Global vs. regional employer brand: The challenges in keeping aligned while still being “local”

August 13, 2020 • 4 min read

Global vs. regional employer brand: The challenges in keeping aligned while still being “local”

Devin Rogozinski

Devin Rogozinski

To be successful, modern companies need their people to buy in to the mission, vision, and values of the organization. They need their brand to resonate with team members; to mean something to them. 

But with globalization creating more and more large, distributed companies, there is a challenge in creating this buy-in – what speaks to one set of team members may not speak to every set of people.

This is a challenge that we at Atlassian have increasingly faced as we’ve grown and evolved into a truly international company. The key, we’ve found, is to balance the broad, global employer brand with localized efforts to fulfill different needs in the various markets where we operate.

Our approach to regionalizing our global employer brand

We see regional employer branding as an extension of our global employee value proposition (EVP), with distinct local differences. It’s important that the core tenets of the brand speak to everyone within the company but chasing that universal appeal can mean that important regional elements are left out. Regional employer branding ensures that the things we’re saying speak specifically to a local audience.

It’s important that the core tenets of the brand speak to everyone within the company but chasing that universal appeal can mean that important regional elements are left out.

When we bring a regional employer brand to life at Atlassian our global EVP still guides everything we do, but we go a step further with country-specific messaging – after all, something that’s important in the US may not apply in Australia or India. Regional messaging and branding should look and feel like it’s coming from the same place, but it should dial up the themes that are important to that specific market.

Creating a regional employer brand requires market insight. The team members and partners charged with creating an employer brand must really know the market. Local ownership and investment in employer branding is key, particularly given that most employer branding teams are quite lean. The more local perspectives to learn from, the better.

In building a global employer brand, you may ask “What bonds all of our teams together?

In building a regional employer brand, you should ask “What makes the team in this location unique and how do we represent that uniqueness to candidates?

The importance of regional employer branding specialization

Allowing for location-based variations of an employer brand is critical. In developing an employer brand, we’re asking people to buy into our mission, values and vision. These things act as a set of guardrails at the global level, while regional employer branding brings the strategy to life locally by building within those guardrails. 

In developing an employer brand, we’re asking people to buy into our mission, values and vision.

An employer brand will present differently in different markets. A solid Australian strategy will look different to that of another country, and that’s okay. Time in the market will also drive differences. 

In our newest major market, India, we spend more time educating candidates on what we do and who we are. In Australia, we can focus more on what we stand for, because the ‘what we do’ and ‘why it’s important’ parts are already quite well-known. And in the US, our approach falls between those two ends of the spectrum. All approaches are different, but connected.

Ensuring your global strategy isn’t diluted

Despite the importance of regional employer brands, they can’t be developed at the expense of your broader employer branding strategy. To avoid diluting the overall strategy, you need to ensure that all your regional efforts are connected to a greater whole. Regionalized employer brand efforts must be rooted in the same beliefs held at the global level.

To avoid diluting the overall strategy, you need to ensure that all your regional efforts are connected to a greater whole.

While Atlassian’s employer branding strategy has grown and evolved with the company, our aim has always stayed the same: to provide a transparent view into life at the organisation. The most important part in providing that transparent view and building global consistency is understanding the things that unite our global team and reflecting them in our mission and values, which play a huge role in our employer brand messaging.

At the same time, the people and teams in our various Atlassian offices give each work environment its own personality, so it’s just as important that we’re highlighting the things that make each space unique. It’s about having an approach that balances globally uniting and locally relevant messages.

Using regional tactics to strengthen global employer branding

Just as your global brand feeds into your regional brands, so too will regional feed back into global. Having gained experience in ensuring each strategy is complementary to the other, we’ve found a number of ways in which your global brand can be enhanced by your regional efforts. A couple of the most effective strategies include:

Creating an employer brand that is relevant, accessible and engaging is difficult enough in one specific market, let alone dozens or hundreds spread across the planet.

  1. Testing new ideas in specific markets before you adopt them globally. Testing regionally is far easier than rolling out a new program globally. Using a particular market as a testing ground for new ideas gives us clarity and confidence – if it works there, we’ll consider rolling it out globally. We also allow different regions to try new things, some of which are translated to our global strategy and ultimately help to strengthen our global brand.
  2. Mapping areas of overlap to determine if localized messages will help other markets establish themselves. It’s important to think about how different regional employer brands can make an impact in new markets. When we launched in India, our title as a ‘Best Workplace in Australia’ became a key message. We were an unknown quantity in India at that time, but we were able to leverage our Australian regional employer brand to recruit top talent there, before beginning to build a new, specifically Indian employer brand.

Creating an employer brand that is relevant, accessible and engaging is difficult enough in one specific market, let alone dozens or hundreds spread across the planet.

For multinational organisations, doing so is about taking a simultaneously local and global view. While this is quite the challenge, getting the balance right will see you create a brand that attracts and retains top talent, and a workplace that is as productive and innovative as any on earth.

About the author: Devin is a brand marketer turned talent brand leader. He leads a small, crafty team as the Head of Talent Marketing at Atlassian. Devin a big believer that creativity and transparency are key to any successful talent brand. Besides his love for marketing and story telling, Devin enjoys strong coffee, brevity, and quick wit.