The Biggest Branding Challenges Companies Are Facing Today

As we’ve shifted from a hot market to one marked by tightening budgets, organizations are questioning whether it's the right time to amplify their branding efforts, or pull back.

Most companies are aware that building a strong employer brand is critical for educating potential employees on what their organization does and values, and for existing employees who are helping to shape the community they have built and are looking to grow. But as we’ve shifted from a hot market to one marked by economic uncertainty and tightening budgets, organizations today are questioning whether it’s the right time to amplify their branding efforts, or pull back on related expenses.

To find out, we invited two talent executives to discuss the importance of employer branding and the impact of investing in branding-related efforts — and both agreed branding should be a high priority for companies looking to attract and retain the best talent today. 

You can watch our full panel on employee branding with Allison McCutcheon Barcz, Chief People & Strategy Officer at Largely, and Scott Foster, VP of Talent Acquisition at GardaWorld, here, and read on for some of the challenges – and solutions — discussed during the panel below. 

Challenge 1: It’s difficult to break through the noise today, even though we’re trying everything. 

It might feel like you are doing everything that your competitors and other brands are doing today to attract young talent and are still falling short. And according to Allison, that might be the main source of your issues. 

Allison explained that in her experience she’s found that the reason why companies today struggle to stand out from a branding perspective is because they are all often doing the same thing, and neglecting to personalize messaging. While it’s important to benchmark and research what your competitors are doing to reach talent, Allison stressed that each company should determine what channels are best for their ideal audiences, and figure out how they can use them to form emotional connections with candidates. 

For example, you may want to explore how you can recruit talent from the schools that your current employees attended, and ask them to speak as alumni about your company on campus. This is especially helpful at universities with a strong emphasis on personal connections and relationships, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  

Challenge 2: We don’t know what candidates want to hear.

After you’ve put in the work to determine the best marketing channels to reach your ideal candidates, you may find yourself scrambling to determine what exactly to say to them to set yourself apart from your competitors. And according to Scott, you might find the most success asking them directly. 

When his team set out to determine what messaging might appeal to his ideal candidates, Scott explained that his company surveyed employees and candidates about what they are looking for at work, and what resonates with them in terms of company values. After learning that recognition at work is important to his talent pool, Scott said that the marketing team helped talent acquisition professionals to craft stories to share about how different employees advanced in the company. When Scott’s team learned that their talent pool was interested in flexible work arrangements, he made sure messaging around roles included the fact that employees can have control over their schedules. 

In the same vein, Scott also mentioned that what your employees think of your organization is vaulele to candidates across the board, and that it’s important you take the time to ensure that your ratings on transparency sites like Glassdoor are high. 

Challenge 3: We don’t know how to support our talent team to build and strengthen our employer brand.

According to the panelists, an employer brand that is solely focused on attracting talent and featuring job openings is not going to be enough to grab the attention of top talent today, and businesses need to be on board to help arm their recruitment teams with marketing material that tells the organization’s and its employees’ stories. That includes learning what your recruitment team needs to better connect with candidates, and even offering training for recruiters to teach them how to become strong storytellers — which Allison says will make all of the difference in their ability to transform candidates into hires.

At the end of the day, candidates want to be able to build a connection with your company. They want to understand what you stand for, what your employees think about you, and how their values and goals align with yours. An employer branding strategy that answers those questions and does so in an authentic and personal way is one that will succeed in building a strong pipeline of talent. For more advice on employer branding today, watch the full panel.   


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