Executing an employer branding strategy means that you turn your plans into daily to weekly actions to reach your employer branding goals.

In most cases, when you execute your employer brand strategy, what you are doing is communicating and marketing your key employer brand messages.

In this episode of the Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast, I share eight important DOs and DON’Ts of executing an employer branding strategy.

If you are new to this podcast, this podcast is for those who want to learn how to build a modern employer brand and master modern talent marketing in a world where your talent’s attention is no longer a default.

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What exactly does executing an employer branding strategy mean?

Let’s start by nit-picking on the word execution because when you know what exactly it means, you’ll understand what needs to happen while you execute your employer brand strategy.

The other week, in episode 117, I spoke about the vital implementation phase of employer branding and shared the key actions you must take before you just start creating and publishing content online.

Did you listen to it? If you did, you’re one step ahead of those who did not. So, if you have not listened to episode 117, I recommend you do that asap not to get confused here.

The implementation phase is vital, but it’s more like a one-time phase, while the execution phase is more like a from now on -phase.

The implementation phase is vital, but it’s more like a one-time phase, while the execution phase is more like a from now on -phase.

@rantanensusanna

Executing an employer branding strategy means putting all your strategic employer branding plans into action and creating weekly routines and workflows to share your key messages regularly in your chosen media and platforms with your chosen target audiences.

#119 - Building a modern, magnetic employer brand podcast with Susanna Rantanen

The 8 Dos and Don’ts of executing an employer brand strategy

Let’s move ahead to those dos and don’ts.

#1 DO shift your attitude about employer branding from ad hoc actions and activities into a continuous process.

One of the most important pieces of advice I can give you – if you plan to achieve proven success with employer branding, is to look at each message, blog, video, or post you create and publish like you were putting a big puzzle together. 

Every single piece you post and share needs to belong to this same puzzle.

Otherwise, the image in the puzzle is not becoming any clearer to you or anyone else. And that’s exactly what you must do when executing your employer branding activities. 

After all, you are building ONE clear IMAGE for your audience to become curious about, start following and eventually, become fond of.

#2 DO invest in a good strategic plan because that is the only way to achieve one clear employer image and convert that image into an employer brand

You probably have tried employer brand marketing without a systematic plan and workflows, am I right?

That’s why you know how impossible and draining it is to keep up employer brand marketing without a plan. Of course, you can post random content for a while, but eventually, it gets harder and harder, your inspiration dries out, and you give up.

#3 DON’T continue to post ad hoc and random content

The biggest problems with ad hoc and random posts are:

  • Coming up with content ideas is million times harder after a little while, which will kill the required consistency of showing your brand’s face in front of your audience.
  • While those ideas might be inspiring, meaningful and even entertaining to you or the person who creates the content, you have no way of knowing if your target audience feels the same.
  • It takes even more time to come up with and create ad hoc and random content, which means they cost more to your employer, yet, they deliver little long-term employer branding value. 
  • When your marketing has no central message, it’s like spending time fishing without a hook and a catch. You can do it forever, but you have nothing to show for it.

#4 DO invest time in regular ideation on your chosen employer branding key messages

Professional employer brand marketers have created systems for executing their employer branding strategy.

One of these systems is a regular ideation session or brainstorming session with people matching the target audience inside your organization.

During these, what could be, for example, quarterly ideation sessions, you or someone else facilitates a 2–3-hour session to come up with as many new content ideas from your key messages.

All the raw content ideas are documented in your employer brand content marketing plan as ideas you can iterate and work with later on during your weekly workflows. This way, you don’t have to carry the burden of all the ideation work.

And often, your session participants might be excited and willing to volunteer to create the content or give you insight into the actual content creation later on.

#5 DON’T forget to book weekly slots from your calendar for your execution tasks

We all know that if it isn’t scheduled, it won’t get done! You must allocate weekly time for this work. And you must allocate it every week if you plan to experience results and success.

The most important job in employer branding is to show up regularly in front of your target audience. If you only show up occasionally, they won’t pay attention.

You need to plan your employer branding actions and activities so that it is possible to show up weekly and, to be honest, more than just once.

#6 DO document your weekly employer branding actions and activities into official workflows and processes

As you learn the ropes and, through some experience, figure out your systematic way of executing your employer branding strategy, document your weekly workflows and processes to create an employer branding process for your organization.

This makes it much easier to invite and include other people to join your employer branding team or collaborate with you part-time. 

