Keep it simple

In addition to getting back to basics, even in a world where data and technology allow us to customize and segment messages and channels, it’s still important to keep it simple. This is as true – if not more true – in employer/talent branding as it is in product/service branding. Many employment value propositions and employer brands become over-complicated, and sometimes in so doing muddle their messages or confuse the potential applicant.

With a war for talent and a small percentage of active and passive candidates engaging with talent marketing communications, I’m a big fan of keeping it simple. You can always add detail later, but it’s often a barrier to starting the conversations.

Here are two good examples of a simple overarching idea supported by three key messages. You don’t need any extra information or to be an expert in employer branding to decode these messages; they’re explicit.

Coca-Cola Enterprises This employer brand is several years old now, but I still am a fan. It’s simple and it achieves its objective – which is covered here http://www.recruiter.co.uk/opinion/2012/07/finding-talent-with-a-thirst-to-be-at-the-top/. If you look at the careers site – http://careers.cokecce.com/en/experienced/ – it’s just as unambiguous: The overarching idea is THIRST – do you have it? And then three questions ask you if you might be right for the culture – it’s about Pace, Influence and Impact. It’s flexible enough to apply to range of roles. There’s another great presentation of the work here.

BP I’m not sure if this talent brand/EVP is even still in use, but I consider it a good example of a clear, simple and very flexible system. In this ad for BP Canada, you can see that the overarching message is “Are you up for the challenge?”. Then, there are three supporting message components – about the challenge itself; about you and the role you play in facing it; and what BP brings to help address it. Again, you don’t need any special knowledge to decode the message. It is simple, clear, direct and flexible. See https://gprc.ab.ca/files/careers/ktIJXRNOyLI7fMY4cukQ.pdf When connected to initiatives like the very cool BP Ultimate Field Trip for students — http://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/careers/hot-topics/uft-uk-winners.html – it’s a pretty powerful idea. Both of these examples might have neared or exceeded their shelf life and utility – since circumstancs change – but they are good examples and reminders of the power of a big idea and three simple supporting messages as a principle in good communications.

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