Einstein once said that “creativity is intelligence having fun.” Obviously, he was talking about lateral thinking in scientific discovery. But had he been an adman maybe he would have said: “Creativity is insight having fun.”
While we may not be unravelling the mysteries of the universe, in employer branding we are faced with comprehending a different kind of baffling puzzle: the deep complexities, habits and eccentricities of the human mind.
And why must we trouble ourselves with this slippery topic? Because convincing the human mind to do something, watch something or buy something (including a job) is the name of the ad game, and it’s just the same in employer branding. A ‘click’ means a data point. A ‘watch’ contributes to a KPI. A ‘purchase’ makes for a happy client.
Intimidatingly, the attentions of the human mind are in unprecedented demand these days. So much so, it can feel like we’re shouting our messages into a void, with deafening background noise, to people that don’t want to listen.
So, how do we stand a chance of being heard?
Tipping the odds in our favor
In the broadest terms, there are three things we can do to improve your chances of getting the right people to notice your employer brand communications, and act.
- First, say something true, distinct and relevant to your audience - that’s insight.
- Second, say it in a way that their grabs attention - that’s creativity.
- Third, put the ads in front of the right people at the right time - that’s media.
None can work without the others. Each needs a deep understanding of the audience we’re trying to reach. And the creative and employer branding experts at Symphony Talent can help you implement all three of them in employer brand strategy:
1) Saying the right thing (Insight)
Figuring out what an organization should say about itself through its employer brand is more complicated than it sounds.
It’s all very well knowing the brand’s key benefits, but it’s a whole other thing making them relevant to the people that we need to spend time listening to and acting upon them.
Research is the only place to start. The strategy or planning team will get to know your target audience better than they know themselves. What do they think about the brand? How is the brand part of their lives? If it isn’t, why isn’t it? Love? Hate? Indifference? They’ll find out.
Stereotyping doesn’t work. They’ll dig into the truth with desk research, social media scrapes, big data analysis, focus groups, interviews, and anything else they can think of. A nugget of audience insight could be hiding anywhere, and finding it is the key to getting your audience to listen to your message.
Now for the tricky bit: working all that insight into a Creative Brief and single-minded proposition to focus and inspire the creative team. It should articulate the audience insight in the context of your brand, making sure to avoid anything your competitors are saying.
This is, arguably, the most pivotal part of the whole process. Why? Because if we’re shouting something your audience doesn’t care about into the void, we might as well not be shouting at all.
2) Saying the right thing, in the right way (Creativity)
Next, the creative team steps in. Armed with the freedom of a tight verbal and written brief, they can channel their weird and wonderful minds into the depths of the proposition. When the employer value or talent proposition is single-minded, they know exactly what they need to say with their ideas, and can spend their allocated time thinking about unexpected and interesting ways to say it.
Of course, the proposition isn’t the only thing. The creative team needs to come up with ideas that are right for your employer brand, and only your employer brand. They need to understand what your brand is all about. How does it look? How does it sound? What makes it tick? These questions should be answered by your brand guideline. If they’re not, we need a better one.
As with all creative endeavors, the more time the team have to think about the brief, the better their ideas will be. ‘First ideas’ are notoriously obvious, and therefore bad, so give them time to discard those and get to fourth, fifth and sixth ideas. That’s where the stuff that gets noticed and talked about is.
So, now we’re shouting the right thing in an attention grabbing way into the void, how can we shrink this vast void altogether?
3) Saying the right thing, in the right way, in the right place (Media)
The best insight and creative in the world won’t matter a jot if your target audience never gets a chance to see it. That’s where the media team comes in.
They’ll dig into the audience research again, but, this time, ask different questions. Where does your audience spend their time? Who do they talk to? What do they read? What do they watch? They’ll get to know the behaviors of your target audience as well as they know their own.
Using this information and their long-acquired knowledge of media platforms, they’ll develop a plan that will put the right creative executions, in front of the right people, at the right time. And with programmatic media and retargeting in their toolbox, their plan will constantly optimise from day one of campaign, onwards.
We’ve done all we can. We’ve got insight, disruptive creative and a smart media strategy. And we’ve, hopefully, validated and refined the work with your target audiences along the way.
While there’s never a guarantee that your employer branding message will be heard in the crowded and noisy void, there are so many thoughtful, creative and technology-enabled ways to tip the odds in our favor.