Most Common Issues in Employer Brand
The problem with Employer Brand is that we often confuse our own company with the idea of what an ideal company should look like. We then present the target audience with stories that are rather laughable and unbelievable. And we can also tell stories that are so generic that they can be experienced everywhere. They lack that all-important uniqueness, because Employer Brand is what makes a company stand out.
Especially through inexperience and trying to be better, we can create a marketing monster that will take on a life of its own and we will lose control of it. A good campaign will capture our emotions and we will form some initial bond, but as they say, everything in moderation. Also, we need to target the right audiences.
We also get a good understanding of what the company does, what its products are and how it does good for the communities around it. It sounds very simple, but it’s not easy because it’s not a topic that people are interested in by itself. And getting close to target audiences is a real art and it pays to engage marketing specialists.
So what are the most common problems with Employer Brand campaigns?
Too much copy … and too generic a result
We often take inspiration and copy from others. It goes something like this… fake it till you make it. We repeat practices that have worked for someone else because we don’t see them as a risk. If it worked once, why not do it again, right? And then the same stock photos pop up with a generic caption about how great it is to work at the company. Only, does it work?
We Human Resources folks should take EB’s advice every time, because it can save us a hefty chunk of money in the end. They also often have the courage to help push through a campaign decision that may seem too bold to company management. After all, a good campaign has to be original and bring something a little new to catch the eye.
Unclear division of competences and responsibilities
This is a very common mistake when implementing a new employer brand. Everyone thinks that Human Resources is responsible for it and will also be the only one working on it. But, this is a big mistake and the result will be far from optimal.
Not only HR has to be involved in the work, but it needs hearty help from Marketing, Communications and all the managers in the company. Only if everyone works together, the result will be good and will attract wide attention.
Without this, it will be a one-off campaign that will not have the impact the company has planned. This will lead to the confidence in a better position in the job market fizzling out and the organisation will stop investing.
Good advertising is all about hyperbole and a bit of well-targeted humour. It’s just that sometimes we overdo it in our campaigns and cause a little problem within the company. Employees don’t recognise their company because they have the impression that they work for a different company than the one that presents itself externally.
This can cause huge misunderstandings because people inside suddenly don’t know what to expect. They will also tap their foreheads every time they see the campaign because they find the situations presented ridiculous.
It’s always important to ask for feedback from employees and consult with them to see if the campaign is okay or if they would make any adjustments. At the very least, Human Resources can then prepare for questions and accompany the external campaign with an internal explanation. This is never a bad thing.
Conflict with company culture
Intuitively, we know that a company with a friendly corporate culture is more attractive than an organization where the boss’s rigid word rules. Such a presentation would be very difficult, so we often put a little more spin on it and say that we have a friendly atmosphere and personal initiative is valued.
But then there is always a clash with reality. Whether they find out after they’ve joined or whether the staff tell them before they make their decision. It’s OK to ask, but it’s not OK to lie. And repainting the company culture is a scam that will backfire.
Aiming at the wrong target
Employer Brand must be targeted correctly and use the right communication channels to reach the right audiences. It’s just that, often, we don’t even determine who we want to reach up front and just have a generic answer that we want to reach everyone. And we end up missing everybody.
We also have to be clear about the direction we want to take the company. Do we want to rejuvenate it, do we want to get expertise from big corporations, or do we just want to make ourselves known in the neighborhood that if someone is looking for a job around their home, we’re here.
That’s what we have to respond to, that we’re going to get a campaign up and running. If we want to find more mature workers, Instagram probably isn’t the right medium. Conversely, discussion boards probably won’t work if we want actionable high school graduates from two streets away.
Being clear about who our target audience is and what channels we’ll use needs to be one of the first steps in an implementation plan.
We’ve got too sterile a story
And the last common case - a sterile and completely uninteresting company. When we plan a good campaign, we have to work with advertising hyperbole and know how to engage. And that’s hard. Often, we tweak our creative process too much until we get a result that offends no one. But it also doesn’t wow anybody.
Then we’re just wasting money because we’re going to have a watchable campaign that doesn’t leave any impression. And that’s a bummer, because it’s gonna have zero impact. After watching it, no one will remember what company it was.