Employer Branding Rally Awards

What it Takes to Create an Award-Winning Employer Brand

Trophy celebration
Profile photo of Lori Sylvia
Written by Lori Sylvia

Discover how to create and launch an award-winning employer brand, inspired by the 2023 Rally Award winners in the Best Employer Brand Launch category. Learn from the successes of ADT, Sevita and Activision Blizzard, who mastered the art of innovative employer branding, digital savvy and impactful storytelling. You’ll be inspired with key strategies and insights to create your winning EB strategy.

What it Takes to Create an Award-Winning Employer Brand
5 (100%) 5 votes

Launched in 2020, the Rally® Awards™ are now in their fifth year and have come to set the gold standard in recognizing the outstanding achievements in Recruitment Marketing and employer branding by professionals who work in-house for employers. We’re extremely proud of what the Rally Awards have become in our industry, because they shine a bright light on the amazing work being done by our community and recognize their contributions to effective talent attraction at their companies.

With more and more companies investing in employer branding, the category of Best Employer Brand Launch is becoming increasingly competitive (and coveted!). Last year, there were 3 winners in the Best Employer Brand Launch category:

First Place:
Activision Blizzard — “Rebuilding The Legacy of Activision Blizzard King”

Second Place (tie):
Sevita Health — Denise Feldman — “Sevita’s Employer Brand Launch”
ADT — Madisyn Bloom, Amber Weaver & Kayla Branham — “At ADT, You’re Entrusted With Tomorrow”

Each winner demonstrated their unique employer brand strategies that enabled their organizations to compete for top talent. But just as important, they wrote a winning entry that made their strategy and results stand out to the Rally Awards peer judges.

With the 2024 Rally Awards submission deadline approaching soon, this is a great time to dive into what made Activision Blizzard, Sevita Health and ADT named as winners, and uncover tips that you can take away to create your Rally Award-winning entry in the 2024 program.

Reminder: Entries in the 2024 Rally Awards are due by January 31, 2024. Don’t miss this opportunity to be recognized for your work across 17 categories. Learn more on the Rally Awards website.

2023 Rally Award Winners for Best Employer Brand Launch

ADT – “At ADT, You’re Entrusted With Tomorrow”

This was ADT’s first official employer brand and EVP in its nearly 150-year history. The year-long initiative began with extensive research, leading to the development of a comprehensive Employer Value Proposition. ADT focused on two primary goals: establishing the EVP to highlight ADT’s unique position as an employer and launching the EVP internally to foster employee advocacy and awareness. The team – comprised of Madisyn Bloom, Amber Weaver & Kayla Branham – created a strategy that was multifaceted, involving internal and external research to identify 4 key pillars and an EVP manifesto. This research included focus groups, surveys and interviews with senior stakeholders.

The ADT team’s launch tactics were diverse and creative. They produced an EVP launch video featuring over 25 team members, developed an employee advocacy strategy, hosted internal EVP “roadshows” and published a talent marketing hub with a plethora of content for team members to use. Additionally, they crafted an engaging “EVP teaser” video series and refreshed their EVP marketing materials across various platforms. These efforts were supported by the launch of additional initiatives like a CRM tool and a Video Testimonial Platform, significantly amplifying their employer brand. The success of this enormous endeavor was credited to their small yet mighty Recruitment Marketing team, underpinned by strong leadership support.

Why They Won

  • Judges’ Comments: The judges praised ADT for their thorough and thoughtful brand activation, focusing efforts from the inside out and creating employee brand advocates. They appreciated the comprehensive EVP work, the creative involvement of leadership and the extensive toolkit of assets.
  • Winning Reasons:
    • Strategy: ADT’s strategy involved extensive research to identify key pillars and an EVP manifesto, highlighting their unique position in the talent marketplace.
    • Quality: The quality of ADT’s launch was evident in their EVP launch video, employee advocacy strategy, internal “roadshows” and a rich content hub.
    • Innovation: Innovative approaches included an EVP teaser video series, refresh of marketing materials and simultaneous launches of other initiatives like a CRM.
ADT's employer brand

ADT tied for second place in the 2023 Rally Awards for Best Employer Brand Launch.

Sevita – “Sevita’s Employer Brand Launch”

Sevita established its first-ever employer brand at a pivotal moment in the company’s evolution, coinciding with a consumer rebrand. Led by Denise Feldman, the project leveraged internal and external data to build a research-backed employer brand. This included creative expression, a powerful brand tagline and messaging, a thorough activation strategy and assets for their new careers site and social media. The employer brand tagline “Careers, well lived.” encapsulated the rewarding careers at Sevita, focusing on relationships, impactful work and growth opportunities.

