It’s 2019 and, everywhere you look, ‘locally farmed’ or ‘locally sourced’ signage displays prominently across supermarkets and retail stores. There is an immediate preference by customers to support local businesses and their workers. There is a presumed expectation of (and pride in) local craftsmanship. There is a perception of ‘freshness,’ given proximity to where the product is grown/made.

Some would say, ‘local just tastes better;’ perhaps because it’s a product of the local terroir (I do like my wine). Others believe that products lose nutrients in transit, or that some other intangible just gets lost along the journey from one geography to the next.

There are lessons we can draw from here as we think about how best to share your employer brand story and how candidates might best experience your employer brand channels when engaging globally.

Think about the ‘buying local’ drivers above and ask yourself this fundamental question… would your international candidates and employees prefer to work for a ‘U.S.-based company’ or for a ‘vital regional player that’s part of a global powerhouse?’

Spoiler alert: it’s the latter.

So how do you solve for this in your recruitment communications? Here are a couple of principles to keep in mind:

Local Clients. Local People. Local Language. Local Solutions.
As you consider your approach to local career channels and content (i.e. careers website, social media and dynamic job postings), it’s important to think about what truly demonstrates and earns credibility as a local employer with candidates. Think about the ‘locally farmed and produced’ shoppers above. Candidates want to know that we are hiring local talent, supporting local industries/economies, and that we understand local customs. That we are trying to be one of them, and not the other way around.

This means sharing local work for local clients. Solving local challenges. Publishing the site in the local language and featuring local employee profiles and career paths. Performing local community service and volunteerism, rather than big initiatives happening closer to the company’s home HQ.

We get asked this question a lot… “what’s the right balance and best approach to employer brand governance, ensuring consistency of the brand narrative and visual identity guidelines globally, while also allowing for local autonomy and adaptation for regional nuances?” It’s an epic question with no singular answer, but here’s a word you should get familiar with:

Transcreate. Transcreate. Transcreate.
Sure. It seems like a word straight out of fiction or fantasy, but after you’ve gathered your employer brand insights from candidates and employees and arrived at your globally universal employer value proposition, you will want to be sure to transcreate. What’s that mean exactly? Well, let’s again think about those grocery shoppers drawn to local products. They are expecting local craftsmanship and a product of local terroir. If you implement the campaign across all global markets with exactly the same nomenclature and imagery without regard for local interpretation, you are going to turn away more candidates than you are going to attract.

Transcreation is your opportunity to both translate the nomenclature of your employer brand promise so it is correctly understood by local audiences and select the most appropriate imagery to represent that local market. Direct translations are ill advised, as often the intent of the promise is lost. Visually, you’ll want to consider the diversity, fashion, workplace environments, consumer brands, customs and mannerisms that differ from market to market and are easily spotted by locals. So be prepared to conduct local photo shoots.

One final word…

Don’t forget your roots, where you hail from
With all this talk about being “local,” it’s important not to lose sight of your origins/roots as a company. Heritage and founding principles are what make you who you are. It’s part of your company’s unique DNA and culture. Whether you were founded in Switzerland, the USA, or Korea, and have since grown by global proportions, you should be sure to connect your employees and candidates alike with your past and how it’s informing your future. We aren’t operating as individual companies in foreign lands. We are united in a common purpose and with a common culture. We are simply presenting ourselves in a way that also makes the locals proud.

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Michael Savage, the Director of Employer Brand at JWT INSIDE, is a communications strategist, storyteller and business partner. He has collaborated with executive leadership across a wide range of industries to develop employer brands that align workforces, attract talent and drive business forward. These employer brands have inspired enviable online and offline experiences – conversations, cultures and causes that employees and candidates alike want to join. Contact Michael at