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.