Campus Recruiting? Remember, It’s One Big Brand

In honor of back to school time, let’s check out what’s new on campus. I’ve long-advised clients who desire to keep ahead of the technology curve to follow the trends in campus student enrollment. Now there’s another reason to head back to school.

If your responsible for your company’s campus recruiting efforts, Natasha Singer’s recent article for the New York Times is a must-read. The story highlights ways companies are using student Brand Ambassadors to promote products and services, and generate loyalty via social media, in-store events, and on-campus buzz.

Traditional marketing efforts like print advertising and TV spots are yielding fewer and fewer tangible results, but did you know that this fall, an estimated 10,000 American college students will be working on hundreds of campuses as Brand Ambassadors?

By illustration, Singer’s article cites efforts from three American Eagle student marketers who solicited 50 volunteers to take part in a move-in event at the University of North Carolina. Wearing A.E. Move-In Crew T-shirts, they helped with lifting boxes, handing out swag, and creating a welcoming branded experience for new arrivals, as just one of AE’s 50-campus events.

Target opened up its wallets for a freshman welcome dinner, and its doors for a private late-night shopping experience, complete with DJs and dancing through the aisles.

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Mr. Youth, a youth marketing agency, published its list of brands who were best at communicating with freshmen. They included Nike (design your own shoes), Xbox (engage, connect and compete with your friends), and of course Apple (‘nuf said.)

So advice to the campus recruiting teams: Plan together and plan ahead.

  1. Check in with your marketing department and find out if they are launching any guerilla marketing events on the college campuses. If yes, get in on it. If no, this is where you can shine. Help them plan something and then work together (isn’t that a great concept) to promote a seamless brand experience from consumer through employee. Give them the list of your target schools (you have that right?) and start there.
  2. Work to infuse an employer value proposition that is aligned with the consumer value proposition into all your messages, and don’t sound like anyone else.
  3. Make sure you’re careers site has been recently refreshed, is up-to-date and mobile friendly (QR tags are optional), and your social media sites are integrated with your career/jobs information.

Remember: the brands that swim together, win together.

Jody Ordioni is the author of “The Talent Brand.” In her role as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Brandemix, she leads the firm in creating brand-aligned talent communications that connect employees to cultures, companies, and business goals. She engages with HR professionals and corporate teams on how to build and promote talent brands, and implement best-practice talent acquisition and engagement strategies across all media and platforms. She has been named a "recruitment thought leader to follow" and her mission is to integrate marketing, human resources, internal communications, and social media to foster a seamless brand experience through the employee lifecycle.


3 Comments on “Campus Recruiting? Remember, It’s One Big Brand

  1. Great article and summary about the power of a Marketing and Recruiting partnership. That is exactly what we have here at American Eagle Outfitters. We partner through every step of the process. We run with a very lean Recruitment team and leverage all of our sources to recruit for our Home Office and Field organizations. A good number of our recruits are tied directly to this campus exposure – and we link it all together through Facebook (4500+ likes for AE Careers) and our website – and BTW, we are using QR Codes on campus on every piece of literature. Thanks again, great article! -Mark

  2. While there are creative approaches to leveraging an employer’s “Brand” on campus–how much is too much?

    I noticed a backlash brewing from students and college administrators. I predict the overly-aggressive companies will ruin the “branding effort through students” for others. I’ve long noticed that universities and colleges, and organizations like NACE, have established rules of engagement for employers on campus. Soon those “rules” will be enforced against employers and student employer reps who graduate from marketing to harrassment.

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