4 Essentials to Develop the Creative Expression of Your EVP

A visual representation is probably the most tangible way to showcase your employee value proposition (EVP). It brings together your culture and shows what it’s like to work in your organization so your story can be easily understood by current employees and candidates. An EVP that expresses your culture authentically can drive your communication strategies, inspire your talent to live out the brand, and motivate and engage them to drive performance—in good and bad times. So where do you begin in developing the creative expression of your EVP?

1) Take a look around

Once you’ve done all the cultural research and uncovered what it’s really like to work in your organization, the next step in the process is to start by taking an inventory of what brand materials currently exists. Begin by looking for visuals that have been used in your external brand in previous campaigns. Your brand book can be a valuable resource for this. Look for the guiding principle that drives your overall visual strategy.

But don’t just look at current materials. Remember, brand heritage can be key, too. Since brands are created through time, there are likely several important milestones that made your brand what it is today. These items will give you a better idea of how your company looks, feels and behaves visually. It will also outline the relationship between the past, the present and how it relates to your people. This is important to bridge the gap between what your talent is familiar with and the cultural brand you aspire to.

Visual research is the basis for inspiration. There is no such thing as a muse waiting for you to inspire greatness. It’s all about hard work, and truly caring for your business and for the expression of your EVP. During this visual investigation, you will probably notice a pattern between all images, between behaviors and between values. Those elements make the brand unique. We call it the true personality of your brand. Capture these elements, write them down, find an image that reflects them—anything could work. Just don’t forget them.

2) Think visual metaphor

Now, the real work begins. With the brand personality in mind as your guiding north, search for images that relate to it. It helps to think from the perspective of a visual metaphor. It’s the graphical representation of a concept. For example, if the brand is inspiring, strong and forward-looking, an image of wide open spaces, the horizon, or people looking at the distance could be a perfect representation.

During this time, you’ll also see some colors appear with those images. Some of them may be already in the branding book, some others won’t. Choose your options carefully—adding a secondary color palette can be a tricky thing to do. My advice is to choose colors closest to your brand’s current color palette. Colors can be manipulated to convey all emotions—even blue can be happy with the right approach. If you feel like this additional color will make the project a masterpiece, by all means go for it.

3) Start your concepts

Evaluate all your images and colors against the original visual metaphor and the brand personality. Create a few concepts—maybe two or three. With many different ways of telling a story, you might want to focus on one aspect of the personality for one specific concept. The other concepts can be either the same idea told in a completely different way or some other aspect of the personality that could hold all the pieces together.

By now, you should have a pretty solid idea of your EVP creative expression. Don’t fall in love with any of them just yet. Scratch that—fall in love with them all. That way it won’t matter which concept you end up developing to its fullest and you can guarantee that the outcome will always be the best it can possibly get.

4) Go for WOW!

One more thing—don’t forget about good design principles. This may go without saying, but you should always go back to the basics when telling your story. Composition, hierarchy, balance, unity, functionality and adaptability are some principles that cannot be overlooked when developing the expression of your EVP. As Milton Glaser said, “There are three responses to a piece of design—yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”

So make sure to wow your candidates and your company with an engaging EVP that truly represents what it’s like to work in your organization. Find those unique traits and use them to your advantage because this could be the best investment your company could ever do.

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