Ads, commercials, billboards, radio spots, events, direct mail, web sites, banners, transit posters, and even bumper stickers all have two things in common. One, they are various forms of media. Two, they have to be deliberately created, and therefore lack spontaneity and the believability that accompanies that trait. In effect, these media and their corresponding content represent manufactured messaging.
Person to person communication can certainly be as planned and contrived as any of the outlets listed above, but has the potential to be natural, and therefore in some respects, more insightful. At its best, this form of communication is organic, occurring out of compelling need (either need to tell or need to hear).
So, who cares?
Anyone trying to convey an employer brand should.
Because the majority of active and latent candidates in the employment market form their opinions about an employer based on personal interaction with brand representatives and the brand experience.
It means that your manufactured messaging (for those with short memories, see paragraph one) is going to have limited impact.
Can anyone stop me from this assault of serial questioning?
The following diagram shows how organic messaging reaches candidates. Sometimes the content and/or experience will be direct, but often it is filtered through social and professional networks. In all cases, however, it offers a higher degree of perceived transparency than manufactured messaging, and therefore, a higher potential to be trusted.
Embracing organic messaging as a fundamental part of your employer brand building strategy will enable you to achieve your goals in a more effective manner. It also puts the concept of re-recruiting at the forefront, which in turn, gives me yet another mildly intriguing topic to write about in the future.