Tag Archives: Employer Brand

Why Ann Loft Careers is a Social Media Superstar

The latest Jobvite survey shows how important social media has become for talent acquisition: 78% of recruiters have made a hire through social, 33% say it decreases time to hire, and 49% say it increases the quality of candidates. Most impressive is that 20% of recruiters believe social media’s value is at least $90,000 a year.

Who is leading the trend in social recruiting? I’m always searching for brands that are use social channels to engage job-seekers in clever ways. Joining recent honorees Amtrak and Taco Bell is the latest Social Media Superstar: Ann Loft Careers.

This iconic fashion line is active on seven social platforms, reaching out to job-seekers with compelling and unique content. Here are some highlights.

A Facebook Page With More Content Than Some Websites
Ann Loft Careers has a very robust Facebook page. Recruiting channels for Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube each get a tab, and there are custom tabs for internships and for the company’s charitable giving. On average, Ann Inc. posts twice a day, and responses to timeline questions are prompt and sincere — one query was answered in just 12 minutes and another was answered after 9:30 at night. Best of all, there’s a custom tab just for the employer brand, “Fit Is Everything,” that includes the company’s mission, vision, and values.

Ann Loft Careers’ custom Facebook tabs

Reaching Out Through YouTube
There are 29 videos on Ann Loft Careers’ YouTube channel. These brief, well-short videos show what it’s like to work in a store or at corporate. Several showcase the internship program, while others explore the company’s green initiatives. Ann Inc. even charges headlong into what can be a touchy topic — the condition of the foreign workers making their clothes. But it’s communicated as ResponsiblyANN: Supporting Women and shows all the company is doing to improve women’s lives around the world. My favorite videos are instructive, such as The Perfect Interview Outfit and How to Apply at AnnCareers.com

Showing Off On Pinterest
Fashion is visual, which may may explain why Ann Loft Careers has a jaw-dropping 9,000 pins collected into 56 boards. And yet a number of boards have nothing to do with clothing. Along with boards offering great job-search advice (“Fall Interview Outfits,” “Attention-Grabbing Resumes”) there are some galleries that are just plain fun, such as a board devoted to breast cancer awareness month, one for Halloween treats, and one for “must-read” novels. Taken together, these boards add up to more than a look at Ann Loft Careers; they convey the Ann Inc. lifestyle. It’s a brilliant way to communicate the company’s culture and to help job-seekers self-select.

One of Ann Loft Careers’ 56 Pinterest boards

Putting It All Together
But what if a job-seeker wants to follow all of Ann Inc.’s recruiting channels? The company’s recruiting team has put together a web page like I’ve never seen — a three-column live-stream of all their posts, from Instagram photos to tweets. It allows job-seekers to get a snapshot of what Ann Inc. is posting without having to follow all seven platforms. But even with all that information, the page is as clean and eye-pleasing as one of their fashion ensembles. It’s like a Tumblr or Storify just for Ann Inc. talent acquisition, but it lives within anncareers.com. 
Ann Loft Careers combines authenticity with whimsy, and education with fun. It’s reaching job-seekers in lots of visual ways and giving away important information on the job search and the interview process. And it aggregates all its social content into one convenient stream. It looks like Ann Inc. is in an enviable position as it prepares for its 50th anniversary in August 2014.

For all these reasons, I declare Ann Loft Careers a Social Media Superstar!

One Brand: Part 2. Building a Brand Fortress Through Integrated Employer Branding

Employer branding has been heating up. According to a 2013 LinkedIn survey of recruiting trends, recruiting leaders are fearful their competitors are investing more heavily in employer branding than they are. No surprise. Employer branding done well brings in qualified candidates that are pre-sold with your organization’s mission, vision, and work rewards, making a recruiter’s job much easier. For larger organizations, having a well-articulated employer brand architecture ensures consistency or messaging- where everyone, from employees to recruiters, is singing in one voice. 

There is one question that gets asked repeatedly, in every employer branding workshop that we hold. “But where does our employer brand fit with
our corporate brand?”

