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Employer Brand Headlines: The "Destination Unknown" Edition (#99)

Employer Brand Headlines: The "Destination Unknown" Edition (#99)
My mission: Help you understand your employer brand better and make it work for you.

In this issue
  • The Certainty business
  • Candidate experience data
  • Nice is as nice does?
  • Getting unique
The big idea
Every employer brand starts the same way: With a claim.
  • We care about our employees!
  • We offer our people autonomy and freedom!
  • Our people are able to bring their whole self to work!
  • (and everyone’s favorite) We’re a great place to work!
Notice that I didn’t call it a value or a pillar or a tenet or culture or a brand. It is a claim.
Anyone can make a claim. I can claim to be a 5-foot-three agoraphobic chess champion wanted for “light treason” in seven states. Or that I once dunked on Charles Barkley with a donut in my dominant hand. Or that I invented the hashtag by accident. Go ahead. Make your own claims. It’s fun!
And that’s the trouble. Every employer brand is filled with claims that are pretending to be facts. They are filled with generous helpings of spin, contextualization, revisionist history, and a generous dose of aspirational thinking (also known as “lies”). We assume the fact that we said it means that people believe it.
And every candidate who can save a decent resume to PDF knows the difference between a claim and reality.
So let me bottom line things for you. Too many employer branders think their job is to make claims, to figure out what claims are “true enough” or are “what candidates care about” or (ugh) “what talent wants to hear.”
Our job isn’t to make claims, but to prove them. Our job is to create certainty.
Look at a consumer brand like Coke. They spend lots and lots of money to remind you that drinking a sweet fizzy drink can make you feel happy. They don’t actually say that directly, they just push ad after ad (Polar bears! Santa! Sports! Celebrities! Attractive people drinking them next to vending machines on hot days!) to take a somewhat thin claim that “Coke is happiness” and bolster it. Without all those ads, without those sponsorships, without the viral videos, without all those “proof points,” that claim remains a claim and not something people feel. Instead, Coke is one of the most recognized brands in the world.
What are you claiming? Are you claiming that your company is innovative? Then you need to create proof points at every step of the candidate journey about your innovation. A claim like that means scheduling tools and workflow automation (among so many other things) isn’t a “nice to have” but an essential means by which you make that claim real.
You can’t really claim that you care about your people but not let them work remotely in a pandemic or force them to pee in bottles in a truck and think anyone believes that claim.
So while it’s a lot of fun to make claims, our job is 101% about proving those claims, of removing things that disprove those claims. We spend our time effectively when we are busy turning claims into certainty.
Spilling The Tea On The Candidate Experience: What You Need To Know
The Age of the Real Employer Brand
The Hazards of a “Nice” Company Culture
What’s Your Unique Selling Point?
Changing Someone’s Mind: A Powerful New Approach
The 25 Micro-Habits of High-Impact Managers
USC professor’s DIY online teaching hack to engage students goes viral
Quick hits
Tip of the week
When was the last time you applied for a job at your own company? What was the process like? What were all the touch points and places you could be establishing and reinforcing your brand that you aren’t taking advantage of? Just wondering…
Inside the fortune cookie
Everyone wants to be unique but no one wants to be different. - Bud Caddell
Thanks, everyone!
Reminder: The more people at your org who read my books, the better your job will get! (They’re free!!!)
There are now more than 850 links in the link archive. And as always, when you reply to this email I will read your questions and comments. Is there any article I should be commenting on? A book? A podcast? Is there something you what to know? How can I help? Just reply to this email and it comes directly to me.
Cheers and thanks!
-James Ellis (LinkedIn | Twitter | Podcast | Articles)
Where the subject line came from:
Missing Persons - Destination Unknown
Missing Persons - Destination Unknown
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James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

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