It’s been a week since the Randstad Employer Brand Research was revealed, and to continue the excitement for the event, we thought we’d tackle employer branding strategy and how to minimize your mistakes while creating a stellar employer brand.

A strong branding strategy will connect consumer needs with emotions and push your business ahead of the competition. Combine a stellar reputation and an easily recognizable brand and you’ll more easily drive sales and attract the best talent. Take Google as an example: with one of the strongest employer brands in the world, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single person who doesn’t associate indoor slides, free smoothies and fun with working there. Thousands of companies are looking to replicate this ‘Google-effect,’ but it can seem like empty promises without the chops to back it up.

common mistakes to avoid in your employer branding strategy

Mistakes are often made in the pursuit of a recognizable brand that attracts talent. Companies everywhere struggle with combining their perceived identity with an actionable plan. Avoid some of the most common mistakes below and you can avoid scaring off top talent that can be so incredibly hard to find:

1. the “quick fixer”

You take one look at your current branding strategy (or lack thereof) and think you can slap a new logo on the hood of a Ford Pinto and call it an Aston Martin. Companies are too quick to think a new flashy branding position will fix a poor company culture. There needs to be a strong message behind the brand: an emotional experience attached to it that springboards the brand into recognisability.

2. the “fly-by brander”

A branding strategy must, above all else, be well thought out. Ensure that you have a clear and concise plan that sets out marketing goals for the brand and tangible, realistic and measurable ways that you will achieve them. For example, changing a logo with the aim of appealing to a new talent demographic will not, by itself, achieve the business goal of change. It must be just one integral part of a detailed strategy as a whole.

3. the “half-brand”

Doing the job halfway will only yield half the results. It’s not uncommon for a company to fail to invest properly and fully into a branding strategy - whether it's skimping on time, money or energy. Take your branding strategy seriously, invest the necessary resources and see it through to attract the best talent pool.

4. the “spam brander”

Some see the branding strategy as purely a marketing exercise – attempting to get your name into the market as much as humanly possible. This is the quantity, not quality, approach which yields few lasting results. What’s worse – there’s a risk the message that’s being put out comes across as contrived or inauthentic, doing the exact opposite of what you’re hoping to achieve. Your target talent pool will dismiss you before you gain any traction with them.

5. the “time-traveler”

A very common mistake is to position (or reposition) your brand for your market as it exists today. Instead, position your brand for the market of tomorrow. If the goal of your brand is to create meaningful change and lead the company into the future, it only makes sense that the brand strategy is created with the future clearly in mind. Estimate what potential candidates will want from your company, or your competitors, in the future.

6. the “follower”

It makes sense objectively to pay attention to your target talent pool. If they like a certain brand, it may be tempting to simulate that brand in the hopes of simulating the same attraction of talent. Yet, it is likely your competitors will also be doing this, which means an endless stream of similar brands trying to fish from the same pond. Instead, pay attention to your competitors. What can you do that’s different? What can you offer candidates that they aren’t getting already? Analyze where there’s a gap and take it. Make it your own and create your unique identity – before anyone else does.

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