A follow-up post to Make Us Sexy!

We received some positive notes for the original post – thanks to those people! Sexy does sell.

Subsequent conversations, since that post was published, have encouraged me to expand much further on the difficulties of achieving employment brand ‘accuracy’ (and my belief in ‘sexy truth’). As such if you have not done so, I would recommend reading that post before engaging with this one. Following eBrands on LinkedIN is a good way to stay in the loop with regards to future blog updates.

I’ll start getting into some ‘how to’s’ of achieving accuracy next week, but let me quickly illustrate and discuss some personal views with regards to good and bad employment brand programme design:

  1. Employer brands are created using standard marketing/EVP frameworks – yet I feel it is a mistake to believe there is a standard process that guarantees success
  1. Any organisation that does not operate with insidious motives can achieve an effective employer brand outcome. Any! I believe it!
  1. An employer brand 100% fails without accuracy; because the long game always unravels in the face of a corner cutting quick win
  1. An employer brand will only be as strong as the weakest part of its project process, which means emphasis should be placed on project process design


These views look suspiciously like throw at the wall tack so let me have a go at backing up these convictions succinctly.

There’s too much soulless vanilla crap in employment branding. The job market looks like an incongruous blob, and most internal communication has no brand resonance.

I think this is primarily due to the ‘curse of the common employment brand process’. The biggest mistake – is the belief that a collection of numerical scales and checkboxes can deliver employment brand nirvana.

Beware of ‘soulless vanilla’ as it can creep up on you at the very beginning. Your employment brand ‘provider’, ‘agency’- or what you will – should exhibit strong ‘project framework’ capabilities, but they should never be married at all costs to their standard project process. The only thing they should be in love with is the client’s end goal – and their wits should be about them from the start to engineer that journey.

Ask your agency one question – how are they going to uncover our truth? Moreover, if you have compiled your organisation’s story already, either via writing a brief or summarising research, how are they going to challenge or corroborate it? How are they going to think and respond to your organization context?

Dear client, please roll your eyes when the account manager responds ‘our online climate survey will generate all we need for research’. Another black flag would be hearing the words “our research phase for underpinning your brand is a standard priced package”. This itself implies too many massive and risky assumptions.

The value of any research findings dwindle as the agency forces your employee’s insights into a digital checkbox consensus – the same jam jar they have used to squeeze other clients – and then try to sell you creative based on that.

Employer branding is demanding. The platform for accuracy requires a comprehensive scoping and design process that generates sensitivity to the unique organisation context; and then applies that learning for the prioritisation of uncovering the truth. Let’s be clear – that work is not part of the research phase. This dictates the employer brand process design; your primary research phase is part of that overall design.

Next post – sharing some knowledge around organisation context and healthy project design.

Comments? Thoughts?