7 steps to a successful employer branding campaign

Changes to the economic landscape continuously challenge companies to think of innovative ways to match mission-critical posts with the best talent. Employer branding is the establishment of a company’s identity as an employer and is a proven way to get and retain the right people even in uncertain economic times. The reason that this type of organizational branding is important is simple. Organizational branding provides applicants with a value proposition about a company. It’s the company’s chance to describe the benefits of working for the organization and how it uniquely delivers on those benefits.

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Employer Branding

Here are seven key steps to launching a successful employer branding campaign.

#1 Tell (Sell) The Company Story

Today’s job seekers want careers that make a difference in the world around them. Whether they manage freight operations for an international shipping company or help local small businesses to reach their marketing goals, they want to know that the company is making society better. Organizations that tell that story in unique ways get noticed.

Benefits of Storytelling

A compelling corporate story depicts how the company was started and where it’s headed. It carefully weaves together attributes about the company such as its name, brand association, and personality to show the organization’s culture. By making the company culture transparent for applicants, job seekers can decide whether or not the company is a good fit for their personal values.

Corporate storytelling helps recruiters attract people who already love the company and just want an opportunity to show off their skills during an interview. When considering job offers, the right company culture often trumps extra money for candidates. Once hired, they’re more likely to stay with the company.

Real-World Success: General Electric

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General Electric (GE) was founded in 1892 and is known as a pioneer for innovative work in the energy, software, and manufacturing sectors. While it continues to bring new products to the market, the multi-national company can be perceived by the younger generation as more stodgy and less dynamic than many of the exciting, new start-ups in the marketplace. GE effectively puts these assumptions to bed with a branding video that humorously shows a young engineer explaining his new GE job position to his behind-the-times parents.

#2 Begin Cross-Functional Collaboration

An effective employer brand campaign can’t be achieved by the efforts of a single department alone. If the goal of an employer brand campaign is to attract top talent, a company must focus on the needs of every department that’s struggling to acquire the best workers. Representatives from marketing, HR, and other functional areas should be involved in the planning of an employer brand campaign.

Benefits of Inter-Departmental Collaboration

Cross-functional team collaboration allows business leaders to generate branding campaigns that more completely address the challenges that are faced by the entire company. It also allows decision-makers to adjust the scope of campaigns to support the most compelling issues first.

Real-World Success: Lufthansa

Airline powerhouse Lufthansa does a great job of inviting high-performance professionals to join its crew. The company gathered input from its marketing, sales, engineering, production, and HR departments to pull together a video collage that shows various team members at work. While each team member held a different function, they all showed the same professionalism and enthusiasm for the Lufthansa employer brand.

#3 Establish Success Criteria and Measure Effectiveness

A company rolls out a great-looking organizational branding campaign. However, the campaign doesn’t produce the results that the company’s senior leaders expected. Chances are high that the company failed to establish success criteria for the campaign. The best employer branding campaign has clear, measurable success criteria.

Benefits of Defining and Measuring Success

Organizational branding is a team sport that can get expensive depending on the company’s strategy and goals. By establishing success criteria for branding campaigns, companies make sure that their money isn’t being wasted on fruitless activities. These criteria help to focus campaigns on outcomes that move companies toward their strategic hiring goals. When generated in a collaborative setting, they help business leaders to uncover challenges within existing company recruiting processes and to set their teams up for overcoming those obstacles.

Identifying how a campaign’s success criteria are measured is critical for clarity and expectation management. Exploring when and how often success is measured assures decision-makers that they’ll have relevant data when they need it. When a portion of a branding campaign is successful, business leaders can decide to reroute funds to support other efforts that are misaligned.

Real-World Success: Cisco

Cisco’s recent branding campaign includes an organized cache of employment resources for job seekers. After evaluating its information and employee testimonials, a running theme becomes clear. Cisco’s main goal is to get job seekers to fill out applications. Every resource presents job hunters with the opportunity to send the company their resume and application details. Cisco used a digital tool to set success criteria, execute its branding campaign, and measure the campaign’s success.

#4 Implement Targeted Recruiting Measures

Companies have specific hiring needs. Why settle for generic recruiting measures? Targeted recruiting activities help companies to narrow their desired audience down to applicants who meet their unique requirements for job positions and company culture. When branding campaigns include targeted recruiting measures and metrics, companies are more often able to close the deal with top talent.

Benefits of Targeted Recruiting

When done right, targeted recruiting saves resources. Discovering a skilled professional who embodies a company’s core values is a tall order to fill with generic job boards. Niche job boards for tech talent, teachers, or tradespeople let business leaders cut to the chase with a branding campaign that’s a custom fit for those applicants.

