The Strategy Behind The Creative
Employer Branding insights from an industry expert
I’ve been a Creative Director for 15 years, spending the last 5 of those with NeonLogic where I’ve had the opportunity to really delve into the unique world of Employer Branding. What’s become increasingly clear to me, especially over the last couple of years as COVID has really transformed the talent landscape, is that if you want your organisation to truly stand out to candidates in a saturated job market, you need to be doing much more than simply following the conventional playbook.
You need to strategise ways to uncover what’s genuinely unique about working at an organisation, how they’re walking the talk when it comes to their commitments to employees, and what their people are actually saying about the experience of working there, to really understand their Employee Value Proposition. This all happens before I even start the creative process of turning this into an Employer Brand that’s going to get noticed and speak to right-fit talent.
That’s where our research team comes in. We like to take a deep dive focus and collaborate with you to look inward and identify what truly sets you apart. Long before I receive the creative brief, our Research Manager had been under the hood with the client, reviewing data and recruitment collateral, interviewing hiring managers and speaking to past employees, and running workshops with current ones. Importantly, we don’t shy away from encouraging our clients to acknowledge where they can improve, and how they’re planning to do it. It’s a buzzword, but authenticity is key.
It’s by following our Discovery process that I receive a creative brief that tells me what I need to know about who this organisation is, and ‘what’s in it for me’ if I work there. We can’t fake it. If the Employer Brand doesn’t reflect reality, then the stories we’re telling won’t be legit.
If I were to write a wish list of what I want to know about your business and create an Employer Brand that stands out in the market while still being authentically ‘you’ I would be asking:
What are your objectives?
Businesses don’t go down the route of crafting an Employer Brand for the sake of it. I want to know what your EB needs to do for you, and where your priorities lie. Does general awareness of who you are as an employer need to be lifted? Are there ongoing skills shortages that mean you’ll be running regular recruitment campaigns? Are you looking to build an ongoing relationship with a talent community? Our Media Strategist will use this information to build a list of assets and deliverables to include in our Launch Plan recommendations – a solid concept needs to work across multiple channels, so knowing what these are likely to be from the outset helps me get it right.
Who are your audiences?
More and more, I’m seeing organisations say that their Employer Brand needs the flexibility to be tailored to different audiences. That might be because the nature of your business means you have hugely varied job families, remote locations require your recruitment advertising to have an additional element of relocation marketing or acknowledging that the diversity within your business means that your employees value completely different benefits. If our research team can tell me what your audiences want to know, and what concerns of theirs need addressing, then I have what I need to create an Employer Brand that can have a cohesive overarching message, while still being adaptable enough to provide that personalised touch for different groups.
What’s your brand personality?
And how far are you comfortable pushing its boundaries? One of the big things we advocate for is bringing your Brand team along on the journey, as we always, always want to ensure that the Employer Brand complements the existing corporate or consumer brand, not compete with it. That said, what can we do with your assets that are unique and innovative? How can we cut through the clutter and craft a visual identity that’s compelling and thought-provoking?
Can we leverage your biggest asset – your people?
These are the truest advocates of your Employer Brand, in the eyes of those you want to attract. We want to share narratives that humanise your organisation, such as employee success stories, and what you’re doing to meaningfully support diversity and foster inclusion. If your people are willing to become brand ambassadors, through photography, video, or providing quotes or soundbites about their experiences, we want to know about it! Genuine testimonials from satisfied employees carry immense weight and credibility. Don’t forget to launch your new Employer Brand internally too – encourage your people to share this content on social media and amongst their professional networks. Retention is as important as attraction, and this work is for them too.
It’s a lot to think about, but that’s where we come in. We live and breathe strategic talent attraction and are here to guide our clients in developing unique and impactful brands, so that you can remain competitive and successful in today’s talent landscape.
Wade Halse is the Creative Director at NeonLogic, a comprehensive branding and marketing agency.
Discover more at neonlogicagency.com.