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How Siemens is evolving its employer brand to attract new talent

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As businesses fight to attract and retain talent in both existing and emerging markets, Siemens is focusing on its employer brand in an effort to change the way people view the company and compete against the likes of Google.

This is why Rosa Riera was brought on as vice president of employer branding and social innovation three years ago, to oversee the transformation of the Siemens employer brand and bring a new relevance to the business.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Riera says the shift to digitalisation and new business models means Siemens is now fighting to win talent with more businesses than ever before

“Companies that are not even in our business are suddenly competing for talent that we want too, like Baidu in China, Tencent, Google,” Riera explains.

“We are no longer just competing for classical talent but also for talent in emerging fields – software engineers, data scientists and so forth. Suddenly we felt it was not so easy any more to say ‘I’m from Siemens’ and people want to talk to you like it was in the past.”

Realising it would “lose” to other businesses if it didn’t quickly change the way it was attracting talent, Siemens began the mammoth task of trying to erase decades of “corporate” perception.

“If you treat this process like B2B, which is a bit more traditional and corporate, then we lose,” Riera says. “Because what do you want when you see a new employer? You’re looking for purpose. You don’t want to press yourself into a personality that you’re not. People want to bring their own self to work, not just their work self.

“Which is why it’s so important to not promote something that you’re not because it’s super expensive for any company to hire people that they’re going to lose in a few months.”

‘Global’ not as attractive as it used to be

As a multinational business, it might seem like Siemens has an advantage when it comes to recruiting talent; however, Riera says being global is no longer a good enough reason to want to work for a company.

“Being a global brand is good, but it’s not as good as it used to be because people don’t feel as attracted to working for a global company anymore,” she says.

“Studies show that the talent market don’t want to move as much because travel has become much more accessible. So in the past, the way to explore the world was often through an employer, nowadays there are different means.

In the past, our brand was seen as traditional, large and maybe not the fastest moving, so we’re trying to change behaviour on three different levels.

Rosa Riera, Siemens

“And also people are getting more and more local, maybe because social media connects us in a way that makes us feel like we don’t need to move to know the world.”

As such, Riera is on a mission to give Siemens a “sexy” name and change how people feel about Siemens as an employer.

“In the past, our brand was seen as traditional, large and maybe not the fastest moving, so we’re trying to change behaviour on three different levels,” Riera says.

READ MORE: Why building long-term brand loyalty starts from within

“In the short-term, we want to change the behaviour from people not interacting with us to interacting with us – be it that they share content, comment or do something with it that is positive. Medium term, we want to grow the number of applications that we have and we see an uprise already.

“Long term, there are a lot of strong rankings out there and we want to rise in those. This is the most visible KPI we have.”

Growing from the inside

While Siemens clearly wants to be seen as an attractive place to work from the outside, it believes an employee-first and “super personalised” approach is key to growing the business in the long-term.

As such, it is using technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to drive interest and engagement, and has created a number of documentaries about people that work at Siemens which can be accessed via a bespoke app.

“We use VR because it is very immersive so it creates intimacy and we wanted to invite people to experience what it’s like to work at Siemens – every employee that uses the Siemens app is given a Google Cardboard. And AR – which we mainly use at talent fairs and universities – because it allows us to have a shared experience so we can have a conversation,” Riera explains.

“By focusing so much on our employees, we know they talk to their friends and family so this is an important element that we find incredibly relevant. VR and AR are still technologies that a lot of people haven’t experienced yet, so being able to play with them at home also grows the interest in the brand.”

In time, Riera says this is something Siemens will look to distribute to people outside of Siemens – with social media expected to play a crucial role in growing the audience.

“The hook and the growing the audience comes through all the different stories we have that can be shared through social,” Riera says.

“So what we see, because we are in so many different fields, is different people in different regions drawn to different stories…and that really grows the audience. We share through our channels, our people share and their friends share – that versus normal corporate content is interesting to see because it’s super personalised.”

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Kleenex rebrands ‘mansize’ tissues as ‘extra-large’ in the name of equality

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Tissue brand Kleenex is to excise its ‘mansize’ range in favour of ‘extra-large’ in order to counter allegations of sexism.

Kleenex Extra Large will take to the shelves in a uni-sex sales push amid mounting criticism of the choice of wording, a hangover from the 1950s when the brand first launched ‘Kleenex for Men’ as an alternative to large cotton handkerchiefs.

Continuing that tradition the outsize hankies are claimed to be 'comfortingly soft and strong so you can be confident it won't let you down'.

A spokesperson for Kleenex parent company Kimberley-Clark said: “We are always grateful to customers who take time to tell us how our products can be improved, and we carefully consider all suggestions. Thanks to recent feedback we are now rebranding our mansize tissues to Kleenex Extra Large.”

The roll-out is already underway with ‘mansize’ stock no longer being replaced.

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Business on the Move: Papa John's, Pot Noodle, British Land, and more

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Welcome to The Drum's Business on the Move column, where we collate agency account news, reviews, agency launches, rebrands and acquisitions.

Americas wins

Data intelligence specialist Teradata has entrusted their brand and marketing duties John McNeil Studio. The relationship will kick off with the creation of a redesigned brand identity and the launch of an awareness campaign comprising new messaging and visuals.

