Human Resources Today

Are you prepping for a new or refreshed employer brand launch? Looking for ideas on how to launch and promote it? If so, congratulations on making it this far! It’s no small feat to gain buy-in for and then build an employer brand.

Now, just because you build it, doesn’t mean people will automatically see it, hear it, and believe it. (<—Click to tweet!) You’ve got to put your teacher, creator, promoter, and brand manager hats on. When it comes to employer branding, it’s important to have a short-term plan in place to celebrate and generate buzz, as well as a long-term strategy for on-going brand activation and management. Whether you’ve got no budget or a “whoa” budget, here are 5 ideas to get your brand-launching creative juices flowing.

#1: BUT FIRST, COLLEAGUES  

Throughout your career, have you ever thought, “I wish someone would have told me about this first before we [fill in the blank]? Sometimes in our excitement to launch a new brand externally (to attract candidates), we overlook a very important step (to engage our current employees). While the external touchpoints are important, getting your colleagues educated and excited – that’s where the magic happens.

For an employer brand to be authentic and fully-lived, it must win the hearts and minds of employees. Consider rolling out the employer brand internally to avoid your teams seeing new messaging and creative out in the public domain, and having no context behind it.

#2: GET THE C-SUITE INVOLVED  

When senior leaders are along on the employer brand journey, they will want to ensure a successful launch. When senior leaders play a role, it elevates the awareness and importance of the brand. Start by asking your leaders how they would like to be involved. Here are a few ideas to seed your conversations:

  • shoot a short video with your CEO or CHRO introducing employees to the new employer brand and share it out via your company intranet or employee app

  • write a series of Q&A articles for your intranet featuring senior leaders’ answers to questions that align with your new employer brand architecture  

  • create branded note cards that leaders and managers can use to write hand-written notes to employees  

#3: MAKE AN EXISTING EVENT BETTER  

Is your organization hosting a large employee event — perhaps it’s a national sales meeting, a community service day, an awards celebration, or a company picnic? See how you can piggyback on it. Existing events are great opportunities to announce and weave in aspects of the new employer brand. When employees can experience being a part of the employer brand launch, their education and adoption of the brand is often faster. (<—Click to tweet!)  As far as event experiences, here are some creative ones to think about:

  • offer professional headshots (this is particularly good if your organization has a large presence on LinkedIn)

  • debut your employer brand anthem video

  • host a raffle and announce employer brand swag winners throughout the event

  • roll out a red carpet with a branded backdrop as employees enter

  • organize an employee panel to share stories that ladder up to the new employer brand  

#4: HAVE FUN WITH PHOTOS  

Hosting an employee photo contest serves two purposes. One, it’s an engaging way to get employees involved. Two, it helps you build a library of employee-generated photos (which you’re going to want in the future as you move from brand launch to brand management).

Let’s say your new employer brand architecture includes “we work hard and play hard” or “we make an impact on the community.” Challenge employees to snap and submit photos that capture the essence of your employer brand. Winners get bragging rights and newly branded t-shirts. Maybe their winning photos get turned into social media images or wall art to hang in the HR lobby.

#5: EXTEND BEYOND ONE DAY

Marketers know that people need to hear a message more than once (or twice or three times) before it sticks. So, why plan a launch day when you can plan a launch week? Doing so allows for a greater variety of tactics to appeal to different employee populations, as not everyone will read the company newsletter, see an intranet article, attend a company event, or watch a CEO video. By creating multiple opportunities to learn and engage, the employer brand launch will be hard to ignore. For instance:

  • Monday: welcome tables staffed by brand ambassadors + launch a photo contest

  • Tuesday: send senior leader email with a link to the brand anthem video on the intranet

  • Wednesday: conduct a desk drop to surprise + delight employees  

  • Thursday: offer headshot photo booth sessions

  • Friday: announce contest winners + brandline cupcakes in the cafeteria

To make your employer brand launch successful, it will take talent, skill, planning, time, and resources. Deciding how big (or small) of a splash you want to make is completely up to your team and leadership. However, to simply let the employer brand trickle out or quietly go live is not recommended. Creating employer brand awareness requires shining a light on your organization as an employer – and that light comes from within.

Have ideas for launching your employer brand in a meaningful way? Sharing is caring —comment below.

If you learned something from this post, check out this one: Making the Shift from Employer Brand Launch to Management


Shannon Smedstad (@shannonsmedstad) is an Engagement Director and Principal Employer Brand Strategist for 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 recruitment strategy offerings.



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