No longer the new fad or trend, employer brand is quickly becoming a strategic staple for organizations hungry to solve talent challenges. Where leaders used clamor for as much candidate volume as possible, now all we hear is a refrain of “we need the best talent” or “we need talent that will thrive in our culture.”
As with most things that shift from trend to a core part of your strategy, there is still confusion in the market. Debunking the most common employer brand myths can be the first step in educating new professionals in the space or internal stakeholders and colleagues you need to help support your mission.
Myth: Creating an employer brand is an initiative or project within HR that has a start and a finish.
Truth: Creating an employer brand is transformational and requires ongoing support and resources from all parts of the organization. Employer brands are living and breathing entities. They aren’t a project to be completed--once built, they never go away and need to be managed and measured. Like consumer brands, they need a foundation you can market from and have to be consistently researched, managed, and measured. Your organization’s employer brand is always present, meaning that while campaigns and marketing tactics can be projects--such as running a campaign to attract more women in technology--when that campaign ends, the brand remains.
Myth: Employer brands are developed in the boardroom by senior executives.
Truth: Authentic employer brands are built from the bottom up by listening to and hearing the voices of employees. And while the CEO, CHRO, and/or CMO may have real opinions on what they think employees and candidates think and feel, it’s the data that should drive the core of your employer brand, your messaging, and your marketing strategy.
Myth: Employer brand and recruitment marketing are the same thing.
Truth: Employer brand is the brand of the entirety of the employment experience -- from awareness to recruitment to retention to departure. Recruitment marketing is a subset of employer brand; it’s the collection of marketing tactics and activities used to recruit candidates.
Myth: Every employer brand requires the use of social media
Truth: Social media is a marketing avenue, not an employer brand strategy. You must seek to understand the audiences you wish to attract, and if research tells you that social media is the right marketing channel, then by all means use it! However, don't aimlessly post all over Facebook and Twitter just because that’s what everyone else is doing.
Myth: Authenticity means user-generated content.
Truth: Most organizations turn to user-generated content because it’s cheaper. And there is nothing wrong with that. But keep in mind that being authentic means being genuine,staying true to your employer brand, and sharing the honest employment experience, warts and all. If all you can afford is employee video content on a mobile device, that’s okay! But if you have the investment, strong creative content can showcase your organization’s authenticity in a professional, highly impactful way.
And finally, my favorite:
Myth: Employer brand and employer value proposition (EVP) are the same thing.
Truth: Here at exaqueo, we have a specific point of view on this--we firmly believe EVP and employer brand are two distinctive concepts. We see EVP as the strengths of the employment experience--all the things that your employees value. The employer brand is the subset of those strengths that you wish to hang your hat on. Think about it like a product. Engineers may point out that a new car has hundreds of product attributes, but the marketers can’t sell all of them. They must pick and choose the few that will resonate most with their target audience based on the research.
What are some of your favorite myths? Share in the comments below!
Susan LaMotte (@SusanLaMotte) is the founder and CEO of exaqueo, an employer brand experience firm building employer brands and the talent strategies that drive them through research, consulting and creative and digital execution. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research and recruiting strategy offerings.