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How Short-Term Thinking Is Killing Your Employer Brand

What’s the single most common mistake companies make when they think about their employer brand? 

Many companies misdiagnose other common issues, such as job-posting, marketing or “reviews site” problems, as employer-brand problems. Some shift the blame for employer-brand issues onto recruiting, rather than taking it on as a company. Others confuse employer brand with recruitment marketing. However, these issues aren’t so much mistakes as they are organizational choices or signs of low branding “maturity.”

No, the biggest mistake your company can make is to treat your employer brand as something much more short-term: a campaign. 

Your brand isn’t a campaign 

Your employer brand needs the support of recruiters in order to succeed. But some recruiters aren’t ready to embrace employer branding as a new way of thinking — failing to recognize the potential value or the problems with the alternative. Instead, they treat branding like a campaign that will eventually go away; in other words, they ignore it. 

A successful employer brand isn’t a campaign, project or initiative. Treating it like something with a discrete end date or a tactic to give your hiring a quick boost is a surefire way to fail. 

Instead, think of your employer brand as the comprehensive understanding of what it’s like to work at your company. It’s not about what it’s like today, or once you move into those spiffy new offices. It’s not about what it’s like when business is good. It’s an expression of the everyday reality of the company, and the reason employees strive to achieve its purpose.  

Your brand isn’t a coat of paint — it’s the real you. But it’s a real you that you can build upon. To learn how to get the most out of it, let’s take a page from one of the world’s best-known brands: Coca-Cola. 

What is Coca-Cola’s brand? Is it a red-and-white swooshy thing? Is it a cool bottle? Is it polar bears? The customer may see that specific shade of red, Arctic animals and an invitation to “share a Coke and a smile” — but those are all campaigns. They’re ways of re-sparking an emotional connection to the core brand.  

At its core, the Coca-Cola brand is all about creating and sharing happiness. It’s about the effervescent feeling you get when the bubbles tickle your nose; the immediate hit of sweetness; and the “ahhh” you utter when you’re hot and take a swig of a cold drink.  

Your brand is a platform 

Campaigns help spark customers’ emotions, but they all sit on top of the larger brand platform. Without a strong platform, none of the campaigns would make any sense. Think about it; what do polar bears have to do with soda? Pretty much nothing — except for the fact that seeing a happy polar bear sparks joy, and happiness and joy is the platform the Coca-Cola brand is built upon.  

Here are just a few of the tactics that sit on top of a strong brand platform:

  • Your tagline.
  • The hashtags you use. 
  • How you respond to reviews.
  • What your career site says. 
  • Your job postings. 
  • Social media and referral campaigns.
  • What you…

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