The owner of a $20M professional services firm engaged me to build up a new employer brand and set of true value propositions where none existed.
The goal was to create a clearly defined and authentic message to help inspire existing employees and attract high-potential candidates into the company. This was especially challenging because (for the most part) top competitors already had “category-cued salience” – meaning when people thought of this industry a few top competitors always came to mind. The company also had no prior foundation to build on – no past efforts were ever initiated. I began the engagement by listening to the company. I interviewed executives inside the company to better understand the challenge we were facing. Then, I met with top employees to better understand what they liked most about the company, why they joined, and why they continue to stay committed. I made sure to ask the right questions so I could uncover positive and negative associations with the company. I even evaluated the competition to learn more about the mindshare they each were trying to control. Once I had the right data, I analyzed all findings and began to build up the true employer brand, a clear set of employer value propositions (EVPs), and key attributes to share with the market. The company brand is the perceived emotional corporate image as a whole and it should be internally and externally consistent; “We are who we say we are”. Uncovering the true brand takes time and there are no short-cuts, but once completed everything around it falls quickly into place. The single best way to move a new branding initiative like this forward is to limit assumptions and start fresh with new internal discovery. Once we had a new (and authentic) employer brand in place, I moved to build up a set of true value propositions, and content and messaging around the brand and EVPs. We defined the key values and benefits that potential candidates would gain from connecting to the company. I helped the company better articulate how they were different and stood out from their primary competitors. And I helped to steer brand messaging and content to speak clearly and directly to the right-fit active and passive candidates the company wanted to hire most. In the end, we had a new, true employer brand centered on four main pillars, a set of six clear (agreed upon) value propositions, and core messaging we could use across career sites, job content and social to help the company stand out in the crowd, attract and engage more of the right people and improve commitment over the long-term. The project was expanded a few times (ATS implementation, sourcing support) and ultimately developed into an outsourced business partner-level service with the firm.