Uber, Facebook and Wells Fargo Makeover Their Employer Brands with New Culture-Focused Video Campaigns
An organization’s employer brand can be likened to a living, breathing organism. It ebbs and flows with every turning point a company experiences. For example, a company’s small wins that go public can lead to glorified media attention and an influx of interested candidates. Likewise, when low points and mistakes go public, they can have a negative impact fueled by just as much passion, drama, and attention.
When an organization doesn’t have a grasp on its employer brand, one wrong move can wreak havoc. These three big names have experienced the rise and fall of their employer brands and have recently released new video ads in hopes of re-shaping public opinion about them, and thus rebuilding.
Founded in 2010, Uber achieved fast success. In its first five years of business alone, the ride-share company expanded into 58 countries and was valued at an impressive $60 billion. But after a few years of smooth sailing, the company began to hit troubled waters.
First, in 2015, its classification of drivers came into question when the California Labor Commission rules that they’re employees, not contractors. Trouble struck again in 2016 when a class-action suit resulted in a $28.5 million payment from Uber to 25 million riders for falsely advertising its background screening process. Just a few months later, a federal judge called Uber’s investigation into a plaintiff “fraudulent and arguably criminal conduct.”
The hits don’t stop there for Uber, but in its arguably most damaging year yet, site reliability engineer Susan Fowler shared a blog post detailing her experiences with sexism, retaliation, intimidation, and inequity under the hands of HR and senior leaders in the organization.
Today, Uber is relaunching its employer brand with this seemingly heartfelt, apologetic message in hopes of mending its past transgressions and regaining the trust of both clients and candidates (and perhaps even their own current employees):
The video answers every pain point, promising new leadership, a new culture, better ride quality, “to always do the right thing,” and to make it right when things don’t go as planned. While it’ll take solid follow-through to have an impact, it’s a smart move to prioritize their employer brand and ask for an opportunity to start over.
Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook as a college sophomore in 2004 and has built the company to its present value of approximately $536 billion. After a legal issue right after its founding, Facebook experienced unadulterated success for over ten years before running into trouble again.
In 2016, Facebook gained negative attention for supporting the spread of misinformation that impacted the presidential election and again for its role in the breach of the personal information of 87 million users. Most recently, in 2018, Edward Snowden called Facebook out publicly, posting this on Twitter:
“Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as ‘surveillance companies.’ Their rebranding as ‘social media’ is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.”
Facebook’s new campaign attempts to take their company and employer brands back into their own hands, focusing on people and relationships and promising a safe, personal experience free from “click bait” and security breaches.
Just a little older than Facebook and Uber, Wells Fargo was founded in 1852 and spent over a century gaining the trust of America until it all fell apart in September of 2016 when a nationwide scandal was revealed. Because of the aggressive sales goals established for Wells Fargo’s “$12-an-hour employees,” employees committed serial fraud, opening over 2 million bank accounts fraudulently under customer names and personal information in order to meet goals.
Wells Fargo struggled to keep its head above water, terminating employees and adjusting branch goals in an effort to salvage their company and employer brands in the heat of it all, but the snowball continued to gain momentum as more and more allegations were brought forward.
Now that the bank has managed to stay out of the limelight for a while, they’ve relaunched their brand in an effort to regain the trust of their customers, employees, and talent network, focusing on their longstanding history as a trustworthy company and their revamped, customer-focused goals.
Learning from others
Everything you do as an organization impacts both your brand as a product or service provider and your brand as an employer. Millennials and the next generation of job seekers are looking for honest and ethical employers and put a lot of consideration in an employer’s brand when making decisions about employment.
Managing your company brand is twofold and involves 1) doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching; 2) owning up to your mistakes and doing whatever it takes to make it right.