How to Leverage Cultural Moments in Your Employer Brand

We’ve all seen them (and have probably been envious of them). Those corporate social media posts that flawlessly leverage a trending cultural moment, nailing everything from the timing to the brand voice. 

Do you remember Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark tweet? In 2013, there was a power outage during the Superbowl, and Oreo seized the moment with the perfect message: “Power out? No problem. You can still dunk in the dark.” The well-timed tweet grabbed everyone’s attention, and it’s still one of the best examples of live brand marketing to date.

More recently, when a massive outage took out Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, Twitter took advantage of their moment in the social media spotlight by posting a tweet saying: “Hello literally everyone.”

When done correctly, responding to trending topics and fun cultural moments can be a great way to boost awareness and showcase the fun side of your Employer Brand. However, it can quickly go downhill fast if you’re not strategic with your approach.

Here are a few tips for how to best leverage these moments from an Employer Branding perspective and how to avoid any social media snafus.

1. Pick moments that align with your company culture

Jumping on as many trends as possible in an attempt to go ‘viral’ might seem like a logical approach, but it can do more harm than good. For one, it can make it difficult for your audience (and potential candidates) to understand what you stand for. Plus, when it comes to these types of moments, quality is much better than quantity. Otherwise, you risk coming off as inauthentic.

A better approach is to figure out which days and events truly align with your brand and then determine what you can do on that day to tell a compelling story. For example, maybe you work at a tech company that has developed software that could have been in the original Star Wars movie – a story that was all about doing good, friendship, and adventure. 

Let’s say the movie’s themes align seamlessly with your company principles. In that case, May 4th might be the perfect moment to tell a story about your company/employee experience and attract like-minded candidates who share your team’s interests and values.

2. Contribute something special to the moment

While you could potentially go viral with a simple, well-timed tweet like Oreo or Twitter, you’ll have a much better chance of standing out from the crowd when you put some energy and thought into your post and try to create something truly unique. 

For example, cycling is an integral part of Mailchimp’s culture. According to an article on the company’s website, “many of our 800 employees bike to work, so we built a bike room that boasts storage for more than 100 bikes, as well as locker rooms with showers so our employees could freshen up before starting their day.” The company has also sponsored local cycling projects and organizations and even offers a stipend to employees who take alternate transportation.

With this in mind, celebrating National Bike Month isn’t just another random social media holiday for them but a well-timed opportunity to highlight a unique aspect of the company culture and build their Employer Brand. 

3. Have fun tying it back to your Employer Brand

Just because you’re trying to tell a story about your Employer Value proposition and what makes you unique doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with it at the same time. But, if you’ve picked a moment that matters, truly connect with the culture behind it, and create content that adds to the conversation – you can get creative and take some risks.

For example, in honour of Latinx Heritage Month, Shopify engineers hosted a live programming show on LinkedIn. They turned a traditional Mexican board game, Lotería, into a digitally designed virtual game. This initiative, led by two Latinx employees, works well because it allows them to highlight their culture and skillset, which aligns well with their people-first culture and reputation for having a world-class team. 

With Halloween right around the corner, now’s a great time to think about how you can celebrate the holiday in a creative way that feels authentic to your Employer Brand and company values. For example, if teamwork is a big part of your company culture (or perhaps you want to show how your remote team stays connected), a department group costume contest could be a fun project. You could also get your team to collaborate on a spooky Halloween-themed playlist.

Remember: authenticity and creativity are key

Cupcakes, t-shirts, and ping pong tables don’t equal company culture, and the same idea applies to using social media to amplify your Employer Brand. If you want your content to resonate, you need to dig a little deeper and go beyond the stock photos and generic quotes.

Plus, your employees and candidates are more discerning than ever and can spot empty culture tactics from a mile away. To truly make the most of a cultural moment, you need to ask yourself two questions:

  1. Does this moment align with our Employer Brand and Employer Value Proposition?
  2. Can we celebrate this moment in a way that’s fun, unique, and authentic to our brand?

If the answer’s ‘yes’ to both, then go forth and create some fun, timely content! But if it’s a no, you’d be better off sitting that moment out and doing a bit more research to find another event or holiday that would be a better fit. 

About Us 

Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands, and high-performance cultures.    

From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future. 

For inquiries, please contact sparker@bluivygroup.com.  

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