I recently visited Copenhagen with my family and was diverted to distraction by analysing why the city had been garlanded “happiest in the world”. This does not appear to be a completely specious moniker, going by the random acts of kindness by helpful strangers, the almost unnerving helpfulness of public sector workers and the immense pride all service staff demonstrated in explaining the virtues of the place to hapless tourists.
I could have just asked what it was that spurred them to skip around their city but given I was supposed to be in the moment with my family, I thought quiet contemplation the more diplomatic option.
So what was my hypothesis? That a caring and collaborative culture, a greater freedom for individuals to achieve, honest discourse and solid governance coalesce to make contented citizens.
Now, I appreciate this picture of Scandinavian utopia is not the experience of all Copenhagen residents and that my solitary week there arguably renders my analysis crude, but still, there is definitely something in the culture of the city that makes its people such willing ambassadors.
For marketers, it is companies that create environments that are conducive to professional development, personal improvement and shared purpose that are considered good places to be.
The companies we profile in our Employer Brands list all have strong internal advocates willing to act as ambassadors in a way that the good people of Copenhagen were for me. We know this because their marketers have taken the trouble to tell us, nominating and providing testimony for those included.
What makes a destination employer for marketers, and indeed a place where you can continue to happily ply your trade, is a subject that has been in the spotlight in recent years. Talent, it is argued, that might have once gravitated towards marketing is being lost to tech-driven upstarts with esoteric names.
There is no evidence, anecdotal or statistical, that I have seen that even hints of an active choice being made to eschew marketing for sexier-sounding vocations. What is the case, however, is that companies that might have unfairly been seen as old-fashioned, ‘establishment’ or corporate have had to redouble their efforts to attract and retain the best – as demonstrated by the number of mature companies we profile.
These companies and the others featured have realised that they need to employ the same principles to finding, keeping and developing marketers as they do when attracting and nurturing the customers of the brands they are the guardians of – establish a compelling proposition, engender loyalty and grow with them.
Marketing is as compelling a vocation as it has ever been. Indeed, with digital and data opening up new opportunities, today is arguably up there with the best of times to be in marketing. However, there is more competition for the best marketers and there is greater expectation among employees, particularly young bucks who demand more social responsibility and sense of purpose than I and many of my easier-to-please generation did.
Marketing employers need to market themselves better than they have. It’s not just about talent; it’s about fostering advocates who will embrace the day with vigour and not a sense of inevitability, because they have a work-life balance, an environment of wellbeing, a place where their development needs are considered.
Not unlike the residents of Copenhagen.