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⚡ Employer Brand Headlines: The "Fortress Around Your Heart" Edition (#114)

⚡ Employer Brand Headlines: The "Fortress Around Your Heart" Edition (#114)
By James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd • Issue #114 • View online
My mission: move the conversation around employer brand forward.

Employer Brand Headlines, brought to you by James Ellis
Employer Brand Headlines, brought to you by James Ellis
In this issue
  • The perfect brand?
  • What do candidates want?
  • Are you hiring people or personas?
The big idea
Having once made my living (more than once, in fact), “selling EVPs,” what I am about to say may seem… strange.
Despite all the time and effort put into an employer value proposition (and frankly, the same is true of any shape of same, whether you call it a brand promise or brand position or whatever), regardless of how much research and language polishing you do, there’s no right answer. There is no perfect brand.
This isn’t a “how can someone come in and know us enough to explain our brand to us?” argument (because, as your brand needs to reach external audiences first, you can’t read your own label from inside the jar). Nor is this an “it just takes the right approach/framework/model” argument (because the map isn’t the territory). This is something different:
  • Your company is always bringing in and losing people, both leadership and staff
  • Your business position is always shifting
  • Your competitors grow and shrink in market prominence
  • Your competitors are constantly launching new products and claiming new positioning
  • As you grow or shrink, your own position changes (you can’t pretend to be the leader when you’re the underdog and vice versa)
  • The socio-economic climate changes (things like George Floyd’s death are the seeds of thousands of new DEI departments all around the US)
  • The individuals themselves change (unless you’d like to argue that you are the same now as your 24-year-old self, in which case you are either a pretty lousy adult or should seek therapy)
Sure, many of these changes happen slowly, but collectively, they are real shifts happening 24/7 in directions we can’t predict or even see as they happen.
So I guess the question should be: how can the EVP you developed last year (or… shudder… in 2017) still be true??
We often get a little twee without our branding work (I know I do). We think about the costs and efforts it took to build that brand position. We see the scars and effort we put into that brand, and shudder at the idea that maybe we’ll have to do it all over again.
I’m not just talking about the hours and effort in research and focus groups it took to build it, I’m talking about the heartbreak when you had that meeting with someone you couldn’t say “no” to, who forced you to make a compromise you didn’t believe in, just to get buy in from a critical part of the business… Wait, now that you mention it, maybe it was never a perfect brand. Maybe it was a collection of compromises and imperfect perceptions, maybe it really was something we banged into a shape we knew we could deliver and push out the door.
And yet, we build infrastructure around that “perfect brand,” structure that is designed to resist change. We know that you use the word “investment” instead of “budget.” Or there are only two appropriate secondary colors you can leverage. Or that something the founder wrote years ago cannot be changed.
Is that all still true? Or do we decide it is true so we can focus our energies on what we think is possible? While it feels like we limit our scope to keep us sane, it might be that such limitations are what is holding us back.
Having launched the brand last year, you have effectively trained dozens or hundreds or thousands of people on the value and effectiveness of a strong employer brand. During your last go-round, you were blazing your own trail. But this time, when you return to the paths you made before, you might find more receptive audiences and that the fights are easier to win.
Your EVP isn’t right because your company keeps changing, but change is what allows for the opportunity to always be making a better brand.
Headlines!
Talent Shortages & Credential Inflation
Employees Today Want Jobs That Offer a Future and Good Pay
New research – Young Talent Prioritises Job Security in the Face of Uncertainty
Want to Make Your Company an Employer of Choice for Executive Talent? Do These 4 Things.
How Twitter Applied the “Jobs to Be Done” Approach to Strategy
How Employees Can Become Better Organizational Citizens
This Holiday Season: People Will Always Shop As People First
Employer Value Proposition: The new reason to get up for work in the morning
How to Create a More Equitable Experience for Remote, Hybrid, and On-Site Employees
Less Branding
We're now offering our full-time, core employees at We Are Rosie
Inside the fortune cookie
Drawing is not what one sees, but what one can make others see. ― Edgar Degas
Thanks, everyone!
There are now more than 1,000 links in the link archive. Enjoy!
Reminder: The more people at your org who read my books, the better your job will get! employerbrandbook.com (They’re free!!!)
Finally, if you have a question, 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:
Sting - Fortress Around Your Heart (Option Two)
Sting - Fortress Around Your Heart (Option Two)
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James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

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