One of the many questions we run into across employer branding is, who owns it? Whether you are a part of an organization that has deemed it a Talent Acquisition entity, a Marketing effort, an LOB asset or a blend of all of the above, there should be a distinguished synergy between your initiatives and those being implemented by your branding teams.
Though the target audience is different – marketing being customers, employer branding being candidates – the brand voice should be consistent. Accompanying this consistency should be familiar collateral, as well as a strong, universal message that’s used to represent the company holistically on the front lines.
Sure, while the employer value proposition (EVP) may not speak to product, it should reveal the reasons as to why your organization is a great company. That should be the driving force behind every public facing campaign, regardless of who owns it.
Build the Relationship Early
Autonomy is earned and credibility will follow. Start building the relationship early. Making your way through an EB project just to realize that you need Marketing’s sign off not only delays your launch, but could potentially create a significant cross-functional divide. Your trust in their expertise must be evident, which in turn will help pave the way toward a cohesive partnership. This will undoubtedly open doors, and ensure that you are moving in a thoughtful, informed direction.
I’ve found myself on the verge of “going live” when that dreaded knock on the virtual door prevented me from pressing the big green button. The team had worked tirelessly on a brand refresh in which all of our digital assets, including our social media presence, were going to be updated with a new look and feel. The imagery was eye catching, the copy aligned to our audience and the updated handles enhanced our SEO. It seemed that everyone who needed to sign off had, but we neglected to run it by Marketing leadership. Big mistake. Once it was revealed that go-live would be delayed indefinitely, it was my team who had to inform our own leadership. The deflation could be felt across the entire department.
Now, years later and through working with some of the most helpful marketing professionals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, I know that there is no such thing as too many approvals. If you are showcasing the brand, pick up the phone and secure that buy in. Communications, Digital Marketing, Branding, Legal, IP Compliance, etc. Even if it feels like overkill, it’s better to have too many cooks in the kitchen than not enough when you are pioneering the role of Recruitment Marketing at your organization.
When you take the liberty of reserving time with your Digital Marketing contacts, be sure as to not waste it. Go prepared with a fleshed out plan around strategy, channel utilization and purpose. What are you trying to accomplish? How does this coincide with their goals? How can you work together so that the relationship is mutually beneficial? You don’t have to have all of the answers, but you do need to demonstrate that you’ve at least given them some thought. It’s no secret that Marketing’s mission is to raise brand awareness, enhance engagement, make data informed decisions and position the company as top of mind. The goals of employer branding should correspond with all of these objectives, with a concrete plan around how to obtain them.
Demonstrate Your Expertise
Though showing up to the discussion with examples of your content is important, you also need to demonstrate that you too have done you’re home, and that you’re a growing expert in your discipline. Be organic in your delivery, and evergreen in your willingness to evolve. Show the team that every effort you plan to put forth is backed up by data.
Example: You are launching a certain campaign because data shows that the organization’s biggest needs lie in x and the targeted demographic behaves a certain way when spending time online. Think about the candidate journey: how do your digital touch points speak to that? How do your candidate touch points speak to your EVP? Better yet, the mission statement of the enterprise? If you enter the conversation with these talking points in-tact, your colleagues in Marketing will trust in the notion that you have the brand’s best interest at heart.
Keep in Touch
From here, you’ll want to stay connected. Ask if you can attend department meetings, share metrics, make note of where forces can combine from a content perspective, and most importantly, incorporate the team into your approval processes/workflows. It’s okay to admit that Marketing ultimately built this engine, and that we are leveraging it to propel employer branding into the next phase of candidate activation. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, instead, ask how it can get your team to where it needs to be.