A brand strategy is, in essence, the blueprint for how you want to build, shape, and share your brand. It’s a cohesive set of guidelines that allow you to make clear and coordinated decisions. Whether you’re a small startup or a legacy brand that’s been around for a century, a strong brand strategy is the only way to ensure health and growth – and keep your team on board for longer.
Brand strategy has commonly been used to support external activity such as growing market share, winning over competitors, and moving into new markets. But more recently, it has become apparent that it is an important factor in attracting, and retaining a great team of employees.
A good quality brand strategy helps you to articulate your core identity (aka your purpose, values, personality, guiding principles, and positioning statement). In today’s job market, understanding your brand’s beliefs, building an organisation that reflects them, and telling your brand story effectively is crucial to attract and retain the people that will form your team.
The stats tell a sobering picture for any business that has ignored the importance of branding:
According to Energage, more than 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before they submit a CV.
According to McKinsey research, 70% of employees said that their sense of purpose is defined by their work.
Enter Employer Branding
Employer branding is the practice of building your brand from the inside out. Showing potential employees who the business is, what it stands for, and what you can offer them. By shining a light on your brand’s DNA, through your culture and content, employer branding helps you turn your brand into a beacon. People who believe in your brand’s vision (and want to contribute to it) will be able to evaluate you as a potential employer by the way you communicate and act.
Just like building a relationship with a consumer, to attract and retain the best employees, you need to foster a culture where everyone is bonded and driven by the same guiding principles. In a healthy company, those guiding principles influence everything from how you conduct team meetings to how you reward great work. If you know what you’re working towards—and why—it is easier to cultivate a happier, healthier work environment.
Why does Employer Branding matter for your team?
The job market has changed drastically over the last decade. Now, brands have more competition than ever, and employees have higher expectations. Brands that want to find and keep the best and brightest need to be aware of the major trends that are affecting hiring, and act accordingly.
Trend 1: Employees want more than money
Today, people want to align themselves with brands they believe in, to do meaningful work that’s worth their time and commitment. Beyond the standard benefits, things like culture, community, purpose, personal development, and growth are all deciding factors. If your brand hasn’t invested in these areas, you’ll find it much harder to entice people to work for you. Having a culture that is authentic and lived by, is crucial to building trust with team members and retaining them.
Trend 2: How you treat your team matters—to everyone
It used to be that a brand’s focus was just it’s customers but now a brand is communicating with a larger ecosystem, including employees, potential employees, customers, suppliers, and wider stakeholders. How a brand behaves in any of those spheres will affect their reputation in all of them.
You may have a 5-star customer rating, but if you notoriously mistreat your employees, people won’t want to support you.
Trend 3: Jobs are easier to find—and leave.
No matter the industry, social media has made it much easier for job seekers to find their employment match. Through sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, or Facebook, people can cast a wider net and interact more easily with potential employers, giving them more access to opportunities that might have been previously blocked.
I can think of so many examples in traditional industries, where our clients have been consistently approached by potential employees because of how impressed they have been by the way that the culture is articulated through their brand.
Tech has also made it easier to work remotely, removing the geographic barriers that once limited people’s options. That means brands aren’t just competing with local companies for talent; they may be competing on a national or even global scale.
These trends are evidence that recruitment has changed significantly and demonstrate the importance of brand strategy from a cultural and internal perspective.
If you want a strong brand, you need to invest in your people. Nurture your employees, create a place where people are proud to work, a culture that they are happy to be a part of and a purpose that they are committed to.
The best brands start with your people. Take care of them, and they’ll help you create the brand you want.
How Outlaw Creative can help your team
We are a collaborative bunch through and through. Our brand strategy framework is designed to build brands from the inside out. We like to involve a broad cross section of team members in our process, to ensure that what we create with you is authentic and has complete buy-in from all stakeholders. This always results in a stronger, clearer brand proposition that is fully aligned with your culture, and is much more distinctive when we take it to market.
We work with businesses in all sectors to build brand strategies and visual identities that are utterly authentic, giving you a decision making framework and brand guidelines that allow you to win.