Creating a more diverse workforce is the goal of many businesses. With targeted recruiting measures, a company can show off its benefits to qualified women professionals by advertising its branding campaign on job boards that cater to business women. If the company wants to hire more military veterans, it can craft its campaign to reach veteran job boards.

Building targeted recruiting metrics into an employer branding strategy helps recruiters to learn about the quality of the job boards that their companies are paying to use. These metrics also give insight into how much time qualified candidates spend within each phase of the hiring process. This shows areas where a company excels and those that need improvement.

Real-World Success: McKinsey

McKinsey is a consulting firm that has crafted a successful employer brand campaign that’s geared towards attracting women business leaders. Its recent campaign included a sponsored networking event that introduced talented women to McKinsey’s available management positions, mentorship opportunities, and its leadership program.

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#5 Choose Communication Channels for Campaign Promotions

It’s a foregone conclusion that companies will use social media channels to promote their employer brand campaigns. However, choosing the best social channels for a given campaign isn’t always easy. The most effective communication channels are ones that resonate with the company’s targeted applicants.

Benefits of Using the Right Social Media Platforms

Being selective about social media platforms allows business leaders to publish branding campaigns that target specific demographic groups. While these business leaders attract a number of qualified candidates, job seekers who aren’t a good fit for the organization aren’t likely to see the campaign.

Real-World Success: BMW

While BMW doesn’t call out any specific demographic group in its branding campaign, its content clearly targets the young or young at heart. Videos and pictures on Instagram and Snapchat are meant to attract people who have a passion for engineering, new technology, and cars.

#6 Encourage Employee Advocacy

When a company develops a high-performing team, it’s natural that it would want to duplicate that scenario across all of its departments. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to encourage employee advocacy for the company brand. Many successful employer brand campaigns feature employee stories that show the real challenges and triumphs of different job positions within companies. These offer applicants the transparency that they want when deciding on future career options with companies.

Benefits of Making Employees Influencers

Everyone wants to work for a company that’s filled with people who like and respect each other. When existing, high-achieving employees are allowed to shape an employer brand campaign, the company will likely get more high-calibre applicants. This can be done by inviting employees to do videos that tell new hires what they like about working for the company and what a typical workday looks like for them. Adopting an employee referral program is another great way to incentivize employees to push the company’s brand.

As employees become influencers for a company’s branding campaign, they develop a sense of ownership and empowerment that bonds them to the organization emotionally. This boosts morale and reduces turnover.

Employees who double as influencers usually have established social channels that represent networks of like-minded professionals. A company can extend its recruiting reach to qualified job candidates by encouraging employees to promote the company’s branding campaign on their social channels.

Real-World Success: Henkel

Henkel achieved success with its employer brand campaign through an employee-inspired video series about work-life at the company. The consumer goods company published the videos on its social media channels to target Millennials. It deliberately used platforms such as LinkedIn and Instagram that appeal to this demographic group.

#7 Manage the Brand With Feedback

Smart business leaders want to implement evergreen employer brand campaigns that yield benefits long after the initial event ends. They achieve this by building in feedback mechanisms into campaigns and actively managing employer brands using the feedback.

Benefits of Continuous Brand Management

Competition for top talent is fierce, and recruiters need every tool in their arsenal to keep the supply of qualified workers steady and predictable. By incorporating continuous brand management into its employer brand campaign, a company is able to quickly adapt to changing workforce attitudes and the job-seeking behaviors of its targeted applicants. Data-driven brand management is best, and companies gain relevant data through marketing research and feedback requests about their branding campaign content.

Real-World Success: HubSpot

Inbound marketing company HubSpot has the inside track on continuous brand management. The company features a number of candid employee opinion pieces across all of its social media channels. The general public, which is otherwise known as prospective employees, is encouraged to comment on the employee video posts. The results are conversations that feed into HubSpot’s employer brand, company culture, and recruitment strategies. Companies can copy HubSpot’s success by hiring a social media manager to help manage their employer brand online.

Advancements in technology and the prolific use of social media assure that all businesses will have an employer brand whether they want one or not. Implementing an employer branding campaign puts companies in the driver’s seat when it comes to marketplace reputation. Current employees are valuable assets for these campaigns and for on-going employer brand management. To keep top talent in the recruitment pipeline, leverage the influence of your existing workforce with Firstbird’s employee referral software.

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Majella Grawatsch

Originally from Brisbane, Australia, Majella completed her studies with a Bachelor of Business majoring in advertising from Queensland's University of Technology. After a few years of working in the gaming and entertainment industry in the APAC market, she moved to Vienna, Austria and joined the Firstbird team as a copywriter in 2016. She has never looked back, and now works across marketing, partnerships and sales in Firstbird’s international team.

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