Hollywood syndrome

I’m usually not one to point fingers or call people out, but to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson in his just-released movie, “Enough is enough. I have had it with these *!&%@# pretenders on the *!&%@# subject of employer brands.” (By the way it takes quite a bit of work to create just the right combination of symbols to express profanity. One percentage sign too many and it starts to look like an accounting footnote.)

Here’s an excerpt from something I received recently. I’m not going to bother to mention the organization, because it only rewards the superficial thought that the content was given.

“A revolution in employer branding is gaining momentum as companies realize that job candidates could care less about what has been thought of as their employer brand. Most employer brands try to sell candidates a bill of goods built upon ideals that the company doesn’t really live up to. The result? Dissatisfied employees, turnover and a struggling bottom line.

The term ‘brand’ refers to the sum total of what your customers, your employees, and potential job candidates think, feel, and say about your company. In order to really understand the next wave of employer branding, you must understand that a job candidate expects you to live up to how your company defines itself as a preferred employer – as well as the brand that your employees project every day when they conduct business as your representatives. Credible brands aren’t formed by ad agencies or by social networking tools: they are created by what your people do.”

Irritant #1. Don’t interchange employer branding and employer brand. If you don’t know the difference between the two, read some of my earlier entries.

Irritant #2. Some organizations may use their ads to “sell candidates a bill of goods built upon ideals that the company doesn’t really live up to,” but by its very nature, a formally developed employer brand cannot. Again, if you don’t understand that, please refrain from disseminating your thoughts on the subject.

Irritant #3. “Credible brands aren’t formed by ad agencies or by social networking tools: they are created by what your people do.” Wrong again. Culture is created by what all people in the organization do collectively. Brand is a marketing construct.

Arrrrgghhh! (Note that I have added an extra r or two to emphasize the level of my aggravation.)

Maybe if I hadn’t spent the majority of my career in the employer brand space, I wouldn’t be so worked up. Unfortunately, what I see happening is that with the maturity of the employer brand concept, more and more companies are proclaiming subject-matter expertise with little or no understanding of what they are talking about, simply to exploit a market need. I suppose being bothered by this makes me na?ve, but I still don’t have to like it.

Mr. Jackson, I have an idea for your next movie. Working title: Buffoons on a Bandwagon.

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Random rave
We may not be a totally inclusive society, but we are now an inclusive solar system. Three new planets have been added to our system: Ceres, Charon, and Xena. What a boost of self-esteem. One day you’re an unclassified hunk of rock, the next day you’re a planet.

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Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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