The campaign developed by the branding agency BroHouse is called „Start with yourself” and it is the first campaign dedicated to the employer branding of Leroy Merlin retailer in România. The topic of ‘employer branding’ has been included in the agenda of the multinational Leroy Merlin Romania, one of the most important players on the Romanian hardware stores market. It is a company with more than 2000 employees and 16 stores in the main cities.
The crisis amplifies, the war for talents inflames
The Romanians’ exodus abroad has generated a crisis of human resources, which is not only a sectorial one but a generalized one. Within this context, the employees’ recruitment and stability is no longer a whim, but a challenge and a necessity. Though this crisis has been anticipated for a few years now, the concept of employer branding from the perspective of the current phase of knowledge is insufficiently explored, even if it is intensely being discussed in the branding field and in the human resources management field.
For a company permanently growing, with a courageous development plan, the recruitment of entry-level candidates for stores has become a difficult task, Leroy Merlin situating itself in direct competition with all retail chains, not just with the other hardware stores. As a consequence, we have the existence of the challenge to attract candidates, especially when you need a big number of colleagues in a short time (for a store opening, for instance).
To be a success, the story behind should already exist
Firstly, we had to analyze the situation in Romania regarding the solutions for employer branding. At first sight, most of the solutions have a basic “recipe”: a photo album with happy employees. We could believe that everybody got inspired by everybody or that most of the employer branding solutions were the creation of the same agency.
The employer branding implies above anything else that the reality of the Leroy Merlin organization to be the same as the conveyed image. For a player like Leroy Merlin which created more than 2000 jobs all over Romania, it means that the employer branding had already been in place, and our strategy was to display concrete examples.
This is why the second natural step was to interpret the EVP (Employer Value Proposition) made by the agency CULT Research in order to identify the right message and to outline the employer profile. To make the EVP, we needed 452 online surveys, 14 focus groups, tenths of interviews and 7 separate locations in the country (6 stores and the headquarters – Bucharest, Craiova, Oradea, Sibiu, and Iasi). Through the answers offered by EVP, also supported by the management, we managed to capture the reality of the brand from within, based on the attitude and the behavior of the employees, so that the future colleagues would enjoy and benefit of a sense of belonging.
“Start with yourself” – life is too short for bad choices in your career.
Hardware stores field tells mainly the story of the things made with your own forces. If we watch closely, we discover a mix of passion, ambition and the satisfaction of the thing you made with your own hands. Leroy Merlin employs authentic and passionate people and not just resumes.
When it comes to employees’ expectations, Leroy Merlin profile becomes legitimate and this is why the communication strategy is built on already confirmed expectations, an approach oriented on abilities and their potential. The power of choice belongs to you and this is why the campaign insight was centered around the concept “Start with yourself” which created in turn 6 mini-messages, that describe the real values in which the employees believe.
The idea of “Start with yourself” is built on a technique that functions perfectly in marketing: the power of suggestion. Visualizing the possible result to work for Leroy Merlin, allows “the beneficiary” to act naturally, having autonomy. And when such connections occur, the suggestion is already a delivered service. The tone of the communication ensures a position of equality (not a superiority one), it is not an aggressive message. It is a horizontal communication which gives you the feeling of being in control or having options.
This simple verbal construction “Start with […]” has the power to create a language, which is able to be continuous with an infinity of messages. It allows a high level of understanding, without imposing restrictions of message decoding. The repetition creates a frame of familiarity and unity of the campaign.
The power of exemplification cannot be underestimated when it is well done. The 6 exemplifications have the ability to offer the employer brand a variety of “superpowers”: Leroy Merlin brand is human, it offers clarity to a complex idea and it has the power to inspire. The visual solution is oriented on abilities, each exemplification having attached a representative object for the Leroy Merlin fields of action: hardware stores, constructions, interior design, and gardening. These objects can be found in the brand portfolio and allow the brand identification and the Leroy Merlin commercial positioning: hardware stores and the idea of “Do It Yourself” (DIY).
The first meeting with the public of the employer branding campaign “Start with Yourself” had place on 15th of March at the biggest job fair, Hipo, in Bucharest, where the new stand Leroy Merlin registered a record number of participants even from the first days.
The employer branding campaign “Start with Yourself” materialized in a promotion mix that included the following: online activities, Social Media engagement, printed media, in-store materials, an OOH (out of home) campaign focused on Bucharest and the main cities, as well as on all private digital channels belonging to the brand.
At the end of October, the new employer branding positioning is going to include the career website, a dedicated platform where the candidates can explore the Leroy Merlin universe: career opportunities, organizational culture, benefits, development programs and employees testimonials.
Creativity + Innovation
- A simple concept, easy to shape for various communication needs
- Defined as a visual solution strongly attached to the brand and its values.
- The messages were built to talk their own language, focusing on beliefs and not intentions (the beliefs convey the brand essence and they create acceptance)
“Start with yourself” campaign has the courage to exist outside norms and it is an example of the atypical approach of the target. The visual solution rejuvenated Leroy Merlin brand, which belongs to a category generally perceived as rigid, restrained and with a serious and solemn image.
The employer branding needs to be treated as a series, not as a movie
The benefits provided by the employer branding do not pop up overnight. One of the obstacles in its building is time. In other words, any brand, including the employer one, needs time and constant effort in order to bring results. We are lucky to work for Leroy Merlin, because it offered us resources to focus on the strategic dimension and less on the urgency one, under the pressure of time.
Engagement growth | Internal retention | External awareness
The employer branding campaign started to be visible both inside the organization and in the market. Different though from the recruiting campaigns in which the results appear immediately and can be noticed due to the number of applications and new hirings, the employer branding campaign “Start with yourself” contributed to the growth of engagement, internal retention and external awareness – aspects which only later lead to attracting new candidates and to the status wished by the employer on the labor market.
Consolidating the employer branding
The campaign supported the employer branding, generating visibility amongst those who are active on the labor market. “Start with yourself” had also an immediate impact in recruiting field, and the results show an increase in candidates interest to work in Leroy Merlin team.
Rebuilding HR department credibility
Another encouraging result of the employer branding campaign is that the human resources department managed to rebuild its credibility in front of the employees and it really supports brand management through the set of actions used to build and strengthen organizational culture.
We started with the idea of developing a different Employer Branding campaign, which people can easily observe and recognize, regardless of the age segment they are a part of. It is not easy to come up with something new in a new territory, where things are simple, without too much energy investment. We wanted a partner who understands the concept of Organizational Culture and the difference between Employer Branding and Advertising.
After a few discussions with BroHouse and materials sent to them, they came up with 2 proposals from which it was difficult for us to choose. BroHouse, for me, is distinguished by originality, by professionalism, by understanding the context in which the client comes from and proposing a solution that perfectly combines all the requirements. We are very happy about this collaboration that I wish to continue. I am also curious about what we will develop in the future together!