Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “You can’t leap a chasm in two jumps. While a lot of different people seem to get credited for the saying
, it means: you can’t making something big happen by taking baby steps.
I applaud the bold sensibility within, but I wonder, is employer branding really a chasm to leap, or is it something else?
So many (maybe too many) companies, when they decide to "get into” employer brand, go all in. They hire a consultant. They hire an agency. They carve out a small mountain of budget. They prepare for a work plan of 6-12 months from selection of a support person to the final “unveiling” of “the brand.” Maybe there’s some sort of formal project announcement. Maybe the senior leadership is told to offer its time to the consultants to answer questions and offer insight. All in service of jumping forward and discovering a company’s own brand.
By all accounts, (not to mention budget) “building and launching the brand” becomes a big deal to get to the “answer.”
This thinking leads to all sorts of issues. First, if you have to hire someone outside the company to define what makes your company different, what is the principle around which such decisions are made? Is it all about creative? Qualitative research? Charisma and rapport built during interviews? Flashy presentations? Promises of awards?
When you define you define your employer brand project as a massive project, you are demanding a massive change. You are setting your company up to suddenly be “better” in ways big and small (but always poorly defined). It’s like promising an “amazing brand makeover and you won’t believe how this company turns out!”
That kind of thinking has a big flaw at its core: In order to justify the “big makeover,” you are starting with the assumption that the brand was pretty ugly to begin with. In fact, the project may even be a stealth “this is how we tell leadership that things are broken” project, to bring in an outsider to say the things staff is too scared to say out loud.
That sure feels like a project destined for failure to me. Is that what you think your employer brand is supposed to do?