Let me begin by giving you a bit of background on the Coca-Cola system. Coca-Cola Enterprises is part of a global system of companies that manufacture and distribute products of The Coca-Cola Company. As the sole licensed bottler of Coke products in Great Britain, France, Monaco, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden, we are the third-largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the world and the pre-eminent strategic partner of The Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe. Last year, we sold our North American operations to The Coca-Cola Company, while simultaneously purchasing the bottling operations in Norway and Sweden, meaning we are now a totally European-focused operation.The Coca-Cola Company develops the world’s most popular brands and provides franchise leadership and the customer-focused marketing to support these brands. Along with the other bottlers in the world, we purchase concentrate from them, then manufacture and distribute the products to our retail customers. An easy way to think about it, is that when you see a billboard or TV advertisement for Coke products, that’s handled by The Coca-Cola Company. When you see a truck on the road, a merchandiser in the store, a factory in your community, or enjoy any one of our beverages, that’s us.
We are a local business and we have a rich history in Europe, having produced Coke here for more than 90 years. Today, we have more than 40 different brands in our European territories, and 95% of the products are made in the country in which they are sold. We employ more than 13,500 people, and we work closely with The Coca-Cola Company to serve a population of almost 170 million people across our markets.Through employee surveys, we’ve found that corporate responsibility and sustainability – what we call CRS – is the #2 driver of employee engagement and a topic that our people care deeply about. Our success is due to the commitment from our executive leadership team combined with the ideas of our employees. Together, this is a powerful combination that we leverage to drive change within every part of our business.
Some of these will be fairly obvious and are challenges we all face day to day as talent acquisition professionals, but the last two are particularly important. In most of our markets we do not struggle to attract the right quality and quantity for certain roles. On the other hand, we do struggle to attract some roles – either due to lack of profile, believe it or not, for example Financial professionals sometimes forget FMCGs need top CFOs – or due to tough marketplace competition, for example with sales representatives. So this was an an important decision behind our brief.We also needed to differentiate ourselves as an employer from The Coca-Cola Company. We are two very different organisations with different values and traits and very importantly, due to the nature of our relationship employ very different types of people – they market the brands, we make and sell them.
What is important to remember when creating an employer brand and how did we go about it?
We wanted our employer brand to be differentiated – of course with our usual suspects in the world of FMCG talent competitors. We benchmarked and looked at a group of our competitors to see what they were doing well and what they were doing less well, both in their careers sites but also, where we could, in terms of their recruitment media and social media efforts.What were some key learnings?First, as you can see, if you work in FMCG you must be deliriously happy at work, all the time.Second, that there were surprisingly few single-minded propositions. The waters tend to be muddy – with corporate and product messages clashing with employment messages. Third, we discovered that by and large most of our competitors talked a lot about themselves, and about the transactional nature of an employment relationship.We also considered TCCC and their employer brand ‘what’s your secret formula? This represents the creative, innovative character of their EVP, that anything is possible with different combinations of skills, interests and experience. 1. would that fit with what we were trying to achieve and the reasons we wanted a new employer brand and 2. would that attract the right kinds of people to our organsiation? Although the conversation went up to board level and was discussed at length, the answer obvious to us was reached – NO!
But since our employer brand is specifically focussed on hard to source talent, as I mentioned earlier, we also need to keep in mind that our competitors for talent often include the broadest imaginable range of non-FMCG organisations. So we needed to think what might appeal to an ex consultant or a technology sales representative.
This shows a quick overview of everyone involved in the project. It was so important to set this up in advance, to know who to involve to achieve our “relevant” badge, who to inform and engage to ensure the resources were available and who to validate (up and down the organisation) with given the scale and importance of getting this right.It was led by Talent Acquisition who worked with a creative branding agency called SAS in central London. They had previously developed the Coca-Cola Company employer brand “What’s your secret formula” so were well placed to understand the key differences in our organisation and as employers.Throughout the project there was a series of internal validation workshops and testing/focus groups and interviews with external talent, to really understand whether our work was relevant. We had a strong Steering Committee who gave us executive view and direction and then validated with John Brock, our CEO and the Executive Leadership Team before final launch. We were really excited to have such senior sponsorship for an HR led project
A lot of our stakeholder engagement came from getting them involved. We conducted a number of interviews and asked things like… What is authentic about CCE? What kind of people succeed? Who fails? Why is that? What is it really like here?Through our research, we uncovered an interesting insight – that was that of course the Coca-Cola brand is a tremendous asset in drawing talent, and the fact that we are growing in a stagnant category is also attractive.But we also found there were some “filter” attributes that we could highlight – what this means is that there were three core things about the people who thrive at CCE that should either attract a person with those attributes – or alternatively make them think twice about applying! In either case making these explicit would be critical to our employer brand.These are – Pace. We are a very fast moving business, even compared to our colleagues at The Coca-Cola Company. Decisions are made in hours and days in many cases, not weeks and months. This can shock some people who come from other companies, but some people really thrive on this. So we needed to ensure we communicated the idea of Pace.Second is Impact. Coca-Cola brands do not sell themselves, contrary to popular belief. People who thrive at CCE love making an impact and getting things done. It’s not a business for passengers or back seat drivers.Third, and this was very interesting as a finding, is Influence. SAS told us that the ability to have influence – with colleagues, with suppliers, with customers – was a critical attribute. CCE is a complex business, within the sometimes complex Coca-Cola System, in a complex market. There are often not a lot of rules and processes to get things done, so the people who thrive here have to work through others to achieve their goals. In other words, it doesn’t matter how smart you are if you can’t work with people at all levels and influence them positively.We also has a small challenge which was our colleagues in HR had just launched what they called an Employer Value Proposition for existing employees called Connect – Grow – Win. So to avoid confusing candidates and new starters we needed to make sure that there was explicit alignment between the brand attributes and Connect Grow Win.
