Where would we be without formulas? We all need them in order to make some of the most important decisions in our lives. For example, buy one gallon of paint for every 300 to 400 square feet you have to cover (more if you’re painting over a dark color). Or never eat shellfish in a month that has an “r” in it. Or is it in any month that doesn’t have an “r” in it? Hell, just stay away from shellfish.
But what about a formula for how long it takes to develop an employer brand? (I’ll bet you’re interested now.)
Here it is: Time to Brand Resonance = (Ubiquity x Breakthrough)/Market Dispersion.
Let’s take a minute to define each of these terms (just because it’s so much fun).
By Brand Resonance, I’m referring to the market not only having awareness of your organization as an employer, but a positive disposition shaped largely by the positioning strategy you have constructed.
Ubiquity simply refers to the degree of message presence, whether that message is manufactured (advertising and communications), or organic (networking, word-of-mouth). The ideal state being a constant presence everywhere imaginable (think news about Britney Spears).
By Breakthrough, I’m addressing the ability of the brand message to stand out against all background noise. Given that most messaging in the employment space tends to blend, this shouldn’t be hard to achieve. Yet surprisingly, it is. See my previous diatribe about camouflaging your message.
Let’s talk about the relationship between Ubiquity and Breakthrough. Having your message everywhere can certainly overcome a lack of Breakthrough. However, that’s a very expensive proposition. Breakthrough can also overcome lack of Ubiquity. And it doesn’t increase expense – but it does require organizational confidence. Lack of Ubiquity can be offset by Breakthrough and vice versa, but Brand Resonance cannot be achieved without one of these characteristics.
As for Market Dispersion, this refers to whether you are targeting a few people in a lot of places or thousands of people in one place. Therefore, geographically decentralized companies have a higher Market Dispersion factor than companies with a single location. Market Dispersion is also exacerbated by market segmentation (job category, generation, etc.). So at one end of the spectrum would be one job category in one region. At the other would be dozens of job categories in hundreds of markets.
So what is it that we learn from this new, magical formula? Concentrate your brand efforts in markets with limited dispersion and make sure you either have breakthrough or really deep pockets.