Any introductory course in brand management will emphasize the benefits that accrue to firms that develop strong brands. These benefits include more customer loyalty, more bang-for-the-buck per dollar of marketing spend, and the ability to charge higher margins. Yet, there is one benefit is often overlooked: a strong brand's ability to attract top talent to the firm. This begins a feedback cycle which works to continuously strengthen the brand. The cycle works as follows:
Strong brands attract top talent. Top talent makes better decisions, which in turn strengthens the brand. Then, the strong brand attracts more top talent and the cycle continues.
But, do brands really work in this way in a world of Monster.com and Workopolis? After all, these online job search sites provide access to jobs of all types from firms of all types. The Monster.com's of the world allow the obscure firms to post their positions directly alongside the strongest brands in the world. Many would argue that these sites play the role of equalizer by giving developing companies the same direct access to talent. Access, however, does not mean that applicants view the brands equally. Here is why: brands play a defining role in how the job seeker views the employment. Let's look at an example:
Who would want to spend an 8 hour work day jumping up and down in a non-breathable fuzzy costume in 100º weather- while making minimum wage? Not many people! But if the job is posted by Disney, then there would be a line-up for a job interview! Why? The magic of the Disney brand makes Disney is a highly desirable firm to work for. As a customer, you can “own” a piece of Disney magic during your stay. As an employee, you make the Disney magic! In this example, the brand name has a power of employment attraction that can not be explained rationally.
Not all companies have as strong a brand as Disney does. So these firms are increasingly finding ways to make their firm more attractive to talent. One way of doing this is through third party sources such as “Canada's Top 100 Employers.” This annual competition, now in its 13th year, provides a one-stop shop highlighting the best places to work in Canada. The aim of the competition, as stated on the website is to “identify the companies and organizations that lead their industries in attracting and retaining employees.” Firms on this list are publicly acknowledged as being the best in their industry, making them increasingly desirable in the eyes of prospective employees. The preferred choice of employment gets tougher now for many people. Who would you rather work for: My favorite brand? Or An unknown brand that is one of “Canada’s Top 100 Employers”. Of course, the two might be combined- which would be the ideal scenario!