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Crush it! 6 Reasons to Fire Up your Employer Brand

I admit it - I am a strong proponent of the power of authentic marketing and branding and am pleased to see it play an increasingly important role in the way service departments do business. Traditionally, branding applied only to products like Tide and Caramilk. Now it means so much more: companies of all sizes can be a brand; programs can be a brand; heck, even we, ourselves, can be a brand!

For some people, this growth in branding is seen as a daunting concept. Nothing is further from the truth if the plan is well thought out and you are creative with your tactics. An organization may have a poor brand in the marketplace, have no real brand in its target market, or may not be aware of its market perception or reputation. The fact is that opportunities are plentiful if branding is allowed to flourish. My advice is this: Make a brand plan. Talk to a marketer. You won't regret it!

Here are 6 key reasons to build your employer brand so your business can benefit from strong recognition in the talent market:

Become a Magnet - A strong brand "pulls" employees to an organization. Branding is a cheap, and ultimately effective, way for an organization to turn the tables from seeking, to receiving applicants. Some organizations have a strong enough reputation through methodical branding practices that potential candidates feel honored when approached or recruited by one of these organizations. The perception is that the "best" (often determined through carefully managed reputation-building practices) seek the best talent.

Save Effort and Time by Targeting - By clearly identifying what it represents and looks for in employees, a business can attract key target candidates; unqualified or inappropriate candidates will "self-select" themselves out of the process. A sustained, targeted program can reach key markets in a cost- effective manner, and can find as a reward, very positive results.

Level the Playing Field - Regardless of the size of an organization, a clearly articulated and appealing brand can actually provide success at the same levels of much larger or more affluent organizations. This is an easy way to create a competitive advantage - and a level playing field for smaller players.

More Qualified Candidates & Faster Recruitment - As more people are drawn to an organization, the more internal processes benefit from an increase in qualified candidates. This means it is easier to get the right person, in a much faster process, through a shorter recruitment cycle.

Sense of Engagement - Employee engagement can drive positive company results. Branding is important in this way, as it can enhance engagement by defining a proper fit for both the organization and potential employees. In the long run, branding can also lead to improved selection processes, internal people practices, and employee retention.

Earn The Right - When top candidates are consistently drawn to an organization, that business "earns the right" to be more and more selective during hiring. They have, in essence, earned the reputation of an employer of choice. Arthur Soler, a former CEO of Cadbury Trebor Allan (CTAI), used Proctor & Gamble as an example when he said "they have earned the right" to put candidates through one of the most rigorous student recruitment processes he knew of by consistently working to be the employer of choice for marketing students.

So, it is easy to recognize that there is value in creating a strong employment brand. The big question is how you get there. You need to treat it like a journey, step by step. Start your process at the beginning by identifying where you are today with your brand. Honestly acknowledge that as your starting point. Next you plan the route and execute.

This is an amended excerpt from my book Jackpot! A Step-by-Step Guide to a Winning On-Campus Recruitment Campaign

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