It’s time to make your talent brand leap ahead

May 4, 2021 | Attraction & marketing

Whatever’s happened to your employer brand since the spring of 2020, Tom Chesterton from Tonic explains why now is the perfect time to repair, gain or maintain your position.

If you know Tonic, you’ll be aware that our sole purpose is to build talent brands that people want to work for. You’ll know that we work with employers from almost every sector and across the whole employee experience to do that. You might even know that working with employers with an interest in early careers is particularly close to our heart.

If you’ve been following us for a while, you may know that we’ve been working with R&D, a group of independently owned (and minded) agencies from across the full spectrum of marketing expertise. For us, one of the main benefits is the exposure to how marketeers are really thinking and building – outside of employer brand – and then bringing that thinking back ‘home’.

But it’s not one-way traffic. One debate we led recently was based on the observation that not all brands had performed equally during the pandemic. Some had suffered terribly, some had succeeded and others had simply trod water. It was clear also that those employer brands that had performed less well, had less good results as businesses, and that the contrary was true too. Those who had performed well had succeeded.

No doubt, you’ll have your own examples of organisations that are more or less attractive now than they were. Perhaps they treated their customers well, perhaps they didn’t. Perhaps they treated their people with care and attention, perhaps they ignored them. Perhaps they profiteered. Perhaps they did the best they could. Perhaps management froze and failed to make any decisions.

Which one are you? We’ve written elsewhere about the three groups employer brand’s have fallen in to, but if you are planning what happens in your next campaign, perhaps the first step is to evaluate what has happened to your employer brand since the start of 2020; are you in a worse place? A better place? Pretty much the same? Is that good enough, and what can you do about it? How can you leap from good enough to best?

For early talent professionals this means identifying how they can lead with proactivity. Working out how you can use your influence, behaviours, resources and capabilities under the umbrella of a big idea to navigate the phases and roadmap of recovery.

To work out how you can bring that idea to life through the employee value proposition (offer, benefits, L&D etc) and the candidate experience (touch-points and interactions) as well as your marketing campaigns we think that there are six steps, run in a series, that will help develop thinking and planning:


1. Figure out what your leap is

What barriers do you need to overcome, how can you pivot and around what, and how can you use momentum to gain competitive advantage?

2. Out of the blocks thinking

Set out a proactive perspective for what you can do to make something fundamentally different or better than it was before. Define the big, organising idea that will drive narrative and action. Ideally this is an ongoing ambition for your employer brand – years ahead, declared today.

3. Input/output

The flywheel is driven by what candidates value today and tomorrow. Undertake an analysis of brand tracking data that identifies the drivers of preference, choice and use today.

4. Set the mood

Creating a sense of optimism and positive mood is a key driver of relevance, and alignment both inside and outside your organisation.

5. Candidate experience

How people experience your branding, marketing, products and services is indivisible now. And these experiences form the underlying principles of the employer brand.

6. The Marketing Flywheel – the brand roadmap

What are the actions you can take to give the brand real energy and relevance – in offerings, interactions, communications – set around a central narrative that brings the organising idea to life?

We use this framework to inspire confidence, to define the atmosphere for your brand, perhaps even to deliver fame and glory, but more than anything to identify what your people will value in the near future, and further ahead. Get this right and you’ll benefit from brand preference, relevance, loyalty and advocacy far into the future.

In our opinion, it’s now time – the perfect time, perhaps the last chance – to take a clear-eyed view of the effect of the last year-and-a-bit on your people, and how they feel about joining you. Many indicators and commentators suggest that we’re teetering on the brink of the biggest economic boom since 1948 so it’s time to be proactive about employer brand management – rather than waiting to react beyond the moment as the recovery runs away – and the competition hots up again.

Whatever’s happened to your employer brand since the spring of 2020, the time is running out to repair, gain or maintain your employer brand position. If you’d like to find out more – or if we can help – find a time to talk with us here

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