Employer Branding 101

Learn what it is, why it’s important, and the first step for defining your own.

Why do you keep seeing articles about employer branding in your local business pubs and social media feeds? Do all employers need an employer brand? Isn’t this just a buzz word?


If you’re like me, you’re learning about the latest trends, movies, and music about two seasons too late. But employer branding isn’t a trend that will die any time soon. In fact, the upturn in the economy and subsequent low unemployment rate are strong indicators that employer branding is here to stay—and will become increasingly important to any organization that wants to hire the best employees.

What is your employer brand?

Your employer brand is your reputation with current and potential employees—it’s what they think about your organization. According to employer branding guru Brett Minchington, it’s critical to instill the image of your organization as a great place to work in the minds of both current employees AND active and passive candidates.


Employer branding is dual purpose — to both attract and retain the right talent.

How is an employer brand communicated effectively?

A well-developed employer brand will do a lot of the heavy lifting for your HR department by sharing the organization’s values, culture, benefits, environment, and continuous improvement efforts in a compelling way. You need to clearly understand the values that drive your organization and communicate them to people who feel the same. This helps align your company’s goals with the goals of employees to create a shared mission.

Here's an example

Our website features a throwback image of our founder’s one-bedroom apartment where he started the company in 1981. It’s a bit of nostalgia, but it is also a key component of our employer brand. McCullough Creative was built on a big idea and the work ethic required to make it a reality. After 37 years, our success is still dependent on those same qualities of innovation and hustle. This message is reinforced when speaking with applicants and in our marketing efforts (have you seen our '50,000th Project' video?). This creates an emotional attraction in the right recruits and an emotional commitment in the right employees.


By sharing this information, you:

- Help applicants determine if the organization is a good fit.

- Save time sifting through unqualified applicants.

- Create efficiencies in the hiring process.

- Cut costs associated with retaining employees who don’t fit your culture.


When done well, a compelling employer brand will differentiate a company in a way that beats competitive job offers from other employers. Small-to-midsized companies cannot compete with the wage and benefit packages extended by larger companies, but there are many other ways they can win the right talent, and it all starts with employer branding.

Taking the next steps

Before you start sifting through old photo albums looking for a picture of your first office space, know it’s not as simple as throwing a picture up on your website. Developing a strong employer brand takes time and work. And once it’s developed, it must be communicated through all channels of your company (employee manual, social media, website, job fair booth, etc.).


Check out our post on developing your employee value proposition (EVP)—the cornerstone to your employer brand, and sign up for our newsletter below to receive more branding and marketing insights.