“Stories constitute the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.” – Dr. Howard Gardner
Employer brand storytelling is currently gaining prominence as an innovative tool to foster lasting connections with employees and consumers. Many companies are moving forward to harness the power of storytelling as a novel method to enhance their brand value.
What Is Employer Brand Storytelling All About?
In simple terms, an employer brand story is the company’s message (it may be the company’s strategy, objectives, work environment or Corporate social responsibility, etc.) conveyed in the form of a story to its employees, job seekers, and the external world. Such storytelling can be in the way of experienced employees of the company sharing their personal work experiences with other employees, job seekers, etc.
The company may also use visual media to tell its customers and the general public about itself. Quite often the company may invite customers themselves to share their experiences about their association with the company or the company’s products to the general public. Well-constructed brand stories that help resonate with job seekers, employees, consumers, and the general public can further influence a good brand.
What Does It Mean To Have An Employer Brand Story?
Companies have for long been struggling to find a way to effectively communicate in a way that inspires and engages with their employee’s stakeholders, consumers, and the public. The commonly used powerpoint presentations do not seem to reach out as intended effectively.
Here is where the power of storytelling comes in. Stories are easy to recognize, recollect and retell. A whole picture of facts, interpretations, and emotions conveyed through stories enhance the impact and are registered in the minds of the audience quickly. Companies are recognizing the importance of having and investing in an employer brand story.
For instance, a survey by Monster research and Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group discovered that around 50% of companies in the study intended increasing the investments for employer branding.
Benefits Of Using Storytelling In Employer Branding!
Here are some ways storytelling can help employer branding!
1. Effective engagement of the audience:
Storytelling involves two-way communication, wherein one reaches to social media through compelling stories where the audience can better connect with and learn about the company.
The more the audience becomes engaged with the brand, the more they enjoy associating themselves with the company.
2. Better retention of messages:
Stories are remembered well for a long time than speeches and powerpoint presentations, and people take home the message through a story easily.
Stories, especially from people having a direct connection with the company, have a greater powerful impact than messages delivered directly by the company itself and help in maintaining a positive relationship.
By featuring existing employees with real-life messages, companies aid job seekers to visualize themselves in the role. This when coupled with the power of social media, effectively augments their brand’s reach.
3. Helps employees better associate themselves with the company and improves their performance:
Adam Grant, who is a professor at the Wharton School, conducted an experiment that focused on the importance of highlighting the purpose at work, through storytelling. The research was carried out on a call center that raised resources for a university.
Grant divided the call center employees into two different groups. Group 1 was reminded about the earnings and how it would improve their lives, while those in Group 2 were told stories that reminded them about how their work benefited the lives of others.
The result was that Group 2 was able to generate more funds in terms of the number of donations as well as the number of contributions compared to Group 1. Such regular stories establishing the purpose of work will make the employees more dedicated to their job and improve productivity.
4. Competitor Differentiation:
Storytelling is a novel way to move a step ahead and differentiate the brand from competitors. This method helps in better association with the target audience as compelling stories are etched in the consumers’ minds better, thus enabling a long lasting relationship with customers. This, in turn, helps in better positioning against competitors.
Prerequisites For Employer Brand Storytelling!
A compelling brand story should cover the following aspects:
- Focus on the company
- What does the company specifically do and how it adds value
- In what way does the company solve problems
- How does the company contribute to the society
A proper appealing story greatly enhances the Brand Marketing strategy and improves Brand Value. In fact, many Brand Marketing strategies have started focusing on Storytelling to enhance their value.
Examples of Storytelling in Employer Branding
1. Story Telling for Motivating Employees:
The experiment conducted by Adam Grant (talked about earlier) shows the importance of highlighting the purpose in storytelling.
Such stories that remind one about the purpose of their work will kindle the loyalty in them and help employees to associate themselves with the real purpose of the job and perform better
2. Story Telling for Enhancing Customer Loyalty and Engagement:
The Canadian wing of the Huggies diaper brand faced competition from Pampers that had secured many hospital contracts. To tackle this competition, Huggies relied on storytelling to target mothers to value and choose their brand when they were admitted to hospitals for delivery.
They created a story campaign with an emotional and touchable reason for mothers to choose their brand. Highlighting its brand name, the story campaign focused on ‘HUGS’ – Stories educating mothers on the importance of establishing skin contact with babies and how they help in brain development, build the immune system and ward off illness were explained.
The company also ensured that volunteer huggers were available in hospitals to provide warmth for the babies who needed hugs.
The result was a 30% increase in sales and better engagement.
This philanthropic campaign effectively created stories and used the power of data and media to create a truly compelling brand story.
How To Tell Stories That Get Results? The Key Is Creativity!
Intel’s popular taglines like “Intel inside” has captured the essence of the brand. Intel moved a step further partnering with Toshiba with its new storyline and the “Beauty inside” media campaign.
While Intel aimed at refreshing “Intel inside,” Toshiba aimed at increasing the awareness of its Ultrabook. They teamed up and formed a storytelling campaign through an imaginary person called Alex who changes his body every day but remains same from inside. He finds that over several body changes, what remains static is that he carries his Toshiba laptop powered by Intel every day to document his changes.
Alex enjoys changing his body until one day he falls in love and finds this to be a hindrance. With this concept, viewers were targeted over Facebook and were allowed to make their own Alex videos, and the best was incorporated into a film.
The end result with audience created stories, and numerous conversations over Facebook was a whopping 69 million views, 95000 fans and great ratings on Youtube.
Employer brand storytelling isn’t just about the brand story but instead bringing out the interests of employees and customers through the brand.
This requires in-depth knowledge about the audience, incorporating the employees and audience as a pivotal role in storytelling and presenting a brand story in a new way.
If you want to build a memorable employer brand, make sure you weave an interesting story around it!