Employer Branding: What to Look for in a Partner
Cultivating a comprehensive employer branding program from the ground up or refreshing an outdated employer brand can be quite an undertaking. And while going through the process of assessing, crafting and implementing your employer brand can be an invaluable internal exercise, you may find that an external perspective can help immensely. So, how do you know when it’s time to bring in the experts, and how do you find the right partner for you?
When to Engage an Employer Branding Partner
If you’re on the fence about whether to explore working with an employer branding partner, it may help to review some of the most common reasons we’ve seen when companies reach out for help.
Your internal team already has full-time jobs, and employer branding can be a lengthy and time-consuming endeavor. Companies often engage a partner to make sure that nothing slips through the cracks or drags on for indefinite periods of time, which in turn, saves countless hours.
Get Fresh, Objective Perspectives
How objectively can you evaluate your existing employer brand or envision what it realistically can, should, or could be? The right partner will see your organization as you see it yourselves, but also from the perspective of an outsider. This allows them to identify and bridge gaps where necessary.
Yes, you will pay for employer branding services, but the right partner can actually save you time and money, by cutting out the back-and-forth, artfully navigating internal politics, and taking extra work off of your team’s plate.
Get Better/Faster Results
The right employer branding partner will deliver a powerful blend of strategic alignment and objectivity, not to mention creative and implementation guidance. Engaging the right branding partner can yield rapid, tangible results – without all the trial and error of a do-it-yourself approach.
What to Look for in an Employer Branding Partner
Employer branding is a specific niche, so make sure you find a partner who knows their stuff. Full disclosure – this is a significant area of expertise at Relish. But regardless of who you’re considering, here are some qualities to look for:
A Full-Scale Approach
You’ll want to find a team with the vision, creativity and strategy to take your program to the next level. Seek out experts who deliver a full-scale approach from brand definition all the way through implementation and evaluation.
Verify that your employer branding partner can demonstrate excellence in:
- Strategy. Look for a partner that understands the strategic nature of your employer brand, as well as how to measure it and use those metrics to achieve results over time.
- Branding. An engaging team with strong leadership experience in the employer branding space is essential. Even better if they have consumer branding experience, as the two should be cohesive.
- Research. Gathering honest, constructive feedback about the current state of your employer brand from your internal and external audiences is an essential piece of the larger puzzle. Working with experts who have the resources to obtain unbiased feedback and turn that data into actionable advice will help you get it right the first time.
- Creative and Design. Hiring a partner with a talented, in-house design team will ensure project and messaging cohesion. Working with a one-stop-shop agency will also save time and headaches – no need to coordinate with multiple vendors when all the experts are in one place!
- Messaging and Content. Developing cohesive, engaging content that is on brand and strikes the right note can be a real challenge. Experienced writers will ensure message consistency – and make your own life easier, as well. This will come naturally to the partner who’s already spent the time understanding your goals and business and helped you develop your strategy.
- Digital. The digital ecosystem is as vast as it is complex. Look for partners with web, SEM, SEO, social media, marketing automation and blogging expertise to be sure that you develop the strongest, most effective digital presence possible.
- Implementation. Developing your employer brand is a big job, but the work doesn’t stop there. To cultivate that brand and infuse it throughout your corporate culture, you need a successful implementation program – one that the right partner will be prepared to help you navigate.
Honesty and Integrity
Seek out a partner who will be truly objective, and will identify your strengths and opportunities – even if it’s not always what you want to hear. We all have employer branding blind spots, so finding a partner who is not just willing to point them out, but also offer tangible advice for improvement is essential.
If you find yourself talking to an expert who tells you nothing but complimentary things about your current employer brand and strategy, you may want to keep looking. You know there are things you can do better, and you need a partner who can level with you.
A Proven Track Record
Engage employer branding experts with something to show for their work – client references, compelling case studies, thought leadership, industry awards and recognition are all good ways to vet your prospects.
Employer Branding Partner Checklist
As you begin evaluating prospective employer brand partners, use this checklist to make sure you find an expert that can help you accomplish your goals. And don’t be shy about putting your prospects through their paces. Any qualified expert should be able to answer your questions and address concerns that your employer brand may need to address.
☐ A solid track record of similar employer branding projects
☐ Client references
☐ Client case studies
☐ Industry recognition
☐ Thought leadership in employer branding
☐ Established industry presence, well-connected across the space
Expertise and Full-Scale Approach
☐ Employer branding, consumer branding and alignment
☐ Strategy including research, analysis, insights and action plan
☐ Creative and design combining deep creativity with the discipline of brand adherence
☐ Content creation including career sites, social posts and blogs
☐ Digital including web, organic search, paid SEO, marketing automation and social media
☐ Video development implementation planning and launch guidance
☐ Program analysis, evaluation and recommendation
☐ Resource management and utilization to ensure timely ROI
☐ Clear, regular and accurate communications
☐ Realistic deliverables
☐ Honest assessment and input
☐ Adherence to timelines and scheduling
☐ Defined SOWs/estimates and on budget delivery
You know your business better than anyone else. But you don’t have to pursue your employer brand strategy and communication plan alone. The right partner can make a difference in your efforts – and your results.
At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
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