Creating a “Brand”

Let’s face it; most of us who do recruiting are not very good at marketing. We may be relatively good salespeople and we may know how to close a deal, but we usually are not that good at developing a brand image. Unfortunately for us, this skill is in growing demand as it becomes increasingly important to tell students why our organization is different and better than another one. Step one in creating a world class sourcing strategy is to put together an image creation and brand development plan for your company. Let’s walk through what I mean when I say “brand development.” Intel was once just another microprocessor company along with many other undifferentiated semiconductor companies. Most of us had never heard of it. And even if we HAD heard of it, did we have any real image or picture in our mind of what it did? I think most of us would answer with a NO! Yet, today we have all heard about Intel, may own stock in the company, and have a general idea of what the company does. How did this happen? It happened through a careful marketing strategy that included the creation of the “Intel Inside” logo. This little sticker on your computer (yes, if you look for it you will probably see it somewhere on your computer) may have done more for Intel than all its other advertising and marketing combined. It created consumer awareness and began to get consumers to ask for a computer with an Intel chip, something no customer cared about until this marketing campaign began just a few years ago. This is what I mean by brand creation and awareness. While most of us don’t have the authority or skill to create a corporate image, we CAN begin to create an on-campus image for our organizations. The first place to start is with an exciting, fun, useful web page. Take a look at Cisco Systems web site, or Microsoft’s. Here you will find sites that say something to college grads – sites that give them real information about the company and about the jobs that new college grads will be hired to do. In the case of Cisco Systems the student can request to be matched to an email “pen pal” within Cisco and within the interest area or major of the student. At the National Semiconductor web site for college students, you will find a resume maker, an on-line slide show about the company, information on coop and internship programs, and much more. The next step is to develop on-campus programs that showcase your company. Host an open house demonstrating your services or products, ask employees to make presentations in classes, give away products for professors to use in laboratories or in their classroom. There are hundreds of things you can do to create some interest and excitement about what your organization makes or does. But, whatever it is you do on campus be prepared to sustain it over time. Don’t make a big splash one semester and then not show up at all the next semester. You should look at image development as you would at taking antibiotics – it is only a sustained level over a period of time that works effectively. Sudden bursts of energy are even harmful to your efforts because they raise expectations that cannot be met. Next week we will discuss building on and off-campus relationships.

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.

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