Branding. We always hear about how important it is to attract the right customers, but what about attracting the right employees? With so many brands proliferating all over the Web — and even being built of off social networks like Instagram — we know by now that reaching the best recruits is more than a simple matter of colors or logos. Especially in our current times, branding is all about letting potential employees know who you are as a company.
With that in mind, here are what I believe to be the three keys to effective branding in today’s millennial-driven world.
1. Be Authentic
One of the aspects I love about today’s branding canon is that it’s okay to be who you are. Geez, if only someone told me that in junior high! And it’s not only okay — it’s encouraged, celebrated, and even downright expected.
I’d say a lot of this current approach to branding comes from the influence of millennials, who want transparency and have eschewed many societal traditions (like getting married at a young age, having children, or buying homes) to instead focus on their own personal values. This is good news for companies, because instead of trying to be like everyone else, you can fully embrace not only the true essence of your brand, but also all of the little quirks and nuances that make you, you. Employees want to know they’re working with real people, not corporate drones dolled up in a sleek facade.
2. Be Clear in Your Messaging
People want to know what they’re getting themselves into. They want to know what the company culture is like. They want to get a glimpse into what their typical day at work would be like if they joined your company. For millennials, choosing a job often comes down to quality of life: will they be happy working for a given company?
It’s essential to be upfront and honest with people in this arena. Distinct, unmistakable messaging is crucial. Don’t talk about vague ideals: be direct in letting prospective employees know your core values so that they can decide if those values mesh well with their own. Recent studies show that millennials in particular are attracted to companies not by their compensation packages, but by their priorities and values. When making decisions about where to work, millennials want to know whether an employer’s priorities are in line with their own personal values; millennials also want to know that they will have the opportunity to contribute to the world in a meaningful way if they join the ranks at a given organization.
3. Be Consistent
I’ve seen people come up with some catchy branding directed at recruits, but if such branding is not delivered in a way that consistently enables potential employees to identify your core values, then it won’t take your talent campaign very far.
It’s okay to switch things up a little bit and refresh your perspective every once in a while, but fundamentally speaking, potential employees have to be able to rely on your brand’s integrity. If you say you are something and you keep on being that thing, then people will believe you. That’s why consistency is key: it gives you credibility. Building trust with recruits cultivates loyalty and increases enthusiasm for joining your brand. Ultimately, being consistent is good for business.
Over the relatively short timespan of the last decade, employer branding has changed quickly as technology and the social connectivity it allows have evolved at increasingly faster rates. But that doesn’t mean that employer branding has necessarily becoming more complicated; on the contrary, employer branding may be more intuitive than ever.
In the end, employer branding all comes down to who you are. Authenticity, clarity, and consistency are the keys to sharing who you are with others — and, hopefully, talent will respond positively to your brand and decide that your company is the place for them.