Employer Branding and People Communication In Times Of Crisis

Ad spend on e-commerce has doubled in the US while of course the travel industry has had to lay off employees, be it conventional airlines or Airbnb, Trip advisor like new-age technology companies alike.


When uncertain times lurk around, both organizational and people behavior go in for a tectonic shift. In the last few months, what seemed to be a world accelerated in its pace has now taken a dim view of what economic scenario holds for us and in response to that how the job market will fare is anyone’s guess. As per a survey done by Influencer Marketing Hub, covering over 237 brands, 1 out of 4 companies said they will increase their marketing spends post-COVID to maintain or increase their presence in media. And the fact that cost per impressions and cost per click is down, and as a result, 22% of brands are actually spending more on ads. Ad spend on e-commerce has doubled in the US while of course the travel industry has had to lay off employees, be it conventional airlines or Airbnb, Trip advisor like new-age technology companies alike.

There is also a shift in consumer behavior, for example, consumption of media itself is expected to grow by 60%, (study by Nielsen Media company) whether its Netflix or YouTube or Facebook. Users today are much more engaged on social media and recruitment platforms like Linked In and are more likely to take inspiration from content-based marketing of any organization at this stage.

So, what does change for Employer Branding and People communicate during a crisis like this?

This is perhaps the time when candidates are looking for more safety and security from an organization and it also seems to be a perfect time to capture the best out of the talent market. World-class talent is available that can go a long way in building for your organization’s future. This is the time when the right investment in any organization’s Employer Brand will separate the chaff from the grain. Not investing in building for a brand right now will result in future losses not only when the market recovers, but also create a deeper impression on the minds of niche and highly skilled talent for the longer term.

Content-based marketing will hold the key to building trust and authenticity. Not just what you say and how you say. For example, any work you as an organization are doing for the community goes a build for a more positive brand at such times. Leadership communication will remain the essence of communication and transparency and sincerity needs to be reflected in messaging. Driving more efficiency and productivity will determine campaign results rather than inadvertently spending on various platforms.

More importantly, Employer branding is also about engagement and having true ambassadorship from people already working with you. A positive and safe work culture, showcased by your own people, will help the organization shine through. Being consistent during these times, will create a stronger word of mouth for the brand while alleviating people’s fears and anxieties leading to better productivity. 

Strategically, the Employer branding professionals would be noticing following trends:

- Greater focus and investment in new tools and technologies for deeper social engagement. Intranet, Internal social media platforms are occupying the main stage and replacing physical events.

 - Recruitment processes are becoming end to end digital and Employer Branding teams are playing a critical role in supplementing communication and brand experience augmenting what was only in-person experience.

- Content marketing on social media and extranet is being refocused and redirected to suit the current environment and is being more topical and agile than long-standing promises. 

It is imperative right now to take cognizance of following during these times:

- Being mindful of current environment and keeping your communication tonality accordingly. Appearing tone-deaf to the external reality might not put your brand in the right esteem.

- Talking more about a safe and flexible work environment rather than physical benefits might be more suitable.

- Candidate interactions need to be even more personalized and query resolved at the earliest.

Several scenarios will develop post-COVID recovery in terms of how people will revert to their lifestyles. It is understandable that the longer the lockdowns deeper the impact on the economy and longer recovery periods. From a marketing perspective, ad spends will definitely be on the lower side, and campaigns that do not result in conversions would be under deeper scrutiny. As per the Influencer Marketing Hub study, there has been a 50% increase in FB messaging activity and Twitter conversations have increased 4X in March. Online sales of grocery items have become the norm and people are using very little cash. This particularly means that marketers need to keep an eye on innovative technologies to reach their right consumers, be it mainline or talent. As more and more talented communities keep a closer eye on “what organizations are doing or saying right now” it will have a deeper impact on their choices now or in the future.

As a mindful organization, if at this time, you are making cost-effective yet consistent efforts to build for a positive employer brand, and you becoming one of the “top of mind” companies to work for, it will not only set you apart in the current scenario but also help leverage the best talent to work for you. Building up and sustaining for your long-term future.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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