‘A career at work works if you, as an employer, tell a good story. That an applicant immediately sees, reads and especially feels why he or she should apply with you. Or not. Setting up effective careers pages comes down to: knowing where the core of your organization is and then designing it as appealing as possible.’ The information comes from FW from a story about employer branding. I immediately think of variants such as ‘working with …’, ‘getting started with …’ A nice story about a sawing machine, brand paint or any other product. Honestly, this includes failures and disgruntled partners trumpeting ‘Help, my husband is a handyman’ or ‘Help my wife is a handyman’.
‘Employer branding starts at the heart of the story. With the mission and vision. When answering the question: what are we on earth for with this organization?’ Is on FW. The core of a sawing machine story is, of course, in the user’s experience. Good tools are half the battle, but in some situations it is only half and the end result of the job is not to be seen. Bol.com is committed to purpose and says: “Together we change retail, to make everyday life easier.” The online department store invites applicants to participate and look for a suitable vacancy,’ I read on FW. A beautiful statement. My house was painted last week. When screwing back the house number plate, the paint layer came loose. I was then able to pull it off the door jamb like a peeling skin. Not sanded properly, the painter apologized, and he started again, though. Fortunately, it was accepted work, because it took him two extra days.
The story on FW hands out compliments to brands that are doing well. Employer branding is also increasingly happening with stories from future colleagues. FW writes: ‘We find stories from employees, for example at ASR. ‘this is our personal story’ and Van Haren ‘real people with real stories’. We also see videos in which colleagues talk about the work, such as at the Fire Brigade.’ It seems like all those marketers have reinvented the wheel. As nice as all these examples are, they are not very original. And often there is no urgency. But copying behavior is no stranger to us. And if something seems to work why would you invent something new. Better taken well than badly conceived, probably goes through the minds of all those HRM managers. My colleagues are doing it, so I’m going to do it too. I am curious when the first stories will appear in the media under the motto ‘working with …’, summer is coming and of course there is plenty of work to be done. Talk about urgency. Maybe it’s already happening and I’m overlooking them because I don’t take in all the media anymore. And if a brand starts with it, more will follow soon. We are masters of imitation. We now know that when a TV channel has a successful game, you can tune in to another channel on a so-called near-copy within the shortest time.
We see copying behavior in all media. You may be reading a decent daily newspaper, either digitally or in print, and have noticed that the nature of the advertisements is changing. Storytelling is also the key word here at the moment. Full-page stories with the look and feel of an editorial page. The layout is slightly different from the pages with articles. You will discover in the smallest print at the top that it is an advertisement if you have already read the intro to the article and are wondering what kind of deception this is. Not once, but several times, you come across this kind of editorial advertisement in the media. All simply laid out, as if it were a real newspaper page.
But the quality of the design of these advertorials cannot match that of the newspaper. Fortunately, you quickly burst the bubble, because editorial quality is often completely lacking. A few advertisers even show off the name and photo of the journalist who made the story as if it were a guarantee of originality and quality. Storytelling at its worst, in my opinion. And soiling the newspaper. If you read a newspaper digitally, you’re lucky, because some pages were made with a complete lack of expertise. Because the makers assume the physical format of the newspaper, a font has been chosen that fortunately changes into a gray haze on the iPad and does not invite you to enlarge. I don’t read a newspaper to be confronted with a brand story. Even though it is still so beautifully made. I cannot switch between stories about the war in the Middle East or the benefits affair and a crystal clear story, for example about insurance. That really doesn’t come in.
It even backfires as you’ve understood by now. I have nothing against storytelling or brand stories. If they are well made, they can evoke emotions that reflect positively on a brand. But preferably in the right context, well made, unique and authentic, not surrounded by the atmosphere of deception. And aimed, not like a shot of hail. Cucumber season is coming. I predict a lot of poorly made brand stories in the coming months without any urgency in the media. Please let this trend blow over.