How to Choose Core Positioning for Your Employer Brand
The purpose of your employer brand’s core positioning is to highlight one overall characteristic that you most want people to associate with your organization as an employer. This single-mindedness is valuable from a brand communication perspective. Establishing one major brand association in everyone’s mind is generally easier than establishing many smaller ones.
You can still communicate a range of different messages to different target audiences, but try to incorporate these more specific and localized messages into one overall theme that provides a more consistent global umbrella.
Start with your corporate brand. If the corporate positioning translates well into the employment space, maintaining the same positioning in your employer brand marketing makes a lot of sense.
For example, for many years the heart of Microsoft’s corporate brand was the core purpose: “To help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.” This core positioning also worked well from the perspective of its employer brand positioning. Note, however, that you’re not locked into a single statement.
Microsoft used a number of different campaign headlines to convey its core positioning. On Microsoft’s career sites it used the line “Come as you are, do what you love,” which sums up the message that whatever experiences, skills, and passions you bring to the company, you can take them further with the resources of Microsoft behind you.
In a recent UK graduate campaign, Microsoft conveyed a similar notion through the line “What makes you, makes Microsoft.” Other good examples include GE’s “Imagination at Work,” EY’s “Building a Better Working World,” Ericsson’s “Taking You Forwards,” and Grant Thornton’s “An Instinct for Growth.”
Alternatively, you may find that your corporate positioning provides a good starting point, but you need to refine and sharpen the positioning to make it more relevant and compelling to current and potential employees. Deutsche Bank provides a good example of this approach.
The corporate positioning, “Passion to Perform” clearly set the tone for the employer brand, but the core positioning the bank chose for the employer brand was “Agile Minds,” delivering a more specific message about how Deutsche Bank performs — through the mental agility and quick thinking of its people. P&G’s longstanding employer brand focus on serving up a rich flow of stimulating challenges (“A New Challenge Everyday”) played a similar role in bringing greater personal relevance to P&G’s overall corporate positioning, “Touching Lives, Improving Life.”
You may also decide that a core positioning is unnecessary. Some companies, such as McDonald’s, attribute their EVP to a number of equally weighted pillars, without highlighting one overall characteristic. This approach provides their operations in different countries more flexibility in choosing how to position themselves in local markets, which fits the devolved and franchised nature of the business.
Given your organizational context, your approach to core positioning may be pretty clear. If it’s not, then short-list a number of potential options and test them alongside the EVP pillars among your target audiences, as explained next, before making a final decision.