Employer Branding, EVPs and Masterchef’s Mystery Box challenge

Ohhh, Employer branding. Ohhh, the EVP.

You’ve heard it over and over again: unless you define it and differentiate yourself, you’re gone. You lost in the game of attracting talent.

But how are you going to stand out and separate your brand from others, when what’s coming from your research doesn’t seem to be any different from industry standard? When everywhere you look, you see virtually the same values and taglines? “Respect”, “Collaboration”, “Flexible working arrangements”, “Supportive team”, “Great benefits”. Looks familiar?

Let’s face it. The value propositions are pretty similar across the industries, companies, continents… and there are *literally* millions of companies trying to differentiate themselves using a more or less limited pool of value propositions.

This is when my favourite cooking show comes to my mind.

I am not going to lie; I am just a little *obsessed* with Masterchef. I watch every single episode and love it to bits. My absolute favourite element of the competition is the weekly Mystery Box challenge. If somehow you’re not familiar with the rules, this is where each contestant is given the box of the same ingredients, same amount of time and are to create a dish using only those ingredients. And oh my… there are *never* two dishes that are the same.

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Get it? 

They all have the same ingredients…. but they are cooking so vastly different dishes!

See, the EVP is almost like food. An EVP element can be, for example, like protein, but in fact, it is only one of your ingredients. You cannot have a complete (+ flavoursome and balanced, duh) dish without some spices or something else to compliment your core ingredient, whatever this may be. In that way, you can transform a simple piece of chicken or beef (and don’t get me started with what can you do with a humble beet) into so many different and distinctive dishes, flavours, cuisines.

Any idea or element of EVP can be quite dull on its own, by once you pair it with some others, these combinations will make your EVP unique.

If I got you this far, hear me for a little bit more:

The cook *knows* if the dish they’re going to produce will be at the end of a savoury or sweet profile. They know their audience and WHO is it, they’re cooking for: they wouldn’t cook an extra-extra hot curry for a bunch of 5-year-olds at a birthday party, nor served Peppa Pig inspired pies at the wedding (unless that’s the theme of the party – no judgement!). Segmentation and insight into what the client (candidate) enjoys are crucial to success.

Your cooking (attraction and recruitment) process will be different from the competition. You may season at other times, add seasonal ingredients, pivot, experiment, deconstruct and build again. The way you’ll present your dish (your plating, aka brand elements) will also be unique to you and only you. 

That’s the beauty of it and genius of so many cooks (and EB professionals): once you start combining your core ingredients, coming up with the ideas, seasoning them with the stories and proof points you end up with a complete and delicious dish. And more than that, one that it’s worth waiting for, or travel for… because this is the one that stands out from others, even when made from exactly the same ingredients.

So even if you are a ‘meat and three veg’ – you can still be the best meat and three veg in the world. Authentic, unique and unmistakable with anything else.

Source: Agata Furman Linkedin

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