Working in the employer brand space, part of what we do is to observe, analyze and monitor brands. Sadly we see a very common mistake that does nothing to heighten brand awareness. In fact this mistake erodes brand trust and overall appeal. So what is this cardinal sin and how does one avoid the deep pit of branding despair?
It is simple. It is called “Corporate speak”.
Corporate speak is not simply about the words and copy we use to describe our organization, the employee experience, and the “why” around working there. This “corporate speak” mentality stretches into images and content. The result comes off as bland, unappealing, and contrived for your target talent population.
Richard Brandson had it right when he famously stated:
“Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character and no public trust.”
Let me provide you with some examples.
Are you using canned descriptors for how you talk about your employee experience? Too often the answer to this is YES. Even worse, are you using that same meaningless jargon in your social feeds? It is time to get human.
This means using simple language that is authentic to your organization. This means finding the spirit within your organization and providing a peephole into your culture via these channels (social feeds, blogs, your careers site, etc.).
If you are using stock photos, scrap them immediately. Show your real team with images that are powerful, not perfect. Who are your ambassadors and I don’t mean your executive team?
Employees are 3x more credible than the CEO when talking about working conditions (Edelman Trust Barometer)
Let your people speak for you. This means relinquishing control and not every organization falls on that end of the content generation spectrum, but those that do tend to create a stronger sense of community within their existing employee population thus prompting new talent to get interested.
Here is another secret…
Document, don’t create, is a principle encouraged by Gary Vaynerchuk.
Producing images and content can feel artificial. Capturing on the other hand invites prospective talent into the employee experience. Snapchat team-meetings, take a pic of the stacks of pizza boxes from a late night coding blitz. The options are endless.
The employer branding process starts with a sound understanding of who you are and your employee value proposition. We are not suggesting being something you are not. Even the most formal (corporate) of organizational cultures can infuse their brand with personality while staying true to their genuine nature.
Here is another tip. Stay out of the middle.
“The middle of the road is where the white line is—and that’s the worst place to drive.” Robert Frost
What do you stand for? Be bold and share who you are with the world. Your target talent craves an understanding of the real you.
Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. We all want to belong. It’s time to share your personality.
If you are interested in learning more about how to build a compelling and authentic employer brand and you are on a budget, check out our LAND YOUR BRAND blueprint and e-learning course.