DSMN8 is gearing up to release our Beginner’s Guide to Employer Branding in the coming weeks. Ahead of its release, we reached out to a number of the industry’s leading employer branding experts.
One individual who immediately came to mind for me was Ivan Brezak Brkan. Ivan is the CEO and Founding Editor of Netokracija, Southeastern Europe’s leading digital media company. Hailed by Techcrunch as being “The Techcrunch of the Balkans”, the site covers all things startup, digital marketing and tech. Check out this interview Ivan did in August of last year around Netokracija.
We’ve followed Ivan’s work for some time now, notably his writing on the topic of Employer Branding. So, we thought we’d reach out and see if he’d answer some questions on the current state of employer branding, and what he thought the future holds for the field.
As we prepare to release the full guide, check out what Ivan had to say below!
1. What role can a company's employees play in employer branding?
“Employees have two distinct roles.
First of all, as influencers, since potential employees will trust the content they see on individual employee accounts more than a corporate/company one. While consumers might trust brand accounts in traditional marketing, for employer branding – having an employee publish a great think piece on their own account might seem like sacrificing reach, but what you get in terms of trust more than makes up for it.
Second, being the authors of truly authoritative and authentic content on their industry, wherever it’s published. No agency, copywriter or brand journalist can create the content a team member can create in terms of showing the real situation.
In fact, it’s better to keep both PR, marketing agencies and employer branding agencies far away from expert content in order to keep it truly authentic. There’s a reason most employer branding content isn’t true thought leadership – it’s very obviously propaganda and what we need to do is focus on value. It’s far more productive to help employees create content through workshops and with the help of editors rather than trying to mimic them. You can’t.”
2. What does the future (post-pandemic) hold for employer branding?
“While companies have invested in employer branding blogs and social media, the focus for years now has been on events: job fairs, conferences etc. It makes sense because most HR professionals traditionally know how to take part in events.
Authentic content, be it native advertising or a new social network like TikTok, isn’t something they are used to working with. With far fewer events globally because of COVID-19, the employer branding professionals who use their events budgets to invest in authentic content will reap the biggest rewards. LinkedIn or a corporate blog, like they have been doing for years, would be a poor choice. Instead, they should look into authentic YouTube content, such as video essays as well as new Instagram formats as well as just finally teaching their employees how to create real content.”
3. How can brands utilize social media to positively affect their employer brand?
“Have you ever heard anyone truly talk about a company because of their technology or product when they were really, really honest? To a point, but what people want to know is who they will be working with.
‘What’s the culture?’ not in terms of grand vision, but the water cooler things. Are they interested in gaming or more of a wine and dine crowd? Do they like selling or creating content? Brands can use social media to show a real behind the scenes look at their company which will make a team-fit far easier, but to do that they need to find the formats that are authentic for a specific channel.
For example, while not being an EB initiative, Corridor’s “SFX Artists react” series uses the YouTube “react” format to create an insight into their team members as expert commentators. It’s not just one more “podcast”, one more “interview”. It’s fun, engaging and still communicates their expertise.”
If you’re familiar with DSMN8, you’ll know that we celebrate employees as being the most authentic way to showcase your company content, so we’re totally on board with Ivan’s opinions on the matter.
Whether it’s for corporate purposes or company culture content, people are statistically more likely to engage with and trust content that is shared by an employee over content shared by a company’s social media page.
Your employees are your behind-the-scenes content creators who can take your employer brand to the next level!
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can leverage your employees’ networks to maximize reach, engage a wider audience, and positively influence your employer brand, then check out our guide ‘The Ultimate Guide to Employee Influencers‘.
For more thought leadership on employer branding, check out this previous interview with the Global Employer Brand Lead of Rolls-Royce.