The Difference between Consumer vs. Employer Branding in Talent Procurement
In the talent procurement sector, you have two distinct audiences: Candidates and clients. These audiences come to your recruitment firm for different reasons. Candidates are seeking employment. Clients are seeking top talent. It stands to reason that you would interact with them differently based on their unique needs and objectives. Yet, you might be marketing to them with the exact same message, and this can be confusing. What you need is a unique value proposition (UVP) for each audience, a consistent message that allows you to control how each audience perceives your agency.
Taking the initiative to segment your audience into candidates and clients and create different messages for each will help you better target both. Here’s what you need to know to get started with distinct consumer and employer branding in your recruitment or staffing firm.
What Is Consumer Branding in Talent Procurement?
Consumer branding is targeted to the clients you want to work with. It is the corporate branding that you’re likely most familiar with. When you prepare your ads and marketing materials, you’re likely targeting consumers, which, in your case, are prospective clients in need of staffing services.
Consumer Branding: Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
How do you attract clients in need of staffing services? Find the right message for this audience. Your consumer branding UVP should focus on the value of the products and services you bring to the market. When creating your consumer branding UVP, think about what sets you apart from other recruiting or staffing firms. What’s your competitive edge? Consider your ability to find top talent, your expertise in your industry, and any additional services you offer (like payroll, compliance, etc.). Your years of experience, awards, and client testimonials all count here too. Determine which of these values your past and present clients have appreciated the most while working with you. The chances are good that prospective clients would be attracted to the same values.
Once you know exactly why clients like working with you and what makes you stand apart from the competition, you can craft a message to highlight these values. The right messaging can help you compete with top agencies.
What Is Employer Branding?
While many talent procurement agencies already have great consumer branding, many forget to separate candidates into their own branding segment. However, just because a candidate recognizes your logo and knows your corporate brand—thanks to your consumer branding efforts—it doesn’t necessarily mean they know what it’s like to work for your agency. Yet, this is exactly what they need to know to make the decision to work with you.
This is where employer branding comes in. This differs from consumer branding because it consists of messaging that’s specifically targeting candidates, not clients. With employer branding, you can let prospective candidates see what life is like behind the scenes when working for your recruiting firm.
Whether they realize it or not, every agency has an employer brand. Your employer brand is the value you bring as an employer. You also might not realize that it may actually be the most important part of your talent recruitment strategy. It could mean the difference between top talent wanting to work with you and candidates ignoring your recruiters’ calls, emails, and LinkedIn messages.
Because you already have an employer brand, you need to take control of it in the public eye to ensure the right message is being sent to candidates. Actively manage it and define it. There’s too much at stake to let the market control your messaging. Your employer brand should be your competitive advantage (not a liability to your bottom line). Your message should be stronger and more consistent than what your current or past employees, retirees, customers, or eliminated candidates have to say about your employer brand.
When it comes to talent recruitment, knowing where to find talent isn’t enough. You need a strong brand that attracts top talent to your agency. You want the best of the best to want to work with you. In many cases, your reputation can make or break a relationship with a candidate. It may be the determining factor when it comes to choosing where they work. Will it be your agency or your competitor’s?
Employer Branding EVP
Similar to a customer branding UVP, the first step to employer branding is to create an employee value proposition (EVP). To determine your agency’s EVP, consider your ideal candidates and their needs, values, and decision criteria. Then, create an authentic value proposition that enhances your recruiting efforts.
To create your messaging, ask yourself some of these questions: What do candidates want from your recruiting firm? You want them to work for you, but what’s in it for them? The things candidates are most often looking for from an employer are job security, opportunities for professional development, the ability to work with a great team, values similar to their own, and positive impressions from past and current employees.
Also consider: How are you different from the competition and why should they choose to work with your agency instead of your competitor? What’s your employee experience like? Define it. Ideally, don’t just speak in financial terms. Your message will resonate better if you can speak to candidates’ core values and professional goals, as well as the overall experience of what it means to be a part of your team. Align your EVP with your demographic’s changing needs, wants, and aspirations. You want top talent to be able to see themselves happily engaged at your firm based on what they sense from your messaging.
Once you’ve crafted your messaging, leverage social media to reinforce your UVP. And don’t ignore the external factors negatively affecting your employer brand. Constructively address external sources and conflicting messages about your brand, such as candidate and past employee reviews. Use real-life pictures and stories of your happy employees, and include testimonials and quotes for real impact. It might benefit you to highlight your values and the charitable causes you support, as well as showcase your corporate vision and leadership team. This will give candidates a better idea of who you are — of the personality behind the brand.
As you can see, employer branding is critical to your recruitment strategy and the success of your agency. For this reason, it’s important not to focus your whole marketing budget on corporate branding. Make sure you leave room for an employer branding strategy. After all, your clients come to you for top talent. And you need to be able to attract top talent to deliver.
To learn more about messaging for candidates, read Tips for Recruiters: How to Craft LinkedIn Messages That Get Responses. For more tips on messaging for prospects, download our webinar: Communication Tactics: How to Make Prospects Want to Work with You.