When we talk about “Employer Branding”, we’re speaking of the complete array of strategies and techniques we use to enable a company to be perceived as a highly desirable place to work – both by existing employees and by potential new candidates. Because the goal of employer branding is threefold: to attract, engage, and retain great talents.
The principles used in brand marketing are similar, as marketing has comparable goals: to reach and engage new customers and obtain the loyalty of existing ones.
Both employer branding and brand marketing are constantly evolving domains which require an exhaustive understanding of market trends and target audience profiles; a perfect grasp of the latest technological advances (especially when it comes to anything digital); and a ninja-like ability to rapidly respond to changing social media preferences.
What’s really behind a brand?
We know that employers and marketers are both are selling a brand, but before we try to define what a brand is, let’s begin with what a brand is not: “A Brand is not a product or a promise or a feeling. It’s the sum of all the experiences you have with a company.” That’s according to Amir Kassaei, Chief Creative Officer of DDB Worldwide.
A company’s brand is one of the most powerful assets it can have, provided it is strong, trustworthy, and relatable, whether its target is customers or candidates.
For products, a strong brand can not only attract and retain customers, it can build loyalty so fierce, those same customers are seven times more likely to forgive you if you make a mistake. And, of course, they’ll willingly pay more for your brand. Apple is a shining example…
For employer brands, the best is one which embodies the company’s employee value proposition (EVP) and its reputation as a great place to work. A brand with that kind of significance can attract the brightest talents – and keep them. It can turn every employee into an enthusiastic ambassador.
At Arkadin Cloud Communications, our brand expresses both our EVP and our core values. We even have a slogan that expresses our Employer Value Proposition: “Be Contagiously Enthusiastic”. Because we believe that happy days at work translate into happy careers for our employees, which in turn contagiously leads to the global success of our company.
Our brand also embodies our four core values of Respect, Working Together, Entrepreneurial Spirit and Enjoyment.
When a brand has the ability to encapsulate its core values, it’s a sure-fire winner. (Think of Nike and all the power contained in that “swoosh”: Just do it!)
One difference is the destination
Brand marketing and employer branding both begin, of course, with the concept of “selling”; the difference lies in what you want your target to “buy”.
In brand marketing, we talk about a sales funnel composed of the three stages of the consumer journey. The first, or awareness, stage is “I know this product”. The second, or interest, stage, is “I like something/lots of things about this product”. The third, or destination, stage, is “I buy this product”. An almost identical funnel can be applied to employer branding, but with a different destination: the first stage is still awareness: “I know this company”; the second stage is again interest: “I like what this company stands for”; only the third stage (destination) has changed: “I apply for a job (at this highly desirable company)”. Because in the same way marketers target customers to sell products, employers can also target candidates to “sell” jobs.
For brand marketing, convincing people to buy a product involves creating contacts with consumers at every possible occasion. Offering free samples at points-of-purchase, at events, or in stores; attracting clients with advertising campaigns, emails, promotions, contests with prizes… the list is endless.
Effective employer branding at Arkadin and other companies is all about the same things: managing the candidate relationship at each touch point to generate a positive experience all the way through, from telephone calls, email conversations, meetings at school events or job fairs, during interviews, up to the signature of the work contract.
How technology is changing the game
Today, the way people search for things, from computers and hiking boots to jobs and candidates, has changed forever. Everything is digital, mobile, available at the touch of a keyboard. Every opinion about every company, no matter what it sells, is filtered through social media. Brands, whether they sell products or jobs, need to be where the action is, offering the kind of content their audiences want in the way they like to consume it.
Jim Kreyenhagen, Vice President of Marketing for doxo.com, is emphatic: “Companies with a savvy use of social media are at an advantage in reaching millennials, as this helps to both increase the company or brand’s visibility while also satisfying the millennial need for more personal recommendations from friends, family, co-workers and more.”
And it’s the same when it comes to employer branding. Carmen Collins, Social Media & Talent Brand Lead at Cisco, states: “The Alpha generation has never NOT had mobile devices, so how you’ll communicate with them will change how you think about employer branding. For them, it won’t be enough to have a mobile-friendly Careers site – you’ll need to have a mobile-FIRST website. If they build their networks on messaging platforms, you’ll need to develop a strategy for messaging platforms. If they speak in emoji and text, you’ll need to adapt to their language. It’s not about what you want to say and how you want to say it, it’s about them and the skills they have to bring to the future of work.”
At Arkadin, we agree, and we’ve implemented new technologies such as SmartRecruiters, an Applicant Tracking System similar to a CRM system, which automates, monitors, and streamlines our hiring processes. It’s never been so easy for candidates to find us, view our jobs, learn about our products and our values, and join our #ContagiouslyEnthusiastic company.