Recently, Business Insider had an article about Hungry-Man frozen TV dinners. I don't think anyone actually calls them TV dinners anymore, but I'm a kid of the 80's (late 80's, be kind!) and I know them as TV dinners. You know what I'm talking about, but for the kids, it's a complete dinner on one tray - fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and something that is supposed to be a desert, but usually is some horrible, very hot, fruit liquid concoction of some sort they want you to believe is peach cobbler.
Hungry-Man dinners, in our world of eat healthier, have seen their sales rise 4-6% percent in a frozen meal category that has dropped 25% over the past five years. This is for meals that average almost 1000 calories and are loaded with sodium.
How did they do that? They focused their brand on a segment that actually likes their product. Big beefy guys who like to eat 1000 calorie meals loaded with sodium - and they owned the segment!
Creating a targeted employment brand
Your employment brand needs to speak to your target audience like Hungry-Man dinners speak to big beefy guys who like high calorie, unhealthy food!
More specifically, your employment brand needs to speak
specifically to the audience you want to hire. Unfortunately, if you are like
99% of employers, you have an employment brand that is attempting to speak to
everyone. By speaking to everyone, you're
actually speaking to no one.
That's a problem. Talent Acquisition leaders struggle with this concept. Marketing leaders don't. Marketing leaders understand that watering down your employment brand to one that is so shallow it encompasses anyone who might work for you, is a waste of time.
Keep your employment brand flexible
The trick is to have an employment brand that can be adjusted to the audience you need it to speak to. It doesn't mean you need dozens of employment brands. It means you need a brand that you can tailor based on the audience you need to recruit.
The next trick is that you actually have the guts to do this. We are naïve to think that every department in our organization is the same. I'm fairly sure your HR department is nothing like your sales department. The candidate HR would find as perfect, might be a dud in sales, in terms of cultural fit. Ideally, we know this. Realistically, we refuse to do anything about it from an employment branding perspective.
Not everyone likes Greek yogurt
McDonalds is doing the same thing as Hungry-Man. Have you seen the new Big Mac ads? It shows a Big Mac dripping of special sauce, with the tagline, "Not Greek Yogurt". Brilliant. They don't want the Greek yogurt eating audience. They want the special sauce eating audience.
You want the special sauce eating audience, or maybe you want the Greek yogurt eating audience, or maybe you want both, but not at the same time. But, the one thing I know is that no one wants a Big Mac with Greek yogurt on it!