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Is #Talentbrand a Good Idea?

Deloitte Debates


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The corporate brand has been faithfully fed and watered for years, but now another image-maker—the talent brand—is clamoring for attention. Is social media the right place to nurture it? Or is that a venue better left untapped?

For many years, a company’s workforce comprised the employees on the payroll—full-time and part-time. But in today’s open talent economy, the potential workforce includes a global pool of “free agents” who provide needed skills without formally signing on as employees. The quest to attract both traditional and nontraditional talent has prompted companies to brand themselves as desirable places to work, much as they brand their products and services to attract customers.

With its billions of avid users, social media can give companies a ready-made, democratic outlet to promote their talent brand to a global audience of current and potential talent. But is it the right place to be engaging that talent?


Explore all sides below by clicking on each button:

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  • My take
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We’d be foolish to ignore this huge opportunity.
We can reach virtually all of our audiences (not only talent) with the messages we choose to send.
Great. You go first.
Social media is hardly a tried and true vehicle for this sort of thing. We’d rather let others make the first mistakes and then we’ll learn from their experiences.
It’s a natural extension of our HR efforts.
Our corporate brand is already an active presence on social media. And HR already does a lot of recruiting to promote ourselves—this is just another method.
We’re not set up to oversee it.
I don’t know about your company, but in ours, Marketing and HR are worlds apart. And if Marketing owns the corporate brand and HR owns the talent brand…I can see some real disconnects.
We have good things to say.
Social media messages are like PR for our talent brand. Why not send positive messages about our company, just as we do in our corporate PR efforts?
It feels a little too calculated and forced.
We’d rather concentrate our efforts internally on what we’re doing to build a great talent experience. We’re confident the news will trickle outward from there.

Our take

Craig Gill, Director, Deloitte Services LP
Sarah Gretczko, Senior Manager, Deloitte Services LP
Grant Luckey, Analyst, Deloitte Consulting LLP

It’s understandable that companies may be hesitant to dive into the world of social media to promote their talent brand. Unlike corporate branding methodology, which has evolved over years and comes with a plethora of research, resources and subject matter experience to help guide it, talent branding is comparatively uncharted territory. Those who hold the reins on the corporate brand (Marketing) are often far removed from those in HR responsible for talent.

But are the brands themselves really so separate? One may be more externally focused and one more inward, but both represent you in the marketplace—essentially two sides of the same coin. And both can work together to bolster each other and the company as a whole.

Like it or not, your talent brand is likely already being defined in social media by users who interact with your company, whether employees (current and former), prospects, customers, vendors, or simply observers (“My friend works there and loves it.”) You can’t control what they say, but you can follow what’s being said (informally and through analytics) and engage with users to acknowledge positive comments and clarify, correct, or accept responsibility for negative experiences.

You can also take the initiative to start and steer the talent-related conversation, just as corporate brands are being supported (or even built) online. And of course, you may likely want to develop and promote the talent brand in a way that complements the corporate brand. Aligning the two can put the power of brand convergence to work. It can also have other potential benefits, such as cost savings in recruiting and turnover and value creation by increasing the likelihood of attracting skilled talent, who in turn can contribute to organizational innovation.

As for the “hows”— start by talking with your Chief Marketing Officer to lay the groundwork for collaboration on an overall strategy and implementation plan. Use the conversation to:

  • Begin to build the knowledge and collaboration necessary to present a unified brand that encompasses the corporate and talent brand.
  • Tap into the organization’s existing social media and research capabilities to understand what key talent segments perceive about your brand (if you don’t already know) and test the hypothesis that there may be disconnects between the corporate and talent brand.
  • Work through—or at least capture—questions of ownership, coordination between corporate branding and talent branding and ongoing monitoring. 

Related content

Library: Deloitte Debates
Services: Consulting
Overview: Human Capital, Talent
DGES: Organizational Performance


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