Fast Track Recruitment

Brand this..

Posted by Mitch on 26th January 2017


I love it when recruitment people talk about wanting to build or develop “a brand” for their agency.

I don’t really love it. It drives me fucking insane.

I don’t think recruiters (or worse, recruitment marketers) know what Brand means. I didn’t either, so I looked it up.

Here’s what Seth Godin thinks Brand means:

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”

To put that into recruitment parlance, agencies like Hays, Michael Page and Robert Half would get clients to work with them, above all other agencies, and pay them more, simply because of their name and reputation.

As you can see, we’re in polishing a turd territory here.

So if we’re comfortable with the notion that the big agencies don’t have more talented recruiters per capita than the boutique agencies – and that in all probability the opposite is true – then it’s probably safe to say that no agency has a brand.

At least not by any modern definition of the word.

All of which means you can safely ignore advice like this. Be careful if you want to add a comment on that link – it seems the author deletes anything he doesn’t like.

Many a recruitment agency director will say that job advertising is only a part of their overall marketing spend. The bulk of that spend is reserved for polishing the turd. The more creative recruitment marketers sprinkle glitter on those turds.

The reality is that job advertising should be the only part of a recruitment agency’s marketing spend – until they get that part right.

Because if your marketing is telling people you are experts in talent acquisition and your job ads demonstrably aren’t acquiring any talent, then you’re in a bit of trouble.

Advertising, for most job disciplines, is the most cost-effective method of reaching large numbers of potential candidates quickly.

It’s also the place where the brand bullshit stops and measurable marketing starts.

As a postscript, back in the early 90s, Michael Page built their name and reputation by publishing lots of high quality job ads. No brand marketing, just attractive, well-written display ads in places like The Daily Telegraph and The Grocer. And that shit wasn’t cheap back then.


By Jim on Friday, 27 January 2017

I think in many cases brand and product are interchangable - they shouldn’t be though. Most likely you don’t have brand to speak of really.

A brand is a heuristic that someone who buys your product uses when talking about you or your product i.e. no nonsense, straight forward, cool, modern, luxury etc.

It comes about by delivering / creating products and services in that way, if you like. Most businesses don’t have a brand to speak much of. You build your brand by delivering your product and services in a certain way over time. Of course branding can help portray this.

And you are only a brand to those who know you / use you.

Most businesses could do well with limiting the use of the word brand really (like Apple used to and Dyson do), it will take care of itself if you focus on the quality / innovation / delivery of your product and services.

Also remember that even if rec-agencies do have a brand, it’s only to people in that sector i.e. what do you think about agency A,B v C.. The most important opinion is of those that use the product. “We like the brands we use. We don’t use the brand we like.” Hoffman Brand attraction in my opinion is weaker than we had been led to believe by “them’ lot.

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