The 12 Steps of Employer Branding to Attract the Right People

February 7, 2023

Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer

If you want to get on top of your employer branding strategy, or you’re wondering where to start, this blog is for you. In this blog, we also answer the question everyone has been asking, “Are the sign twirlers outside of tax firms effective? (and if they are effective, exactly HOW effective?) For the answers to both of these questions, along with some immediate opportunities for wins that you can put into practice, read on. You’re in the right place.

Group of young entrepreneurs working toghether in a coworking space

Employee Branding has been touted as one of the most important hiring trends to watch out for in 2023. As companies develop and strengthen their strategies for attracting and hiring top talent, the need for a defined and connectable brand sits high on the list of priorities. 

Papirfly describes it in the following way “At its core, the definition of an employer brand strategy is a documented, universal approach to translating your organization’s values, approaches, and personality to your audience. It’s a comprehensive offering of everything you have to offer as a workplace to benefit your most important asset – your employees. 

The strength of your brand is what sets you apart from other options. A brand will influence you to make a choice. A good brand will then celebrate you for making that choice. A great brand will confirm you made the right decision AND make you feel good about yourself. 

Great brands live up to expectations.  

Your employer brand is how you are viewed by your current workforce and the people you hope to one day recruit. Your employer branding strategy needs to promote these aspects transparently in order to achieve three salient goals: 

  • Positively distinguish your offering from your competitors 
  • Demonstrate why someone would want to work in your organization. 
  • Illustrate how your brand is developing and strengthening over time.” 

Hearing the stories of others is a great place to draw inspiration, so let’s start with some quotes delivered as something of an amuse-bouche to our branding main course. 

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

Jeff Bezos

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”  

Howard Schultz

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Seth Godin

“Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.”

Warren Buffet

“If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

Zig Ziglar

Now that we’ve covered our bases, let’s dive into employer branding and explore what it takes to build an effective brand strategy, help you attract candidates that align with your vision, values, and personality, and solidify an accurate perception of who you are as an organization. 

It’s a 12-step program, but not as you know it. 

Branding and Belief – why do we choose the brands we do? 

There are three main reasons we choose a brand: 

  1. We are confident that it will fulfill a promise with a level of certainty and with a positive experience. 
  2. It says something that we are trying to say about ourselves. The sense of alignment from a values perspective. “I choose brand X because they are (innovative, thoughtful, altruistic, efficient, creative, synonymous with quality and consistency; the list goes on), and so am I” (or more accurately, I would like to be seen that way). 
  3. We are confident it will help us achieve a positive outcome that will make our lives better. 

Knowing these three elements and how they impact our branding strategy is essential to connecting with the right candidates and making a successful hire.  

For example, a good hire might be able to perform their tasks well, but a great hire will do this while aligning with the company’s vision and values. A great hire will perform and positively shape your company culture. These great hires are invaluable in attracting other A-Players; more on that later.  

Back to the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the 12 most important elements to focus on when developing your strategy. 

Act 1: It starts with you.

  • Who are you, what do you want, what makes you special, and what do you have to offer? 

Act 2: Self awareness.

  • How do others see you; how can you use that, and what do you want to adjust; is there congruence? 

Act 3: Be honest now. No room for denial.

  • How does your own team see you, what are you doing for them that you will do for/others will find attractive and want to be a part of? 

Act 1: 

52% of candidates spend time researching an organization’s website and social channels to learn more about their culture when applying. That number rises when it’s a passive candidate. 

  1. Define and establish your “uniques”. What is it that makes you different? What are you an expert in that helps solve the problems your target audience face, in a meaningful way? 
  2. Develop your brand guidelines and assets or review your existing ones. Make sure what you are doing and what you are saying match up. What was true three years ago may have evolved. What you say and how you say it matters. Brand guidelines operate as HR for your message.  
  3. Create your Employer Value Proposition. What do you stand for, what do you offer and why should someone choose you? Every company has a unique story because every person has a unique story. The trick is making it easy to find, understand and connect with. Effectively, this is why you should work here; this is what we will do for you, and this is who you can become. 
  4. Define the Seat. Job descriptions are dead, long live the Performance Profile. Defining the seat means defining what success in the role looks like. Jobs, like people, change and evolve. Performance Profiles define what is expected alongside inspiring what is possible! How do you know if you’ve found the right person if you haven’t defined the seat first (that’s a rhetorical question)? 
  5. Build your employee persona – ideal candidate. Defining the ideal candidate is as simple as saying: Does this person align with our vision and values? Have they shown demonstrable success in previous roles that would point toward future success in this role? Will they gel with the team successfully? Do they have the necessary skills and abilities to achieve the performance objectives in the time we need them to? 

