How to Build an Employer Brand Specific to your Company
Change is on the horizon for business branding.
We’ve seen this coming for years, and lately, the trend has started to become bigger and clearer.
Company communication used to be about products.
Companies like Rolex or BMW made themselves known by their amazing products, advertised as the pinnacle of consumer engineering.
Today, a company isn’t just famous for its product branding, but for being a brand itself.
Here’s what I mean by that:
Everybody wants to work at Google, and not just because it’s a multibillion-dollar company. After all, McDonald's is too.
People are attracted to Google because of the company as a brand: the way they work, and the way they treat employees at the workplace, is almost half the of the reason they are famous.
Google built up a relaxed and free image over the years, and it’s certainly one of the reasons they attract top talent from all over the world over their competitors.
The Digital Marketing Institute affirms that employer branding has strategic functions.
- It retains key talent
- Builds a global brand
- Differentiates companies from their competitors
Here are some ideas on how you can develop your own competitive advantage with an attractive employer brand.
Analyze and develop your employer brand advocacy
To start, get a grasp on how your employees view your company.
Get your marketing team on the job, and have them draft up a poll or survey. Send it out to your shareholders, and ask them what they think.
Just like with a customer, the first step to building advocacy from a customer to a company is to understand their current needs. This task is usually in the wheelhouse of your Marketing and/or HR team.
Sending anonymous polls to your current employers will help you see what they like and dislike about the current company culture.
Spot the points that can be improved and set common goals between HR and Marketing to work on in the following months.
Think of what you want to achieve, and what kind of image you want to nurture.
Set a baseline with good practices and top company cultures from other companies. Then, add differentiators according to your type of business and corporate image.
Stand out in every way
To build your brand, you need to set up your company to stand out in almost every way possible. This means focusing on your structure, your vision, but also, your design.
The first and strongest thing you can do is set up a good website.
When people see your website, do they look at your company as a place they would want to work at? If the site looks outdated, garish, or trashy, they will definitely not take you seriously.
At best, they will consider you outdated, and behind the times.
At worst, they will think you are too cheap and lazy to get a proper website made. Know that today’s generation is all about tech savvy -- even if you’re not in the technology business.
Design and content go hand in hand on your website.
Win hearts and minds with authentic stories from your employees. Add a section where you present your core values, as well as the benefits and perks people get when they work for you.
If you have any trouble setting up a website, you can always hire a professional creative agency to help you out. Leverage channels that are naturally designed for sharing company culture, such as Instagram.
Invest in education and training
One of the most important things that people search for in a company is the opportunity to learn. There are studies and research that show that the generation that is just now entering the workforce values education above all else.
Millennials want to improve constantly, to hone their skills. They crave the opportunity to learn and see tangible results.
If you truly want to build your employer brand, you need to provide this for them.
Organize workshops and seminars. Pay for language or software classes. If you can, get a speaker at your company to give some advice on team building.
Send out a questionnaire or poll and see what your people would be interested in. They will tell you exactly what kind of classes they want, and what kind of training is just useless for their current skill level.
Create a culture
Play to your strengths and use the brand you have properly. Attract and hire talented, energetic people. Nurture hard work and dedication.
Advise your people to share and speak about your brand. They can do this via hashtags on Twitter, posting on social media, or, as I’ve mentioned before, via word of mouth.
However, there is one important caveat:
Namely, you actually need to have a positive culture, to begin with. If you want people to share stuff on their personal social media pages, you need to have a culture they can be proud of.
They will resent you greatly if you expect them to speak positively about your brand when your brand itself is not that good. So set up a company they can be proud of.
Use merchandising to build a feeling of belonging inside the company and to raise employee awareness outside of the company. See Hootsuite’s example of branded t-shirts with their brand mascot.
Building an employer brand is a project that involves a distinct set of skills. Strong research, goal-setting, implementation and follow-up make it as multi-faceted as building customer advocacy.
The key to getting started:
Understanding how your employer brand is perceived right now. Using polls, surveys, questionnaires and permission to get an authentic opinion from employees.
Align your employers style with your corporate vision and visualize the company culture you would like to have. Draft the activities and financials needed to make it happen.
Finally, use your own channels to communicate your employee brand. Instagram and your website are great places to show your company from the inside. Leverage these channels and your most motivated employers to spread the word about your company.