Whither Company Branding?

As trite as this concept and term may sound, it remains as important as ever to both companies and employees. In a time where brands are just as important as branding, companies realize they will be well served to harness the power of both when it comes to attracting and retaining their top talent. In this current era of decreased unemployment, it’s no secret that we’re in a full-fledged candidate-driven market. That coupled with the heightened usage of social media and data-driven Marketing analytics, it’s imperative that companies remain ever vigilant in how their brand is perceived potential employees. Candidates now are much more marketing and brand savvy than ever before.

Despite the plethora of data out there, word of mouth is still the most credible way of gleaning company and culture info for candidates. Companies typically claim they want current employees to find a person like yourself to as them they are their best ambassadors. Having emphasized this, along with asking for employee referrals, companies need to be cognizant to ensure the impact and impression is nothing short of positive. The number of touch points for candidates is more than ever before so it can certainly be a double-edged sword.

Another key distinction is that employer brand and company brand can sometimes be mutually exclusive. A Fortune 100 company may have a great product or service but that doesn’t mean their culture is the best. In fact, many a times we find small to mid-size organizations regularly on best companies to work for lists. Therefore, the smart candidates are sensitive to perception and reality being aligned. If there’s a disconnect, word will get out and employees are likely to take notice. Granted there can be reviewer bias, i.e. sour grapes in the form of poor performers that have been cut. However, it doesn’t absolve companies from striving to be authentic in their values and not merely talking the talk but walking the walk as well.

Progressive companies will embrace all kinds of feedback available. They will view the feedback not as a critique but data that should help them improve their business. Beyond tools and data, these progressive companies also don’t lose sight of the actual experience with their candidates as well. Starting from the first time they encounter them during an interview to the on-boarding process, the transition from candidate to employee is a seamless one and further reinforces the candidate’s decision to join the new company.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t state that the changing demographics are also driving these trends, i.e. the Millennials. These young professionals have upended the former archaic practices and introduced an element of transparency as it transcends websites and social media tools to perhaps even a simple coffee klatch in where a company and its culture is being dissected.

One of the capabilities in the vast arsenal of these Millennials is the tech savvy focus they bring to the table. They can help identify internal brand metrics as wells as external metrics and trends that should be tracked. And more importantly, these young professionals will also help make sense out of all this information. Armed with data, this will turn them into the dynamo Brand Ambassadors companies seek and need to stave off the competition.