Employer Branding RallyFwd™

Unlocking Employer Brand Success: Measuring Brand Influence

Unlocking Employer Brand Success- Measuring Brand Influence
Profile photo of Aaron Schwartzbord
Written by Aaron Schwartzbord

Learn how you can prove your employer brand success from Nicole Parish at Qualtrics. We share how she developed a transformative new metric, called brand influence, and how it’s now guiding her strategy.

Unlocking Employer Brand Success: Measuring Brand Influence
5 (100%) 1 vote

As talent acquisition continues to evolve and employer branding becomes more and more sophisticated, proving the results of these efforts can be a challenge. 

I’m sure many of you reading can relate to this struggle. You have an array of metrics, but none that holistically and accurately represents the nuanced success of your employer brand  strategies. You yearn for a clear, tangible measure of your efforts’ effectiveness in attracting and recruiting top talent that you can show to leadership for their continued buy-in and support (along with the resources to expand this important work).

Nicole Parish, Global Attraction Experience Manager at Qualtrics, has also struggled with this problem and has been on a journey to discover the one metric that truly encapsulates the impact of employer brand strategies. After years of grappling with how to effectively gauge the efficacy of her employer brand initiatives, she finally got the opportunity to address the problem and develop a solution that meets her (and her company’s) needs! 

At our upcoming RallyFwd Virtual Conference, Nicole will be sharing her journey and discovery in the session, Why Brand Influence Will be your #1 Measurement.

Read on for a preview of what Nicole will be speaking about and begin to learn the key to proving your employer brand success! Also, make sure to register for RallyFwd on December 6, 2023 to hear from Nicole and all our other expert speakers on their innovative approaches to talent acquisition and Recruitment Marketing. 

Before we get to the strategies and metrics, let’s meet Nicole and learn more about her journey to measure employer brand influence!

Meet our Expert: Nicole Parish

Nicole Parish, Global Attraction Experience Manager, Qualtrics

Nicole Parish, Global Attraction Experience Manager, Qualtrics

Nicole Parish has been working in the talent brand space for nearly a decade, having started at a recruitment agency before joining GE as a recruiter. While at GE, she moved into her first employer brand role. Through these experiences, and her nearly 6 years at Qualtrics, Nicole has honed her skills and knowledge, focusing on how organizations evaluate the success of their recruitment initiatives, particularly their employer brand. 

Qualtrics, a global leader in experience management software, represents innovation and excellence in enabling some of the world’s best brands to deliver exceptional data-driven front line experiences. The company’s focus on this has allowed Nicole to leverage cutting-edge strategies and data-driven approaches to measure and strengthen Qualtrics’ employer brand efforts. 

In starting her process, Nicole shared, “At the end of the day, our work on employer brand needs to deliver on the talent needs of our businesses. We all have unique challenges from the talent environment we’re working with as well as the shared challenge of all people in the world being inundated with messages everywhere they turn.” 

Employer brand strategies require investment. There has been the expectation for practitioners to draw straight lines between the programs they run and the hires the company makes in order to justify these investments. Nicole continued, “All of us that are building our employer brands know that the connection between employer brand and hires is anything but a straight line of activity from Point A to Point B. We’re all so busy looking for one straight line that we miss the midpoints that actually give us the information that we need and that our stakeholders want.”

At the end of 2022, Nicole was tasked with finding a better “straight line” for her team. She was given the challenge of creating a single health metric for how their employer brand had been performing. She began the process by reviewing all the data they’d collected on their programs, and boiled it down to a scoreboard with an overarching and aggregate score for attraction, engagement, quality and DEI. After taking the scoreboard to her TA partners, Nicole realized that, while the scoreboard was moving in the right direction, it wasn’t the solution. It showed a disparate data story.

Nicole and her team took a step back to think about how to show the breadth of impact that employer brand work was having. They started to consider what if they stopped trying to connect the outputs of a program to an applicant but instead looked at whether talent had experienced the program along the way.

Using data from their CRM, Nicole tracked how candidates were navigating to the Qualtrics careers site from recruiting channels that they managed. The data began to show that candidates with exposure to the Qualtrics employer brand had outcomes that were distinctly different to candidates without it. And with that, the concept of brand influence was born. 

What is brand influence in employer branding?

Based on this development, brand influence has become a metric that redefines the measurement of success for Qualtrics’ employer brand strategies. It demonstrates the significance of brand awareness and its impact on candidates’ decisions long before they apply or engage directly with an organization. As Nicole did to establish this metric, scrutinizing traffic sources and candidate behaviors allows the team to identify individuals who, prior to application, actively sought information about the company, showcasing heightened engagement and a profound connection with the brand. It goes beyond mere familiarity, encompassing a proactive curiosity and genuine interest that prospective candidates harbor, signifying a critical phase in the recruitment journey.

