After a fruitful and fun media-training at bol.com’s headquarters in Utrecht, we sat down together with Soraya Hamria to learn even more about the environment at bol.com, its values, and the company’s goal from the cooperation with the MARUG.
Soraya works as a campus program manager for bol.com. That essentially means that she functions as a bridge between the company and young potential external partners. She and her team host and attend in-house events as the media-training, but also other events of study associations, universities, career events: “Everything that allows you as a student to recognize what your journey is if you take part of the bol.com life.”
As we could already experience at the mediatraining, bol.com has a really warm and welcoming environment at the workspace. That is also what Soraya values most about working at bol.com. Furthermore, she pointed out that “they support you to really think out-of-the-box and activate your creativity by allowing you to work from your own strength.” Hence, everyone’s unique qualities combined are the driving force behind success.
But what does the structure look like internally? Transparency and trust are elements that characterize employees’ relationships. Soraya describes these relationships as a family framework; meaning that every department is related and that, internally, employees undertake specific roles: “within these family groups you support each other, you have a mom, you have a dad, you have a sister, you have a brother. You know that there is a mother because he or she has more knowledge in a certain domain and [...] you combine each other's strengths.”
Additionally, employees are encouraged to voice their opinions; the formal hierarchy does not follow the traditional communication style of boss-employee dynamics.
The aspects Soraya mentioned above already touch upon the Marketing strategy and values that bol.com stands for. We dug a bit deeper: Soraya describes the workplace environment as upclose and personal. She highlights the importance of creativity and fun when it comes to marketing campaigns. That is, that the company reaches millions of people, which are part of the a focus of bol.com. Furthermore, it is essential to “keep in mind that the culture of the company is very creative, energetic, fun and young; and with young, I mean [...] young in perspective.” Soraya emphasizes that thinking out of the box and having your own project ownership are among the values of bol.com when it comes to understanding our landscape; while being close and personal.
Furthermore, we talked about digital marketing and how bol.com utilises different social media platforms, while noting their impact. Soraya mentions that the company is active among a wide variety of social media platforms such as: IG, LinkedIn and Facebook. When it comes to engagement, there is a social team on the front line by replying to comments on posts in humorous and fun ways. It is worth mentioning that currently the meme of “gerda” is one of the most known among students, so Soraya. Lastly, she comments on the fast-pacing digital world and the rapid changes that continuously take place; the need to be up-to-date and to provide relevant content is essential. That’s why there are thoughts of expanding into being more active on TikTok as well. Finally, Soraya points out that strong research is the fundament to back-up projects, as it enables bol.com to understand their consumers more in depth and assess the performance of their projects.
However, how does bol.com manage to differentiate itself from its competitors? The main point of difference, Soraya highlights, is the company’s culture. Being inclusive, fun, creative and energetic while remaining unique to themselves is a force behind branding activities. It is evident, thus, that bol.com’s culture is prevalent in all forms of communication.
Lastly, we asked Soraya what bol.com would hope to get out of partnerships like the one with MARUG. She stresses the importance of knowing future young professionals’ needs, feelings and aspirations in the labor market; bol.com can best adhere to current students’ needs by creating “a tailored program or tailored events” to support more and more students. The company wants to offer students the opportunity to put theory into practice in the actual workplace and give them an understanding of what being part of bol.com looks like. Ultimately, Soraya mentions that the partnership is a “two-way street”, where bol.com does not only aim to get students involved and show them how the company works, but also wants to understand the needs and wants of students; “we support each other by listening to both sides” she comments.