It’s not unheard of for some companies to create an employer brand slogan that lives only within HR, and more specifically recruiting. Often, against best practice, it has no bearing on a true employer value proposition, one that is based upon the unique elements of your culture and workplace, resonates with the people you would like more of, and integrates with the same value proposition to your consumer base.  But this should change.

So why should you do it?
Integrating your employer brand with your corporate brand will build a brand fortress: a talented body of people working together to support the same corporate goals and achieve positive outcomes from their efforts. There are demonstrated financial rewards with having an engaged workforce of people who truly believe in what the company is trying to achieve and how they deliver on the corporate brand promise.
 

How can you do it?
The marketing department is your friend. Talk to them and find out what information they have on hand. You might get consumer surveys, industry trends, and if you’re really lucky, the brand book.  Along with logos, color palettes and typography, the brand book should contain the brand position of your organization, what your organization is and what it stands for.

These words and phrases sum up your company’s vision and customer promise, and might also define how the brand is brought to life. Everything you do in communication and action needs to support that statement, including your employer brand. 

2013 LinkedIn Global Recruiting Survey

The consumer brand will be your guide to how your company wants people to feel about the brand and the overarching business objective you want to achieve. And that’s where the workforce enters.

Look closely at that statement. There are emotional qualities embedded within in it. “Confidence”, “passion”, “determination”, and “diligence” enjoyment may be some of the feelings it tries to evoke. Those feelings are what the employer brand has to align with.

What are the demonstrated experiences from your workplace that bring those emotions to life? What need to change, if anything, to keep those emotions true through the pre- and post-employment cycle? Think of the potential talent that you are looking to hire. Can they buy into that emotional space?  Do your business goals resonate with them, or is it simply a good job fit?  

Finding the true brand ambassadors through your employer branding will have a positive impact on culture, performance, recruitment  and retention. You’ll find after time you’ll have employees who come, stay, grow and recommend others committed to the company’s success.

And that’s the ROI of branding done right.

Why Amtrak Careers is a Social Media Superstar

Forbes has named 2013 “The Year of Social HR,” and that includes social recruiting. I’m always searching for brands that are using social media to recruit in innovative ways. Joining recent honorees Taco Bell and Bridgepoint Education is a new Social Media Recruiting Superstar: Amtrak.

It may be hard to believe, but this organization based on 19th-century transportation is cleverly recruiting in 21st-century ways.

Amtrak’s employer branding statement includes some unique, differentiating phrases, like “Amtrak moves America’s workforce toward the future” and “Your success is just a train ride away.” The location listed on their Twitter profile? “Everywhere, USA.”

Here’s how Amtrak steams ahead of the social recruiting pack:

Top-Ranked Twitter
Amtrak Careers on Twitter alternates job listings with lots of interesting content, from travel tips (“the five must-see attractions in Seattle”) to photos and links that emphasize the organization’s commitment to hiring veterans. It’s a simple but effective combination: the Social Recruitment Monitor currently ranks Amtrak Careers as the #1 employer Twitter in the country, based on the account’s popularity, activity, and interaction with followers.

Plenty of Pinterest

Amtrak Careers is one of a growing number of brands that is recruiting on Pinterest, with more than 135 images. The boards range from Amtrak History (which includes great photos from the organization’s start in the 70s), to beautiful pictures of trains traveling through the countryside, to a board aimed at women job-seekers. As all recruiting superstars do, Amtrak Careers offers job-hunting tips on its social channels; there are boards called Interview Advice, Interview Fashion, and Words of Wisdom.

All About “You” on YouTube

Amtrak Careers has seven videos on a YouTube channel with more than 4,000 subscribers. The videos are shrewdly broken down into aspects of employment: Your Health and Wellness at Amtrak, Your Voluntary Benefits at Amtrak, etc., which feature plenty of employee testimonials. The main video, Your Career at Amtrak, is hosted by CEO Joe Boardman himself. He outlines the many benefits of an Amtrak career but doesn’t shy away from honest statements like, “We’ve had to make tough choices recently because of increasingly limited resources. And I understand there are concerns.” He goes on to say that “a strong team will help us expand and build a solid future at Amtrak.” New hires, in other words, will help build that future.