You can split the process into tasks and share smaller responsibilities with others. As you develop your skills and know-how towards the employer brand management -role, you will also be able to measure the effectiveness and impact through those steps within your workflows and processes.

#7 DON’T forget to follow up on how your marketing efforts work

Many employer branding practitioners just post and never evaluate whether what they post works.

Without a strategic plan, you have no idea what business-relevant success looks like and whether you are delivering any employer branding value due to your spending time creating and posting content.

There are tons of marketing and social media metrics we can track and trace, but you need to know what you are trying to achieve to know which metrics are relevant for you to track and trace.

I’ve shared content and spoken about goals and metrics many times. Probably easiest to locate one of these contents is episode #101, in which I talked about the difference between employer branding and recruitment marketing goals. 

Only when you know what value your employer branding activities must return can you decide which metrics you should follow regularly.

For the sake of clarity, employer brand marketing must always:

  1. Grow awareness of your company as a specific kind of place to work. What you need to keep track of are the impressions, reach, view times and engagement on social media and career site visitor numbers and time spent on your career site in your website data.
  2. Grow the size of your relevant audience. Not any followers but followers who care about your company as a place to work and find it meaningful for them to pay attention to your messages. What you should keep track of is the size of your relevant audience on social media and the size of returning visitors to your career site.
  3. Convert relevant people in your external audience into your recruitment funnel as prospective leads and internal audience into spokespeople. These are examples of some business-relevant value conversions from your work. 

    Getting recruitment leads saves time and costs and even lowers the risk of hiring mistakes when converting employees into active spokespeople, growing your relevant audience and building trust in your employer brand.

But these are just some examples of metrics, and it depends on the exact definition of your employer branding goals as to what exactly is the right metric for you.

#8 DON’T give up after a few weeks if you can’t see immediate results

Execution of your employer branding strategy and plans is not a project or a campaign, but an ongoing process of getting your key messages out there in front of your relevant audience’s eyeballs so that, eventually, they start noticing the relevance of your messages to them, start following regularly, are influenced by what your company represents as an employer, and eventually are called to act by your employer brand marketing to become a business-relevant talent lead for your company.

You will experience multiple valleys of the creator’s death on this journey. Still, by developing your employer brand marketing skills, acumen and know-how and getting the experience only regular execution delivers, you’ll get it and start to see results.

That’s why you need long-term strategic goals & KPIs and short-term marketing goals and metrics to keep you motivated and let you experience reaching milestones as you work towards delivering long-term employer brand value.

“If you post content once a week and you give up after three months, what you did was giving up after just 12 posts.”

With the wise words of social media expert Vanessa Lau: “If you post content once a week and you give up after three months, what you did was giving up after just 12 posts.” 

Have you seen, taken a look at, actually digested and even taken action after seeing 12 of my posts?

Have you ever even seen 12 of my posts?

Or maybe you know very well what one of my key messages is: 

Teaching aspiring modern employer branding professionals how to build a modern employer brand that delivers business-relevant value and grows competitive advantage.

Just like it is for me, it’s the same for you.

It takes time to build your audience and get your key message across. 

Key to calling yourself an employer branding professional is to have a strategy and a plan for how to keep executing it even when it feels like no one is listening.

Key to calling yourself an employer branding professional is to have a strategy and a plan for how to keep executing it even when it feels like no one is listening.

@rantanensusanna

Professionals don’t quit; amateurs do crack under pressure. I teach you how to become that professional that doesn’t need to crack under pressure.

To conclude: Base your employer branding on a strategy and a plan, set goals and choose the most sensible metrics and create routines, processes and workflows to make employer branding a permanent value-add function.

I hope this brings you clarity on why the execution phase is not a campaign or a temporary project, but a process you need to carry on regularly from now on. 

To make it worth your and your employer’s time and money, you must base your employer branding on a strategy and a plan. Otherwise, you crack under pressure when you start executing.

And to make it more fun and motivating for you and your employer branding colleagues, you need to set goals and choose the most sensible metrics to track and trace your progress and impact regularly.

To achieve ease for this work, I strongly recommend creating and documenting workflows and processes for the execution and data analysis of your employer brand marketing activities.

When you follow these tips, do’s and don’ts, your employer brand marketing know-how will develop in front of your own eyes; you’ll find it so much more motivating in the long run, and what’s important, you can argue and testify to your boss why they should invest more resources on this work as you become able to prove the business-relevant value conversions.

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