What Marketers Need to Know About Employer Branding

What Marketers Need to Know About Employer Branding

What’s going on in Employer Branding

What’s employer branding?

Employer branding is defined in two parts —

1) what is the perception that job seekers have about your company as a place to work, and

2) what is it actually like to work at your company.

Why does it matter?

Today, the average candidate spends about 2 hours researching a company before applying for a job.  Job seekers are taking the same consumer behavior we all exhibit before making a purchasing decision and applying it to their job search.  This is further enhanced by a robust economy (4.9% unemployment last time we checked), particularly in ultra-competitive geographies and sectors.

A few stats

Did you know that the number one reason people don’t apply for jobs is they simply don’t know what it’s like to work at the company?  Most companies have generic job descriptions and career pages with very little on them.

84% of candidates would leave their job if offered one from a company with a stellar reputation.  69% of job seekers wouldn’t take a job at a company with a poor reputation, even if they were unemployed.  A strong employer brand can lead to a 50% decrease in cost/hire, and a 28% increase in retention!

Clearly, employer branding is important for the success of the company overall.

Ok, but that’s not MY job

When it comes to employer branding, most marketers think “well, I get it’s important, but it’s not my job.”  We totally get that.  You’re busy driving MQLs, new business, and thinking through your own budget, team, strategy, etc.  Who has time for another priority where many of the KPIs are tied to recruiting anyways? 

Why Marketers Need to Care About Employer Branding

Your job is to grow revenues, right?

One of the main priorities of marketing is directly aligned with the company’s strategy, in particular driving new business.  In our opinions, your comp should be driven in large part by the overall growth of the company, not just how much is directly related to marketing efforts.  Regardless of your specific KPIs, your basic job is to grow revenues.

For many companies, the bottleneck to growing revenues is talented people: to build the product, support customers, find new business, etc.  In order to grow the business, you need more great people, and in order to get more great people, you need to invest in talent branding.

So, in many ways, your job encompasses building the talent brand in addition to marketing the corporate brand.

CloudLock Image-1
Applicants soared after just a few months of initiating talent branding efforts at CloudLock, a cyber security software company acquired by Cisco in 2016 for $293 mm).

The Corporate and Employer Brand, Closely Aligned

For a B2C company, many of the people who you’ll be engaging with on the talent side are also your customers.  Virgin saved a few million dollars when they realized the connection between their talent brand and customers.

For B2B companies, your people are the core of your product.  This is especially true for consulting and finance businesses when sometimes quite literally your product is people.  And, it’s also true for companies where the engineers, customer success, and account executives dictate much of the value a customer will get out of a product.

Why are you hiding your culture behind a generic 60 second “careers video”?  Why aren’t you letting employee voices shine through, and amplify through social media? Aren’t you aware that this is all reflecting on your corporate brand, too? 

This is a chance to be more strategic

We all want to climb to the next level in our careers.  Getting involved in your company’s strategic initiatives is the way to get to that next level.  And, in most companies, there is nothing more strategic than getting the right people in the door.  Going above and beyond to execute an initiative that shows results is a surefire way to build your personal brand and career.

New CMO vs Old CMO version

Great opportunities to get exposure

If you’re tracking metrics around share of voice, PR, speaking opportunities, then this is a great opportunity to make progress.  As a direct result of talent branding efforts, CloudLock received mentions in Tier 1 publications in addition to speaking engagements mega-conferences like LinkedIn Talent Connect.

Glassdoor was another huge driver of exposure with monthly page views going from <1,000 to nearly 20,000 after winning an award as the best place to work.


Did we mention you’re one of the few people in the organization who can help?

The vast majority of HR professionals aren’t trained in marketing.  They don’t have a firm grasp on SEO, how to create interesting content, and don’t intuitively get the ROI driven from increased conversions.

Marketing knows SEO like the back of their hand, how to engage on social, why good landing pages are important, what a nurture campaign is, and so much more!  It’s time you get involved in helping your colleagues across the hall.

CloudLock Talent Funnel

This is a chance to be creative and learn

Building a talent brand is an opportunity to use new tools, think about a new customer, and generally learn.  You have creative people on your team who want to flex their muscles, let them go wild in what is probably a blue ocean scenario where you get to start from scratch in many ways.

By helping out the talent team you can make a stronger case for hiring people who fulfill multiple roles, e.g. team members focused on the website, branding, social and advertising. Maybe your organization isn’t big enough to have those resources in each team but by combining you can actually get more stuff done!

What you can do to build your employer brand 

Careers page

The careers page is the number one place that candidates research your company.  Take a look at what your page looks like now.  If this was a product landing page, what would you change?

Chances are, your company doesn’t have individual microsites for your key roles and offices.  That’s a good place to start.  Obviously, you want to make sure there are clear CTAs to either apply or opt into nurture campaigns.  And, you want to be able to easily share analytics with your talent team.

CloudLock Image 4 Source: TalentBoard.org
Source: TalentBoard.org

Social media

One of the easiest ways to get started is to start promoting career related content in your existing social feeds.  You can track impressions, clicks, and applies (via your company’s ATS) to get a sense for your ROI and what’s working. Check out what NPR did with #NPRLife. 

Review sites

There are a plethora of review sites out there, and each can be a reputational risk for your business.  It’s important to get your HR team to proactively ask tenured employees to leave reviews so that this narrative isn’t controlled by ex-employees with an axe to grind.


Content underpins much of what we’ve discussed above – especially when it comes to social campaigns and your careers site.  This content should be all about your “product” – which in this case is the people who make up your organization.

Go wild with employee authored videos, pictures (ditch the stock photos), and stories that illuminate life at the company for specific roles, offices, affinity groups, etc.

CloudLock’s first video

Last pieces of advice

There is a huge opportunity for marketing to play a role in the talent branding of any organization!  These efforts will certainly pay dividends for the business, as well as your own professional development and career growth.

This is also an excuse to look at marketing in a new way and learn new tools and tactics to improve your company’s employer brand.

Good luck!

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