Leadership branding: where marketing meets human resources

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I began my career in marketing more years ago that I care to count. For 15 years I worked with amazing companies such as Hallmark Cards, Kraft Foods (now Mondelēz) and Simplot Australia, owner of brands such as Leggo’s, Edgell and John West.

I loved marketing. I loved building brands and working to develop emotional relationships between these brands and their consumers. I relished the creativity that is integral to the art of marketing. But despite this passion for my work – or perhaps because of it – I continued to nurture a burning desire to start my own business.

They say that the best ideas come from human need and, early on in my career, I noticed a gap in the market. My role at Simplot required me to manage recruitment and, to be frank, I hated it every minute of it! I couldn’t help feeling that the whole process was more difficult than it needed to be. It occurred to me that if sales and marketing people recruited for sales and marketing people, the recruitment process would be more intuitive, more efficient and better informed.

So that’s exactly what I set out to do. I left my job and started my first recruitment agency.

More than 17 years later, I have watched the recruitment industry undergo significant change. There have been many ups and downs over the years but I truly believe that now, more than ever before, I am in my ‘sweet spot’. The last few years have seen the development of the perfect climate in which to combine marketing and human resources. It is a time when leadership and employer branding are more critical to success than ever.

The more things change …

Of course, there are certain fundamental principles that will always underpin success in business. The following will always be true:

  1. Great talent is essential for any business to succeed.
  2. Great talent wants to work for inspiring leaders and strong businesses.
  3. Great talent is hard to find.
  4. A sense of fulfilment at work is not just a ‘nice-to-have’, it is critical to a sense of wellbeing generally.

So what’s new?

While the fundamentals might endure, the changes that have occurred in recruitment have far-reaching consequences. They have altered, and will continue to alter, how marketing and human resources relate to each other. Collaboration between these two disciplines is key to taking today’s organisations on to future success. The opportunity to work together in new ways – and the necessity of it ­– has resulted from the following changes:

  1. Technology now enables companies to have direct access to potential employees via LinkedIn, employment sites and talent communities.
  2. Social media now means that our reputations – including our own personal brands, our organisation’s employer brands and the brands of the product or services we provide – are public. The likes of TripAdvisor, Glassdoor, Google reviews, and LinkedIn endorsements and referrals all communicate to potential employers, suppliers and customers both our strengths and, potentially, our weaknesses. Nothing can remain hidden for long any more.
  3. Talented individuals – in particular, millennials – are more discerning than they used to be. They demand to work for inspiring leaders whose values align with their own.
  4. We are living in a globalised world and talented people are increasingly working across multiple countries and industries. This means that we can no longer afford to think of our profiles solely in terms of a single country or state, or even a single industry. It’s essential that our outlook becomes far broader in order to reach and attract strong talent.
  5. We are changing jobs more often. The most recent research indicates that millennials are now switching jobs roughly every 17 months and that employees today can expect to have six careers in their working life and more than 15 jobs.
  6. We expect more from our work. No longer is a job just a means to a paycheck – we now expect our employment to offer us a sense of purpose and achievement, as well as opportunities for professional development.

Why do you need a personal/leadership brand?

Given all these changes, it’s clear that today’s businesses have no choice but to think carefully about their branding in terms of talent attraction, or risk being left behind. Closer interaction between marketing and human resources enables an organisation to develop a reputation as an employer of choice in several ways:

  1. It’s a busy, noisy world out there. Without a strong profile, your business is apt to get lost among the rest. In order for great talent to find you, you need your branding to stand out from the crowd.
  2. To attract the best, you need to be the best. The strongest talent will naturally gravitate towards those organisations that have excellent reputations for inspiring and nurturing the development of their employees.
  3. Your suppliers and customers are also integral to your success. Your branding has to take into account the need to attract and retain these key players, just as it aims to catch and hold the interest of the best and brightest employees in your industry.

It’s certainly an exciting time to be in recruitment! And it’s a great time for businesses to reassess their branding and their standing to ensure they’re well placed to make their mark in this new landscape of talent attraction and retention.   

We'd love to help you navigate this new landscape. Contact me by email or on (03) 9698 8700 and we can get started!