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The Law of Humanity 👩🦲👩🦰👨🦳🧔♀️ EBH
Where are the people in your brand?
Everything we do creates change.
Everything we want to do creates change.
Selling something is asking someone to change something.
Buying something demands that you change something.
Which means everything we do is change management.
“Here, I made some new job postings for you”
“These are some great videos you can share.”
“Can you post this on your LinkedIn?”
“This is our new brand, so can you use these talking points now?”
It’s all change, so our success is based on our change management skills. You’re asking others to change. Maybe you’re asking the to change their perspective or their process, but you’re asking people to change what they do.
And it turns out, that’s not easy.
Sometimes the most frustrating part of change making is convincing people that there’s even a need for a change in the first place. Despite any evidence you bring, from turnover rates to missed deadlines, they dismiss your concerns with a shrug, or excuse it by saying, “that’s just the way it is” with the implicit message, “and that’s the way it ought to be.” - NOBL
The status quo, no matter how messy, painful, expensive, no matter how bad the results it produces, no matter how much everyone complains about it, has its own built-in defense systems: People hate to change.
Far from admitting it’s a problem, they’ll argue that the organization should function this way, and that individuals should acquiesce—and if some people just can’t “hack it,” well, it’s their fault, not the culture’s. - NOBL
So if you’re stuck, it isn’t that your work is bad. It isn’t that you’re bad, It’s likely that you haven’t given enough thought to what it takes to help others to change.
🧮 How to be a 10X employee. »
🧮 What the voice of the employee says about your company culture »
🧮 Basic elements of a recruitment video. »
(I’m going to suggest that these ideas will get you from a D+ video to a C+/B- video. The goal isn’t to be attractive, but to give people a reason to choose you over others. It’s not the same.)
🧮 If 80% of people say they are more productive when they feel recognized for their work, there’s an opportunity to connect the brand to productivity (and $$$). »
🧮 It isn’t easy getting employees to see the value of equity (as a part of compensation). »
🧮 While complaining that all corporate mission statements are the same (and kinda garbage), HBR describes how to build one. »
🧠🔌 AI Idea of the Week: People understand better when you show them the change you want to make. But making a big ‘ol process description is pain. So tools like Supadomo (not a sponsored link) can make an interactive “demo” in seconds to show off how easy it is to post something to LI, to add a headline to a job posting, to properly add a UTM tag (or whatever you want people to do).
If you’re interested in training your entire team on employer branding together, reply with the word, “team.”
Law 17 - The Law of Humanity
Honestly, out of all the laws, this one may be the most controversial.
Sure, when I say that employer branding is the only kind of marketing that thinks in terms of quality over quantity, marketers get pretty feisty. And when I say that employer brand comes from all parts of the company, people try to turn it into a conversation about “where should employer brand live within the organization?” (For what it’s worth, I am 1000% sick of that question. It’s like a dog chasing its tail. Who cares what the answer is if the organization doesn’t understand the value of employer branding or wants to get behind its success?!??!?!)
But when, as I did this week at RecFest (If you feel like you missed out, you’re right. You should absolutely go next year), I say that employer branding is the human face of a company’s brand, I expect employer branders to jump out of their seats and shout a la Braveheart. “Yes! We are playing a vital role in how the entire business is perceived by presenting and communicating the reasons people love to work there! A strong employer brand is the yin to consumer branding’s product-focused yang and together, we build the company!!!!”
[Shouting ensues and then we charge down the hill to meet the enemy…]
Instead, I get a lot of blank stares. Not even nods or expressions of agreement, but more like I’m reciting arcane facts from Wikipedia that have no frame of reference. (Did you know there’s a road that is both in Canada and the United States? It’s called the Canusa Road…)
So let’s close the gap, because when an employer brander is having a rough day, when they feel like their work amounts to polishing the INSIDES of the plumbing for all the value they are delivering, they need to remember that they are doing something amazing that impacts the entire company.
If you look at how most companies think about branding, it starts with the product brand: What is the product? What is its unique value proposition? What are the features and how do they solve a customer’s problem? If you’re selling SaaS, no one talks about who coded it or who tested the code. At best, you’ll learn a little about the founder(s), who perhaps had a problem and built a tool to scratch their own itch. But there’s nothing about the person who decided the next feature set or who built the marketing. To consumers, the product is a black box. It might as well have sprung fully formed from Zeus’ head.
When you’re buying a product, the company wants you to buy it based on the value of the product, because if they can establish and prove that value, you’ll keep buying it.
This is 100% of the branding when the company is small because the company has only one product. The product brand is the company brand.
But as the company grows, someone will be put in charge of the corporate brand. It might just be a function of showing how one company can have a shared perspective that connects multiple products serving multiple audiences. Think how the iPhone and the Macbook have different audiences and taglines, but in the end, they all share Apple’s idea of how technology should look and feel.
That role may expand to include investor relations when the investors aren’t just two or three venture capital firms, but dozens of companies or even the entire investor market when you go public. The investor brand is the story the company tells about its long-term future. It illustrates how their specific take on the market and market trends will leave that company in the driver’s seat at some point in the future, so start buying equity and stock now. And while CFOs will say all investors are not created equal (there is a cache that comes along with Andreeson-Horowitz or Berkshire Hathaway’s investment compared to when Mark’s Big House O’ Funding signs a check), in the end, the story they tell is the same: we are going to get much much bigger, so join now.
Note that the investor brand doesn’t say much (if anything) about who works there and why. There’s an assumption that every who joined is aligned with that vision of a bigger company and a great payday around the corner, but that kind of motivation is thin, especially when you’re employee #1278.
There’s a gap in the brand.
And this is where the employer brand comes in. It isn’t the sales pitch we make about why someone should join us. It is the expression of humanity to the market. How much, how little. What the people who work there care about and how much they are cared about and cared for.
Because as much as consumer branding talks about the product, who made the product? Who thought it up? Who tested it? You can’t tell me that a product built by “just a bunch of faceless salary collectors” will be the same as one built by the team at Nike. Future product ideas and executions don’t come down from God’s fax machine, they come from the people who work there.
This means your sense of a company’s future isn’t just based on a semi-famous CEO on the cover of a magazine, but the hundreds and thousands of people who push the idea further, who got the feedback and identified the insight, who made the product real.
And when leadership tenure keeps getting shorter (current CMO tenure is roughly 18 months), why should an investor “believe” in the leadership if they won’t be around to see their dreams made real?
Employer branding is the voice of the people, the expression of the real, the path forward, and differentiation from other firms.
And that it where we live.
For companies who think they can’t afford employer branding strategy (too small, unsexy industry, no consumer presence), let’s talk. In fifteen minutes, I can help you see if employer branding can help you hire faster and better. And the best part is that there’s no risk: I primarily get paid on results.
***This Newsletter Contains No ChatGPT***