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With 8,000 stores in over 23 countries Lidl is one of the largest supermarket chains in Europe. Regardless of its wide international reach, the brand is still experiencing rapid growth, which of course also creates a continuous demand for hiring new staff. We spoke to Marco Dalmeijer, a senior employer branding specialist at Lidl Netherlands, who shared the story of Lidl finding a solution to their challenge of attracting qualified supermarket managers along with reaping the benefits from activating their employer brand.

“Because of our rapid growth, we are always looking for new colleagues to work as supermarket managers.”, Dalmeijer lays out the main challenge.

Due to their scarcity on the market, however, qualified supermarket managers are both difficult to find and hard to attract.

With our specific target group (supermarket managers) in mind…”, Dalmeijer continues, “… we considered utilising a very wide spectrum of online media channels where we can create multiple touch points with our desired audience. The media channels we selected with the help of VONQ, ultimately forming the right media mix for our desired audience were the following: social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn), banners on niche job boards, mobile advertising, and a Google display, search and remarketing campaign. Having selected the right media channel mix for our audience, we then decided to set the campaign duration to two months, with a continual on-the-go campaign optimisation from VONQ when necessary.”.

As a result, Lidl managed to nurture their desired audience (the supermarket managers) through a so called candidate journey funnel – all the way from Awareness (understanding what it’s like to work at Lidl) through to Action (applying to work at Lidl), following the well-established AIDA-funnel model:

Storytelling to boost employer brand

Storytelling played a major role in strengthening Lidl’s employer branding efforts. It was used as a means to give potential candidates a realistic picture of what to expect from Lidl as an employer. As part of creating content for the online campaign, current employees were encouraged to share their view on what it’s like to work at Lidl: what is the main driver of their motivation and what a typical day at work looks like. Dalmeijer adds that the storytelling campaign also created a positive reaction and lots of enthusiasm among the company’s current employees: “We could see that the campaign got quickly picked up by our employees: they all started to eagerly share their stories on social media and this created a lot of buzz internally as well. One thing that really resonated with the majority of our employees was the internally adopted slogan “Together we Lidl”.

These employees’ stories were then further shared via online media channels, including a newsletter, followed by a link to the job. The newsletter solely accumulated a total of 472 clicks to the landing page.

Banner ads to reach passive candidates

Next to storytelling, VONQ suggested that Lidl makes use of sharing banner ads on relevant to the target audience niche job boards, such as Distrifood, where the target audience can be addresses in a non-disruptive way. Dalmeijer further explains: “By using banner ads on niche job boards, we finally managed to reach all those passive candidates, who are not necessarily looking for a new job, but are open to new opportunities.”. As a result of using banner ads on niche job boards, a total number of 11,007 clicks to the landing page of the job ad were accumulated. This way, both storytelling and banner ads proved to be highly effective for nurturing potential candidates from the initial Awareness stage all the way through to having a true Interest and expressing Desire to apply.

The use of social media and job marketing

Using social media channels, as part of the campaign, also proved to be very effective. Besides LinkedIn also less business-focused platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were included in the media mix. These social media channels served as a platform to share both job banner ads and company branding videos. As a result, we were able to reach a total of 205 880 people through social media only, which resulted in 3,100 clicks on the job ad and 684 clicks on the company video

For the further distribution of the job both generic and niche job boards (e.g. location-specific job boards) were deployed. The latter was an important addition to the media channel mix, as it appears that store managers tend to search mainly on a regional job level. In summary, using a variety of media channels is essential for targeting the right talent because this way one can create multiple touch points with their target group: both active and passive candidates within a region of choice. In total there were eight job boards used, which resulted in accumulating 374 clicks on the apply button where every 1 in 4 people completed their application process.

Campaign results

As Dalmeijer explains, the campaign resulted in increasing the number of applicants: “Within the 2-month period of the campaign, the campaign registered a total reach of 857 605 people, with 27 298 of them being directed to the website, and 375 of those were the ones who actually applied. Nice results for a relatively short campaign!“. Recruiters at Lidl also started witnessing an increase in the quality of applications, according to Dalmeijer: “Thanks to the recruitment marketing expertise we have gained, we are now reaping the fruits of being able to successfully target our desired audience. Within a short period of time and with a limited budget we have achieved a success in both strengthening our employer brand and successfully targeting our desired audience. Our recruiters claim that even after the campaign has ended, the number of supermarket managers that find us thanks to organic search are still increasing.”.

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Antoniya Kamenova
Content Marketeer at VONQ