Today, my former team at Marriott International won "Best Employer Brand" at the Recruiting Excellence Awards--part of ERE Expo. (Congrats team!) The awards are a great way to keep tabs on what's happening in talent acquisition and recruiting and what might work for you. It's conference season after all: "more best practices, please." At the kickoff of the last Recruiting Innovation Summit, I put up a slide that said "don't replicate what you learned today." Then I did a mini-case study of My Marriott Hotel(TM), the social recruiting game I worked on while I was there. But don't copy it. Don't copy anything you see actually. Think bigger picture. What are the lessons you can take away from a conference? What can you tell your boss when you return in 45 seconds to prove it was worthwhile?

Hmm. 45 seconds. I've never said anything in 45 seconds or les. But I love a challenge....

Let's say you're rethinking your employer brand. You know it needs work but you don't know where to start? Here's 45 seconds of boss-worthy strategy you can take away to spur getting started.

1) Know your master brand first.

If you don't have a relationship with your CMO or marketing, get one. Learn their craft and the ins and outs of your master brand. You can't create or evolve an employer brand unless you know how it fits into your larger master or consumer brand. Plus you'll need a good partnership with marketing to make your employer brand work.

2) It's employer brand, not employment brand.

Sure, the brand is about the employment experience. But you're choosing to work for an employer and you might have multiple employment experiences within the context of one employer. Focus on the bigger picture first (and #1) and then connect to the actual process of employment.

3) Strive for alignment.

Global company, employer brand created and only used in North America? Nope, won't work. You've got to have a common thread of alignment first, from master brand to employer brand to employment experience. Then, you can begin to differentiate by geography, discipline and level. But align first.

4) Bring in tools and execute last.

Don't start your brand with product creation. That's like producing a commercial for cereal before you know what it tastes like. If you're in the early stages of building an employer brand, you shouldn't be talking to execution, technology, or social media vendors. Yet. They'll be more effective partners if you have a strategy in place first.

There 45 seconds to get you started. Now use the best practices to get inspired.

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