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Talent Brand
5 min

An introduction to what every marketer should know about talent marketing

by Jen Frost April 12, 2018

I’ve heard many marketing folks talk, over the years, about how they desperately want to have a seat at the table. Having a seat at the leadership table would give many marketers insights into the decisions being made at the most senior levels of the organization and could provide an opportunity to help shape the strategic direction of the company. Too often, marketers are pigeonholed into a role focused on execution.

Ironically, it may be the need to compete in a tight talent market — a typically non-marketing focused discipline — that could catapult marketing into the strategic seat many have hoped to fill for years.  There are two major challenges facing companies today as it relates to talent: 1.) Finding and hiring top talent and, 2.) Keeping and growing those talented employees.

As evidence, and as noted in Deloitte’s Human Capital 2017 report, “Today 61% of CEOs tell us they do not believe they are recruiting fast enough or well enough, and the process has become enormously complex.”

Unfortunately, once talent joins an organization, their tenure might be as short as a single year because, “in the US alone more than 20% of the workforce changes jobs every year,” and Deloitte’s research shows, “that companies spend $1,400, to tens of thousands of dollars each time they hire a new person.”

Consider every skill and piece of strategic thinking collected over years of building your firm’s brand. This concept can be re-applied to the challenge of finding and keeping critically important talent. The short story: there is an inherent similarity between client/prospect marketing and talent acquisition marketing.

What Every Marketer Should Know About Talent Brand

First, recognize that there are a few distinctions to be aware of as noted by Indeed:

  • An employer brand is all about storytelling. It encompasses how you want your organization to be perceived and the specific messaging you use when sharing information about your company.
  • Your talent brand is the honest story of life as an employee inside your organization, as told by the employees in parallel with the company.

As a marketer, you control the message delivered within the employer brand. The activities involved in crafting this story will sound familiar:

  • Comparator review and analysis
  • Stakeholder, recruit and employee interviews
  • Persona creation
  • SWOT analysis
  • Identification of authentic value proposition & messaging strategy
  • Employer-brand focused campaign (likely to be updated every 1-3 years)
  • Career site and content development

As it relates to the talent brand, it is all about creating the culture and environment that inspires employees to share their authentic experience working at your organization with their network. This may mean your organization must determine which channels your “audience” is on and develop a presence there. Marketers who oversee these efforts, will likely:

  • Monitor social media and take advantage of positive mentions
  • Look for opportunities to use PR to highlight culture, office space, community involvement and skills of your team
  • Incentivize the sharing of content and job-related information
  • Create a strategy for addressing negative employee comments on sites like Vault or Glassdoor
  • Create social media-focused talent-related channels

Understanding the challenge to find and keep talent, over the last few years marketing groups within B2B organizations like AON and GE, have started to partner with key functions including the Executive Suite and Talent/HR to apply marketing and brand-building expertise to talent acquisition and retention. In fact, some organizations have applied marketing-type metrics to their Talent function. For instance, according to LinkedIn, organizations are setting goals and measuring things like:

  • Increase offer acceptance rate by X%
  • Reduce attrition by X%
  • Improve employee survey ratings by X%
  • Increase baseline familiarity with your talent brand in external surveys by X%
  • Double the number of employees with an optimized social presence
  • Increase Talent Brand Index score by X% relative to key talent competitors or for high-priority functions/ regions

According to LinkedIn, “It’s clear that talent brand is only going to become more critical. And it’s critical that CMOs and the marketing team get involved in amplifying their strong talent brand in the marketplace.”

Jen Frost
Managing Director, Marketing

Jen Frost is Managing Director of Marketing at One North. She works closely with the Digital Strategy, Experience Design and Technology teams to develop and enhance One North client communication and exterior messaging strategy. In addition, she provides general marketing direction for One North and promotes internal culture.

Favorite season: Fall is my favorite season. Probably because I used to live in Massachusetts, and it is just beautiful there in the Autumn.

Favorite Chicago spot: The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool hidden in the middle of Lincoln Park.