By: John Rossheim
When it comes to media and distribution channels, there are more ways than ever for staffing firms to brand themselves to their clients and candidates. In today’s noisy media world, the challenge is to define your company’s brand attributes.
What’s the secret? Be thorough and burnish your staffing brand with these key tactics. Do so and you’ll have a more effective branding strategy than most of your rivals.
To home in on your branding, ask tough questions about your firm. David Searns, CEO of Haley Marketing Group, which has staffing firms as clients, believes that brand strategy begins with a pointed interrogation.
“We ask a lot of questions of the customer’s senior execs, salespeople and recruiters,” he says. Haley enquires about the staffing services the customer provides, who is the customer’s ideal client and who the customer speaks to within their clients’ organizations, “because you have to target.”
Only brand your firm on claims you can prove. If a staffing firm can’t back up claims made or implied by its branding, then the branding can’t help the business thrive.
“We ask who our customer’s competitors are and we look at how they address the competition,” says Searns. “We give them a list of 30 possible offerings and ask them to prove each item they’ve checked off.”
Consider the culture of the clients you seek. Even when they’re hiring temp help, your client wants to see that you understand what their company is about. This can mean that when you visit the client’s workplace, for example, you dress with a level of formality (or informality) that matches the client’s.
“We always try to mimic the style of the companies we’re pitching,” says Brandy Herschbach, CEO of Moxy, a staffing firm specializing in creative professionals.
Use content marketing to boost your brand image. Saying that you provide the right talent at the right time is easy; proving that your firm has thought deeply about difficult staffing challenges requires investment to back up your brand.
“We’ve partnered with [public relations firm] Edelman for 4 years to build a really strong media platform that includes collateral such as salary guides with really localized information” that appeals to clients, says Martha Kelley Sams, director of marketing at Addison Group.
Don’t neglect your branding for candidates. Especially in these times of high labor demand and low unemployment, staffing firms are wise to burnish their online brands. “Staffing firms tend to be so sales focused that they do a terrible job of employer branding,” says Searns.
One such example: for clients that are getting bad online reviews, says Searns, “we create reputation management programs” that include gathering more feedback from all candidates after interviewing candidates, to curb online venting.
Focus the brand to reach talent that isn’t actively looking for work. The best talent that staffing firms can hope to tap is, as always, less likely to be looking for work than are average performers. So it’s critical to push your firm’s brand messaging to passive candidates.
The best way to do that is with social recruiting. “Our message is directed to passive candidates, and it goes out exclusively on social platforms,” says Herschbach.
Design your offices to express your employer brand. Yes, your candidates will spend much more time in your clients’ offices than in your own, but your place of business still makes a big impression, positive or negative.
Addison Group designs its various locations to be very similar in appearance, so candidates find themselves in a familiar environment no matter which of the staffing firm’s offices they visit, says Sams. Their office design features a bright, open lobby and small cubicles with low walls that create an energetic atmosphere, she says.
Build your brand by measuring its success. The way clients and candidates feel about your brand will ultimately depend on how they feel about the services you provide.
“We work to enhance Net Promoter and other customer-satisfaction measures,” says Kelley. “Brands now are more internal — about sentiments and feelings — than primarily visual as they used to be.”