This slide shows a very condensed overview of the key inputs we considered in the creative developmentprocessWe started with Connect. Grow. Win. Which is the way we express our employee proposition internally. This was independently tested to understand if it would work as the external expression and our employer brand – although it was authentic and relevant to internal employees and stakeholders, it wasn’t differentiating from a lot of competitors and wasn’t relevant to the external market place.CLICK When combined with a set of interviews with our senior stakeholders, recent recruits, headhunters and the TA teams, we discovered there was much more we could translate to an external candidate than just Connect. Grow. Win.CLICK All the research led us to 5 key attributes of CCE and the reasons people join us and have successful careers. Brand Strength and growth are major pull factors but Pace, Impact and Influence came out as three key filter attributes – that really only people with these attributes would be the kind of talent we are looking for and the types of people that succeed at CCE.CLICK This led to a core idea that for people with pace, impact and influence really have a great platform to exploit their talents at CCE given the brand strength and growth prospects ahead. We tested two ways of expressing this as a tagline and gathered feedback from all markets. We didn’t end up using either of these as taglines but the feedback given was extremely valuable. “ Could you Coca-Cola?” … could you do what we do? This was extremely polarising, people either loved or hated it, which is normally a good thing for a brand as it is memorable, but this principlereally only works for consumer branding. “It’s tough at the top” was initially thought to be quite arrogant, but the meaning behind the tagline really resonated with people. That being market leader is often a tougher job than being number 2 – as market leader, you provide the innovation, you go into the unknown, explore new territories and have to do everything first – when you are number 2, you have someone to follow.CLICK And finally we asked ourselves and our Steering Committee, whether it would work for our key target areas of hard to source talent.
This was the mood board that captured It’s tough at the top.People working at the edge, leading from the front, exploring the horizon, taking paths that others don’t take – because they have a THIRST for something extraordinary.And it happily fit with the fact that we are a beverage company!
We then took the reportage theme even further, and built a set of headlines to attract certain sections of talent and would play to different business areas. And this was the result…CLICK We have supply chain, CLICK field sales, CLICK graduates and skilled management CLICK and another interpretation of the reportage theme with shorthand style information about a job without any images.
We also created the Employer Brand statement, which has slight variations based on the specific role being targeted but still relies on the core idea, Thirst.
We have come a long way from the US centric branding of 2011
We’ve just completed and launched our new careers website in 5 different language versions… that is a story for another presentation!
And we are certainly differentiated from our competitors now!
Total application numbers in Q1 2012reduced by a massive 60% compared to Q4 of 2011 – almost 8000 fewer resumes to view and screen. I tested with some partners and the trend was not existing across the market, so we had some theories…We are posting in more relevant places and therefore receiving fewer and more targeted applications.Our employer branding is helping to filter unsuitable applicants – the self-selection around pace, impact and influence is working.NOTE: We posted 71 more vacancies on the external careers site in Q1 versus Q4 so number of advertisements is not a factor Regardless of the combination of explanatory factors, imagine each of our 20 Recruiters would take 5 minutes to view, screen and reject an unsuitable resume; our reduction in application numbers equates to an average of 33hrs20mins saved for every Recruiter!
Building Capability 2012 - CCE Employer Brand Journey
The inputs for creative development Does it work for “Could you our defined The Core Idea targets? Coca- for CCE: Cola?” “The best GRADUATES test ENGINEERS SALES REPS of your “It’s tough SKILLED MGT at the top” talents”
The creative resultsWe have a reportage style Employer Brand that has impact, intensity & personality. Our employeessay it’s AUTHENTIC, our targets say it’s RELEVANT to them and our external research shows us it’sDIFFERENT to our competitors for talent