How to Make an Impact With Your Employer Brand

CEOs now name the labor and skills shortage as the No. 1 factor that they expect to influence or disrupt their business strategy within the next 12 months. With such pervasive anxiety emanating from the top of many organizations, it’s easy to get lost pursuing KPIs that look impressive on internal reporting but aren’t actually moving your core strategic goals forward.

If the impressions on your job postings are up, or if you manage to create Employer Branding content that goes viral, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your number of qualified candidates will follow. Instead, you need to think about the most essential impacts and choose metrics to match. After all, if you’re not careful, your metrics can define your mission, rather than the other way around.

Even once you’ve targeted your most essential strategic goals, it can be challenging to move the needle far, especially given the increasingly crowded and sophisticated Employer Brand marketplace.

That’s why it’s essential to design Employer Branding campaigns for deep impact. To make sure that our campaigns make a real difference on the ground, we follow four core steps:

Step 1: Speak to the Needs of Your Audience

While there are many ways to grab eyeballs, creative that actually serve business goals tend to start with a deep understanding of the people you are talking to — as well as a commitment to staying true to your own brand identity and voice. To establish a baseline of your audience’s needs and wants, we recommend a mix of qualitative and quantitative research with a broad cross section of current employees. If budget allows, external research can help to round out your understanding of what really motivates potential candidates and to develop robust persona’s.

Step 2: Develop a Creative Concept

When we create an Employee Value Proposition (EVP), it’s a strategic document. It doesn’t yet have a creative articulation, a vision of how to bring it to life. But the values delineated in an employer brand must be shown, not told. You can’t just announce to prospective candidates that your company is a hotbed of innovation; you’ll have to show them — through real-life employee stories and details about business practices and achievements. Your creative concept lays out exactly how you will communicate these value points — through images, video, copywriting and multimedia content.

Be careful! Jumping straight into creative concepts without any research can be dangerous. Without insights about your audience, organizations can waste valuable time ‘hunting for the brief’ through creative exploration. A potentially worse outcome than brief hunting happens when leaders profess to know what talent want, and build a creative platform that doesn’t speak to anyone, and has no real impact. Without a strategic understanding of your audience, it can be difficult to assess your creative concepts objectively.

Step 3: Make an Impact

Once you have a creative concept, you can start thinking about how to grab more than your fair share of your audience’s attention in the market with a campaign. When campaigns are aligned with both the needs of the audience and the identity of your brand, that’s when magic can sometimes happen and your brand can both go viral and achieve business goals. We often point to WestJet’s famous holiday campaigns as a perfect example of this kind of synergy. The campaigns, which show real passengers being greeted at the luggage carousel with exactly what they wanted for Christmas, are true to the airline’s emphasis on passenger experience while also speaking to the audience’s desire to have companies get to know them as individuals and understand their specific needs and desires. It helps to have an open-ended mindset at the campaign stage: From off-the-wall ambassador recruitment programs to provocatively authentic employee storytelling, all possibilities should be considered, so that you land on a campaign that provides impact.

Campaigns can be expensive, so they shouldn’t be taken on unless the previous two steps have been completed. While these aren’t guarantees for success, they help to stack the odds in favour of you landing a campaign that resonates. One final note of advice; great Employer Brands spark an emotional response, so don’t overcrowd your work with facts and figures – instead focus on saying something meaningful.

Step 4: Build a Robust Integration Plan

These days, content and messaging are everywhere. To break through the noise and make sure the messages of your campaign truly sink in for your audience, you must design a robust integration plan that includes all your brand’s channels — and perhaps even incorporates some memorable new ones. This is the stage where you can support your campaign idea with some smart thinking to boost the reach of your message. From internal-facing opportunities like company town halls and leadership emails, to external-facing communications such as social media, paid media and your career site, staying consistent in messaging (while adapting the content for each venue and format) will yield the strongest possible results.

As always, it’s essential to include internal audiences in your Employer Brand campaigns. While talent professionals often focus on recruitment marketing, employer branding campaigns must speak to current and future employees at every stage of the candidate and employee journey. Without a strong focus on employee experience and education, you risk seeing retention suffer, and you may find that candidates doing their own research into your company are hearing feedback that doesn’t align with your Employer Brand.

About Us

Blu Ivy Group is a global leader in employer branding, organizational culture, and recruitment marketing. We help organizations across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors build extraordinary employee experiences, magnetic employer brands and high-performance cultures.

From C-Suite to Employer Brand and Talent Acquisition leadership, we partner with our clients to transform their organizations and design the most compelling workplaces of the future.

For inquiries, please contact sparker@bluivygroup.com.

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