A significant part of their strategy was collecting and promoting authentic employee stories, which formed the core of their content across various platforms. These stories were showcased on their careers website and social media, using quote cards and long-form narratives. Sevita also redesigned their careers site to enhance the candidate experience, making it more accessible and engaging. The results of these efforts were remarkable, with a significant increase in site page views, job visits, apply clicks and a sizeable growth in their Talent Community. Sevita’s strategic approach not only differentiated their employer brand but also led to substantial savings in recruitment advertising spend.

Why They Won

  • Judges’ Comments: Judges were impressed by Sevita’s use of employee stories to differentiate their brand and the significant decrease in marketing and advertising spend. The robust redesign and authentic content also received praise from the judges.
  • Winning Reasons:
    • Strategy: The strategy was based on internal and external data, focusing on creating a strong employer brand that resonates with health care workers.
    • Quality: The quality was reflected in the employer brand messaging, focusing on relationships, impactful work and growth opportunities.
    • Innovation: Innovative elements included gathering employee stories for authentic content on various channels, including a redesigned careers site.
Sevita Health's employer brand

Sevita tied for second place in the 2023 Rally Awards for Best Employer Brand Launch.

Activision Blizzard – “Rebuilding The Legacy of Activision Blizzard King”

The entry from Activision Blizzard, “Rebuilding The Legacy of Activision Blizzard King,” represented a critical step in revamping the company’s employer brand amidst challenges to its reputation. The newly formed Talent Brand team set out to redefine the company’s strategy to attract diverse, passionate and innovative talent in the gaming and media industries. They focused on rebuilding trust and excitement in the organization through authentic employee storytelling and aligning this with their strategic pillars, including reactivating social media, empowering employees, showcasing DE&I efforts and improving the candidate experience.

Activision Blizzard’s approach was marked by a unique operating model that fostered collaboration across different business units, each with its distinct branding and EVP. This model was instrumental in driving impactful activities and initiatives. Key achievements included a significant increase in social engagements, followers and impressions of their content, which led to increased careers site visitors and completed applications. A notable highlight was their pioneering in-game advertising on Call of Duty, generating considerable buzz and attracting thousands of applications. The team’s efforts in leveraging their core business strengths and innovative marketing strategies successfully shifted the narrative and marked a remarkable turnaround in their employer branding.

Why They Won:

  • Judges’ Comments: The judges admired the energy in their activation and the impressive collaboration across business units. They highlighted the innovative in-game Recruitment Marketing and the clear achievement in results.
  • Winning Reasons:
    • Strategy: Their strategy involved reactivating social media, empowering employees as storytellers and showcasing DE&I efforts.
    • Quality: The quality was evident in their approach to rebuilding trust through authentic storytelling and an effective operating model.
    • Innovation: Innovation shone through in industry-first activations like in-game advertising on Call of Duty, significantly boosting careers site visits and applications.
Activision Blizzard King's employer brand

Activision Blizzard won first place in the 2023 Rally Awards for Best Employer Brand Launch.

What the Best Employer Brands Have in Common

We can learn a lot about what it takes to launch an award-winning employer brand by looking at the commonalities among these winners. Here are 5 key elements that ADT, Sevita and Activision Blizzard shared in their successful campaigns:

  1. In-Depth Research and Strategy Development: All 3 winners demonstrated a thorough approach to research and strategy. ADT conducted extensive internal and external research to establish their EVP, Sevita used data-driven insights to build their employer brand and Activision Blizzard defined a research-based strategy to rebuild trust and excitement. This foundational work was crucial in understanding their unique employer value propositions and setting a clear direction for their campaigns.
  2. Innovative and Creative Execution: Each team employed innovative and creative tactics to bring their employer brand to life. ADT utilized various mediums like videos and employee advocacy strategies. Sevita harnessed the power of authentic employee stories to create engaging content. And Activision Blizzard explored unique avenues like in-game advertising. These creative approaches not only differentiated them from others but also made their campaigns more engaging and memorable.
  3. Employee-Centric Approach: A common thread in all 3 employer brands was the focus on employees. ADT’s strategy got employees involved in videos and advocacy, Sevita highlighted real employee stories to showcase their brand and Activision Blizzard empowered employees as storytellers. By putting employees at the center of their employer brand strategy, they were able to create authentic and relatable content.
  4. Effective Use of Digital Platforms: All 3 winners knew how to effectively leverage digital platforms to amplify their employer brands. Whether it was through social media, career websites or even in-game advertising, these practitioners understood the importance of digital presence in reaching and engaging their target audiences.
  5. Measurable Results and Impact: Each winner presented clear, quantifiable results that demonstrated the success of their strategies. ADT shared outcomes of their EVP launch and related initiatives, Sevita reported significant increases in site traffic and application rates and Activision Blizzard showcased impressive engagement and application numbers following their campaign. This focus on measurable outcomes not only validated their strategies but also provided compelling evidence of success to the judges.

