I was reading a book by the former CMO of Pepsi and CEO of Apple, John Sculley, where he talked about the moment they released the 1984 commercial during the Super Bowl. They talked about the emotion as they sat, holding their breath, wondering what would happen and where they might go next. It was a big risk – with potential for big reward.

No one thought it would be as impactful as it was. At the time, Apple was a little brand trying to make the next big thing, pushing borders and boundaries in their space – but widely unrecognized globally selling a product that just wasn’t in demand.

Not everyone had a computer and more importantly – not everyone wanted a household computer. They didn’t see how it fit in their life and the perception was that desktops were well out of their price range – a luxury, not a commodity. When customers were thinking like this, it was more important than ever for Apple to hit big; to create a brand impact that made people curious about them and open their minds to have a bigger conversation about what a household computer could do and why they should consider it.

No Brand? No Problem

1984 apple brandSeems crazy today but then, that was the marketing challenge. They had to convince people that this new brand was interesting and intriguing. I think we all know how this story ends (as we take a break from reading this post to check out iPhone). Today, Apple is a company people want to work and buy from. A win on all fronts.

That’s employer branding at its best. Unfortunately, that only works for about three percent of companies. Most of us don’t have the luxury of having a known brand. We can talk all day about hiring “top talent,” but if they don’t even know we exist – we’re in for an up-hill battle. So often, I hear the frustrating in a recruiter’s voice saying “well they won’t call me back!” or “they have no urgency.”

GEM Recruiting AI

It’s pretty obvious to me why they aren’t eager and it has less to do with your untrained recruiters than the awareness that your company even exists. The thing is – employer branding is the very top of the recruiting funnel, whether you like it or not, and in companies that survive without dedicated employer branding folks – that responsibility inevitably falls on the recruiters. Look at the reverse side of this value proposition. Have you ever said or heard another job seeker say, “but they are a great company to have on my resume” or “I really want to work there because I think it’s pretty cool.” That’s the good stuff. That’s what drives urgency, call backs and the attention you need.

“But wait,” you probably said. “I don’t do marketing. I don’t like branding. I don’t even know where to start.” I get it – the blogs make it sound hard and talk about huge budgets you just don’t have to spend on anything that doesn’t guarantee applies. But you don’t need a world class brand or big budget to make an impression on candidates. You just need the right people to notice you.

That’s why I’ve invited Celinda Appleby, Head of Employer Branding for Oracle’s Global Recruiting organization to join me this week on RecruitingLive. She has experience in your role as a recruiter, supporting recruiting teams and building brands globally. Here in the US, she’s faced her own challenges creating the right branding teams, the right messages and selectively rolling out content on the right channels to reach the right candidates and we’ll talk about all that and more, live.

Bring your questions this Friday at 1 pm EDT. That’s what RecruitingLive is about, after all. No slides, no prepared questions – just helping you by answering your branding questions live.

By Katrina Kibben

RecruitingDaily contributing writer and editor.  I am a storyteller. A tactical problem solver. A curious mind. A data nerd. With that unique filter, I work to craft messages that strategically improve the perceptions and experiences of our clients, the people they employ and the candidates they wish to attract. I methodically review and collect research and insights to offer solution-based recommendations that meet the one-off, and not so one-off, recruiting and employer branding problems of today's global employers.


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