As twilight shadows creep closer and the specter of Halloween looms, there are tales of horror circulating in the realm of recruiting, waiting to be unearthed. And at the heart of these ghoulish tales is the phrase “employer branding”. Employer branding, for those unaware, is the process of promoting a company or an organization as the employer of choice to a desired target group. It’s the company’s unique fingerprint in the vast universe of employment, its distinct melody in the cacophony of corporate voices.
However, just like an eerie tune echoing in an empty mansion, there’s a darker side. When companies misstep in their branding, the aftermath can be nothing short of catastrophic for their recruitment efforts. Branding nightmares can diminish trust, tarnish reputations and make attracting top talent as challenging as catching smoke with bare hands.
Nightmare 1: Carpisa’s Bag of Tricks
In the land of fashion and accessories, Carpisa crafted a contest they thought would be a spellbinding opportunity. Win an internship just by submitting a marketing plan—and buy one of their bags. What may have seemed like a golden ticket to execs was soon seen by many as a poisoned apple. The blunder? Tying a potential internship opportunity to a purchase. Carpisa’s bag of tricks, rather than enchanting, evoked revulsion.
A genuine contest with a clear focus on the skills and talents of participants, independent of any purchase, would have been far less controversial and more in the spirit of discovering budding marketing talent.
Nightmare 2: GoDaddy’s Provocative Past
GoDaddy relied heavily on sultry seductions to draw the masses. Their sexy Super Bowl ads made them a national name nearly overnight. However, the provocative portrayal of women was a double-edged sword. While perhaps capturing some audiences, it repelled many potential employees, especially women. Their employer brand collided disastrously with their consumer brand.
As they later realized, focusing on a diverse and inclusive branding strategy pays dividends. By actively promoting and embracing a culture of respect and equality, they were able to change the narrative, attracting a more diverse range of talents to their shores.
Nightmare 3: Better.com’s Bitter Zoom Bombshell
The digital realm can be cold and impersonal, but Better.com’s firing of 900 employees over Zoom sent chills down many spines. Announcing mass layoffs just before the festive season, especially with an abruptness that lacked empathy, sent shockwaves through the industry.
While business decisions can be tough and layoffs sometimes inevitable, a human-centric approach—one that is compassionate, clear and respectful—could have mitigated the negative fallout. Decisions affecting diverse teams, such as the DEI recruiting team, need careful thought and reflection on the wider message they send.
Branding blunders can be the haunting specters that linger long after the misstep. In the competitive landscape of recruiting, it’s imperative to ensure that employer branding strategies are well thought out, inclusive and genuinely represent the ethos of the company. After all, in the world of recruitment, first impressions, much like the memories of a haunting nightmare, tend to stick.