⚡ Employer Brand Headlines: The "Wishing Well" Edition (#105)

⚡ Employer Brand Headlines: The "Wishing Well" Edition (#105)
By James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd • Issue #105 • View online
My mission: move the conversation around employer brand forward.

Employer Brand Headlines, brought to you by James Ellis
Employer Brand Headlines, brought to you by James Ellis
In this issue
  • Multi-brand thinking
  • Outsiders (in a good way)
  • Going remote
  • Getting coaching
The big idea
Let’s start with something simple: There is only one brand.
Your corporate brand, your investor brand, your employer brand, your consumer brand… it’s all one brand. The trick is that each brand manager looks through the brand to understand and speak to their audience about their needs and motivators, but they are all looking at their audience through the same shared lens.
EB is special in that its target audience has a longer customer journey where candidates take a LOT more time to collect the intel on which to make a life-changing decision. As an EB-er, you are special in that you are focused on quality over quantity, your tech stack is going to be different (what, you think your consumer marketing team has an ATS?), and you have different metrics and KPIs.
But done properly, branders lean into their own area of expertise to support the aggregate brand because great consumer branding elevates and empowers employer branding. And vice versa.
The above is still a semi-controversial idea, for a lot of reasons (most of them political). But what if we took that idea a step further: what happens in a multi-brand company?
If you’re working with a Disney and their (to be certain) VERY well-established brand, who in turn own some very distinctive brands of their own (ESPN, ABC, Disney Parks, Disney+ etc), how do you approach this “one brand” strategy when it comes to employer branding?
(Full disclosure, while I know a few people at Disney, nothing here is specifically about Disney or their brands. Disney’s just a great example of how complex brand architecture gets.)
That is: how do you build an employer brand for a multi-brand org? Do you establish a core corporate brand that every other brand has to sweat to localize? Do you allow for completely independent brands to exist under the main umbrella? And if so, how can they support each other?
First, we must state that THERE IS NO ONE ANSWER. How can there be when multi-brand organizations aren’t all the same? They don’t have the same architecture at all. Are they like Amazon, whose core brand owns hundreds of sub-brands, but all of which exist as subservient to the big A? Or is it more like Yum! brands where the child brands (Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut) are treated as completely independent? And what about mega CPG companies like Unilever or P&G where there is a clear connection to the parent brand, but the child brands have their own claim to their own brand (and even compete against other child brands)?
Here’s a great summary of how to look at various brand architecture/structures that makes it clear that before we even contemplate employer brand, there is no one way to build brands.
So when you look at your multi-brand world, how do you decide to approach your employer branding? Start by establishing how closely connected your brands and child/sub-brands are. Are you Nestle/ Nestle Purina/Nestle Waters, where a stranger often has trouble remembering these are separate brands? Then there’s value in building a modular brand framework that is shared amongst all brands. But if you’re KFC and Taco Bell, two brands that most people don’t realize are owned by the same company, you’ve got more freedom.
But the question is how to create a modular framework. Classically, that’s the value of having 3-5 brand pillars: each brand can pick the two or three that best represents them that they can localize while still maintaining a tenuous connection between all brands (in case the corporate brand needs EB support).
But lately, I’ve been changing my view, being somewhat less dogmatic. In the end, your brand is your promise of what someone should expect when they work here. That promise is pretty simple (innovation, freedom, structure, etc) and then wrapped in some pretty creative to make it feel more “yours.”
If you have two brands, they need to be authentic (and distinct from their relative competition), which may mean they are offering different promises to candidates. In that case, use the creative layer to tie the two desperate brand promises together like two gifts in common wrapping paper: the core messages will differ, but you’re sending the signal to the prospect that there’s something bigger at work here (that they may or may not realize).
Or take it in the opposite direction: I know of one multi-brand org that has 10 “core promises” they share, but each individual child brands select the handful that best describes their promise. Shared ideas and terms, but the creative layer is all about the child brand, turning a “common” promise into something better connected to the child company.
Ultimately, there is no hard and fast answer. But the best strategy (like in the one brand idea) is to reflect what the overall organization architecture is doing and support it .
(Special thanks to Bruna Gomes Mascarenhas for asking a great question!)
How Outsiders Become Game Changers
The Art of Conversation in Marketing
The Problem With Emphasizing Employer Branding in Job Posts
What would workers sacrifice to remain remote?
Your brand world amid virtual worlds
3 Reasons Why Coaching Shouldn’t Be Reserved for C-Suite 
10 Reasons Why Creativity is Important
Brainfood live On Air - Remaking Candidate Experience, Post Pandemic
Inside the fortune cookie
“Even spammers know stimulating instant response is easy. Creating long-term preference and affinity, now there’s a fun challenge.” - Lee Clow’s Beard
Thanks, everyone!
Short edition this week (as I was on vacation for the last 6 days).
Reminder: The more people at your org who read my books, the better your job will get! employerbrandbook.com (They’re free!!!)
There are now more than 900 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:
Sananda Maitreya - Wishing Well (Video)
Sananda Maitreya - Wishing Well (Video)
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James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd
By James Ellis, Employer Brand Nerd

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