (I tested out as a Muse, whose description is this: “Your warmth and natural empathy inspire those around you to do their best work. If you seem quiet, it’s only because you are considering so many creative options. You don’t feel the need to share every idea you come up with-just the brilliant ones.”)

The heart of the campaign is, a content hub launched this summer, which introduces visitors to real-life Kimberly-Clark Original Thinkers, Neenah-Appleton, WI and careers at Kimberly-Clark.

It is based on the notion that Kimberly-Clark employs the best minds and provides an environment that celebrates fresh thinking, new ideas and allows its people to re-invent how theydo business. See more at:

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