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Why Most Employer Branding Videos Are Like Bad 80s Hair Styles

Why Most Employer Branding Videos Are Like Bad 80s Hair Styles

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Most companies these days now know Employer Branding is a critical component of engaging and attracting candidates to their companies and jobs. It is commonplace to see Employer Brand social accounts, better branded job descriptions and more robust career sections on company websites.

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One area, though, that has not seen a real “get with the times” response is Employer Branding Videos.

Is Your Company’s Employer Branding Video Trapped In The 80’s?

Video is king of content today, and you need look no further than any social analytics to see this. Video is by far the most engaged form of content, yet companies are really struggling to get this right when it comes to Employer Branding. It literally seems like companies have taken a template created in 1983 and repurposed it across all industries and verticals. You know the drill – get a few company employees, stick them in front of a plain backdrop, cue the cheesy stock music and have them say how much they like their jobs in a “as filtered by corporate communications” way possible.

In the end, you have boring city and in no way shape or form have you truly represented your culture, employees or your organization. Also – these videos are way too long for today’s consumption habits. The companies that are truly excelling at this now are ones that take chances, that step outside the expected and show in different ways what is special about their people and cultures. This is video after all, and video needs to be entertaining too.

So Why Do Companies Do This?

Well for one because it is easy, but my opinion is they do it because of fear. Fear of what their employees will really say when not “big brothered” or fear that some people might not like it or even fear that it may be too bold and not “on brand.” Newsflash – “on brand” IS your people, and if you cannot trust them to be “on brand” then you hired the wrong people in the first place. Maybe a better video could have helped? Chicken, meet Egg. You figure out who came first.

Your Video Shouldn’t Cater To Everyone, Here’s Why…

One company I am involved with that “gets it” on so many levels and have seen great results is Cisco Cloudlock. Cloudlock started this journey long before being acquired by Cisco, but Cisco also is that rare large company that understands that being “on brand” is being REAL and letting your employees be your best brand ambassadors. If candidates don’t like what they see then they probably won’t like working there, and that is OK with all involved because the flip side is that if people do like what they see then they know they are pursuing a career with a company where they will be happier.

Early on, when Cloudlock was a startup under 100 people, they embraced their culture with videos like this and even this. Both are different, and both are definitely bold. These helped propel Cloudlock to see a 236% increase in inbound applications and a 233% increase in hires year over year. On top of that, they were also named the #3 Best Place to Work in the US by Glassdoor. When Cisco acquired Cloudlock, they both worked together on video to help brand the unique and very colorful personalities and cultures of both organizations.

Together they created this new video “Be You. WIth Us” that literally follows some employees to their lives outside of work and shows how they can actually be able to be that identity first and foremost in a world where that is not often the case. Not only is this true for their company and will help to show that to prospective candidates, but it also helps amplify the pride of the existing employees too. I asked some Cisco Cloudlock folks how they perceived this effort and what it means to them:

“It captures the essence of us wonderfully. It makes me feel even more proud (if that’s possible) to work here!” – Stephanie Holt, Marketing and Sales Operations.

“This video means to me what we have always been – that people are the core of our business. We need to provide them the environment in which they can thrive and be the best version of themselves. This video illustrates that perfectly for me.” – Jillian Hufnagel, Chief of Staff at Cloudlock

There are no boring testimonials that are clearly corporate “sanitized”, no stock imagery, and so on. What they did was very simple: Follow specific employees in their lives outside of work, showed this simply, and then did the same thing for their lives at work. Different roles and people are captured to show not only the diversity of the company but also the diversity of experiences. The message that ties this together is, again, simple but effective – “Be You. With Us.”

Pick Your Path: Humor Or Heart

One other effective component of this video is that it touches on, what I refer to constantly as the two most effective paths of content – Humor or Heart. Research has shown that the content people engage with is either funny or inspires emotion. This video clearly ticks the “heart” box and then some. Those boring videos most people do…..not so much. The lessons here are simple:

  1. Be bold – take chances
  2. Tell your employees’ stories – not the one you want to tell
  3. Pick a path of Humor or Heart
  4. Keep it as short as possible

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About The Author

Ed NathansonEd Nathanson helps great companies come to the good side of the force and join the rebel alliance. He has over 20 years of experience as a Global Talent Acquisition, Employment Branding and Human Resources Leader. He has been a Keynote speaker at LinkedIn Talent Connect Australia 2014, LinkedIn Talent Connect Las Vegas 2013, ERE Atlanta 2015, BATSA 2015 and was the global live stream host for LinkedIn Talent Connect in 2014.


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