12 steps to a successful employer brand

Does it make sense at all for a company to build up an employer brand? How should one proceed and what needs to be considered in order to create a successful employer brand? More and more employers are asking themselves these questions. The need for skilled workers is great, but the selection of qualified applicants is decreasing. And that's not all: according to a recent Forsa study commissioned by XING E-Recruiting, four out of ten employees are thinking about changing jobs. At 37 percent, that is already four percent more than in 2021.

Accordingly, there is a great need for employers to take action. Building an effective employer brand is therefore all the more crucial. Here are the 12 most important steps at a glance.

 

Step 1: Employer branding - 8 positive effects
 

Why should a company do employer branding at all?
Isn't it unnecessary? No, definitely not!

These are the 8 most important effects of employer branding on a company - both externally and in terms of internal perception:  

External perception

  • Differentiation from competitors

  • Increasing the quality and quantity of applicants

  • More employee recommendations

  • Increase in employer awareness  


Internal perception

  • Increase employer attractiveness among existing employees

  • Improve employee relations with each other

  • Long-term commitment to the company and retention of knowledge

  • Higher commitment & increase in employee satisfaction


Convinced? Then now it's time to analyse and develop a successful employer brand.
 

Step 2: Corporate brand vs. employer brand
 

The employer brand of a company is just as important as the corporate brand!
The question is, what differentiates the two brands?

  • Target groups: While the corporate brand primarily addresses customers and consumers, the employer brand is aimed at employees*.

  • Messages: The messages of the employer brand must function autonomously, but still be an integrated part of the corporate brand.

  • Focus: While the corporate brand focuses on addressing a target group, the employer brand has to be broader and address potential employees from different sectors.


This means that even if the corporate brand and the employer brand are different, they should function together and benefit from each other.
 

Step 3: The perfect agency briefing - what needs to be included?
 

In order to build a successful employer brand in the next step, every company asks itself the question: do we have the necessary expertise in-house or do we need a specialised employer branding agency?   

Do you want to rely on the expertise of an agency?   

Then here are 9 tips for the perfect agency briefing:

  1. Describe the initial situation: Describe the company as well as problems and current challenges.  

  2. Define target group: Who does the company want to reach?  

  3. Message to target group: What does the company stand for?   

  4. Include the competitive situation: Overview of current competitive situation  

  5. Set a timetable: Define timings & deadlines

  6. Indicate budgetary framework  

  7. Describe possible obstacles & risks  

  8. Monitor success by setting clear targets  

  9. Align level of information & release briefing 
     

Step 4: Target group - the key is to address the right target group.
 

Now it's time to get down to business! Or in our case, the target group analysis!

No matter how great a company is as an employer and thus the employer brand, due to the different needs of people, only part of the labour market is served.

Surprise eggs, after all, are mostly bought for children - and that's exactly how it is in employer branding:  

Trainees have different expectations and demands on their employer than professionals. But there are also differences depending on the occupational group: IT people look for different values and benefits than engineers.   

In order to address the most suitable candidates for the company, it is therefore important to know the needs and wishes of your target group.

Therefore, define exactly who you want to address with your employer brand!
 

Step 5: Competitor analysis - what are the competitors doing?
 

In order to strategically build an employer brand, the company's potential competitors are now analysed!

How to do this?

  • Identify competition: Make a list - consider direct & indirect competitors.

  • Put competitors under the microscope: EVP, brand essence, career website, channel selection, recruiting strategy, employee benefits & services, communication strategy (tone of voice, content), relation to corporate brand, brand positioning, job advertisements and many more.

  • Channel results: Layer competitors, contrast salient features, identify own strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and differentiation potential, derive best cases.

  • Create your own strategy!

     

Step 6: Brand analysis - how to do it right!
 

This step is all about the brand! Brand analysis involves taking a close look at two perspectives:  

The internal and the external view of your brand.

  1. The internal perspective shows how the company and its employees perceive the current employer brand. Corporate culture, values, internal communication tools and much more are considered.

  2. The external view, on the other hand, shows the entire employer communication that a potential applicant perceives - i.e. all the content that can be found on your communication tools: career site, social media profiles, appearances at job fairs and so on and so forth....  


