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Employer Brand Headlines: The "Number One" Edition (#84)

Employer Brand Headlines: The "Number One" Edition (#84)
My mission: Help you understand your employer brand better and make it work for you.

In this issue
  • Stop with the features, already.
  • Content planning
  • Appreciate employees
  • Alumni networks
  • Avoid bad decisions
The big idea
Think back to the last commercial you saw. This experiment works better if it was a commercial you liked or worked on you to buy something, but really, any decent commercial will work.
Remember, this is a 30-second ad. This isn’t much time for that commercial to embed itself in your brain and get you to take some sort of action.
In a way, it’s like a magic trick. In 30 seconds, a mini-movie or mini-song gets beamed or streamed into your home and suddenly, you’re going to do something different.
So anyway, how would you describe the commercial?
  • Was the commercial a list of features and benefits? The movie equivalent of a bulleted list that rushed past as fast as it could?
  • Was the commercial just a logo and instructions on how to buy something?
  • Was the commercial just directions on how to connect with a salesperson who would then explain the product or service to you?
I’m willing to bet that that commercial was none of those things. I would imagine that commercial started with something that grabbed your attention (maybe a surprise, maybe a song you liked), then proceeded to build some kind of emotion or feeling in you.
  • Maybe it was something that was supposed to inspire you to greatness (which is like every Nike commercial).
  • Maybe it was to help you find that piece of your lost youth (half the car ads).
  • Maybe it wanted you to feel safe and that you were a good person for protecting your family (the other half of the car ads).
  • Maybe it wanted you to change your perspective (every good travel ad).
  • Maybe it made you want to tell your spouse that you love them (every diamond, jewelry, wine, romantic restaurant, or life insurance ad).
All those commercials were designed to make you feel something. Maybe laughter, maybe fear, maybe hope, maybe nostalgia, but every single frame and pixel existed to create an emotion.
So now look at your recruiting process (which is really your recruiting marketing message). What emotions are you creating? Frustration? Anger? Self-doubt? Impatience? Chances are if you’re creating an emotion at all, it is both negative and unintentional.
Now, look at the descriptions of crappy commercials (feature lists, logos, connect to salespeople). Aren’t they more accurate descriptions of your marketing? Job posts that say nothing but jargon and words that look like English but read like word salad, followed by a laundry list of bullets? Career sites that are really just your logo with just enough text to justify its existence? Everything designed not to inform, educate, define, or describe the job, but designed to get someone to apply so a recruiter can decide if they will reach out?
Trying to attract talent via features is a fool’s game. Do you really pay so much more than everyone else? Do you really have “world-class” benefits? Do you really care about your employees more than every other company? Do you really think you’re the only company who paid to put that “best place to work” badge on your career site?!?? That’s not ‘differentiation,’ that’s pandering.
Marketing has been telling us for years to stop with the feature lists to attract an audience and getting them interested in a job. They have shown us over and over that the key to controlling your audiences’ minds is to tap into people’s emotions. That’s the open window when logic has bolted closed the door.
So I ask you: are you creating an emotional message? Is it serving you? Are you able to back up the emotion’s promise with action that delivers? Or are you going to try and pretend you’re the only company that “cares about its people”?
Virtual or IRL? Recruitment marketing content planning in 2021
How to celebrate employee appreciate day (pdf)
Avoiding Bad Decisions
Turn Departing Employees into Loyal Alumni
Kill the marketing dept
10 Truths About Marketing After the Pandemic
Anyone Can Be an Innovator. You Just Have to Think Like an Outsider.
Employer Brand Insider - Why Talent Chooses You
Quick hits
Tip of the week
When’s the last time you asked recruiting what they needed? Not told them, but asked them? The act of asking itself may actually increase the likelihood that they engage. Heck, just saying things like, ‘this idea came from Susan on the tech recruiting team…“ can raise your credibility substantially.
Inside the fortune cookie
“There are no solutions, only trade-offs.“ - Thomas Sowell
One last thing
Clubhouse update! Tuesday at 8:30AM Central, we’re talking content marketing hacks. Bring your questions and ideas!
And since the Holland+James test went so well, we’re going to make it a regular thing! We’re going to take listener challenges and break them down for everyone. Got a challenge you want us to wrestle with? Tweet me @TheWarForTalent.
And I’m going to be facilitating a section of The Talent Brand Summit in April. I’m not doing a lot of speaking this year, and I’m really excited to hear from people like Kerry Noone, Lisa Smith-Strother, and Michael Mager. Ping me if you want a discount on the tickets.
Thanks, everyone!
You may have noticed some changes to the look and feel (but hopefully not the tone) of the newsletter. What do you think? Is this better or worse? I’d love to hear your thinking.
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:
Real Genius - Number One
Real Genius - Number One
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James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

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