18 Building Blocks To Articulate Your Employer Brand

If an organization has a well-defined employer brand on social media —not just the occasional post and/or job ads—they have a heck of a lot of fuel for social media, blogging, search engine optimization, public relations, and word-of-mouth. A plain job ad, by itself, doesn’t go so far in these increasingly important and mission-critical channels that are all about messaging, targeting, content, and differentiation.

Job ads don’t get shared

Think about it: No matter how cool the job is, what do plain job ads really do for you in these social arenas? They’re merely an indication that your business is growing and that you are hiring. Unfortunately, such posts are just noise and will go unnoticed in this crowded social space. (Your company or brand name could be one exception, when it allows for a unique and meaningful user handle or URL, especially if you can claim it across social platforms.)

Start tapping into your deeper power.

The true power of employer brand articulation is that it gives you—actually your whole organization—the strategy, messaging and talking points (i.e. content) to guide your social media efforts and other outreach. It can define what you offer, who you serve, and how you’re best at what you do. And, it can even tell you who to target it to and what tone it should be expressed in, unifying your messaging and your voice across markets and media types.

Brand articulation is not just your mark, it’s your brand put into words, concepts, and experiences. Unfortunately, most businesses just jump into the visual part of branding, without determining the exact value proposition and story their visual is based on.

Here are some of the building blocks of brand definition and brand strategy. Scan through and see how these could feed your social media (and other) efforts. My guess is that if you had all of these clearly defined and knew this much about your brand, you’d likely have more content and messaging ideas than you have time in the day to blog or tweet.

Organizational elements

  1. Vision (Where are we going? What do we want to achieve?)
  2. Mission (What’s our purpose? Why do we exist?)
  3. Values (What are our core beliefs? Principles that drive us?)

External Messaging

  1. Target Market (Who specifically do we need to hire?)
  2. Key Audiences (Who else are we talking to? And why?)
  3. Key Products or Services (What are our primary offerings?)
  4. Competitors (How are we different from our competitors?)
  5. Positioning (How are we seen and valued in comparison to our competitors?)

Internal Messaging

  1. Value Proposition (What’s different about us? Why does it matter?)
  2. Elevator Pitch (How do we talk about this casually?)
  3. Brand Promise (What do we assure? Why choose us?)
  4. Key Messages (What are the three or four things that every communication should say?)
  5. Proof Points (What is the factual information that backs these claims up?)


  1. Brand Personality (What are our organization’s “human” traits and attributes? How do we behave?)
  2. Voice and Tone (How do we talk? What mood do we want to convey?)
  3. Beacon (What’s the one word or concept that best represents us?)
  4. Brand Story (How do we boil these things down into an emotionally compelling narrative?)
  5. Manifesto (Are we so passionate, or so revolutionary, about something that we want to make a “public declaration” of it?)

Build a solid brand platform to launch (and speak and share) from.

It’s ideal to start with the bulk of these strategic questions answered before building a visual brand identity. (The fact of the matter is that a job ad and brand identity should ideally be the outcome of a employer brand articulation process, not the other way around.) But even organizations with established social presence can significantly benefit from going back to build the communication and messaging foundation underneath.

Imagine how much more unique, meaningful, and effective your Tweets, pins, shares, videos, profiles, and posts (and yes, your job ads too) can be with the power of all this intention, thinking, and common understanding behind them. It’s actually simple physics. A solid platform, focus, and every bit of energy and every system working in alignment is additive, giving you both a trajectory and maximum momentum.

Another good metaphor is brand as an iceberg. The job ad, name, or tagline may be the obvious and highly visible tip above the waterline. But it identifies and stands for something much, much larger (and potentially more powerful) down below.


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