Just how important is company branding? It can mean the difference between a successful business and one that's shutting its doors due to bankruptcy.
A powerful brand is a strong advertising tool, and it also makes it easier to attract some of the top talent to a workforce, according to Tom Luers, senior director of corporate human resources at Intelligrated, a company that designs, manufactures, integrates and installs material handling automation solutions.
"Branding your company means showing why the company is exciting," Luers told DC Velocity Magazine. "If you have an innovative company that's growing, the best people will want to hitch their wagon to it."
In particular, one way branding demonstrates its prowess is through social media or a company website. Americans seeking work will often check out a company before sending an application or going in for an interview. That means social media sites such as Facebook, Glassdoor and LinkedIn are more crucial than ever in attracting top talent. Luers said that a site must have some substance in its pages in order to appeal to most prospective workers.
"You can have sexy, glitzy branding, but if it doesn't resonate with the job seeker you want, you'll miss an opportunity," he said. "You have to have a good story to tell about your strategy and products."
Luers said a company should skip posting photos of scenery or models and instead show real employees working real jobs, which can help highlight what your company actually does. You don't want your website to be ambiguous, because that will lead to more questions than answers and fewer people applying for positions with the company.
A strong brand, however, can act like a magnet. According to Forbes, brands are more important in today's society than anytime in the past 100 years. While a certain product has a lifecycle, brands will outlive products. They are so valuable that many companies put the value of their brand on a balance sheet, as they convey uniform, quality and credibility.
Using your brand to find talent
Eric Stewart, group director of recruiting at the Miami-based logistics and transportation firm Ryder, said no matter the power of the brand, a workforce must employ several different ways to effectively communicate with the current crop of job seekers.
That largely means using websites, e-mail, texting and social media to interact and spread a company's message with prospective employees. Stewart said that his company also holds an online career fair that's been successful, though Stewart warns companies of the stereotype that only young, college-educated people are using social media and the other means of online communication.
Stewart said that even older job seekers that aren't usually depicted as being tech-savvy are using smartphones regularly. He added it's important to avoid falling into those stereotypes of generational lines when looking to attract some of the top talent to your work force.
Don't avoid face-to-face conversations
Despite that, Stewart hopes that companies don't go overboard and dehumanize the application process.
"Technology helps us move quickly and manage information, but in the end, a face-to-face conversation is critically important for both sides," Stewart told DC Velocity. "Companies have personalities just like people - and you won't get that from technology. We talk a lot about intangibles like safety, professional development, and respect in our company. Applicants need to hear that coming from a live person."
Stewart added that showing off your brand at career fairs and forming partnerships with technical schools and colleges can help spur those relationships.
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