Five minutes with Helen Normoyle
As the marketing director at British pharmacy giant Boots, Helen Normoyle has had to contend with the changing high street, the rise of lifestyle brands and a corporate rebrand in managing Boots’ marketing strategy. With the rebrand setting a new tone for the heritage brand, and allowing it a more flexible, digital-first visual identity, the outlook is positive for Boots’ employer brand and brand purpose
How does Boots ensure its brand stays relevant amid a changing and challenging retail market?
For Boots, as a brand with a purpose to help customers feel better, live well and look great, connecting with each customer as an individual, in meaningful ways, is hugely important. Brands who know their customers well, through providing a great service across connected journeys, will be leading the way in providing truly personalised, one-to-one experiences. And with the emergence of technology to power multiple communication activities on a large scale, we can use this mass personalisation to ensure that Boots remains relevant in our customers’ daily lives.
In terms of recruitment, what is Boots’ employer brand and how does that align with its external brand?
Our purpose is to champion everyone’s right to feel good, whether through a pharmacist’s professional advice to a patient or a Macmillan Beauty Advisor’s trained support for someone living with cancer. It is integral to every touchpoint for our customers, but also our colleagues and candidates. And so care is what we look for when searching for people to join our brand and help our customers feel truly cared for. It’s this special quality along with team work that mean ‘together we can make feel good happen.’
What are the key challenges you’re facing with regards to recruitment?
Niche roles can naturally be a challenge to recruit for in certain areas, such as IT and transformation. When we have roles in UX or product development, external talent may not necessarily realise that we actually have an IT team of over 500 and with the exciting developments across personalisation, omni-channel and the expansion of our digital healthcare platform we’re certain that we’ll be the first port of call in the immediate future.
How do you ensure that, once recruited, your employees are retained and developed by the business?
A core part of the line manager role at Boots is to engage and support the personal and career development of every colleague. The intent is to ensure colleagues are delivering meaningful work, that they’re stretched and motivated and developed to deliver everything that is expected of them. There is an online learning platform that every colleague has access to with a variety of modules, making it personalised and helping them be at their best. There’s also core learning that every colleague must undertake. For colleagues looking for something new in their career and when they’re ready, there are development programmes to help them step into new roles. Therefore there’s something for everyone that is underpinned by coaching and support from their line manager.
What role does content have to play in employer brand management?
The role of content for us is simply about sharing who we are and what we do. We use content to share what is really important to us as a brand, our values, our culture and the impact we can have on customers and colleagues’ lives. It’s the inside track on what working at Boots means. We’re really fortunate that there are truly wonderful and inspiring people in our organisation making a difference in others’ lives every day, so all we do is tell those great stories.
Helen Normoyle is speaking at the Festival of Marketing from 10-11 October, taking place at Tobacco Dock in London.