How to Develop an Employer Branding Strategy That Works



Professional coaching organizations like CoachHub define an employer branding project, or employer branding strategy, as a human resources management strategy covering the concepts of reputation, organization, communication, values, and well-being The goal is not to sell candidates on working at your company; it’s to appeal to them based on what they value in their careers and lives—and then help them see how those values align with yours.

Define your mission statement

Before you can develop a brand strategy, you need to define your mission statement. What does your company stand for? What is its purpose? How does it serve customers? This may seem like a straightforward question, but many companies struggle with clearly defining their missions or even knowing whether or not they have one at all.

Your mission should be both broad and specific. A successful mission statement incorporates the company’s values and long-term goals into a concise sentence or paragraph that guides decision-making from top to bottom. For example, “We are committed to providing the best quality service in our industry while continuing to grow our business in order to offer more opportunities for growth and development within our organization” would be an acceptable example of a well-written mission statement because it includes both short-term and long-term goals as well as specific guidelines for how employees should interact with customers.

Know your audience

Before you can develop an employer branding strategy that works, you need to know who your audience is. Your audience could be new graduates or seasoned professionals, or both. It could also include job seekers looking for a career change, unemployed candidates desperate for work, or even people who aren’t actively searching yet but would be interested in hearing about what your company has to offer.

This will affect the way you talk about your company’s benefits and culture—for example: A young graduate may not be as interested in healthcare benefits as an older employee who needs them; someone at a mid-career point may have other priorities than an entry-level worker; someone fresh out of college might not care as much about flexible hours as a working parent does.

Consider these questions when determining what candidates are looking for in their jobs:

  • What motivates them?
  • How do they decide where to work next?
  • Why would they choose one organization over another?

Track the right metrics

As you start to build your employer brand, it’s important to set goals for yourself. Don’t worry about what other people say their goal is, or even what might seem like a good idea. Be ambitious — but stay realistic!

For example, if you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape, don’t make a goal that sounds awesome but is too far out of reach for where you are right now. Instead, set incremental goals: lose 2 pounds per week for the next six weeks; do 10 minutes of exercise every day this week; eat one vegetable at dinner tonight; etc.

Invest in culture

The importance of a company culture is often talked about in terms of recruiting, employee retention and engagement, but its impact extends beyond these functions. It’s also critical for productivity: studies show that employees who feel their values align with the company’s are more engaged at work and more productive than their colleagues.

When you think about it logically, this shouldn’t be surprising: no one wants to work somewhere where they feel like they don’t belong or don’t fit in. A toxic culture can cause people (especially highly talented ones) to leave quickly, which is not only bad for business but also a loss of talent that requires significant time and resources to replace.

Make sure your message resonates with candidates

  • Make sure your message resonates with candidates.

Developing an employer branding strategy is about understanding what makes you and your company the ideal place for top talent to work. It’s also about understanding what makes a candidate choose one company over another—what attracts them, what turns them off, and why they may or may not be interested in working for you.

  • Use data to understand your audience.

Your organization has data on every interaction it has had with customers (and potential customers) over time: website traffic; number of leads generated by social media; email open rates; campaign performance metrics; survey results…the list goes on! Using this information allows you to create personas that reflect how real people are engaging with your brand, which helps inform how you build out an employer branding strategy that speaks directly to those people through messaging that inspires action on their part (i.e., applying for jobs).

Use employee personas to tailor content

If you’re not familiar with employee personas, they’re fictional characters that are created to represent your audience. The purpose of persona creation is to create a more in-depth understanding of how your target audience thinks and feels about employment in general and your company specifically.

Persona creation hinges on the idea that people are emotional creatures, so personas are designed to make them feel something—anything. You want your target audience to either relate or aspire to be like the persona; this will help them connect with your brand’s values and principles on an emotional level.

Once you’ve defined all of these things, you can use them as inspiration for content creation across all channels (social media posts, blog posts, email newsletters etc.). This will allow you keep everything consistent so there isn’t any confusion among potential candidates about what kind of employee would thrive at your organization.

Work with employees to create assets

Employees are your brand ambassadors. They can help you create content, share content, create assets, optimize content and manage your employer branding efforts.

Employees are more than a valuable asset for your organization; they are a critical component of the employer brand strategy. Your employees will be the ones sharing stories about their work experiences on social media or posting photos of themselves at work events that they attend with fellow employees. They’re also some of the first people to interact with potential candidates on behalf of your company when they come across it online or while doing research into industries and companies they’re interested in joining.

Optimize for search

When it comes to employer branding, search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of the process. In fact, SEO is one of the most important things you can do for your company’s brand — especially since so many people use Google to find work!

There are four things you need to know about SEO:

  • Keywords in your job descriptions. Your job postings should be written for specific keywords that are relevant to what you’re looking for in an employee. For example, if you own an auto shop in Austin and want someone with experience working on Ford F-150s, choose words like “Ford” and “F-150” when describing the job opening. By doing this, Google will rank your ad higher than others on its search results page (SERP).
  • Keywords in social media profiles. If potential employees read about how great it is being part of a certain organization on LinkedIn or Twitter and they’re searching those platforms using specific terms related to their field of interest/expertise, they’ll see your company pop up as one of their top results! Many companies have found success by using this technique; some even claim that over 80% of candidates who apply come from browsing social media posts instead of traditional online ads like Monster or CareerBuilder®

Identify key distribution channels

Now that you’ve identified your audience, it’s time to determine where they spend their time. Knowing this will help you decide which distribution channels to focus on when promoting your employer branding strategy.

  • Social media: With a large audience and low barrier to entry, social media is one of the most effective ways of reaching candidates. Employees are also likely to see their posts if they’re on LinkedIn or Twitter; this can be helpful for getting the word out about company culture and benefits.
  • Employee referrals: The employee referral program is one of the best ways for employers to find new hires—particularly in tech industries, where employees often have connections with others who are looking for jobs themselves.
  • Job boards: While job boards might not be as popular as they once were (with many candidates now turning directly from LinkedIn), they still get plenty of traffic from people who aren’t actively searching but happen upon them organically anyway (for instance, by visiting an industry trade association website).

A solid employer branding strategy can help you recruit top talent.

Employer branding is about connecting with potential candidates, building a brand that is recognized and respected by candidates. It’s all about attracting the right people: those who will become happy, loyal employees based on the employer brand promise.

Employer branding is an important part of any company’s strategy because it helps you attract top talent. If your employer brand isn’t working effectively, then you may be missing out on quality applicants—and talented employees are one of the best ways to grow your business!


In the job market today, it’s more important than ever to have a solid employer branding strategy. The best way to attract top talent is by creating an engaging brand that resonates with your audience and aligns with your mission statement. If we’ve learned anything from our decades of experience in this industry, it’s that developing a valuable brand takes time and effort—but if done right, the results will be well worth the investment.

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