Christmas consumer campaigns and Employer Brand management

4th December 2015 / By


4th December 2015 / By

So here it is, the time of year when the biggest retail brands reveal their festive masterpieces. The bandwagon keeps going and everyone (me included) shares, comments upon and has an opinion on these clever, humorous, magical, insightful and emotional mini-films from the likes of John Lewis, Burberry, Argos, Boots, Currys PC World and Mulberry to name just a few.

I’m sure everyone has their own favourites. I certainly do and it has to be the series of ‘Spare the Act’ adverts for Currys PC World – quite brilliant for the brand positioning, customer insight, scripting and of course delivery from Jeff Goldblum. So funny and relatable.

As for budgets, I’ve heard costs quoted at around £10m for some of the campaigns – and why the hell not? After all, they’ve been planned, developed and executed by some of the creative industry’s most brilliant minds. And I know campaign measurement will be down to the millisecond of interaction and constantly being optimised.

The result will without doubt attract huge volumes of customers, raise brand awareness (and reputation), generate increases in trading revenues and, of course, profit. Good on them, and for beautiful creative solutions like these, it’s a price well worth paying.  But why isn’t this enough?

The thing is, once the decorations are up, Santa’s lists have been posted and Jeff has shared a few words of acting wisdom, the big budget campaigns become the responsibility of the employees; they have to convert visitors into customers, deliver a consistent brand experience/promise and ultimately control the sales volumes that the business hope to see for their brilliant marketing efforts.

Of course, this is the case throughout the year but this peak in investment highlights the expectation on employees and, for me, further supports the need for brands to invest in defining their Employer Value Proposition and managing their Employer Brand.

Why? Well the impact of a robustly developed EVP will have a hugely positive impact on productivity, engagement, brand awareness and your ability to hire and retain the very best, most suitable talent for you brand.

(Action 1) So a little Christmas wish from me: brands (and brand-leaders), please join up with your HR function and understand the value of clearly defining who you are as an employer.

(Action 2) It’s key that you apply the same focus on creating and delivering consistent candidate and employee experiences as you do for your customers and clients.

(Action 3) Think about all your talent groups and who you need to help deliver consistent brand experiences, and of course to deliver on your corporate vision. Then understand the value of educating your HR Teams, Business Leaders, Line Managers and Employer Brand Ambassadors to deliver experiences reflective of your EVP.

(Action 4) Just like brands are challenging convention at Christmas time with Men on the Moon and spoofing Billy Elliot, don’t be afraid to challenge convention in defining your EVP. Apply the same clever, humorous, magical, insightful and emotional components as with the consumer brand. I don’t mean make stuff up, you absolutely have to be authentic and credible but work hard to uncover and define what is at the heart (literally) of your employer value proposition – the thread that holds everyone and everything together.

(Action 5) Develop emotional drivers that make (and will make) the most suitable talent go above and beyond the expected – making sure you can dial up and dial down different proof points for different audiences across your organisation. Differentiate yourselves and shift the level of engagement of your talent from a rational one to an emotional one. Candidates too – connect with them emotionally before asking them to make a rational decision and hit the ‘apply’ button.

(Action 6) And measure everything!

Oh but just a little note to go with the drink and mince-pie – the brilliant creative minds that you need to help you define your EVP and manage your Employer Brand (from whichever agency) are some of the best in the industry too and can’t be engaged on a shoestring (although happily nowhere near £10m!).

We’re very proud at Hodes UK to work with a number of fantastic convention-challenging clients: brands who have embraced employer branding, creating EVPs that centre on their end user and hang off emotional drivers. With no corners cut, everyone across their businesses understands the value of having a powerful joined-up approach to managing their Employer Brand.

One little confession though – one of our clients is Dixons Carphone – yep; responsible for my favourite Christmas TV advert.