Marketing to Existing & Potential Employees Can Be Just as Crucial as Marketing to Customers
Brands are a lot like bands. They’re both built to give audiences something they want, build a loyal following, and hopefully make a buck or two from it. But, behind the brands, behind the music, there are real people, with their own egos, talents, and aspirations that can either get in the way or lead to great things.
The ones that continually rock it out of the park work in unison, loving what they do, committed to their craft, and it shows in the product. The bad ones are like dysfunctional families, always arguing, members coming and going, not living up to potential, and not even believing in what they’re doing.
When things aren’t jiving internally, people on the outside know it, the product suffers, and before you know it, the whole operation falls to pieces. Even the good ones can go bad. Heck, both Van Halen and Kmart had their internal strife and questionable moves before eventually calling it quits.
That’s why it’s so important for brands (and bands) to remain focused on not only how the public views them but also how existing team members and those considering joining the team view them.
While getting your brand story out there, garnering interest in your product, and connecting with customers are core tenets of an effective marketing strategy, employer branding is essential to attract job seekers and ensure current employees are satisfied, loyal, and dedicated to your company’s success.
Whether you know it or not, your business has a reputation as an employer, and as with many things, reputation matters. Employer branding is about selling your employee experience, maintaining a strong reputation, and using it to boost your business from within.
Successful brands make it a priority to purposefully market themselves as an employer, even developing campaigns and strategies to do so.
Consider these 5 key ways to improve your employer branding:
1. Be an Employer That People Want to Work For
First things first. To paraphrase an old saying, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. Likewise, you can do all the persuasive employer branding you want, touting how great of an employer you are, but if your true in-house environment doesn’t stack up, people will eventually see right through your facade. Before you can market your employer brand, you have to make sure it’s worth marketing.
Many factors contribute to attracting and retaining employees. Some are obvious and practical like wages, benefits, office location, training/development, and job security. Others are less tangible yet just as important, like office culture, work/life balance, transparency, fairness and so on.
Today more than ever, people want to work for an employer that shares similar values. This is especially true for Gen-Xers and millennials who are rapidly replacing boomers as the workforce majority. If you continually work to make your business a place people want to work at and produce a product/service they believe in, your employer branding will ring true and be more effortless, with the added bonus of your employees being your biggest ambassadors.
2. Craft a Persuasive Employer Value Proposition (EVP)
Your business should already have a carefully crafted unique value proposition (UVP) — a statement that establishes what differentiates your brand from the competition and how it uniquely meets the needs of your target consumer audience. However, chances are, you don’t have an employer value proposition (EVP) — a similarly purposeful statement about what your company offers existing and prospective employees.
Like a UVP is for external branding, an EVP is the foundation on which you can and should center all your employer brand elements for a strong, consistent message across all channels. And it shouldn’t be just a rattling off of benefits and perks, it should capture the essence of your business as an employer in a concise yet targeted manner. If you don’t know what your EVP is, figuring it out is a good place to start when building out your employer branding strategy.
3. Audit Your Employer Brand
Maybe you think you’ve been doing everything right to make employees happy and loyal, and your brand attractive to jobseekers. But are you sure? How do you know what people really think of your employer brand?
For the most accurate snapshot of current perceptions, you should conduct an employer brand audit — a deep-diving assessment of the effectiveness of your employer branding efforts, both inward-facing (toward employees) and outward-facing (recruitment).
From deploying and analyzing anonymous employee surveys to monitoring online company reviews and social media engagement, there are several channels you can use to get valuable insight and honest feedback. This way, you can get to the bottom of what your true employer strengths are, so you can amplify them in your marketing, as well as what your weaknesses are, so you can identify opportunities for improvement.
Meanwhile, you can address and work to resolve any negative feedback to help protect your reputation and build trust. An employer brand audit should also help make your hiring process more fruitful and efficient. If you have neither the time nor resources to do an audit yourself, it’s well worth it to have a trusted firm like M:7 Agency that’s experienced in research and strategy< perform one for you.
4. Get Your Internal Story Out There
When you’ve created a great employer brand, it’s important that your marketing of it stacks up. You should be shining the spotlight on that story every chance you get, using all relevant digital and traditional channels. Spread the word through owned media like social media and your company website as well as earned media opportunities like press releases and blog mentions highlighting corporate achievements, ESG efforts, fundraisers, volunteer work, and more.
High-quality video and photography are great tools to help tell your company story. Doing it in unique and engaging ways — such as aerial footage of your corporate headquarters and employee appreciation events — can bring your employer brand to life in ways that truly set you apart.
Because employees and jobseekers are typically aware of how the public views your brand, it’s also important to keep your relationship with the public strong by consistently updating your company profiles and social media, and responding in a timely and professional manner to all outside comments and inquiries. After all, your internal and external brand perceptions are intertwined, so it’s important to maintain positive engagement.
5. Spread the Swag
A highly effective way to raise brand awareness among employees, customers, and the general public alike is through the use of promotional products emblazoned with your brand elements, e.g. company name, logo, tagline, colors, and so forth.
After all, who doesn’t like some free swag? Nowadays, you have the option to put your branding on just about anything you can think of, including hats, shirts, pens, backpacks, and even baby onesies. The more people use or wear it, the more your name gets out there and stuck in the minds of others.
At the same time, feeling like you’re part of a great crew plays a big part in building employee morale, and what is a team without the branded swag to go with it? Your team members will wear it proudly and “represent” everywhere they go. Whether looking for a specific item or just browsing for ideas, M:7’s one-stop shop has all the promotional products you could ever need — from high-quality apparel to everyday necessities like mugs and pens.
You might think that not a lot of people care what goes on behind your brand, but they certainly do. Today more than ever, employees, job seekers, and even customers consider the whole brand, inside and out. For optimal brand success, it’s important to prioritize your employer branding just as you do your external branding.
M:7 Agency can help you assess your current employer brand, create a persuasive EVP, and work with you to spread your employer story so that everyone knows your company is the place to be. Get in touch with us today.