Three ways to build a compelling brand

Google your company name. Then click ‘Images’. What do you see?

On your screen are the same visuals prospective employees will see about your company. Do the images convey healthy doses of fun and passion? Would they inspire potential workers to want to achieve more than they think they could? Or are the images just stock photos of generic and inauthentic corporate scenes that will more likely repel than attract A-players?

Of course, what people see on Google Images doesn’t show the complete picture of your brand. But it’s a start, and first impressions linger. Here are three ways that you can build a compelling brand that will leave a long-lasting positive impression with both A-players and customers.

Attract the right people

Consider a top-tier professional suffering from Sunday Night Fear (a workplace-related condition characterised by high anxiety levels on Sunday in fearful anticipation of another week of soul-sapping work). As a business owner, manager, or team leader, you’d want to reach out to this person: a competent, currently employed professional who is unhappy about their employer.

While stressed out, some of these professionals have the skills, experience, and attitude that can make a difference in your business. They’re a surer bet than the pool of unemployed people who are actively looking for jobs, which is more likely to have a higher proportion of B- or C-players among its number.

Polish your public image

Now you know who you want to attract, how do you connect with them? Imagine this common scenario. Driven by anxiety over the new work week ahead, an A-player sits on the couch, twiddles a tablet and looks for whatever can calm their nerves or keep their attention. Hoping they can flee their current job, they visit job listings or the websites of their favourite brands. What would they find if one of these was yours?

Just as importantly, what would they discover on industry reports, such as those that rank the companies in that sector? What about career sites that allow employees to rate or review their employers? Best Companies, for example, partners with The Sunday Times to rank the top UK employers in many key categories and sectors. On the other side of the Atlantic, Fortune collaborates with Great Place to Work to publish their annual 100 Best Companies to Work For report. It would be awesome if your company features in either list.

But if that’s not the case, you can still polish your brand on career-focused sites that feature employer profiles. Glassdoor is a good place to start. This site encourages workers to review current and former employers, their CEOs and the pros and cons of joining. Based on this feedback and other data, Glassdoor annually publishes its popular Best Places To Work: Employees’ Choice report. So even if your company doesn’t make it to the Top 100 list, jobseekers can still read the reviews, ratings, and recommendations of your current and former employees.

Is your brand strong enough to set off a positive reaction? Being recommended by at least 80% of reviewers would constitute a decent brand. The best have a CEO approval rating of above 90%. Aim for an overall score of at least 4.0 out of 5; 4.2 or higher would put you in the top 50 companies in the UK. Anything below 4.0 generally describes you as a less than amazing employer on Glassdoor.

Does your company make the cut? Do you rank better than your competitors? If not, you can expect top-tier jobseekers to prioritise other employers, leaving you with a pool of mediocre candidates.

Keep your people happy

To attract the right candidate, you need to clarify what it takes to be the best employee in your organisation. Then you need to ask yourself, ‘Why in the world would this person want to join my company?’ Start by identifying the proportion of top performers in your payroll by using talent management tools. If you find that you have very few quality performers in your team, chances are that most A-players in your industry work for better-leveraged competitors. What would it take for these top-notch professionals to leave their current employers and work for your business? That’s right, an awesome employer reputation.

Business owners, HR managers and team leaders need to make an honest self-assessment as to how other people view their company. Benefits can be key to attracting the right people. Benefits cost less to offer employees than large salary increases and are often a proxy for the culture of an organisation.

Benefits include flexible working hours, enhanced paternity leave, childcare vouchers, a cycle to work scheme, death in service and medical benefits, but it could also mean a pool table, darts or a pub. To further enhance your offering, look at companies you admire, as well as those listed in ‘best place to work’ lists and add comparable benefits that you feel make sense as part of your package. For example some of those companies might remove their requirement for new employees to serve a probationary period or they may offer help with childcare costs. Often, it costs the company little to nothing, and these added benefits send a strong message about culture.

Whatever approach you choose, it is essential to treat your people with respect. Appreciate their value and give the recognition they deserve each time their work meets your standards of excellence. Not only is this the right thing to do, it’s also a safe way to trigger a dopamine rush, which helps drive employee engagement, which in turn positively impacts business performance and your brand.