Branding is the process of defining who your company is. Not what it is– who it is. As such, you, your employees, and your marketing materials all need to reflect who your company is, both online and offline. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to achieve unless you have a solid plan in place.
Start With Your Marketing
Branding is the sum of marketing, advertising, and action. Essentially, your advertising is telling people what you do, your marketing is explaining what you do, and the action is showing people what you do, why you do it, how you do it, and how they can be a part of all of this. These elements all flow seamlessly in order to form your brand, a cohesive entity that represents who your company is as a person. As such, your marketing goal needs to be to explain what you do in a way that engages consumers.
Marketing should also be a tool in your belt when it comes time to fill opportunities. While it’s true that you could simply put up an online job ad, this method may not bring in qualified candidates. Instead, use your brand as the springboard. Do you work for an automotive company? Partner with dealerships in the targeted region to place interest cards in the service department. Work for a chemical company? Create inserts that are included on each product expressing interest in filling a position.
In doing these things, however, include some type of connection to the brand. If the automotive company is known for reliability, spend the money to produce aluminum business cards. In the case of the chemical company, coat the included marketing materials with a special company-made treatment that represents its hard work and dedication to quality. In doing so with either of these examples, you are showing a part of your brand while attracting interest.
Continue Through the Interview
Another important part of the branding process is to include the above-mentioned traits in the interview process. If your company isn’t able to “walk the walk” when interviewing potential employees, how can you expect it to do so when these same new employees get hired. You want to represent the company’s brand through each step of the hiring process so that potential hires understand what will be expected of them if they are brought on board.
As such, make sure your brand shines through from the moment you greet an interviewee. During the interview, support the brand’s values and corporate culture, but also reiterate core values. Look for candidates that demonstrate, not just regurgitate, these same things. Keep in mind that, in the age of the Internet, candidates are going to take just as much time researching you as you are going to take researching them. If you provide a poor candidate experience, rest assured that your methods will eventually be posted to sites like Indeed and Glassdoor. Candidates do research these sites, and negative reviews do impact how potential matches will view your opportunity.
Live Your Brand
Even upon attracting interest to your brand, you need to live it in all that you do, including outside of the office. Too often, workers feel that they only owe a 9-5 dedication to a brand. In a way, they’re correct. They are only getting paid to work during those hours, so why should they feel any different when not being paid? This is where branding comes in handy again.
Say you work for Apple, creator of the Apple Watch. Sure, traditional marketing, advertising, and in sum, branding, can get the word out, why not provide each employee with a new Apple Watch? This may seem expensive at first, especially given Apple’s size, but think about all of the free marketing you’d get out of it. According to recent data, Apple employs over 1 million full-time employees. If each were provided with an Apple Watch, think about how many networking and marketing connections those employees could make. Then, think about the buzz the Watch would have going for it, and finally, think about the increase in sales as a result of human marketing.
In the above example, Apple employees would be living the brand by having a product with them at all times. They would be a walking example of the brand, able to show off and discuss products with consumers. Of course, company culture coincides with this, so each employee would need to live the culture as well as the brand in order to be effective. Failing to do both could do damage to a brand and the potential for bringing on qualified new hires.
Branding Builds Relationships and Loyalty
Something else to consider when it comes to branding and human resources is the potential to build relationships and loyalty. Your brand acts as who your company is, and this then serves to establish personable connections. Think about a friend of yours. Why are you friends? What brought you two together? What keeps you together? Branding acts in the same way. A candidate who is a match is a match for a reason. He or she exhibits traits that match well with your company’s traits and needs. Your brand is exemplified within the person that the candidate is.
Going further, how will the right candidate help your brand? Finding someone who can do the job and who has the right personality is a big part of the equation, but if you plan to grow the company, that same candidate needs to possess the personality, skills, and desire to help you achieve those goals. In the realm of human resources, this means being able to spot a candidate who is not only experienced or knowledgeable, but also passionate about what they do. In fact, beyond that, the candidate needs to be passionate about going above and beyond in pursuing not only personal goals, but also professional goals.
Will corporate branding prove to be just as important as regular branding for companies in the near future?
Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include human resources development and branding.