The Gojek Employer Branding playbook

Lessons in building a tech-focused brand — The importance of content, patience, & perseverance to allow compounding kick in

I love this GIF by James Eads. Always wanted to use it, so here it is now 😂

This entire ‘article’ was originally a tweetstorm. I thought it prudent to post it here since it’s easier to share my Medium profile link for those interested in brand-building activities.

While my past articles tackle how to structure a branding team, how to hire content marketers, the 101s of what Employer Branding constitutes, this piece gives a macro overview on ‘things I did’ for Gojek.

If you want to read the tweetstorm, embedded it above

I’ve done over 100+ calls explaining how Gojek went from being an obscure, unknown org to a popular brand among our primary TA: Engineers, Product Managers, Designers. Here are some takeaways, in no particular order.

Building a brand is a long-term compounding game. If you don’t have the right talent, and don’t look at long-term (2 years minimum) goals, you’re likely to fail. (by virtue, hiring is hard)

When I joined in 2018, by the end of the year, it seemed like we did NOTHING. It took an entire year for us to focus on hygiene — the absolute basics. It’s boring, tedious and typical janitorial work. Ignore this at your peril.

1. What is hygiene?
The org should know how to pitch your brand. As a collective, we were stronger. Screenshot below of the note i sent. Importantly, we got key folks to rally around our objectives.

2. High bar for content on our blogs
3. Revamped content on our website
4. Obsessive about quality of content across external channels
5. Activate Public Relations and build narrative

Slapping conventional marketing metrics (likes, shares, impressions) is setting up the role for failure. Hiring a person to be the custodian for the brand and giving a seat at the table defines success or failure.

You can’t window-dress an org if it’s inherently poor. All brand-building initiatives will fail. Cleaning up dirty laundry is essential — have proper principles on how the engineering/product org functions, what does it stand for.

A marketer’s job is to narrate what already exists. It would be preposterous for a marketer to shape policy of the org. 😝
If this happens, there are bigger problems to solve before a marketer can ‘market’ and build a brand. 😂

Reporting structure: If you want to market to Engineers, Designers and Product Managers, then that’s where this role should sit. No point forcing this into a marketing function, or HR — recipe for disaster when you don’t think and act like how your target audience does.

All this is easy to tell, super difficult to implement. It requires leadership to open doors, but also have tonnes of patience. Without these, nothing will move. It’s an execution game — and that’s where the majority fail.

Finding an org’s ‘voice’ trickles down from the Founders, how critical teams inside operate, and manifests in ‘culture’. Getting this tone right was critical. The below video summarises how Gojek operates, underscores its tone. 👇🏻

Some more nuances captured by Sajith during a fireside-style chat 👇🏻

I know, short piece, but captures a few things not present in my previous posts.

Edit: Content marketing is the key to crack it all. Without this base cemented, it’s impossible to showcase ‘brand’ to your TA.

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Adithya Venkatesan

Brand Marketer. Twitter: @adadithya. Travel fanatic. Wildlife lover. Voracious reader. Cenosillicaphobic. Logophile. Past: @gojektech @reuters @ACJIndia