Act 2: 

How are others seeing you, what do you want to respond to, and what do you need to change? 

84% of job seekers consider the reputation of a company important to their decision on joining. 

  1. Perform a Brand Perception Audit. It’s one thing to believe something about yourself, it’s another to really know how you’re being perceived. A negative perception can end up costing a company an extra 10% of the cost of their hire. Five-star reviews are worth their weight in gold. Anything less than three stars can sink your ship before you’ve even left the harbor. Auditing Glassdoor reviews, the impact of your social media, and obtaining accurate employee feedback are essential to creating a true reflection of how you are perceived, and then how to respond. *Top Tip. Set up Google Alerts to make sure you are informed whenever your company is mentioned on Google. Time is critical for how responses are received.  
  2. Increase Your Probability of Connection. Have you ever wondered how effective the sign spinners dressed up as national landmarks for tax preparation firms are? More effective than you might think; one customer for every two hours a sign twirler is outside. Now you know. Determine and utilize your primary marketing channels. LinkedIn, Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook. Learn how to speak the language of those channels (or find someone who does) and ensure that when you speak up, what you are saying is valuable.  
  3. Use the Right Tools to Connect – Invest in video. Write blogs that answer questions in a way that is personal to you. Use social media to inspire authentically, not to sell or virtue signal. Don’t tell me, show me! Video is one of the most effective tools for allowing a candidate to experience your message and culture. Not all videos are created equal. You want to create something that makes an impact on an emotional level as well as on an informative level. Speak to the head, but really speak to the heart because the heart is going to tell the head what’s really going on. 
  4. Define success and use metrics that support an accurate assessment of your strategy. Are your likes on social media translating into connections? Are your videos leading to referrals? Are your newsletters getting opened but not clicked through? Data tells a story and you want the non-fiction version. You obtain that through accurate and relevant data. 

Act 3: 

Success is attractive. A-Players are attracted to impact. 

Investing in employer branding strategies can result in a 28% reduction in employee turnover.   

  1. Prioritize Connecting with Your Teams. Talk to employees regularly. Having a pulse on what is going on internally will allow you to impact events externally. Engagement surveys and frequent, consistent meetings between managers and team members are essential. If you are operating on EOS then one-on-ones, quarterly conversations, L10s, and your Huddle will provide valuable information, if you track it effectively. 
  2. Create and/or hire Brand Ambassadors. There are few things as powerful and impactful as internal advocates. These are team members who are so invested and connected to the mission and heart of an organization that they wear it like the jersey of their favorite sports team. By using 3-4 you can get a head start on hiring those people, and then letting them do their thing. Their energy and engagement will attract other top performers. What you’ll be left with is the need for a scalable growth strategy that keeps your culture in place; it’s a great place to be, trust us. 
  3. Prioritize Career Pathing. Investing in your current team’s development through individual career pathing is a part of helping to create brand ambassadors. People leave organizations because they don’t have growth opportunities. Our CEO, Jonathan Reynolds believes companies have a duty to provide their people with career pathing options. Jonathan’s belief is “If you can’t provide it, then your people will find someone who can”. 

Just like any successful 12-step program, it works best when you’re partnered with someone who supports you on your journey, and we’re here for you! Here’s to meaningful and connected employer brand strategies; here’s to your story; here’s to your future! 

More than recruiters, Titus Talent Strategies are a team of Talent Optimizers who genuinely care about the work we do. We empower companies to put the right people in the right seats through informed, connected strategies that combine data with an empathetic understanding of what makes people tick. We recognize that our Partners are investing in us and that results mean more than just people placed in a role.  

Interested in outsourcing your hiring needs to Titus? We’ve got you! 


Refreshing perspectives and practical expertise from the Titus team.

Talent Strategies

Committed To Radical Generosity

Our dedication to radical generosity keeps us focused on what matters most, and it allows us to make a trusted and lasting impact on the world around us. It’s the foundation of our culture and our partnerships.

Read More