Kärcher makes a Difference and the difference is You
Classic hurdles in the successful communication of the employer brand are superficiality and corporate values and principles that lack integrity. Kärcher shows how it’s done right and communicates corporate values in their employer branding campaign.
Udo Bauman, Head of HR Marketing Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co.KG
"The challenge is to get various target groups of potential employees rationally as well as emotionally excited about working for Kärcher while simultaneously conveying key messages of the company”
Emotions as brand messages
Emotions are carriers of brand messages, which is particularly true for employer branding. Especially in sectors with a high demand in skilled employees, employers need to be emotionally perceived as an attractive employer and not only rationally. "The challenge is to get various target groups of potential employees rationally as well as emotionally excited about working for Kärcher while simultaneously conveying key messages of the company", says Udo Bauman, Head of HR Marketing at Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG.
Wanted was an employer brand with a consistent corporate positioning and that furthermore, takes the various decision-making-mechanisms of the heterogenic target groups into consideration - from students and undergraduates to recent graduates and professionals. We built the employer brand positioning on the Kärcher corporate positioning of "Kärcher makes the difference". It was consequently extended into the employer branding with the slogan "the difference is you", says Markus Reiser, executive of Buena la Vista AG for Marketing and Communication in Frankfurt. Under the umbrella of this employer brand, we were also able to address various emotional needs. This developed employer branding strategy is based on the premise that the success story of a company is written by its own employees. They need to decide which path they want to take and whether want to take and whether they are true "Kärcher-types". For all employee target groups, likable and charming analogies in the animal world were sought, that also exhibited a high resemblance with Kärcher products. Trainees were associated with penguins, college students with meerkats, young professionals with elephants and experienced professionals with hippos. Under the inquiry " Are you a true Kärcher type?" potential employees were able to decide whether they embody either a negative characteristic of the associated animal or the positive characteristic that was allocated to a Kärcher product.
In an emotion-generating campaign, the employer brand was played through all available channels of communication. The campaign's digital appearance starts with an extensive career site within the Kärcher website and was flanked by additional social media measures like a career site on Facebook. Additional communicative measures including online and print ads, trade fairs and films, were used to ensure the penetration of the campaign within the target group. The target group approach was designed in a very sophisticated and differentiated way. Students as potential trainees were mainly addressed regionally, whereas young and experienced professionals were addressed on a national level. College students were addressed specifically based on their choice of major at certain universities.
The campaign is effective: Besides an increase in applications received on all levels and in all areas, applicants refer increasingly to the messages: "I'm a true Kärcher type because..." is what you can read or hear during the personal interview according to Udo Bauman. People at Kärcher are convinced that they took the right path. The central employer messages were worked out and synchronized with the emotional expectations of the very heterogenic target groups. The end result was an effective campaign with a corporate positioning that perfectly complements the employer brand that emphasizes the value of its employees for the company. The difference is you.
Markus Reise, Executive of Buena la Vista AG*
*A Trio Group Enterprise
"With our campaign, we were able to make a difference in a surprising and pleasant way in the oftentimes monotonous setting of employer branding"
The family business is the worldwide leading vendor for cleaning technology and provides innovative solutions with pressure washers, vacuums and steam cleaners, pumps for house and garden, sweepers and floor scrubbers, carwashes, cleaning agents, dry ice blasting equipment, drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and water dispensers. They include compatible and synchronized products, cleaning agents and accessories as well as advice and service.
Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co, KG employs more than 11.000 workers in 60 countries in 100 companies. More than 50.000 service centers worldwide provide a seamless supply for clients. Innovation is the company's most important growth factor: Approx. 90 percent of all products are five years or older. In total, there are more than 900 employees working in the research and development department for the cleaning equipment manufacturer.
Top performance, innovation and quality: the brand name Kärcher is a worldwide synonym for high quality cleaning appliances and systems. In several countries, the term "to kärcher" has made its way into common speech and is used as a generic term for all pressure washers. It stands for cleanliness, hygiene and value preservation. Just like basically the entire sector, Kärcher entered the competition for the best employees with these rational factors. The family business from Baden Wuertemberg, a region strongly influenced by mechanical engineering, competes in the "war for talents" with numerous competitors, all campaigning with the same arguments.