What comes to mind when you think about your company’s brand? Maybe it’s the logo or the brand messaging, or perhaps you think about how the wider world sees your organisation.
Whilst these tend to be what springs to mind first, there’s another element to a company’s branding that is arguably as vital but often neglected. Employer branding is a crucial component of attracting and retaining talent for purpose-driven organisations, and in our post-Covid, working from home, competitive business world, it’s more important than ever.
In this post, we take a look at the benefits you can expect to see when you establish a strategy for employer branding and, crucially, how you go about achieving it.
Is Employer Branding For Me?
If you want to increase your job pool of qualified candidates, save money and improve how your company is perceived online, then yes!
For recruiting and talent acquisition, a positive employer brand is everything. In fact, you can actually save money on recruitment by having a strong employer brand strategy.
Just think about a potential recruit logging onto your website to find genuine employees talking about how great it is to work at your company – it’s a smart way to entice those candidates without spending a penny on external advertising.
Creating Candidate Personas
You probably have buyer personas that help you create and target online content. Now, think about taking the same approach with candidates. Building candidate personas is a brilliant way of branding your company for potential recruits.
Consider demonstrating internal work culture with photos and videos generated by employees to genuinely showcase what it’s like to work at your company or compose blog posts on company events. Video testimonials are also a surefire way to give your employer brand a boost – current and former employees who’ve had a great experience working at your company can be your biggest advocates.
These pieces of content can be seamlessly mixed in with your consumer-facing content through your social channels, and with a staggering 1 in 4 job seekers using social media as their primary tool for job searching and research, content like this can have a significant impact on the way future employees interpret your employer brand.
Don’t Neglect Career Sites
You have full control of your social channels and website, but your company is represented elsewhere on the internet too. Career sites like Glassdoor are go-to’s for potential recruits, so it’s important to pay attention to these websites.
As part of your employer branding strategy, you should dedicate time to address negative comments on these sites. Don’t deny issues from disgruntled former employees or get defensive – instead, address the issues and show how your company is working to improve and move on. You can never have total control over your employer brand, but you can help shape the narrative by being honest on sites like these.
That’s right, it’s crucial that your CEO is factored into your branding strategy too.
Think about some of the biggest companies in the world – Tesla, Microsoft, Meta – the CEOs of these firms are synonymous with their brands. Any news story about Tesla has Elon Musk’s face plastered all over it; ‘Meta’ and ‘Zuckerberg’ are connected in Perpetuum.
The reputation of your CEO is closely tied to the reputation of the brand they lead. Research by Brand Finance found that particularly outspoken CEOs have the biggest influence on the way customers perceive their brands (and surprise, surprise – it’s not always in a positive way!)
CEO branding is not just for large corporations; in fact, it can be most effective in smaller start-ups and founder-run organisations. Demonstrating the founder’s expertise and putting them front and centre can help build trust among both consumers and investors.
Bringing out the best of the CEO without ensuing reputational liability is a very delicate balancing act and only works if the leader embodies and projects the core brand values.
So, how do you harness this unique marketing tool? Here are 3 considerations when building your CEO brand:
- Define the CEO’s personal brand
Begin the process by defining the CEO’s executive personal brand. Work closely with the CEO for this piece of work. Consider their personality, strengths, vision, goals and just what sort of a CEO they are.
- Look to the Future
Consumers want CEOs who are forward-thinking and able to anticipate their needs (sometimes before they even know what they want themselves.) Think about how Mark Zuckerberg articulates innovation at Meta – his ‘big picture’ thinking shows he welcomes change and growth and is undeterred by obstacles. He clearly expresses this long-term vision for the company (thinking in terms of decades, not quarters or years), stating the brands’ internal values in 2022 as – “move fast”, “build awesome things”, and “live in the future”.
- Don’t be scared of failure
Once you incorporate your CEO into your employer branding strategy, you need to be prepared to embrace all that comes with that. Being seen is a huge part of CEO branding, so they need to be confident to get out there and show their face and be prepared that not everyone will like them all the time.
When done well, CEOs are perhaps one of the most underrated marketing tools that you have at your disposal.
We hope you try out some of these employer branding tips. Not only will these techniques benefit employee retention and fuel talented applicants, but they can positively affect other aspects of your company as well.