Think Global, Spin Local – Creating a “Glocal” Employer Brand

GlocalUnless you tailor your bait, you’ll never attract the very best prospects
– Dr. John Sullivan

Just when you thought you were on track to nailing this “Employer Branding” thing – we toss in another complication: message segmentation. Employer Brand preferences vary by country, culture, education, gender, age and profession.


The whole motivation behind all the effort of launching an employer brand; the single reason you do it at all; is to appeal to your employees and your potential employees. To do this effectively, your messaging must resonate emotionally with a local audience and their preferences. Dr. John Sullivan compares brand messaging to fishing in that you need to match the bait to your fish.


Your company’s EVP needs to reflect the existing state of the business and the local experience. The things that appeal to individuals working in a well known, recognized restaurant chain in Alberta; like security, structured processes, predictability, and name-brand awareness, may not be present as the chain expands into new markets in southern Ontario, where the company is still in launch and emergence mode.


An organization that is expanding into a new market will have a very different EVP than a well established brand with a predictable market share. The KPI’s of the employer brand will be very different for the start-up locations and the employee experience in the new market will have a much higher degree of change, less work life balance, more risk, and perhaps less opportunity for career progression. If the EVP is not the same between the markets; the messaging cannot be exactly the same for both markets.


Your core brand elements will remain consistent but the emphasis may need to be modified to address local variations in culture. For example, in an international company, it’s important to recognize that the team-oriented spin, so appealing to Japanese employees, may not be as appropriate for a more individual respect-focused French market.


Canada has a tricky and divided media landscape. Everyone is familiar with the distrust of any messaging seen as Toronto-centric – or at least everyone who operates outside of Toronto has seen this. Messaging that might work in Montreal’s blended anglo-francophone population is very different from what might work in Quebec City – just two hours away.


Editorial narratives must reflect the local audience needs. Getting this right is critical. It is very difficult in Canada to reverse a narrative, where ownership of major media rests in the hands of very few companies. Once a message is communicated, it spreads like wildfire. Thinking globally – but acting locally, or at least addressing local nuances in your messaging , will help you develop a strong, aligned “Glocal” Employer Brand.

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