A couple of months ago I decided to sell my car. Each weekend, I parked it at the end of my driveway so that everyone driving by could see that I had written “for sale” on the windshield in big white letters (New Times Roman, 120 point, in case you’re wondering). After a few weeks went by and no one inquired, I decided I needed to try something different. So I bought some of those red “for sale” signs that you can buy in the hardware store. (I also bought a portable generator after I accidentally severed the power line to our house while planting a dogwood tree. Who knew they were serious when they labeled the cable “do not cut?”) I had the car detailed, put two of the new signs in my car, and one large sign at the end of my driveway, where I again parked every weekend. I still didn’t get a single inquiry.
Maybe I should have realized I needed to use a different advertising strategy, especially since I live on a cul-de-sac with just four other houses on the street. But what do I know? I’m just a brand consultant, not a car salesman.
As ridiculous as this sounds, it’s really an allegory for what so many organizations are repeating in the employer brand arena. Companies typically attract candidates using a combination of job postings, their career site, referral programs, and the occasional classified ad. At some point the company determines that a change in perception needs to take place in order to more effectively attract talent.
So they undergo an extensive employer brand development project, arrive at the new positioning platform and go to market. How do they go to market, you might ask? (No really, go ahead and ask.) Through the exact same channels they did before they developed their brand strategy: using a combination of job postings, their career site, referral programs, and the occasional classified ad.
If a brand is a mechanism for affecting perceptions, then the message channels need to be conducive to achieving that objective. What channels reach a broad audience – people who are not considering your organization? What channels more effectively impart emotional context – the underpinning of all brands? What channels align with your brand, thereby reinforcing the attributes simply through association?
The lesson? It’s not just what you’re messaging, it’s also how you’re conveying the message.
So, anyone want to buy a 2002 Chevy Impala?