What do the automotive industry and employer branding have in common?

Are you in the market to buy a car? Station wagon, 5-door, hybrid drive or electric car? You must make a tough choice. Nowadays, nearly every car manufacturer offers every type of car. Great showrooms, price concessions and a gift on top are virtually standard fare for any garage. The competition for customers is fierce, and providers are constantly trying to outbid each other. The automotive industry, like so many others, has a problem, its products are often interchangeable and the markets are oversaturated. This applies not only to the consumer goods markets, but also to the services and capital goods markets.

Values provide stability

Manufacturers have learned that in addition to the design quality of their products, it is also important for buyers to know what they stand for and what values they live by – which helps them to make a decision when there is too much choice.

Brand positioning as a strategic advantage

This also applies to the employer branding of companies operating in the labour market. The ‘war for talent’ requires a strategic, well thought-out basis. As you surely know yourself, there is a reason why you choose a BMW, Mercedes or another brand when buying a car. You are probably unconsciously asking yourself the question: ‘What does the brand convey?’.

Success or failure?

The labour market is undergoing a transformation; in the past it was people looking for work who applied for jobs, but now it is the companies who are vying for the best skilled workers. After all, this is a critical success factor for them, the lack of competent staff has a direct impact on the marketability of companies.

Professionals demand more

Wages, allowances, bonuses, pension schemes, holidays, etc. are among the must-haves for applicants today, which no longer offer enough differentiation potential to make a decision for a company. Emotional and qualitative aspects such as purpose, values, mindset and corporate culture are becoming increasingly important at the same time. Therefore, addressing the labour market becomes a strategic challenge that can have a direct impact on the entire corporate brand and its internal and external perception.

Employer value proposition as basis

The set of values, expressed through the content and visual statements of an employer brand to existing and potential employees, is formulated as an employer promise and referred to as an employer value proposition or EVP.

Based on the corporate brand and its corporate culture, the EVP serves as an inspiring and regulating foundation for developing the labour market. The ensuing messages to existing or future employees must take into account two important aspects:

  1. Relevance – the target groups addressed must perceive the employer brand as important and suitable for them.
  1. Authenticity – the company must actively live its stance and promises and thereby communicate them in a credible and comprehensible way

A structured development process ensures that the employer promise can meet these requirements.

Co-creation for the right employer value proposition

The two fundamental aspects for developing an effective and sustainable EVP are:

  1. Active involvement of all relevant internal stakeholders (HR, marketing/communication, employees of countries, locations and business departments) in the entire development process to identify needs and attitudes that are to be brought together in the overarching positioning.
  1. Understanding the needs and attitudes of external stakeholders or desired professionals (ideally through in-depth interviews and surveys) as well as insights from market research and documentation on candidate journeys, touchpoints and generational behaviour.

Cooperation for more success

The basis for the future EVP is laid within the framework of one or more co-creative workshops. Targeted discussions among the participants lead to statements that are used for the development of the EVP.

In terms of content, the employer value proposition covers defining aspects of the company as an employer, formulated in such a way that they are tangible, realisable, motivating and inspiring for existing and potential talents.

How to become an employer of choice

The EVP refers to the corporate culture and the company itself, contains visionary elements for the further development of the company and its employees, and emphasises possible unique distinguishing features compared to competitors in the labour market. In this way, an ‘employing’ company can become an employer of choice that positions itself in the market in a clearly tangible way.

Achieving tangible originality with consistency

The employer value proposition is therefore the basis for developing the market. The key objective of market development is to clearly stand out from the competition.

In doing so, it is important to recognise the following:

  1. Competitors can change and are not necessarily the same as in the traditional goods markets. And they can change depending on the function of the employees they are recruiting.
  1. Identity as the driving force: The central point of reference for the development of the employer brand remains the company’s own identity and culture – the market cultivation of competitors is at most a control variable.

Long-term communication on all channels

Credible originality is therefore not achieved through artificially created distinguishing features, but through the long-term, consistent and multi-faceted communication of one’s own brand personality, along the touchpoints of the entire employee experience (see figure).

Read more about successfully anchoring the employer value proposition in the markets and your company in our next episodes of our blog series on employer branding.

Do you have any questions? Would you like to know more about the topic? Contact me anytime via email: martin.fawer@farner.ch

In the meantime, we look forward to reading your comments on LinkedIn about your experiences and challenges.