In summary, the winning entries for Best Employer Brand Launch in the 2023 Rally Awards shared a commitment to thorough research, innovative execution, an employee-centric focus, effective use of social and digital platforms and a clear demonstration of measurable results. These elements are not just indicative of successful employer brand launches but are also valuable guidance for anyone looking to enter their work in the 2024 Rally Awards.

8 Tips for a Winning Rally Awards Entry in 2024

When it comes to crafting a winning 600-word entry for the Rally Awards, it’s all about making every word count. Your submission needs to not only describe your strategy and results but also captivate the judges with a compelling narrative. Here are 8 tips to help you write an entry that shines:

  1. Start with a Strong Hook: Your opening sentence should grab the judges’ attention. Start with a compelling fact, a bold statement or a snapshot of your most impressive result. This sets the tone and engages the judge right away.
  2. Clearly Define Your Objectives: In a few sentences, articulate the primary goals of your strategy. What challenges were you aiming to address? What specific outcomes were you hoping to achieve? This sets the stage for understanding the context of your efforts.
  3. Concisely Describe Your Strategy: Dive into the core of your strategy, but be succinct. Focus on the most innovative or impactful aspects. If your strategy had multiple components, highlight the ones that were most crucial to your success. Use clear, jargon-free language to ensure your approach is easily understood.
  4. Showcase Your Creativity and Innovation: Judges are looking for something that stands out. Briefly describe any unique or creative tactics you employed. Did you use new technologies, unconventional media channels or unusual storytelling techniques? Make these a focal point.
  5. Quantify Your Success: Numbers speak volumes. Include key metrics that demonstrate the success of your strategy. Whether it’s an increase in job applications, social media engagement or internal employee advocacy, make sure these figures are front and center.
  6. Tell a Story: Instead of just listing facts, weave your information into a narrative. Share a short, powerful story about how your strategy impacted your organization’s talent acquisition plan. Stories make your entry memorable and relatable. This tip can’t be stressed enough! The Rally Awards judges are your peers—they will relate to your challenges and your success story.
  7. Reflect on Challenges and Learnings: Don’t shy away from talking about the challenges you faced and how you overcame them–this is your hero story! This shows resilience and adaptability—qualities that the judges will admire.
  8. Conclude with Impact: End your entry on a high note. Reinforce the success of your strategy and its impact on your organization. A strong conclusion leaves a lasting impression on the judges.

The Best Employer Brand Launches

As we reflect on the remarkable achievements of the 2023 Rally Award winners in the Best Employer Brand Launch category, it’s evident that their success lies in a blend of innovative strategy, creative storytelling and measurable impact. The journeys of the winning practitioners at Activision Blizzard, Sevita Health and ADT are testaments to the power of well-executed employer branding in attracting top talent and setting a gold standard in the industry. Their unique approaches, ranging from ADT’s comprehensive EVP development to Sevita’s authentic employee-centric narratives and Activision Blizzard’s groundbreaking digital strategies illustrate that there are many ways to achieve employer brand excellence. Congratulations once again to the 2023 winners!

With the 2024 Rally Awards on the horizon, remember that the essence of a winning entry is not just in the strategies employed but in how these strategies are articulated and their outcomes quantified. As you prepare your submission, aim to encapsulate the spirit of innovation, commitment to authenticity and the drive for tangible results, as demonstrated by these industry leaders.

We hope you embrace this opportunity to showcase your achievements and be recognized for your contributions to the evolving field of Recruitment Marketing and employer branding. Mark your calendars for the January 31, 2024 deadline, and get ready to share your story with the world. Let’s continue to elevate the standard of talent attraction in our industry and celebrate the incredible work being done in our community. Good luck!

Don’t forget: Entries in the 2024 Rally Awards are due by January 31, 2024. This is your opportunity to be recognized for your outstanding work in Recruitment Marketing and employer branding across 17 categories. Learn more on the Rally Awards website.

What it Takes to Create an Award-Winning Employer Brand
5 (100%) 5 votes

About the Author

Profile photo of Lori Sylvia

Lori Sylvia

Recruitment Marketing evangelist and community builder. Founder of Rally.

[ FREE Video Class ]
[ FREE Video Class ]