View profile

Employer Brand Headlines: The "Overkill" Edition (#96)

Employer Brand Headlines: The "Overkill" Edition (#96)
My mission: Help you understand your employer brand better and make it work for you.

In this issue
  • Do less.
  • The lost interviews.
  • How distinctive do you need to be?
  • What employees want.
The big idea
None of us has enough to work with. Not enough time. Not enough money. Not enough people.
(If you actually do have enough of the above, what the heck are you doing reading this newsletter for? Go gloat somewhere else!)
Faced with insufficient resources, the common solution is to spread things thinner. We tell ourselves (or, if we’re being honest, are told) we need to be on YouTube. We need to be on Twitter. We need to post 3 times a week to Instagram. We need a new blog post once a month. We need an employee spotlight twice a month. We need to review Glassdoor responses once a week. We need a new campaign for this office or that team and it needs content, video, banners, testimonials, and seven other things. And while you’re doing all that, we need yet another job posting, a few new ads, and a seasonal revision to the career site.
It’s enough to give you hot flashes, isn’t it?
Faced with the daunting prospect of having so many things we could do (oh wait, do you need to be on Tik Tok now? Add it to the list), we spin plates. Do just enough work to get the project going and out the door and check in on it every so often. We optimize and process-itize so that we can check the box that we’re doing a thing, but we all know that we aren’t actually doing it well.
And in those dark nights of the soul, we ask ourselves why we even bother… before spinning the plates again.
Allow me to offer an alternative. Do less. Much much less.
What’s the “best” social media account these days? For me, it’s Wendy’s Twitter. Good gravy, is it funny. (Here are some examples from National Roast Day this year, which Wendy’s seems to be trying to turn into a kind of national holiday).
But I have no idea what their Instagram account is doing. Or their Facebook. They are being so good on Twitter, people are blogging about it on EVERY OTHER CHANNEL.
If you wanted your commercial to stand out, would you make seven different kinds (a la Geico) and put them on every channel? Or would you make one so good that people would talk about it the next day? And the next year? And the next decade? (See: Apple’s 1984 commercial.)
Saying something innocuous and saying it everywhere is no match for saying something interesting, even when you only do it in one place.
Don’t be everywhere. Focus your resources on being amazing at one channel.
I promise you that if you are awesome at Youtube, someone will share it on Twitter. But if you are boring, no one will share anything you do.
Now, doing less isn’t easier. Even if you get through the politics of telling stakeholders that you aren’t going to be jumping on the latest social fad, it means that you actually have to be great at your chosen channel. You have to be (to crib from Steve Martin) so good that they can’t ignore you. And that’s hard.
In fact, it might be harder (at first) to become so blatantly good at one thing. And that’s why you aren’t letting go of all those other channels.
So maybe this is the time to get serious about that one thing and do less.
Oh, and one other thing…
About six months ago, I put my podcast The Talent Cast on pause. After 4 years and 190 episodes, I took a one-month break to get some life-stuff things sorted and… never came back.
I had a plan. I was going to do 10-12 episodes and drop “Season 2” on the world “Netflix-style” and see what happened. I even did four really good interviews (good because they were insanely great guests, not because I know how to interview).
Week after week, my guilt at having recorded these interviews rose as the likelihood of me actually completing “seasons 2” diminished.
So having pushed my books out into an open-source model, I resolved to finish clearing the decks.
If I did it right (and it’s been a while), all four episodes of The Talent Cast: The Lost Interviews dropped a few hours ago. Interviews with Katrina Kibben, Lindsay Parks, Jill Dudones, and Andrew Gadomski (I am blessed to know some insanely smart folks) are now available wherever you get podcasts.
I’m not sure what the future of TTC* looks like. I’m getting most of the itch scratched through the newsletter, but you never know…
*Super extra special thanks to Chad Sowash and company for inviting me into the Evergreen podcast network.
Does Your Brand Voice Need to Be Distinctive?
Marketing — Not TA — Should Own Employer Brand
The Power of Nudges: Maya Shankar on Changing People’s Minds
Buyer personas need to die
With Employees Losing Trust in Employers, It’s Time to Hit the Reset Button on Talent
What Your Future Employees Want Most
Artist Sells Invisible Sculpture—Adtech Sells The Same Thing
Who remembers networking? Why the future is collaborative learning online
The 14 Rules of Identity
Quick hits
Tip of the week
The second you decide to do less, you give yourself the time and permission to go deep. So go deep. Get out of the employer brand space and see what the best of the best are doing. Want to get better at video? Watch more great movies ad take notes. Want to get better at podcasts, read up on how to do better interviews and audio production. Don’t limit yourself to just your local competition. Become so good that people outside EB will want to watch what you’re publishing.
Inside the fortune cookie
“Don’t settle for rebranding your product when you have the opportunity to rebrand the problem.” - Jasmine Bina
This is NOT a commercial
Thanks, everyone!
Reminder: My books are free and open-source over at
There are now more than 800 links in the 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:
Men At Work - Overkill (Video Version)
Men At Work - Overkill (Video Version)
Choir! Choir! Choir! / Colin Hay - Men At Work "Overkill"
Choir! Choir! Choir! / Colin Hay - Men At Work "Overkill"
Did you enjoy this issue?
James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

In a sea of content, how do you stay up to date on employer branding news? How do you know what's worth reading and what's just a waste of time?

So glad you asked! Here's a weekly digest of the best content to make you smarter about employer branding, curated by James Ellis.

If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
James Ellis, 421 W Melrose, Chicago, IL 60657