The Process of Building Your Recruitment Brand
College Marketing's Strategic Process
I presented the 16 Tools to Build Your Brand and Recruit the Very Best at the NACE National Conference last week. Before we begin discussing each of the points from that presentation, I wanted to give an overview on our strategic process to recruiting so you have a frame of reference.
College Marketing has an internal philosophy about the process needed to be successful with recruitment marketing and advertising. Below is a diagram of the process, but let me explain each of these parts for you.
We see a great deal of companies who look at the college market and start their marketing play with “we want to do ‘x’ or ‘y,'” but haven’t thought through what effect it will have on your organization. Many approach their brand building by doing the same things year after year. With how quickly things are changing these days, it’s important to be conscious of each step and determine what the net effect is going to be before you start and execute your recruitment plan. Then start the process all over again for your next initiative. This process can be used annually or semi-annual depending on your budget and planning cycles. More often is better than not due to how fast the student mind-sets are changing these days. The economy is having a strong effect on this too. Two years ago a recruitment brand strategy was very different than it is today.
Let’s break apart each step:
- Company – This is what you more than likely already have in place. It’s what your business, department, etc. has defined as who you are, why you do what you do as a company, what you want your consumers to think of your brand, your key competitive advantages and products.
- Customer – In a recruitment context the customer is the student you are looking to influence/hire. You need to define what your consumer think of you. Most of the time your brand view doesn’t align with what the public thinks your brand is. This is where research comes in to play. What does the customer think your competitive advantages are? Why do they buy or want to work from you? What do you offer that others don’t? What’s your brand mean versus your competition? If your “Company” elements above don’t align with the “Customer’s” way of thinking and what’s important to them, then your campaign will not likely achieve the goals set out for the program that’s being developed.
- Planning and Strategy – This stage is where the 16 tools start to come together and your ROI is developed. What message will you use? Where will the message be located? Do you need to make changes to how your teams are dressed or what they talk about when interacting with the students? When does your marketing happen? How does it help effect the disconnect that likely exists between stages 1 and 2 above? Do you need to make changes to your website or Facebook page or YouTube channel or handouts or booth design or videos or…or…or…? Run through everything to ensure each tool you use is on message and in the right places to cause the shift needed in your consumer’s mindset about your brand/company.
- Execution – This is the “get it done” stage. Execute on the brand message, website strategies, on campus events, speaking, career fairs, social media, etc.
- 20/20 – In this stage, take a look at what went well… or poorly. Do your follow up consumer research to see if your goals/objectives outlined in the planning and strategy stage occurred. What did you learn? Did you hire the students you expected to hire? Why or why not? In essence, you should be able to define if you hit the ROI elements you outlined in phase 3.