If you want to create a strong employer brand, there’s a few things you really need: insights (and ongoing feedback) from employees and recruits; a purpose-driven strategy (eg., does the campaign address why the work matters?), partnership among departments, emotive storytelling, sound metrics and, of course, some sizzle. Heineken’s refreshed employer campaign – Go Places 2.0 – has all of the above and more.

  • Gain insights. Sure, Heineken is competing with other known consumer brands for talent, but like many other companies today, they’re also competing with tech companies and start-ups. So how do you entice people to want to work for your brand? Heineken conducted research in more than a dozen of its markets around the world to better understand its audiences’ needs and motivations. Based on feedback, they landed on a number of core pillars for its refreshed brand strategy, including authenticity (need for storytelling) and transcendency (ensure the brand means something more to people).  
  • Take a partnership approach. The most successful employer branding programs blend strategy and leadership from multiple departments and stakeholders. Having full support and sponsorship from senior management is also essential. Heineken recognized the importance of partnership and ensured there was a close collaboration between the marketing team and HR, as well as their agency partner.   
  • Connect with prospects through storytelling. In a series of hero videos, Heineken employees, across departments and geographies, focus on solving real challenges. I love the short video of Jasmine LiaoWhen she was tasked with launching Desperados, tequila flavoured beer, in a new market, she knew she needed to get the sales team excited about the new brand. So she turned their offices into a fun-filled party. In her 30-second video, she recreates the lively event and says: “Don’t delegate – inspire people with your passion.” Heineken is leveraging multiple channels, such as Facebook, Instagram and Glassdoor to tell its brand story.
  • Embed purpose. Heineken’s videos and stories are effective because they address why employees should come to work for them. At every turn, they showcase their entrepreneurial culture, demonstrate how they encourage bold and brave ideas, and enable employees to chart their career path.
  • Create advocates. We’re definitely seeing employee advocacy programs on the rise. In fact, research suggests that brand messages travel five times more when shared by employees versus official communication channels. Recognizing the power of its people, Heineken has created a campaign on Workplace by Facebook to drive awareness of Go Places 2.0 and encourage employees to post their own stories.
  • Measure impact. Heineken goes beyond tracking the number of qualified applicants to evaluating the whole employee life-cycle – interview process, the hiring process, managing performance, etc.  The ultimate measure for Heineken is based on performance and business results; hiring better candidates who perform even better in the business.

Job well done, Heineken.