The exciting thing?  How far do the internal and external views match? 


Step 7: Strategy development - It's all about positioning!
 

Up to now it was all about analysis, analysis, analysis!  But what happens now with all the results?

Structuring, comparing, linking, combining and deriving the collected information to create a strategic direction for the company!

The big challenge: An overarching strategy is the foundation of any brand building and thus the most important step in the development of an employer brand. It is an elementary, but not easy step!  

The focus is on strategic positioning:

  • What is the EVP (Employer Value Proposition) of the company?

  • How do we optimally position the company as an employer on the market?  


The goal: to meet the needs of the target group and to differentiate ourselves from the competition without losing sight of our own values and the existing corporate culture!  
 

Step 8: EVP - unique selling proposition of a company
 

EVP, the Employer Value Proposition: The unique selling proposition or the value proposition of the employer brand with which a company will distinguish itself in the market!

How is an EVP defined for a company ?

  1. Look at the status quo of the analyses: What currently sets us apart?

  2. Identify the main differentiator: How do we differentiate ourselves from the competition?

  3. Define EVP & Vision: What will be our unique selling point? Where do we want to go as an employer?


The most important thing here: Communicate credibly what makes the employer unique - through an EVP that is clear, individual & authentic!
 

Step 9: From strategy to lead idea  
 

"If your advertising doesn't have a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night."
David Ogilvy, British advertising copywriter, 1911-1999

We now want to package our strategy into an attention-grabbing employer communication!

In order to develop an overarching communication strategy, we need to create a communicative central idea: From the strategic positioning and the developed employer brand, ideas are derived to convey a clear message and a strong employer brand with the help of an overarching central idea.  

Why a central idea?

  • It tells a story, forms a common thread, creates a recognition value and stamps itself in the memory.

  • It arouses emotions and sympathy, thus creating a bond and the desire to be part of it

  • It arouses attention and curiosity, creating interest and commitment

     

Step 10: The claim - strong and creative
 

We now have an overarching central idea that needs to be put on the page. For this we need an employer design and a strong claim.

What for? The claim creatively wraps up the communicative central idea in a central guiding principle, thus supporting the employer brand and making the employer unmistakable.

The claim ...

  • is short, concise and to the point

  • is reliable, authentic and does not contain any platitudes

  • is unique and unmistakable

  • gets to the heart of the employer's EVP and underpins its individual strengths

  • fits the employer, the corporate culture and the values of the company

  • addresses the target group and its needs


The goal: It offers long-term orientation, creates a recognition value, ensures attention and should be firmly anchored in as many people's minds as possible.
 

Step 11: The right channels - planning is everything!
 

With the development of the communicative central idea and the claim, the framework of the employer communication is in place. From this, a graphic creative approach can now be developed!  

The creative approach is ready?
Then it's finally time to start playing out the employer communication!  

What do you need for this?
A detailed concept and thus also the planning of measures:

  • Channel selection based on target group and brand fit

  • Planning the communication mechanics

  • Media planning

  • Creation of the communication measures

 ... and the playout can begin!!!

Attention, important:

  • Think holistically and use all points of the customer journey.

  • Communication that is as integrated as possible leads to success

  • Don't lose sight of your communication goals and corporate identity.  

  • Continuous monitoring of success is worthwhile!

     

Step 12: Taking stock - It doesn't work without employer branding!
 

Apply all the steps once and the employer brand, including communication, is in place!

Easy going, isn't it?
Well, at least partially. There is a lot of analysis, heart and soul behind it! But we promise: It's worth it!

Because without a successful employer brand, nothing works at the moment.  

Why?

The world of work is becoming more and more complex. Economic fluctuations, social change and the lack of skilled workers are increasing the demands on employers and presenting companies with new challenges. The recruitment of specialists and managers, but also the retention of existing employees require new ways of thinking.  

With holistic employer branding you create a ...

  • clear positioning on the employer market  

  • differentiation from the competition  

  • identification for your employees with the company


A successful employer brand inspires potential applicants and employees to make a shared vision a reality!

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