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Building your employment brand foundation

Employment branding can feel like such a new field. The people tasked with branding in talent acquisition often have to explain themselves and their value to others in their company. They might feel a bit like pioneers trying to forge their way through new initiatives and projects. Yet, the tactics and strategies used in employment branding are often very similar to those used in marketing. The issues faced between the two can also be quite similar.

Challenges for employment brand champions include consistent messaging, ensuring candidate experience matches the brand promise, and communicating their identity in meaningful ways. (An identity that often differs from the public face of the company.) Marketing departments face many of these same challenges – even if the message or audience is different. There’s no denying that TA Brand Managers could take a few pages from Marketing’s playbook to help meet their challenges and present a stronger, more holistic brand strategy.

With that in mind, a recent Forbes headline caught my eye: Employer Brand As A Communications Solution To An Organizational Problem.

The author’s approach to building an employer brand as a process is spot on. TA Brand managers would be well-served to pay attention to foundational marketing tactics as they look to better support the employment brand over time.

First, build the foundation

  • Define perceptions of your target market – both candidates and hiring managers – and then relate Talent Acquisition Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats accordingly.
  • Develop Talent Personas to help you focus your efforts where they will make the most impact.
  • Identify the issues and message points that will resonate with each persona. Make those the cornerstone of your materials and communications.

More about Talent Personas

You might be saying “I already know my target candidates.” You most likely do… to some extent. When was the last time you asked a candidate about their job search process? Do you know their Internet habits? Their social media preferences? What do they like to read? All of these questions can help you learn how your ideal candidate finds your company and what they want from it. They also help you create a more effective brand presence. A presence that makes your organization shine.

Interview new hires, candidates, hiring managers and successful employees. Gather demographic data and people analytics. Flesh out the persona with your own knowledge and observations. Now you have a specific target on which to focus your message, applications and tactics. This Talent Persona helps you create materials that truly speak to your audience and address their concerns. When done well, the personas and the act of creating them help you develop a deeper understanding of your candidate and their primary needs.

[Three trends impacting Talent Acquisition]

Second, plan and execute

Now that you have a firm target in mind, it’s time to design a marketing plan that attracts, engages and converts candidates to employees. This is a chance to tie together the seemingly disparate projects you might have done in the past as your organization dipped their toe into employment branding. It’s also a chance to hone your message and create campaigns that will make an impact.

  • Create a content calendar and begin scheduling the work. You’ll want some flexibility but the calendar will help you stay on message – a message that you’ve already determined is best suited to your ideal candidate.
  • Develop digital content pieces (blog articles, social posts, new job descriptions, updated career sites to name a few) that meet the identified needs and match your key message points.
  • Enlist the help of brand ambassadors – and keep everyone on the same page by sharing what you know about your brand foundation.

Third, measure and adjust

Digital marketing may not cause an impact overnight but you should immediately begin tracking key metrics related to your efforts. Make a point of reviewing those metrics at least once a month and then adjust your plan accordingly. Digital marketing tactics let you be nimble and focus on the things that are working well while adjusting those that are underperforming.

That Forbes article is a great inspiration to getting a strong employment brand foundation started. Here’s one more piece that isn’t quite as inspiring but will likely make you smile: cXr Extra: An Employment Brand Manager’s Delight

Barb Ruess

Barb's career in marketing and branding started with one of the very first job boards and has been focused on career search/talent acquisition in one way or another ever since. She has worked with CXR practically since its beginning and wears many hats from meeting planner to communications to marketing strategy and more.


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