At its essence, employer brand influence epitomizes the pre-existing awareness and affinity candidates hold toward a company, underscoring a pivotal stage in the recruitment funnel. This metric examines candidate behaviors and interactions leading them to explore a company’s careers site or brand-related content, distinguishing those individuals whose actions reveal an intentional interest in the company’s culture, offerings and market position. Employer brand influence signifies the extent to which a company’s brand resonates with potential candidates, providing invaluable insights into the efficacy of employer branding strategies in attracting and engaging top talent.

In creating the brand influence metric, Nicole defines it as a measurable touchpoint with a managed brand program, source or clear demonstration of brand awareness prior to application.

In creating the brand influence metric, Nicole defines it as a measurable touchpoint with a managed brand program, source or clear demonstration of brand awareness prior to application.

Implementing Brand Influence Measurement

Nicole’s approach to implementing the brand influence metric was like peeling layers off an onion to reveal its core. 

Nicole explained, “A brand influenced candidate is one who has clear evidence of having brand knowledge before they applied (both of the product and the employer brand). Basically, your candidates knew your name and they wanted to know more. By focusing on traffic sources, we can see if a particular source has created enough interest in our company to bring a person to our site. Whether it’s the first or the 50th time, we know if that source is doing its job.”

Nicole's 3 sources for data that contribute to her brand influence metric. 

Nicole’s 3 sources for data that contribute to her brand influence metric.

Nicole focused on sources like Glassdoor and Instagram and excluded job listing feeds. Looking at organic search results from Google, they analyzed common search terms. All this led to setting up automated tags for those candidates in their CRM showing that they interacted with (and were influenced by) a brand-managed channel. 

These tags have allowed them to pull reports in different stages of the recruitment cycle and have a deeper understanding of how the brand influenced talent at various stages. Using her analytical skills, Nicole can zoom in on time-to-hire reports and diversity analyses and see which brand-influenced candidates were getting hired, staying engaged and embracing the Qualtrics culture. It all about making sense of the treasure trove of data they collect, and piecing it together to see the bigger picture of how these candidates were sailing through the recruitment cycle.

Rally Note: Our Recruitment Marketing and analytics platform, Rally Inside, can help you measure, analyze and visualize your social and digital strategy using a variety of metrics! 

The Power of Brand Influence in Decision-Making

The real power of embracing brand influence in decision-making lies in the way it revolutionizes your perspective. Nicole and her team realized that focusing solely on the source of hire was like staring at a single tree and missing the vastness of the forest. By shifting their gaze towards brand influence, their vision has expanded. Instead of fixating on where candidates applied from, they look at their candidate journey, identifying those who engaged with their brand before hitting the Submit button on their application. 

This shift in focus has been a game-changer for the Qualtrics team. For Nicole, it means making better business decisions and investments. Imagine having the clarity to discern which Recruitment Marketing programs, campaigns and initiatives were lighting up the path for candidates. Brand influence has become the compass that guides their decisions. For instance, social media now isn’t just about the number of shares but understanding how those shares translated into brand awareness and (eventually) influenced applications. This newfound clarity doesn’t just make their job easier; it makes it smarter.

The impact of brand influence metrics goes beyond recruitment numbers. Nicole highlighted its role in informing business decisions, guiding sourcing strategies, and optimizing resource allocation. 

And for stakeholders and company leadership, it allows Nicole and her team to share a succinct metric on her impact. Recently, she was able to say, with certainty, that over 57% of everyone they’ve hired in 2023 has been influenced by the Qualtrics brand efforts. This shift in perspective allows stakeholders to make informed choices based on a fuller set of data and precise expectations around ROI.


The journey to unlocking the potential of employer brand through brand influence metrics offers a transformative approach to measuring success. Nicole’s insights offer a roadmap for organizations to embrace brand influence as a primary metric, allowing for clearer insights, better decision-making and a more strategic approach to employer branding.

Thanks, Nicole, for sharing your incredible journey through talent acquisition innovation! 

But there’s so much more! Don’t miss the RallyFwd Virtual Conference on December 6 to learn even more about brand influence as well as many other strategies to allow you to innovate your talent acquisition strategy in 2024. Register now >>

Unlocking Employer Brand Success: Measuring Brand Influence
5 (100%) 1 vote

About the Author

Profile photo of Aaron Schwartzbord

Aaron Schwartzbord

Aaron Schwartzbord is the Director of Marketing for Rally Recruitment Marketing. A data-driven marketer with 15+ years of experience, he is passionate about helping companies of all sizes and industries grow with creative strategies and efficient, streamlined processes.

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