Fitting It Into Facebook

Amtrak Careers has a custom tab on Amtrak’s consumer Facebook Page, which has more than 300,000 likes. Within that tab are five “sub-tabs” that cover benefits, hiring events, and an FAQ that answers questions like “Will I be considered for other positions when applying for a specific position?” There’s also a video, photos, job listings, a Twitter feed, and an app that lets you see which of your Facebook friends is connected to Amtrak. All those features make this little Facebook tab more robust than some company’s entire careers sites.


From its authentic videos to its fun Pinterest boards to its commitment to veterans, Amtrak Careers is making trains cool again. It’s reaching out to a diverse audience on a number of channels. And if those metrics seem too “soft,” just look at that #1 ranking on the Social Recruitment Monitor.  

For all these reasons, I declare Amtrak Careers a Social Media Superstar!

Video: The Importance of Employer Branding

Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, explains how a strong employer brand is crucial to the success of any organization.

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Authentic Employer Branding

How can a company offer an authentic employer brand even during negative publicity? Director of Interactive Branding Jason Ginsburg shows how it’s done.

How to Avoid the 3 Biggest Employer Branding Pitfalls

I travel around the country giving presentations on employer branding and building and promoting an employer value proposition. I usually highlight employer brand success stories. But as major brands like Goldman Sachs and Zynga stumble into PR crises, I thought it might be useful to help your company avoid the most common employer branding mistakes.

Don’t be inauthentic
Your employer brand embodies your employees, your culture, your vision, and your values; these are impossible to fake. So if you’re a fast-paced company with an entrepreneurial culture, don’t market yourself as a laid-back environment with unlimited vacation days.

I remember looking at the careers site for BP several months after the 2010 oil spill and being shocked to see that it looked the same as before the spill. Surely the eco-minded Generation Y or Gulf Coast residents affected by the disaster might hesitate joining the company afterwards? But there was only one acknowledgement of the situation – a tiny text link on the sidebar that asked “Why is it a good time to join BP?” Why indeed?

BP Careers, November 2010
Don’t get lost in the crowd
The are dozens of salty snacks on the market, so how does Doritos stand out? By having an attitude: Coming in crazy flavors with cool names and bright packaging. In the same way, your employer brand has to be distinctive. Avoid bland themes like “Grow your career with us” or “We offer work-life balance.” Almost any job can become a career and almost every job lets its employees go home at night.


Don’t get stuck in the facts
So many careers websites begin with, “Company X was founded in 1950 and now operates out of 75 offices in 12 countries.” Does that year mean the company is old-fashioned? Do those 12 countries mean employees get to see the world? Do the 75 offices mean employees can be transferred against their will?

Stand-alone facts like those can be both boring and confusing, a deadly combination for anyone looking to top motivate talent. Remember, you’re trying to create an emotional connection, so facts and numbers can only get you so far. Instead, talk about how your company helps people’s lives. Let employees share their stories. Show your workplace. Highlight employee events, rewards, volunteer work. Never be boring.

Be authentic and differentiated, and add an interesting and emotional component to your recruitment messaging.  If you can’t always leave them laughing, at least leave them hungry to learn more.

Let me know If you’d like to learn more  on LinkedIn, on Twitter, or right here in the comments.

4 Things to Make Sure Your Boss Knows About Employer Branding (The 5th is Optional)

“Employer branding is the new black,” according to George Anders’ recent article on Forbes.com. LinkedIn is spreading the word about the significance of having a strong employer brand while also providing more tools and resources to help companies promote one on their platform.

So you’re not Apple, Amazon, Deloitte, or Disney. Don’t despair. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an employer brand or employer value proposition of your own.

Here are 4 things to tell your boss when you’re putting it into your 2013 budget:

It’s not a headline or tagline within your recruitment marketing materials.
Your employer brand is the essence of the employer/employee contract. It contains the reasons people join your company and the reasons they stay. Intuitively this
information may be known to some or all of your organization, but going through
the exercise of defining your brand architecture, your differentiators, and your employer value proposition will make sure that you’re all speaking in one voice. 

