Employer Branding

What Company Do You Want to Be?

Before you examine your employer branding strategy, it’s a question worth considering—especially in an environment of ever greater scrutiny.

Source: skynesher / E+ / Getty Images Plus

The fact is you already have a brand. Your identity is known to customers, employees, would-be employees, and people in the community, whether locally, nationally or globally. Face it, thanks to social media and review sites, your brand has been shouted from the virtual rooftops. Likewise, any misstep has been scrutinized, often beyond the point of reason.

So, will rebranding or brand enhancement efforts work?

Altering Image

Several top companies have managed to rebuild their reputations after widely publicized problems. United Airlines is a recent example. When a CEO takes responsibility and becomes involved in addressing the issue or issues, and publicly commits to improvement, it makes a difference.

Yet, a widely publicized incident, like a passenger being forcibly removed from a plane, is sometimes easier to address than the myriad day-to-day issues that keep companies lingering in the land of mediocrity.

Shoring up your brand, moving beyond mediocrity, takes scrutiny. It also takes work.

Know Thyself

A company, regardless of size, has to first understand its mission. This isn’t just about selling widgets – it’s about why your company sells widgets. What impact do the widgets your company sells have on the world? OK, maybe that’s a bit over the top. But how do the widgets your company sells impact the people who use the products?

Take Nike as an example. At its corporate website, in the About Nike section, the company includes its mission statement: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world *If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Notice the statement doesn’t say anything about running shoes or clothing.

How would you define your mission? Are you articulating that mission to job seekers and employees?

What about your company’s vision? Nike includes this information at its website as well. Under the heading Company Profile, it reads: “Nike, Inc. fosters a culture of invention. We create products, services and experiences for today’s athlete while solving problems for the next generation.”

Under the heading Executives, Nike shares more about the company’s vision: “The brightest leaders create opportunity and inspire others to do their best work. Learn more about Nike, Inc.’s leadership team.”

Additionally, Nike shares its values. Under the heading Community Impact, it reads: “Nike, Inc. is committed to building deeper community connections and spurring positive social change around the world.” And under the heading Sustainable Innovation, it reads: “Sustainable innovation is a catalyst for revolutionizing the way we do business and an opportunity that’s been integrated across our business in policies, processes and products. We are innovating solutions that benefit athletes, the company and the world.”

Along with images, and the opportunity to Learn More for each category, that’s all that’s on the page. When you get it right, less truly is more.

Aim for Alignment

But articulating your brand and aspiring to live up to that brand are two different things. How do you align the two?

You must first decide what company you want to be – while considering everything this implies. Once you have your answers, you can establish parameters. Then you’ll know where to focus to make improvements.

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.