How To Design A Brand Students Want To Work For

If you ask any young person who they want to work for, a popular response will most likely include the Apple, Nike, or Googles' of the world. Why? Because not only are these amazing companies but great brands that stick to their principles.

A big portion of our admiration for these firms comes down to a belief that they represent something bigger than ourselves. Quite simply, their contributions to society follow a mission or message that all of us want to be a part of, and we have no shame in admitting. However, getting to this point is no easy feat, as it requires a lot of hard-conversations with oneself, as well as understanding your outside perception to the world. Not to worry though, as that's exactly what I'm going to walk you through trying to find below.

Start With What You Know

Quality branding is all about having an identity that resonates a common belief with your audience. This is about knowing how you want to change the world (even just a little bit), and what you're actively doing to take part. Getting to this point is going to take some honest self-discussions on why you exist and what you're doing differently, but the result delivers an authentic approach that's undeniable. In an age where young people want to work for firms they feel have an altruistic mission; it's best you start considering how you're perceived as well.

Keep in mind, an honest or authentic approach doesn't necessarily have to hold a high-minded ideal or ethos, but it does have to represent an ideology or philosophy. For example, a restaurant that sells organic, grassfed barbecue might include in their dialogue the reasons why they choose to use better farming practices, but that doesn't have to be the core of their brand. Instead, the organic, grassfed elements should be incorporated into a larger identity with life and personality. The name of the game is association, and who's having conversations about you is what's going to bring you the top-tier talent.

Create A Dialogue Worth Talking About

A big part of branding is your voice, and how it translates across all your channels. This includes every memo, Facebook ad, website copy, and even on your t-shirts. Remember, your brand lives everywhere that your company is, so it's important to get down how exactly this thing sounds. Imagine it as a person: What type of language would they use? Would they use slang? The best way to envision this is as a character that's larger than life, but one that can be described consistently throughout everything you write.

Once you've established your voice, it's time to start interacting with your audience. This includes having an effective social media strategy, which should not only starts conversations but leads them. For example, if you're posting regularly on Instagram, then actually respond to the comments in your section from a real place rather than just saying “Nice!” or “Thanks!” Believe it or not, people get pretty turned off to that, which includes the candidates that you're after.

For your recruiting efforts, it might not be a bad idea to think about what type of dialogue you want to have with the students you're after. Focus on implementing a content marketing strategy that reaches them on the platforms they're using to find jobs (LinkedIn, Slack, and Twitter are good to start). Furthermore, research how you can implement your brand in the specific schools that host students you want on your team. For example, if I wanted to attract programmers at Stanford, then I'd look into Stanford specific clubs or organizations for programming, as well as entrepreneurship/professional networking. Overall, once your story starts to spread, it's imperative you also address how to keep up with the conversation.

Focus On How This Message Will Spread

As you continue to work on your branding efforts in bringing in the best, look at the standard branding tools that you may already have or need. This includes addressing how your current logo fits, as well as if it needs a change. Additionally, implementing strategies such as social proof could be useful, especially as a supporting piece to your overall brand mantra. I'll note that it's okay if you change your mind on these components, which can actually be healthy in moderation. Your brand is a constantly growing and morphing organism, and as such, is somewhat of a marriage. While yes, you should always stick with your core ideals, the pieces surrounding it can change and move with time, which you should embrace.

Revamping your brand can be an excellent strategy when trying to bring on new team members, and should be celebrated as such. What are some things you're thinking about changing about your brand to sell yourself better? Comment below.

Written by Agnes W. September 12th, 2017