It's toasted? 🚬 EBH
Don Draper lied to us
If you’re half the Mad Men fan I am, you know the “it’s toasted” scene. It’s the pilot episode, and Don Draper has spent the entire episode talking to waiters and researchers and lounging post-coitally while fretting about what he’s going to sell Lucky Strike.
And then, in a “struck by lightning” kind of moment, it occurs to Don: We can say anything we want.
And thus, “it’s toasted” was born.
But a lot more than a tagline was created that day. In many ways, that episode taught a generation of employer branders a horrible message. It taught us that saying something pleasantly positive without any connection to the product, to the audience, or as a means of differentiating from the competition was good enough.
It taught us how to be employer blanders.
If we look back at the episode, we see that the tagline only made sense because all the companies were exactly the same, selling the same product for the same price. They were all under a shared set of constraints around what they couldn’t say.
In that case, “it’s toasted” works, but if we’re honest, it works more as a way to bill the client for creative than as an actual brand strategy.
And sadly, most buyers of employer brand strategy rely on us to tell them what a good brand is. And many of us just point to the lesson of “it’s toasted.”
Look, our job is NOT to make our company sound fun. Or positive. Or a delightful place to work. Our job is to create differentiation so that people can choose our company over others.
“It’s toasted” has made it okay for a generation of branders to take the easy road: telling companies to pick up the pom pomps to cheer about how great they are rather than doing the hard work of defining and explaining the difference.
Remember: Employer blanding is just saying nice things to avoid saying anything at all.
And you’re better than that, no matter what Don Draper taught us.
🧮 The worst job postings of the year »
🧮 The absurd language of job postings »
🧮 There isn’t “one type” of Gen Zer (personas) »
🧮 What does Korn Ferry see for 2024? AI! (but not so much with the EB or DEI) »
🧮 Get serious about your metaphors and analogies »
🌐 Localizing a global brand »
🙄 Ugh. HBR’s advice on how to build company values that resonate includes “alliteration” and “keep them brief.” I guess, “Show how they lead to specific behaviors” was too much to ask… »
🧮 “Beyond the business case for DEI”???? »
🧮 When should you implement social recruiting strategies? How’s yesterday? Does last week work for you? Or last year? »
🧮 Brand strategy and the quest for meaning »
📺 Employer Brand Breakdown: JetBlue »
"[This class] opened my eyes to a world of possibilities, and I'm eager to collaborate with my team and craft our unique strategy."
And it’s free.
I know your company is in the process of finalizing budgets for next year.
But before you assume employer branding is expensive and hard to justify to leadership, let’s talk about the outcomes you care about most, and how I can help you hit the targets your leaders expect.
The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence -
it’s acting with yesterday’s logic. - Peter Drucker
105 free (or almost free) ways to activate your brand »
Employer Brand Breakdown series »
Biotech Recruiting limited run email course »
Proof employer brand works »
Biotech Recruiting Chat series »
Employer Brand minute series »
The Brand Plan podcast »
The Talent Cast podcast »
On-demand video courses »
***This Newsletter Contains No ChatGPT***