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3 Essentials To Crafting A Thriving Employer Brand

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3 Essentials To Crafting A Thriving Employer Brand 

Media channels used to be tightly controlled mediums accessible only to professionals – leaving brand image entirely up to an organization’s advertising. Word of mouth was of limited power, and you were only at risk of your brand being tarnished on the national stage if you attracted the critical attention of journalists. Of course, those days are long gone.

Today, it’s no longer enough to simply cultivate a customer facing brand, even one off experiences by customers can snowball and reach millions over the course of a few hours. Because of this, branding now requires attention from the inside out.

This means developing an employer brand as solid as your external image. It’s why today we’re seeing the emergence of new departments that seem to be a hybrid of HR and Marketing committed to crafting a single streamlined brand identity.

For many, this strategy is far from business as usual and poses novel problems for organizational leaders and marketers. But this shouldn’t deter leaders, as scalable solutions are emerging. While crafting an employer brand requires careful consideration, it ultimately boils down to three essential elements: purpose, values, and habits. As goes the saying, “purpose inspires, values guide, and habits define.”

Here’s how those elements play into the creation of your employer brand:

1. Purpose

Everyone is familiar with the mission statement: the fading poster half hanging off the wall that nobody in their right mind pays attention to – its dull mantra repeated at annual events and promptly forgotten. No one pays attention because it has nothing to do with the day to day operations of the organization.

Purpose isn’t profit either. Yes, profit is vital, an extrinsic necessity, but no employer brand can survive when focused on profit alone. Rather, purpose is something intrinsic that motivates beyond profit: an aim that would hold its ground even if profit wasn’t involved.

While it may sound impractical, it is an essential element of the most successful brands of today. In fact, those companies that aim higher than profit end up more profitable in the long run. Take Apple for instance, its purpose is to think different, and they are all about mastering and being the best at a craft.

People aren’t inspired to work for a company that’s principle aim is to just sell computers no matter the quality. No, people are inspired to work for a company that aims to create the absolute best and drives its employees to do the same. They are inspired to work for companies that provide an avenue for personal growth and development.

To paraphrase the 19th century philosopher Nietzsche, give employees a strong enough why and they will endure any how. This is the first and most foundational element of the employer brand that provides the inspiration a team needs to frame the work they do, day in and day out.

2. Values

Values are the guiding principles that an organization takes directly from its purpose. It’s not always clear if any particular decision is in line with a purpose – this is why you define essential values that provide a framework for decision making. They keep an organization heading in the right direction and help keep the focus on the central purpose.

While important, business objectives are not values. Before determining business objectives, your organization should have clear knowledge of what its values are. So maximizing profit for the shareholder is not a value in the sense discussed here.

Just like purpose, values are often stated but seldom lived. A recent study of fortune 500 companies showed that stated values had absolutely no effect on company performance. So does this mean that we should forget about values and move on? Absolutely not, because it’s the values you live that matter – not your stated values.

How an organization lives its values, beyond top down boardroom decision making, brings us to the final point: habits.

3. Habits

Habits are the ground level of the employer brand. If a company’s mission statement isn’t authentic, true to its purpose, this is where the hypocrisy is exposed.

Habits are the many micro-actions that comprise an organization’s daily operations and an essential place to target the employer brand. Harnessing micro-activities can prove to not only improve an employer brand, but also provide a scalable means for personal growth.

Habits comprise the daily experience of company culture for your employees and craft the image that will be projected to your clients or customers. They’re the regular actions your company is known for in the minds of those who regularly patronize your business.

This brings up a question that every business leader will need to ask: “what actions do I want the company to be known for?”

How To Leverage Micro-Actions For Your Employer Brand

Most business leaders don’t stop the discussion at habits, and claim that their daily lived behaviors are exactly where they want it to be, rather they want to know how to more fully show their values through daily habits. Fortunately, new research findings are offering effective solutions for business leaders.

Headed by psychologist Fred Luthans, recent research in the field of positive psychology has shown how effective micro-interventions can be. Micro-interventions being brief actions done by participants that target key behaviors and outlooks. By targeting the right areas the intervention, despite taking only minutes, can shape the approach to an entire day.

This is why micro-interventions that target daily behaviors are a growing technique harnessed by business leaders. Micro-interventions provide a scalable strategy for leaders to employ in establishing, and keeping up with, an employer brand.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Adam Fridman, author of the best-selling book, “The Science of Story: Brand is the Reflection of Culture” where he examines the science of employee engagement and what employees need to perform at their best.

The Blake Project Can Help: Please email us for more about our purpose, mission, vision and values and brand culture workshops.

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

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