It all comes down to marketing. When a political candidate is lobbying for votes, he’s campaigning. I would argue he’s marketing. When a lawyer makes it to partner, she’s no longer practicing law, she’s marketing the firm’s services to bring in new business. When a recruiter is seeking out candidates, he’s recruiting. I call that marketing. We could all use a lesson or two in marketing because it applies to a heck of a lot. Most professionals in the HR space are not trained marketers. But so much of what we do involves the core of marketing. Instead, we think marketing is all consumer facing, but it’s just as important to market a company to both candidates and employees (and even alumni!) as it is to consumers.
We’ve talked about the importance of the link between HR and marketing. To help speak the language a little better, here are some tips to help you think like a marketer when marketing your employer brand.
1) Define your Audience: Marketers know who they are targeting. What are their likes, dislikes, preferences, tastes, habits, etc.? Same goes for your candidates and employees. Get to know them, well.
2) Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Marketers always are always thinking like their consumers. Experience what they are experiencing. By better understanding the process they go through, you’ll know where and how to meet them along their journey (and stand out from your competitors).
3) Know Your Product: Marketers know every attribute about their products and which attributes appeal to which consumer. Know your company just as well so you can highlight those things about your company that appeal to the 22 year old recent college graduate and the 39 year old career switcher.
4) Make Your Message Simple: Standing out from the crowd is one of the toughest marketing challenges. With so many messages bombarding consumers, marketers keep their messages simple so consumers remember you. Think about all of those silly jingles you hear in commercials. Take State Farm, the insurance company. A jingle from a few years ago was: “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm Is There.” 8 words. To the point. Simple. And the meaning is key. Reliable, dependable, trustworthy. Those are the associations that jingle is making for the consumer. This doesn’t mean to go out and create a jingle to grab candidate’s attention. But keep the message about what you offer as an employer simple, and they will remember you.
5) Connect Your Message to the Why: Great marketers connect their product to something bigger. The latest American Express campaign with Tina Fey is a good example of this. American Express is just a credit card. They can market this in so many ways. For this campaign, the credit card becomes a part of your everyday life – it’s not just a piece of plastic in your wallet. It accompanies you everywhere you go, and knows your deepest secrets (hello, chin acne!). People aren’t just looking for a job. They want to be a part of something bigger. Connect your candidates with the purpose of the company, and it will be a lot easier to sell.
Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.