When it comes to employer branding, it takes a village. Right? In all my time working in employer branding, I was either the sole person running the show, moonlighting as a brander while managing my day job, or working with other branders who were in the same boat or had a super lean team. Yet, we learned how to get it done.
I think the most valuable skill an employer brander can have is scrappy resourcefulness. I didn’t have traditional marketing education or training. I learned it while I pivoted from HR/talent acquisition roles. In fact, many of the branders I know have done the same. I believe it’s the openness to learning, trying, failing, and adjusting that defines success in this role.
I love having these conversations with other branders because I discovered we’re all in this together. On the outside, our brands are looking and sounding awesome. But behind the scenes, we're busting our buns to dig deep, building a bunch of new skills (which you have to since you’re basically functioning as an entire marketing department), and making it happen.
However, the people who were making big impacts with limited funds and resources were the ones who rolled with the punches and made the most of very little.
So, how did we do it?
Build Relationships With The Right People
Listen, as proud as I am to be able to juggle a bunch of different skills, I couldn’t do it all on my own. As a generalist, you can only realistically become an expert for a set amount of skills (if you’re able to become an expert in all of the things, hats off to you).
Also, as a generalist, you only have so much time and mental capacity to do everything that’s required to make your employer brand successful.
By tapping people around me, I:
Learned new skills faster
Enhanced my efforts (especially for ads and design)
Offloaded work so I had more time to strategize
Became more impactful and efficient
Discovered new tactics that accelerated our brand
Who You Should Partner With And Why
I’ve worked with a ton of different people throughout my career, all serving a specific purpose. Although many of the people I’ve worked with usually were in-house colleagues, I’ve also worked with agencies and consultants.
Here are the people I suggest building relationships with:
Demand Generation: I stole a lot of strategies from our in-house marketing teams, including things like integrated marketing campaign strategies. In learning how they did it from a consumer perspective, I took those strategies and tweaked it to work for recruitment marketing. Additionally, the people I connected with on this team had experience in advertising and helped me learn the basics of targeting, bidding, and adjusting ads to work better.
Public Relations: While at my previous employer, we had a lot of exciting news to share, such as new office openings and winning “top employer” awards. By partnering with my PR team, they found opportunities for press releases and features that helped us share this information farther and wider than if we were to have only promoted it on our own channels.
Consultants: If you’re building your employer brand, it’s your baby. Let’s be real, you’re a little too close to it. And because you’re too in the weeds, sometimes you’re unable to see the bigger picture. Partnering with consultants helped make sense of endless data or strategies, provided new perspectives, and pulled me out of the nitty gritty so we could get clearer on things like our EVP, messaging, and brand strategy.
Design: As much fun as I have learning design, I’m not a designer. Sure, I can get some basic things out the door with tools like Canva, but for more robust campaigns, events, or website rebranding, I needed our designers for help. The most valuable thing they offered (aside from the actual beautiful designs) was their ability to ideate beyond the scope I initially pitched to them. Because of this, they opened up so many new options and enhanced my original ideas into something awesome. They helped us pull more aspects of our visual brand together into a cohesive strategy.
Social Media: Work with your internal social media teams to cross-promote on different channels. People who follow your corporate social media sites are already an engaged audience who appreciates your brand. Who’s to say they wouldn’t be potential candidates down the line? Occasionally promoting your jobs or exciting job-related news could be beneficial on those channels. Likewise, corporate-based news such as new features or industry awards could gain more credibility or interest for those following your career-focused social media channels. Stay connected and partner where you can.
Third-Party Vendors: With my budget, I invested in different third-party job boards like LinkedIn, The Muse, and Built In. I was lucky to have had great account managers who I could truly partner with. Not only were they always sharing tips or suggestions on how to make the most of their platforms, but I also worked with their teams to learn how to create better ad campaigns or sponsored editorial content features through their sites. This helped us expand our reach and conversions than if I were to do it on my own.
Finance: Sometimes, managing budgets can be a lot more intense than we all would like. In my previous roles, I was provided a chunk of money and given the freedom to do whatever I wanted with it. By regularly meeting with my finance team, we created a spreadsheet to track my spend (so I made sure I wasn’t overspending) and used it as a resource to see what investments were paying off and what we needed to reallocate. If financial planning makes your eyes cross, definitely partner with them to keep you on track.
Tools To Leverage
Even in partnering with others, you still have a lot of flexibility to do things on your own. Maybe you used them for general training and now you want to take those ideas and run with it. Maybe you have a quick campaign you need to get up and don’t have the time to partner too deeply with them. Or perhaps you just want these tools to do your day-to-day job.
Whatever your deal is, these are the tools I love using and have helped make my job a million times easier.
Download the resource list here.
Join our community for tips, news, and resources.