Recruiting and marketing. In this age of inbound, where effective implementation of recruitment marketing is essential for companies seeking to attract and retain top talent, the two are synonymous — like tea and biscuits, bacon and eggs.
But what of the relationship between the two departments responsible for these functions? Is this, too, a match made in heaven?
The collaboration situation
Companies that have their consumer and employer brands aligned can see up to a 35 percent increase in sales, according to LinkedIn.
And yet, collaboration between recruiting and marketing departments is not widespread. In fact, many marketing departments take a negative view of employer branding, often meeting requests for collaboration with resistance.
The reasons for this resistance vary. In his new lesson for Clinch Academy, Lars Schmidt talks about the potential for marketing to be “territorial” and uneasy at the prospect of another department taking on brand representation and promotion.
In reality, marketing's fears over a conflict of interest are unfounded. If anything, an organisation's consumer brand, and, as a result, the organisation itself, actually stand to benefit from effective employer branding.
A strong employer brand has the power to generate interest in an organisation from an entirely different audience segment from that which is the target of consumer branding. Because the two are inextricably linked, it stands that the more people there are who have an awareness of your employer brand, the more there are who know about your consumer brand, too. This, then, translates into more sales and marketing opportunities.
It’s more than just a numbers game, however. A strong employer brand —one that is largely shaped and communicated by happy, engaged employees— not only drives brand awareness, it also inspires confidence in the consumer brand, making people more likely to be receptive to your company’s marketing efforts when they do receive them.
But here's the thing: a strong employer brand is way more likely to come into effect when an organisation's marketing department is on board and involved.
Starting the collaboration conversation
Employer branding is still a fairly new and emerging field, especially when considered alongside an organisation's consumer brand, which has likely been in existence for years —decades, even— for more established companies.
Because of its infancy, there can sometimes be a lack of understanding about the exact role and function of employer branding.
As a recruiter, you can overcome this by ensuring that your marketing department is clear on the following:
- What your goals are for employer branding
- How you’re planning to achieve these goals
- How a strong employer brand can ultimately benefit their consumer branding efforts
Communicating these points to the marketing team should not only serve to differentiate employer branding from consumer branding in their minds, it should also reinforce the idea that working together to build a strong employer brand will bring benefits for the consumer brand in the long-run, too.
In terms of where this collaboration can take place, there are two areas in particular that offer great opportunity for recruiting and marketing teams to work together.
For your organisation to bring in the brightest and the best talent, you will need to produce quality content that appeals to those individuals. Your organisation’s marketing department will have plenty of experience in creating, distributing, and measuring the performance of content designed to attract and engage a target audience. Seek their expertise when developing content that captures, communicates, and ultimately strengthens, your employer brand.
There is also an opportunity for cross-over here. Your advertising and marketing team might consider using real-life employees in their department's collateral. As we mentioned above, seeing happy, engaged employees inspires confidence in a consumer brand, making people more likely to be receptive to your organisation’s consumer brand marketing efforts, and therefore driving sales.
Given that your organisation’s consumer brand will have been in existence for some time, it's expected that its social following will be of a considerable size. With a solid, collaborative relationship in place between marketing and recruiting, you can leverage your consumer brand’s social following to grow your employer brand following. This is true whether you're building your employer brand from scratch or working to grow an existing one.
When you have a good relationship with your consumer branding or marketing team, there may be an opportunity to share your employer brand-related posts on their social accounts, amplifying their reach and exposing your smaller channels to their larger audiences.
Recruiting has always had parallels with marketing. However, in this information age where media-savvy candidates want more from their candidate experience —better quality, more authentic, more targeted content, for example— the two functions have never been closer.
With employer and consumer brands inextricably linked and both standing to gain from the effective promotion of the other, it's imperative that a collaborative relationship is fostered between recruiting and marketing for maximum return in both hiring and sales contexts.
Remember that 35 percent and let the following truth guide your process shift: when recruiting and marketing work in tandem, not only do candidates and customers stand to gain, the subsequent alignment between employer and consumer brands will benefit the company as a whole, too.
For more on the benefits and best practices of a collaborative relationship between recruiting and marketing, check out Lars Schmidt's course on Clinch Academy, "Employer Branding 101: When recruiting and marketing unite."