Brand your workplace

The marketing world is abuzz about
“branding.” You know you need to
define your brand to let your customers know who you are and what to
expect from you.

“A company’s brand is the illicit promise
made to customers,” says Tim Gibbons
president of Level2 Communications, a
Tampa-based brand communications and
new media marketing company. “Brand
represents every facet and dimension of
who a company is in the minds of its customers.”

In the quest for talent, you’ll need to convince the best and brightest why they
should come work for you. If you have a
poor workplace brand image, you could
struggle to collect enough applications.
But if you separate yourself as an employer of choice, you’ll have the ability to pick
and choose exactly whom you want to fill
each role. You have the choice — invest in
a great brand image now or struggle to
meet your human resource needs later.

Smart Business asked Gibbons how
businesses can craft brands that support
their work force objectives.

Why is having a brand strategy important?

A brand strategy is important because a
brand is what differentiates one company’s
products and services from another’s in the
minds of customers and employees.
Basically, brand is what separates a company from the rest of the pack and gives
prospective customers a compelling reason, or set of reasons, to choose their
brand over a competitor’s brand.

Your company’s brand should clearly
communicate to prospective buyers and
employees not only what products and
services you offer but also how you deliver
those products and services. Job seekers
will draw answers to these types of questions from your brand: Do you have a fun
and creative atmosphere? Do you value
work-life balance? Do you reward employees for outstanding performance?

Having a strategy helps you craft a consistent message that communicates what
you want people to think about you. This in
turn helps ensure that you attract employees that will fit in with your company’s culture and values.

What determines a company’s brand?

It’s important to know that companies
don’t ‘own’ their brand image — their customers own it. Companies can only develop a brand identity strategy, and then hopefully execute an effective implementation
of that strategy. But ultimately, the brand
image and its relative perceived value are
in the individual and collective perspectives of customers.

That means, don’t ask yourself about
your brand. Ask customers, job seekers,
and other key groups of individuals what
comes to their minds when they think of
your company. You may believe you’re
sending one message, and people outside
your company may receive a completely
different one. Marketing and work force
development professionals can help you
come up with techniques for discovering
how people truly perceive your business.

How can companies develop and implement
a new brand?

Companies must first fully and deeply
understand who their primary customer is and what that individual needs and wants
from their company. Then develop a strategy for delivering on those needs and wants
in better, more resonating ways than their

To have a demonstrably different ‘selling’
message, businesses must really understand their competitors. This critical
knowledge allows them to create a message that better speaks to their customers.
Flashy advertising only works if the message behind it meets a client need. And if
flashy advertising doesn’t appeal to the
ideal customer or employee, it will actually
push away the people you want to attract.

How can work force organizations help with
this process?

Today, there is heavy competition for
great talent. Human capital is often the tipping point between being an average and a
good company, and a good and great company. In this market, many companies
compete for human resources as aggressively as they do for new customers. It’s
important that companies view potential
employees as a key audience. They need to
realize that effectively building and communicating their brand can have a huge
impact on a job candidate’s choice of
employer. Brand sells far more than just a
product or service; brand sells a company
in the eyes of the work force. Local work
force organizations can help integrate
brand strategy as part of the overall recruitment strategies to compete for the most
valuable employees. Remember that one of
the first things people share with one
another is where they work. A strong
brand will speak to your employees now
and to future recruits. Employees who feel
great about where they work will be your
best recruitment tool for attracting and
retaining future leaders.

TIM GIBBONS, president of Level2 Communications, works
with Tampa Bay WorkForce Alliance on brand strategy. Reach him
at (813) 956-8950 or [email protected].