Once this is defined, it may never appear in any of your recruitment marketing
materials or internal communications. 
But the essence of the employer value
proposition can be communicated in a multitude of ways, varying by business
unit, country, or corporate initiative.
It makes the company money.
A well-defined employer brand will be integrated with the business strategy and articulate the shared responsibilities for achieving success. The ROI is not an HR metric (cost-per-hire, time-to-fill) but rather a metric of revenue growth. In March 1994, the Harvard Business Review wrote about the service-profit chain. Employee satisfaction drives customer satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue growth. This relationship still holds true today. Employer branding fuels employee engagement, which fosters productivity, which fuels profitability.


It saves the company money.
Good employer branding connects employees with cultures, reducing the chance of a hiring misfire. There is transparency in the employer-employee contract and
everyone knows the deal going in. Both turnover rates and recruiting costs go down.

It doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Those of you who have attended my employer branding presentations already have many of the tools to do it yourself. But even going outside to bring in an employer branding expert doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. Communication audits and employer branding surveys can get the ball rolling, and executive interviews and internal focus groups can be selectively added. For a small research plan, costs can be as low as $10,000. If you’re lucky enough to get a bigger budget, I recommend you survey external constituents to really provide context and color to your internal findings.

You will have more fun at work.
Yes, it’s true. Once you have gone through your branding exercise and embedded the essence of your competitive differentiation into your careers website, videos, recruitment and social media marketing, and internal communications, you’re all set to reap the rewards. Happy hiring managers, increased employee referrals, more unsolicited resumés coming in from top talent, lower turnover, and greater retention. You’ll have more time to work on other critical initiatives like workforce planning, talent management, or diversity and inclusion. Or maybe just steal a few extra minutes to read a blog or two.  

Why Zappos is a Social Media Superstar

As many of you know from my speaking engagements and webinars, I’m always looking for brands that are using social media in innovative ways. I honor these organizations with the name “SoMe Superstars.” Past winners include State Farm and PepsiCo

Today I’d like to recognize a company that’s taken a fantastic brand and brilliantly expanded it into the social space: Zappos.
I’ve written about my love for Tony Hseih’s online shoe company before, but now it gives me great honor to truly call it a Superstar.

With more than 2,600 YouTube subscribers, 260,000 Facebook Likes, and almost 2.6 million Twitter followers (across seven accounts), Zappos has definitely made a social media splash. But lots of footwear and apparel companies appeal to young social media users. How does Zappos stand out? Here are a few reasons.

Website Videos – Instant, Honest, and Short
Zappos created a team of ten employees to make videos about every single one of its shoes. The videos are done on-site and are unscripted. Since starting the program in 2009, these employees have now created around 100,000 videos. They’re all under a minute, so that customers don’t get bored. Even better? Each video has three prominent sharing options – Twitter, Facebook, and HTML code for bloggers. The videos allow Zappos employees to share their love of the product and encourage customers to share their love on social media.

Social Recruiting, Too
Zappos offers a YouTube channel just for recruiting, with 33 videos. The content ranges from employee interviews to a look at the Zappos HQ fitness center to advice on how to dress for your job interview. This is a fantastic resource for job-seekers, with each video showcasing the spirit of fun and customer service that is the foundation of the Zappos brand. On Twitter, ZapposInsights and Inside_Zappos both offer a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s unique culture, with lots of interaction with followers.

Their Own Personal Pinterest
The Zappos website has a unique feature that really makes it a superstar. It’s called the TweetWall; a collection of tweets from anyone who has linked to a Zappos product. It’s a form of crowdsourcing, where customers can see what styles have the most buzz. And instead of encouraging fans to tweet about the company, Zappos is rewarding fans for already doing it. Fans know this, and may tweet about Zappos just get a spot on the coveted wall.


Through YouTube, multiple Twitter profiles, employee videos, and the TweetWall, Zappos has created a virtuous circle: fans celebrate the brand because the brand recognizes the fans who celebrate it.


