Human Resources Today

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consumer brand

Where the Heineken “Go Places” Employer Brand Campaign Went Wrong


Where the Heineken “Go Places” Employer Brand Campaign Went Wrong

Have you seen it, Heineken’s Go Places ad and website? If you haven’t watched this latest, buzz-worthy employer branding ad, click on the embedded video below. It’s definitely worth a minute of your time. Once you’ve watched, explore the Go Places website and enter “The Interview” door. You will quickly realize why AdWeek stated this is an “HR campaign that’s as cool as any consumer ads it’s done.”

Here’s our take on this slick, sexy campaign.

Disclosure: Heineken is not our client.

The video is smart, lyrical poetry. The website is engagingly informative. You can’t help but want to spend time on the site, continue through The Interview door and discover the result of your interview. This is a prime example of just how impactful great creative can be. It creates buzz, strengthens brand awareness, and provides insight and differentiation into the employment experience. And it’s obvious a lot of time, energy, brainpower and money brought this idea to life.

But what happens when an engaged candidate clicks the green Apply To Jobs Via Career Site button? “It is a shockingly different user experience,” shares Kathleen O’Brien, lead consultant and project manager at exaqueo. “One that will likely create a high drop off rate at the part that matters most—the ATS conversion.”

Pull through a consistent experience.

According to AdWeek, there were three agencies that had a hand in the work (and clearly a budget most HR teams dream of). And while they put a great deal of thought into the user experience, they didn’t quite think about the candidate experience: what happens after their target audience clicks for jobs. It’s a great example of front-end excitement followed by unaligned copy and imagery, a typical back-end ATS experience and honestly, some candidate frustration.

We all want to wow users and attract talent, but it can’t just be the window dressing. It has to follow through. And that’s where you come in.

“While this campaign is really well done, there’s an incredible lesson to be learned,” explains Shannon Smedstad, lead consultant and newest member of the exaqueo team. “Great creative is nothing without HR strategy behind it. Nothing without thinking about how it affects your ATS, your tools, your systems, and your candidate and employee experiences.”

Campaigns must connect to strategy.

As HR and employer brand leaders, you know your workforce better than anyone else—it’s your expertise. Your people are at the heart of what you do, day in and day out. So while it’s exciting to wow the user and think big, don’t forget your roots, your people. They’re not customers. They’re candidates, they’re employees. And choosing a job is just a more impactful life experience.

Honestly, this is why exaqueo exists—to connect the wow with the people. To help illuminate your expertise. To help consumer marketers understand HR. And vice versa. As you’re planning for 2017, think about the impact you can make—and let us know how we can help you ensure the power of the creative connects purposefully to your HR strategy.

Employer branding cannot be done by an agency or marketing or communications alone.

They need you.

Watch the Heineken Go Places ad below, experience the full site and then tell us what you think in the comments.


Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps companies build cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn how to better compete for talent by building honest, authentic employer brands and powerful talent attraction and retention programs.


Connecting Employees to a Purpose and Employer Brand Loyalty


Connecting Employees to a Purpose and Employer Brand Loyalty

We now live in a world where consumers are more connected than ever before, and a small customer complaint can go viral. As a result, companies need to be just as connected to not only their customers, but also to their own employees to stay ahead. This is the basis of a book I recently read, “The Connected Company.” A part of the book that really struck me comes from this exerpt:

“Since 1960, services have dominated US employment. Today’s services sector makes up about 80% of the US economy. Services are integrated into everything we buy and use…companies like GE and IBM, which started in manufacturing , have made the transition, and now make the majority of their money in services.”



HR and Talent News Roundup: Brand Basics Edition

When it comes to "employer brand," most people either don't know the term or completely misunderstand it. Employer brand is not social recruiting or posting jobs online. And it's not slapping the consumer brand on a careers site and calling it a day.  It's what the employment experience is known for, it's reputation.

It's actually just like the consumer brand, but instead of the product or service a company is selling, it's the employment experience. In order to really understand employer brand, you have to start with understanding the concept of brand, so this week we bring you some brand basics. Put your consumer brand hat on first!

1) Everything You Know About Branding Is Wrong from the CMO Network

 "The simple truth is that a brand isn’t a logo, an advertisement, or a poster hung on the wall in a corporate office. It’s a gut feeling about a company, and smart companies know the power of a brand done right. This happens when everything connects through design—from virtual environments like websites to built environments like office spaces—and it all starts with an understanding of why a company matters. Whether designing a company’s headquarters or field office, their website, or developing a new brand strategy, start by asking two key questions: who are you? And: Why do you matter?"

2) Branding Basics for Social Media from The Huffington Post

"In the online world, your brand is shaped by everything you do and say. With an increasing number of social media channels comes a strong need to present a consistent brand.  Your brand should be the same across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, your company blog and everywhere else you communicate online."

3)  The Most Memorable Brand Wins and Fails of 2013 from Mashable

"Oreo kicked off the year with a brilliant, impromptu online ad during the Super Bowl, the success of which inspired countless other real-time marketing campaigns, many of which fell short.  Tech companies like Samsung and Google aired clever commercials to introduce new products to consumers, while BlackBerry struggled to reintroduce itself in a make or break marketing campaign.

4) How To Build Brand Love Via Designed Serendipity from Forbes

"Companies that genuinely love their customers and build emotional connections that transcend transactional relationships are a special breed. Yet, what if we could decode the formula that ties together world-class “experience” companies like Target, Starbucks, and Disney–and characterize their common traits so others can follow their playbooks?"


Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.