If This Branding Post Were an App, It’d Be MapMyBrand

Over the past year or so, I’ve had many conversations with HR professionals about employment branding. Or, more specifically, where and how to begin a brand journey. Often times, the conversations jump to social media and creating a Facebook page or Twitter account. For an organization that has yet to fully understand its brand, talking about social could be a few steps out from the true beginning.

A Guide to Developing Your Brand

Recently, I spent some time with Susan Strayer LaMotte of Exaqueo — a culture and talent strategy consulting firm in Alexandria, Virginia — talking about  employer branding and the important role it plays in today’s world. We both agreed that a successful brand strategy is built upon understanding, research and analysis.

Above is the Brand Development Road Map: a visual representation of how an organization might go about developing its employer brand. It takes us from the initial research phase to tactical implementation. Let’s start from the beginning.

From Research to Messaging

Glassdoor’s Will Staney once said, “The future of employment branding is that companies need to understand that employees actually own your brand. Not you.” During the research phase, the goal is find out what your employees think and say about your brand. How can we, as HR marketers, learn what our employees tell their friends about our companies?

During the research phase, you may want to consider focus groups, analyzing employee opinion surveys, taking a pulse check outside of your organization to learn what non-employees think and/or partnering with a third-party firm to conduct a fully scoped market analysis. From that data, you’ll glean insights that can serve as the basis for your employment value proposition (EVP). Once you’ve established a clear EVP, you can being to understand how to position your brand in the talent market and create compelling messaging that speaks to your audience.

Aligning the Internal & External

Part of what we do in employment branding is create a window within our corporate walls that give outsiders an insider’s view. If what we show the outside world differs greatly from the experience inside, we create brand incongruence. As you work toward delivering upon your EVP or brand promise, remember to put forth a concerted effort to create alignment.

Branding Is Creating Awareness of Your Culture

I love this quote from Alan Kennedy, “If every day at work feels like a Friday, then you are doing what you were meant to do.” It sort of sums up my impression of what Stacy Zapar is doing at Zappos: working hard, having fun and wanting to share that with others. Culture becomes one of the key components of a company that employment branding seeks to elevate.

Stay Tuned for More on the Branding Development Roadmap

There’s a lot to discuss when it comes to carefully crafting your employer brand. Creating this Road Map is just a first step in helping the B4J community of readers.

Please check back as we continue the conversations around brand strategies and tactical implementations. Eventually, my goal is to take this one step further by introducing post-development, post-execution measurement and assessment. But those are topics for another time.

What do you think of the development road map? Too simple, too complicated or just right? Let me know in the comments below.

Note from Shannon:

Please do not use the road map image file without express permission from me or Blogging4Jobs. To see a larger version of the roadmap, click here.

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Reader Interactions


  1. Budi Hartono says

    Hello Shannon. I am happy with your explanations about brand mapping in this article. Currently I’m developing a Indonesia-language blog about branding, and I would like to request permission to use the image of Brand Development Roadmap to my blog on http://ceritabrand.co/, and as a thank you I will give you a back link from my blog to this article.

    Best regards,


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