• Nanang Chalid

Building HR Masterbrand

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

I was lucky to learn from HR Leaders who were Marketers in their early jobs before they decided to pursue a further career in HR. These HR leaders know the hard fact that an HR program is as best as to how you get employees and line managers to get excited about it, participate in it, and hence create positive impacts that you want them to get. They act as a "Chief Marketing Officer" in HR and launch products/initiatives successfully. As silly as it sounds, but without good marketing, I learned from my past experiences on unfortunate cases where great HR programs/initiatives went into the drain simply because of it failed to attract participation from the employees. So I learn from them about the importance of having an HR Masterbrand, as part of building great marketing for HR initiatives.

In HR, of course, you can play the "mandatory" game where you push employees and line managers to do things; however, this 'compliance game' will only give you on the surface buy-in and might not deliver the long-term sustainable impacts you wanted it to be. The opposite (and more productive) approach to it, is by managing HR initiatives you have as if it's a group of product's portfolio that tied into a certain Masterbrand. With HR Masterbrand, employees are immediately hooked into the information you are sharing, and get called into action to participate in it, as they instantly know that those initiatives are good for them. Here is a story of that HR Masterbrand in Tokopedia, called "People x Nakama", on anything we do for our employees, and why we believe it is a winning People practice that any HR practitioners should adopt to step up their game.

The demography of Nakama (our employees) at Tokopedia ranges from various generations, but the biggest population is millennials. Being busy bees, they have a tight schedule where they want to slot in as much as activities and consume a lot of information every day. They prefer communication to be simple, short, yet splendid. To address such demography, the People team decided to create a brand that helps to attract Nakama’s attention between their busy schedules to read/see important messages from the People team addressed to them. Not only getting them to read our messages, but the People team also needs to ensure our Nakama digest the information properly and follow it through with the right actions. Since People's activities are very wide in scope (i.e. ranging from announcing new policies, getting Nakama to join learning courses, inviting them to participate in virtual company events, reminding them to complete their 360 feedbacks, etc), integrating all these communications under one brand is also important. It was on that basis, the People team launched our HR Masterbrand called "People X Nakama" last year. The Masterbrand itself stands strongly to deliver a message that anything Tokopedia's People team does in HR is a result of a collaboration between the People team with Nakama. Every People's initiative is designed and delivered from, by, and for the benefit of Nakama. After launching and implementing the Masterbrand for a year, we submitted the story of "People X Nakama" to the HR Excellence Award 2020 under the category of "Excellence in HR Communication". Here are the secret ingredients behind the success of our HR Masterbrand, in case any HR or business leader out there is thinking of creating your own HR Masterbrand.

Co-create it with your Marketing Team.

Yes. You need to bring in the Marketing team onboard to help you build the Masterbrand. From the ideation of what the brand is, the logo's choices, to the full spectrum of the brand's guidelines (i.e. typography, RGB/CMYK colors that can be used, the mood board, visual posters treatment, audiovisual cues when it translated in the video, etc.) is an area beyond HR leader's expertise. Be vulnerable, reach out to the Marketing team in your company, say that you want to build this HR Masterbrand and need their help.

Get your Employer Brand Team to own this.

Once we have the Masterbrand, we expand the scope of our Employer Brand team to own this. Most companies have an Employer Brand team (and budget) whose main role was to attract external candidates. I personally see that as a counter-productive irony, because it is more important to talk and engage your internal employee first and then to your candidates second. Why you might ask?. Simple logic: the key audience you have to engage is actually already inside the company, working with you; the more energy you invest in building the company's presence for them, the more engaged they will, the more high performing your company would be.

Don't create Good Content. Co-create Awesome ones!

Whenever we completed milestone events, we invested time, energy, and also resources to ensure the post-event activation is also world-class. Likewise, the conceptual thinking in creating the brand, making excellent content is also beyond HR's expertise. So you need to reach out and collaborate (again, and again). This co-creation enables every campaign that HR made to be executed best-in-class. Here are a few examples of the best-in-class work we did in the Tokopedia People team, as we collaborated with the Marketing team in launching HR products, Nakama's event, or post-event engagement campaign under the umbrella of "People X Nakama" Masterbrand :

Work From Home (WFH) Playbook:


HR Workshop for Nakama, such as on Building Awareness on Mental Health:


"Nakama Got Talent" talent show

Post-Event: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/nanang-chalid-516b6814_workfunhome-kitatokopedia-insidetokopedia-activity-6676340779591569408-WOTY

"Cerdas Cermat Nakama" (virtual Independence Day & Tokopedia's anniversary celebration)

Post-Event: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/nanang-chalid-516b6814_nakama-makeithappen-mulaiajadulu-activity-6710103562577309696-EROQ

E-Sports "War From Home" (WFH) Grand Final

LIVE Event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lsy_LYhCgg

Post-Event: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/nanang-chalid-516b6814_insidetokopedia-activity-6735353483773390848-xsgq

The awesome "WFH Playbook", also made available for public use (as the content was generally useful and nothing confidential) was viewed, browsed, and downloaded for 26,000 times when it was shared back in March 2020 during the early period of the COVID-19 crisis.

In a world where employees are bombarded with millions of information, HR Leaders must also act as the “Chief Marketing Officer” and think creatively in breaking the clutters to ensure the company’s critical messages about People are heard. Tokopedia’s experience in co-creating and using a Masterbrand of “People X Nakama” in all communications we do internally (and externally) has proved the effectiveness of using Marketing strategy in improving the efficacy and efficiency of HR’s communication to our Nakama. It has won a GOLD award in "HR Excellence 2020" too, by the way.

In the age of information's overload, HR must step up on how we communicate with employees. HR Masterbrand as an umbrella of all-things-People will help to break the clutters, and help to not only build awareness, but also to attract, to excite and to engage them through a consistent looks-and-feels. With HR Masterbrand, you can engage employees with scale (regardless the size of your organisation), and encourage all your employees to join HR initiatives, program, events so they get positive impacts intended by those initiatives..

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