Ok, uncool Employer Brands are stupid too! But that's not the point. The point is that we have a picture (or a categorical imperative?) in our minds that branding is all about being/appearing to be cool. That is, of course, true if you are the marketing manager of a fashion-company for skateboarders.


But what if you run a pharmaceutical corporation, specialized in the treatment of cancer? Is "coolness" a key quality that you want to convey to your clients and investors? Probably not. Why do it then when you hire engineers for your laboratoy?

What can be observed recently is that companies with rather straight and serious consumer brands (based on conservative values) sometimes tend to design their employer brands in the very opposite way. As if working in the lab of a pharmaceutical corporation were a big orgiastic banquet... In this example, the gap between the overall company brand (directed to consumers, investors, partners etc.) and the employer brand couldn't be bigger.

(To avoid misunderstandings: developing fashion styles for skateboarders isn't a party either, but an employer brand of this nature at least doesn't conflict with the customer-/investor brand. Even though it is far from the reality of actual working scenarios in fashion labels...)

Whatever the reason may be, why eccentric fancy facets sneak into a company's employer brand: the manoeuvre won't work! It won't make you appear more attractive as an employer.

Potential talents, who do research about the company will browse through the website and immediately recognize the camouflage. They will automatically have to base their opinion about the company's employer-qualities 100% on external sources (employer rating portals etc.). That means that the organization loses all of the control over its employer branding!

Will applicants also consult third party platforms if you do things right and there is no gap in branding? Yes, of course they will! The difference is, however, that in this case you will still keep a good deal of control over your employer brand. (Forget the illusion that you can control it all!)

How to do things right then? Show how your (future) employees turn the brand's values and visions into real benefits for customers - and why each worker is important to make this possible! Explain how you incentivate "your people" to be high performers. Show how you provide an environment for talents to live up to the company's ambitions and to their own! Show awareness that in your organization employees are both professionals and human beings at the same time (=respectful working climate, Work Life Balance)!

That is what real Employer Branding is about. It may not sound so cool, but it's effective!

© workinprogress ¦ Strategic HR-Management &
Employer Branding

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