3 Ways to Get Your Employer Brand Strategy Off the Ground

Having just celebrated my one-year work anniversary of joining the employer branding world (thanks, LinkedIn!), I can’t help but reflect on what a crazy year it has been: between GE Digital stealing the show with its “Owen” commercials, HR topics breaking into the Super Bowl ad market with Audi and 84 Lumber, and Uber’s unprecedented meltdown originating from a single employee testimonial, you can say it has been quite the crash course.

Companies are pulling out all the stops to engage and cultivate relationships with candidates. So if you’re a company that is looking to get your employer brand strategy off the ground (and might not have $5 million to spend on a Super Bowl ad) how do you keep up?

Here are three different avenues that are a great way to get any employer brand going. They only have one prerequisite: employee brand ambassadors ready to tell their stories.

Start Broad: Draw Them in With Mission and Purpose

If you are looking to get your employer brand going but don’t necessarily have the time or resources to take on every career area, a great place to begin is bringing your organization’s mission and purpose to life. Team members that have a high sense of purpose are linked with higher rates of engagement and retention, yet still most company mission statements aren’t grounded in a tangible way.

Talk to different team members throughout your organization — while they may be performing different day-to-day tasks and have completely different backgrounds and careers, they are all working toward the same end goal. Take a look at how the global science company Thermo Fisher Scientific brought its mission to life.

Ask them for stories of a time where they felt their work made a difference in the world, or for examples of why they believe their work to be meaningful. This personal connection will bring your mission to life and resonate with candidates who could share your purpose, too.

Think Narrow: Take Deep Dives Into Specific Hiring Segments

If you don’t know where to start your recruitment marketing, first identify where the trouble recruiting areas are. We all have them: maybe you want to recruit a top intern class, like Dell did successfully, or want to demonstrate how great your engineering department is to compete for top talent alongside the tech giants.

A great benefit of this segmented approach is it allows for a pilot program — pick a target area, create content, and measure the impact. When you go into your next deep dive you can adjust your strategy depending on how your first batch of content performed.

Dell (one of our clients) took this approach with success: after deep diving into interns, it moved on to women in STEM and finally veterans in its organization. These niche campaigns are great opportunities to resonate strongly with candidates’ specific interests and needs.

Get Specific: Bring Job Descriptions to Life Using Video

If you’re not sure where to begin personalizing your employer branding, a great way to personalize interactions with candidates is to bring your job descriptions to life with video. Job descriptions can often look the same from company to company. But if no two companies and cultures are the same, why shouldn’t those unique qualities come through in the job description?

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By talking to a current team member about what it means to do their specific job at that specific organization, candidates applying for that position will get an authentic view into what their experience will be like.

Chipotle does a great job of this on its Career Path page, where it has 30-second videos describing each individual position in their restaurants, like this one where Joe talks about being a kitchen manage. Candidates could work in a kitchen at a lot of different types of restaurants. These videos demonstrate what it would mean to do it at Chipotle.

As candidates are caring more and more about why they work, employer branding has become essential to the success of HR and talent acquisition. Creating an employer brand content strategy doesn’t need to be daunting — determine which avenue may be best for your organization, collect your employee stories, and get branding!

About the Author

Bernadette Launi is member of the Stories Incorporated team, working with best-in-class and emerging employer brands like CVS Health and EliteSEM to bring their cultures to life through storytelling. In the role of client development and success, she has a direct hand in the creation of content that authentically reflects the employee experience. She also writes about employer branding topics throughout the company's various channels, and most recently has joined ATAP as a talent writer. She is a recent graduate of The Catholic University of America and loves to learn and write about all things talent acquisition and employer branding!

  • Keith Halperin

    Thanks, Bernadette. As a Recruiter, I’ll leave EB to Marketing.