Havas Media has been named integrated media agency of record for pizza chain Papa John’s with immediate effect following a competitive review, according to The Drum. The pizza brand is reviewing its PR, creative and media partners following the dramatic exit of founder John Schnatter.

Brooklyn-based ad agency Madwell has announced a partnership with wireless, digital-only carrier Visible. The team-up will help expand brand presence, develop its launch campaign and establish its voice on social media, reports Bennett Bennett.

Independent shop Barker has been named agency-of-record for Sunsweet Growers Inc, a Californian prune cooperative. The agency's responsibilities include leading strategy, creative and social media across the Sunsweet portfolio in the US.

EMEA wins

Unilever has awarded the creative account for Pot Noodle to Adam&EveDDB, ending its relationship with Lucky Generals. The FMCG giant is in the middle of consolidating its agency roster.

British Land, one of the largest property companies in the UK, has appointed R/GA as its innovation and design partner. The agency has been tasked with crafting a new range of digital services for the property firm’s flexible workspace business.

Independent creative agency Who Wot Why has landed The Gym account after a competitive pitch. The partnership will kick off with a multi-channel campaign, aiming to reposition the chain in this highly competitive low cost gym sector.

High street restaurant chain Gusto Italian has appointed Manchester-based Cube3. The agency has been tasked with using its specialisms in branding, web and digital to create a new website for the chain.

This week's acquisitions

  • Radio group Global is set to acquire Exterion Media, in the latest of a string of acquisitions in the out-of-home space, reports Rebecca Stewart.

  • Strategic marketing agency Home has announced the acquisition of First 10 Digital, a digital experience agency whose clients include Puma, Tilda and Boots Hearingcare.

Apac wins

Publicis Groupe has won the account for the entire government of Singapore, after being appointed the state's master media agency. The selection followed a competitive pitch against 26 other agencies and holding companies, reports The Drum's Shawn Lim.

Launches

New marketing, media and creative content agency 9th Wonder has launched out of Houston. The business, built from The Company collective of independent agencies, has launched with seven offices, a staff of over 250 and 100 clients.

Digital media specialist Jungle Creations has launched a new e-commerce business – Lovimals. The brand will offer consumers personalised socks and lifestyle accessories featuring hand-drawn portraits of their pets.

Got a story or tip for Business on the Move? Send your acquisitions, reviews, account wins and launch news to sam.bradley@thedrum.com.

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The CMO Swap: What happened when Tribe’s CMO stepped into the shoes of a Britvic marketing luminary?

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What happens when you get a marketer at one of the world’s biggest beverage brands to trade places for the day with the founder of a two-year-old startup? The Drum and Fetch have decided to find out, launching a bold social experiment in the form of The CMO Swap.

In the spirit of pairing the old with the new we decided to swap a chief marketing officer from a brand with over 160 years heritage with the founder of a direct-to-consumer brand just two years into launch – enter Britvic’s global category director Ash Tailor and Tom Stancliffe founder of natural sports nutrition brand Tribe.

After Tailor had embedded himself into Tribe’s trendy London office, Stancliffe headed on down to Britvic's Hemel Hampsted HQ.

With zero TV-budget and a focus on putting the customer at the very heart of its marketing via digital and influencer campaigns, Tribe offers subscriptions to healthy bars and shakes. It also regularly brings together a community of everyday athletes through fitness classes and events.

It’s roots are firmly planted in its 75,000-strong community, since that’s how the whole business began.

The London-based upstart opened its doors in 2015 after Stancliffe completed a 1,000 mile marathon across Eastern Europe as part of the Run for Love charity event, which inspired him to help athletic people come together; from there selling the nutrition to keep them fuelled became central to its offering.

While the entrepreneur is certainly no stranger to donning his running shoes, stepping into Tailor’s shoes for the day offered a different perspective and Stancliffe was struck by the parallels in the challenges faced by his own firm and Britvic, but also by the contrasts.

Touching on how his own brand was very much focused on its culture and the community it was born out of, Stancliffe said experiencing a day in the life of another marketer had opened his eyes.

“Everyone’s [in the office] has become a bit obsessed by Tribe, maybe there are benefits of seeing other brands, and sharing the learnings," he mused.

As Tailor would on a typical day in the office, Stancliffe joined Britvic and its global packaging agency Bloom for a debrief on some branding work the consultancy had just completed.

He also met with the head of customer engagement for the Tango and Robinsons owner and paid a visit to its glitzy innovation lab where its research and development team are based.

Decked out in a white lab coat and seeing the process behind taking products like Fruit Shoot from conception to launch, Stancliffe’s visit to Britvic towers shone a spotlight on the potential perks of bringing innovation a little closer to home.

“When Tribe wants to do product development we have to go up to our facility in Sunderland or Wales, so it made me think to have the budget and to be able to do that would be amazing.”

He continued: “One of the challenges of working in a startup is that you’re having to create operations and structures from the start and develop new ways of doing things. What’s been amazing here is coming into a more established portfolio of brands and marketing structure, and seeing what that looks like.

“Hopefully [we can] learn from those processes, so we can grow faster and be who we want to be.”

Sign up here to join Fetch as its upcoming Unwired breakfast event on 31 October to get the behind-the-scenes scoop on what else happened when a Tailor and Stancliffe swapped places and what they took away from the experience.

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