6 Ways for B2B marketers to build a stronger employer brand
Elizabeth Williams | March 18, 2019
Want to see a room full of marketers roll their eyes? Speak the words, “employer brand” and stand back. You might as well be lecturing teenagers about condoms. I know this because I’m good at embarrassing teenagers and I was that eye-rolling marketer seconded to an employer branding project about ten years ago. Now there is rarely a shortage of doomed corporate initiatives marketers can be volunteered to participate in, and I was mighty pissed that I didn’t get something transformational or at least with a big lunch budget. It seems the VP of HR went to a conference and heard about employer branding. He came back all full of excitement for the possibilities and a couple of directors were promptly dispatched to take some training and get to work. It was not, of course, very long before the chief marketing officer caught wind of the project and had a giant hissy fit. As is so often with the case with a C-suite tantrum, a tiger team was formed. Me, a bunch of HR people, a consultant (who I’m convinced got lost on her way to the kick off for a different project), and a lawyer. I spent the first meeting doing my best to pretend the whole thing wasn’t happening and staking out my territory as the Great Protector of the Brand. I was not at all helpful because I honestly didn’t understand what we were attempting to do. It might have been the rather nice hummus at the third meeting or it might have been some form of Stockholm Syndrome, but at last it clicked. I finally understood what the whole thing was about, why I should care and why a good employer brand might actually help me hit my targets for that year with a lot less effort. I stopped being a pylon, we got busy, did some research and came up with a few really interesting territories to define our employer brand. It was almost fun. We kept going and came up with some pretty strong employee value propositions. Decks were made. You will be unsurprised to learn the project fizzled out not long after. I can’t say I was heartbroken, and I will confess that I didn’t really think about employer brands a whole lot for the next few years. But now that we have a tough labour market, a picky workforce, and endless issues with engagement, employer branding is on the agenda again, and here is my advice for keeping it off the failed project pile: 1. Get marketing involved early. Send them to the training, give them the whitepaper, whatever it takes to get them onside and understanding what the heck you’re doing. 2. Your EVP is the beginning, not the end.
The project I was on stalled, in part, because our deliverable was a brand and a value proposition. Make sure your project has that as its starting point, with further deliverables that bring the brand to life – recruitment marketing strategies, internal communications, etc.