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Employer Brand Headlines: The "Labour of Love" Edition (#88)

Employer Brand Headlines: The "Labour of Love" Edition (#88)
My mission: Help you understand your employer brand better and make it work for you.

In this issue
  • What’s the difference?
  • Going hybrid
  • Re-purpose those stories
  • Boring perfection
The big idea
Boiled down to its essence, brand is about one thing: creating difference.
Developing a strong brand isn’t about positivity or sentiment, that stuff comes later. Your brand is all about defining yourself in such a way that anyone (in your target audience) can quickly understand how you are different as an employer from someone else (or anyone else).
The better you define that difference, the clearer you draw the lines between you and others, the more your brand isn’t so much a list of attributes or features as it is something people can connect with because it is somehow different.
Then I got challenged: Aren’t all companies pretty much the same?
Don’t we live in a world where salaries are getting more normalized and transparent across companies all the time? Where a project manager at a hospital and a bank and a search engine effectively do the same things? Where everyone is on email and Slack (et al) all day no matter the logo on the door? Doesn’t everyone just work for a paycheck and look forward to Fridays? Aren’t all employers pretty much interchangeable?
(I nixed a whole thing about how by that logic if all employers are the same, wouldn’t that mean all spouses and partners are effectively the same? You’re welcome.)
The underlying assumption is that all jobs are the same because they all offer the same thing: Money.
And that’s a mistake.
What’s the difference between Coke and Pepsi? Tide and All? Toyota and Honda? There are at least seven brands of tortilla chips in my grocery store and they are all made of corn and salt but the price points vary almost 50%. Two bottles of wine, each made of effectively the same grapes, but one is $9 at Trader Joes and another would go for $75 at a decent restaurant.
If these things really were the same, there would be no difference in price or demand. In fact, there would be no need for a brand at all. You’d buy a CAR and some DETERGENT and maybe drink some WINE.
What makes employers different isn’t really salary, as we’ve made sure salaries are almost transparent. No one is paying an entry-level developer 100% over the norm. There are variations, but they are pretty normalized.
What’s really different is what a company offers beyond money. The post office offers the feeling of security and stability. Doctors Without Borders offers the feeling that comes with saving lives. Facebook offers the satisfaction and status that comes with knowing everyone knows your company. Boston Dynamics offers the feeling that comes from being on the cutting edge. Be a project manager in any of those companies and the salary differences will be minimal, but the feelings offered will be very different.
So if strong branding is a function of difference and you want to create those differences, focus on the kinds of emotions you are offering.
What do we need to know about hybrid working?
One Video, Multiple Ways to Tell a Story
Optimize Your Brand to Fit Customer Expectations
LinkedIn or Out? Ways Employment Brand Strategists Should (Still) Leverage LinkedIn
Poor Marketing Strategy is Why Employee Referrals Fail
How to use data to effectively communicate internal changes
Perfection is the enemy of the great
Quick hits
Tip of the week
Okay, so it’s a Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, Zoom world (and will be for a LONG time, right?), so take advantage. Spend an hour or so going down rabbit holes for “virtual cameras” for your computer (examples: ManyCam, OBS, even Prezi has one). It’s a piece of software that you put visuals on top of your video feed, creating a kind of newscast feeling on Zoom or Teams. Why? It’s a great way to remind people of existing messages and processes passively. Be careful how many things you put on the screen: if you overwhelm them with messages, they won’t actually hear anything you’re saying, so… try not to turn Zoom into your own personal BlooombergTV.
Inside the fortune cookie
“A great many people think that they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices” -William James
One last thing
I’m going to be facilitating a section of The Talent Brand Summit in April. If you want a big discount on your ticket, use the code “imwithjames.”
Thanks, everyone!
Don’t forget to check out the 700+ 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:
Hue & Cry - Labour Of Love
Hue & Cry - Labour Of Love
This week’s subject line comes from the one and only Charu Malhotra, who has excellent taste in music.
Did you enjoy this issue?
James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

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