For sharing videos, tweets, and photos with their fans, and allowing their fans to share content in return, I name Zappos a SoMe Superstar!

Do you know of a brand that deserves superstar status? Drop me a line.

Use Employer Branding Secrets to Create Your Personal Brand

Employer branding. It distinguishes an organization from its competitors and makes itself irresistible to job applicants. As I’ve traveled around the country teaching companies how to create employer brands that attract top talent, I couldn’t help but wonder: What if job applicants applied the same strategies to build their personal brand?

How can they stand out in the marketplace? What is their unique value proposition that will get them in the door of top organizations? No surprise, I’ve found that the same rules apply.


1. Determine your mission. Forget for a moment about job titles and experience. What can you do well? What do you want to do? After all, plenty of branding is aspirational.

2. Decide how you stand out. Next come the differentiators. I discover these through research and focus groups, and you’ll have to be as honest with yourself as those groups are with me. What are the four or five things that set you apart from everyone who else wants to be, say, Director of Sales at Disney Consumer Products? Perhaps your experience points overwhelmingly in the direction you want to go, which is a great advantage. If not, what other skills could be applicable? Be candid about both your strengths and weaknesses; you may be surprised about which is which.

3. State your case. After the research, I create a single-minded proposition that encapsulates all the differentiators in a cohesive way.  How do you want employers to perceive you? Maybe instead of a marketing manager; you’re a “communications specialist with international experience”? Or, instead of a receptionist, you are a “Director of First Impressions.” How about conveying your passion for accounting by branding yourself “I love numbers”? Or flaunt your credentials, such as “Serving entertainment clients like HBO and Paramount for over a decade.” Whatever you decide, your brands should match your mission, summarize your differentiators, and convey a concise yet big idea to employers.

4. Spread the word. Lastly, a brand identity has to be visually compelling. You can use a number of free or low-cost tools to do this. Create a logo or find a headshot and use it on everything from your Facebook profile to your business cards. If you’re looking for a job in environmental engineering and brand yourself as “The Green Technician,” you should create a Twitter profile with that name. Make sure your brand is not just visible but highlighted on your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. Join professional and affinity groups on LinkedIn as well, or even form a group of your own!

Stand out from the crowd!

If you have a blog or a Tumblr, re-design it to match your new brand. Buy http://www.[yourname].com, and the domain of your brand (if it’s short enough), so internet searches for your name will bring up your brand, and vice-versa.

A distinctive, credible, engaging personal brand will put you at a great advantage over your competition. Follow these steps for creating an employee brand and start attracting top companies today!

What Would Your CEO Say?

BRANDING AND THE BOTTOM LINE

Branding, just as any other strategic endeavor, is about bottom line business results.
A brand makes attracting new customers and holding onto current customers cheaper.

Employer Branding does the same thing. It makes attracting talent cheaper and inspires turnover-cutting loyalty. Suddenly HR looks like a moneymaker.

So what would your CEO say to that?
“Why does our company need more than one brand?”

The answer, of course, is that you don’t.

The finer points of how the brand is communicated obviously differs from consumers to employees, as do the specific value propositions, but the core of the brand does not. It’s the still the same personality, the same voice, the same values.

HR is merely one of many stakeholders in an organization’s overall brand. It’s their role to communicate the brand in a compelling way to current and potential employees. Similarly, the CFO’s role as a brand stakeholder is to communicate the brand to the financial community. Marketing communicates the brand to consumers. PR communicates the brand to the media. But you never hear terms like “financial brand,” or “PR brand.”

Does HR really need its own term for this responsibility? I can deal with it if you can, so long as we don’t lose sight of the fact that it refers back to the same brand that everyone else in the company is talking about.

If everyone is striving for profitability then having just one brand is only natural. Just ask Phil Knight or Steve Jobs. Nike and Apple, two of the most desirable places to work, don’t do “employer branding.” They don’t have to. Their brands are so well integrated throughout every department that employees and consumers alike are attracted magnetically.

Whether you call it employer branding, employment branding, or just plain branding, your CEO still only wants to know how it can save money or make money for the company.

For more perspective, call BRANDEMiX.