Circle K

Attracting the best service people in a changing retail landscape.

Business design

Employer brand strategy
Communication strategy
Communication design

Following the physical rebranding of Statoil’s former fuel branch (executed by Norwegian agency SMFB), Circle K turned to Kurppa Hosk for transforming its most important brand pillar: the people.

Circle K in numbers
135,000 employees
16,000 stores
24 countries
6 million customers per day
60+ years in the market

From Statoil to Circle K

In the fuel industry, major structural changes are currently underway. The market was previously dominated by the oil companies, controlling the enire value chain. But in recent years, several of these companies have divested their retail businesses.

One of them was former Statoil ASA, who spun-off its distribution branch into a separate entity. This was then sold on to Canadian retail giant Alimentation Couche-Tard. As a result, the station network in Europe was rebranded to Circle K.

Entering a new category

The transition to Circle K was not merely a name change. It also meant building a new position. Departing from Statoil’s established position (as a well-known oil company with strong ties to the Norwegian state), Circle K would now step into a different market category and establish itself as a retail company.

– This placed new competence demands on us, says Nina Christin Yttervik, Vice President HR of Circle K Europe. In order to make the shift, we needed new skill sets and mindsets. We needed to attract the sharpest retail professionals and the best service people in the market – in tough competition with other strong retail brands, and with low brand awareness. We also had to make sure the great service people we had, wanted to stay in our company. This was, in fact, business-critical.

A global employer brand strategy

Circle K asked Kurppa Hosk to develop a global strategy for employer branding. A strategy that embraced Circle K’s business shift and honed in on the unique benefits of Circle K as an employer. In other words, an entirely new Employee Value Proposition (EVP). As part of the assignment, Kurppa Hosk was also asked to develop a communications strategy, describing how Circle K’s employer brand should be designed, communicated and adapted to different talent groups.

implementation tools

– To us, it was important that the strategies developed were also highly operational, says Nina Christin Yttervik. Most of our employer branding is done locally. One of the success factors was, therefore, the easy-to-use implementation tools that Kurppa Hosk supplied to HR Managers in all of our markets. This secured consistency in communications and made sure we all contributed to building the same employer brand across Circle K. It also maximized the impact of our efforts.

To us, it was important that the strategies developed were also highly operational.
– Nina Christine Yttervik
Vice President HR of Circle K Europe

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