A brand is the crux of what your target audience wants most that you deliver on best. And with almost any brand, your target audience isn’t a single “type” of person. We view our target audiences as diverse groups of people with some sort of a unifying mindset. This means that despite their differences, they have an overarching reason for choosing a certain company over another. This goes for consumer and employer brands.
Oftentimes in employer branding, the unifier is being motivated by a company’s mission. Consider Southwest Airlines. They need quite a variety of roles to operate their business: pilots, flight attendants, software engineers, customer service representatives, etc. But those roles aren’t unique to Southwest, and some of those roles aren’t even unique to the airline industry. Most are roles that exist at almost any company. So why choose to work for Southwest? It could be their promise to keep the customer experience a priority —hence, Transfarency. For the sake of this example, let’s say that it is.
The point is that candidates look for companies that can fulfill a motivator where they will be surrounded by like-minded colleagues. However, no company wants all of their employees to think and act exactly the same, but they do want their employees aligned to the same goal or idea (whether that’s the company’s, or something totally different). Despite that long background, the point of this blog isn’t to talk about the unifying mindset. It’s actually to talk about those different audiences that make up an employee base at a company. So, the TLDR (too long, didn’t read) of this blog is that brands need to have a single positioning, but should communicate that to different candidates, in their native tongue (i.e.: their reason for choosing their career field). Okay, if you’re fine with that answer, then no need to read on.
First off, why do we need to communicate to target audiences in different ways? While they, ideally, have a unifying mindset, their reason for choosing a certain field is likely quite different. The reasons for becoming a data scientist (for example) is very different than some other employees reason for being a customer service representative. So let’s go back to the Southwest reference. We know, from our own research, that the majority of data scientists are drawn to their field because they see themselves as detectives. They live to uncover new insights from within clean and robust data sets (I’m way oversimplifying because I don’t have a Ph.D., unlike most of these people — so I don’t want to risk botching an explanation of what they do and why they do it). They want to work on problems that haven’t been solved before and they want to believe in their company’s product.
This means you’ll have a tough sell to this group if you haven’t yet articulated why anyone should believe in your company’s offering. So for the sake of this example, let’s say Southwest hooked many of their data scientists by proving out that their company has ever-evolving challenges because they are a pioneering innovator who’s not resting on their laurels. This paired with Southwest actually walking the walk (of trying new things despite their age —again, Transfarency), is likely a key motivator for data scientists.
Now, let’s stick with the same example but talk about the differing messaging that could be used for a customer service rep. Unlike data scientists, people don’t typically get graduate-level degrees to become a customer service rep. But this is all the more reason to ensure you uncover and articulate the unifying mindset transcending all audience groups before speaking their customized native language. We know that customer service reps can choose their job because they see it like that, a job. It’s something to do while they save money for nursing school, or to prevent boredom in retirement.
We also know, from countless employee interviews at varying companies, that customer service reps choose this field because they are on the frontlines of interfacing with a customer. They are a group that lives for human interaction and relationships. They have the ability to create positive change in someone’s life by helping or informing a customer. [Okay, elephant in the room: we’ve all interacted with customer service reps who are subpar or who aren’t given a chance to create good news for a customer. But every job has its challenges, and recruitment messaging should never focus or linger on the downside of an employment experience.]
So if we go back to that unifying mindset of working for Southwest, a customer service rep may be drawn to work there also because of the caring customer-focused company mission —Transfarency (I’m trying to see how many times I can mention that made-up word in this blog). As a Southwest customer service rep, you can directly impact that company mission in the way you problem-solve with a customer. So Southwest, as an employer, can promote their love and commitment to customers as a key message to recruit more customer service reps.
I can keep going with more examples, but I have a feeling you get the point: Identify your company’s EVP (the unifying mindset), then drill down to connect that mindset with different target audience motivators.