The ‘sustainable company’ example - Patagonia
When you mention Patagonia, an image springs to mind: that of a brand with high social impact that is committed to the environment through its design concept of eco-friendly clothing. Patagonia has managed to go beyond the simple fact of what it does in its communications to create a real bond with its customers. This bond is based on the creation of content around their principal value: the active protection of the environment, in their actions both inside and outside the company. As for its employees, the company pays ‘environmental leave’ (paid holiday) to its employees, to enable them to tackle a humanitarian or environmental project. Externally, the brand delivers several representative campaigns and seeks to inspire by sharing its experiences with a community of people that share the same values.
- The brand produces authentic videos with the help of ambassadors (producers, photographers) and publishes these on its YouTube channel under specific topics (e.g. ‘Care and repair’ which explains how to make your clothes last while ‘Our footprint’ explains the responsible management attitude Patagonia practices with its supply chain).
- Patagonia buys back its jackets from customers when they have no further use for them. It restores them to good condition, then resells them on its Worn Wear platform to achieve more sustainable consumption of its products.
Key takeaways from Patagonia:
- Showcase experiences that reflect your values through content and not necessarily through your products in the first instance to establish longer-lasting relations with your customers and to clarify your position,
- Partner with ambassadors who share your values and highlight these on your social networks to gain visibility and authenticity,
- Inspire your audience through the story of your business, its products and also its values,
- Practice your brand's values through specific external initiatives (e.g. Patagonia’s ‘worn wear’ which promotes the sustainable management of garments and their reuse), but also internally for your employees: they remain the front-line ambassadors of your brand.
A strong identity around an active community - Decathlon
The passion for sport: that is the common thread running through all of Decathlon's employer branding campaigns. A dynamic brand that promises its future teammates fast-track careers. The values of Decathlon reflect those that you find in the world of sport (staying power, the right to make mistakes, confidence, assertiveness). In terms of employer branding, the company's communication follows these founding principles:
- Decathlon has created some videos by the name of ‘Portraits Passion’: in each of them, an employee talks about what brought them to Decathlon, their favourite sport, their career progression, or their integration in the workplace environment.
- Other videos on the Decathlon YouTube channel emphasise the scope for personal development and the careers available within the company, demonstrating that it provides an environment where people really can get ahead.
- A ‘business game’ was implemented to reach out to students and to give them a Decathlon experience.
- Through its social networks, Decathlon strikes up a dialogue with its sports users and achieves excellent engagement and a distinctive tone.
Key takeaways from Decathlon:
- Show how the company operates behind the scenes with full transparency,
- Celebrate employees and showcase their point of view to increase authenticity,
- Send out a consistent message based on a network and a community (in this case, sport).
- Focus on active communication on social networks by staying close to the audience.
The art of storytelling with Netflix
The final example of original companies is a master of the art of storytelling. Netflix is one of the companies that really knows its stuff. For its employer branding, it therefore seems only natural that Netflix employs subtlety in the way it showcases its employees to explain how its recruitment process works and to bring its culture alive:
- The ‘WeAreNetflix’ YouTube channel highlights videos with portraits of its employees in a way that shows how the culture of the company supports them and celebrates their identity. The YouTube channel itself contains a storytelling element with topics presented in video format (‘Netflix culture explained’ sets out in detail specific aspects of the culture at Netflix, e.g. the way it receives feedback, while another series of videos is dedicated to entertainment),
- The ‘WeAreNetflix’ podcast enables a range of different people in the company to express their views about questions relating to innovation and diversity,
- The Netflix Culture Code provides an accurate portrayal of how its values are embodied within the company, for example covering subjects such pay, values and the company's long-term vision.
- Netflix also runs two 2 blogs, one focusing on innovation and the other on current affairs and the culture of the company.
Key takeaways from Netflix:
- Don't be shy about telling your company's story and letting your employees the opportunity to speak,
- Focus on your teams and highlight as often as possible what makes them unique and authentic, to embody and bring to life the culture of the company,
- Identify trending topics to talk about and create relevant content.
To take that even further, see our post on Employer Branding for Gen Z: Here is how to develop and strengthen your employer brand.