Jeff Dickey-Chasins aka "The Job Board Doctor", Editorial Advisory Board

Jeff Dickey-Chasins aka “The Job Board Doctor”, Member Editorial Advisory Board

The concept of brand has been around a long time – at least since the turn of the 20th century. The act of turning the generic into the unique, the commonplace into the valuable, has an irresistible pull – at least for marketing and sales folks like me. Studies have shown over and over that strong brands command a price premium – in fact, that is typically the primary test for branding. Strong brands typically command 20% to 30% more than their competitors.

You’d think that fact alone would have job boards, recruiting sites, ATSs, and all the other moving parts of the recruiting industry focused on creating strong, clearly articulated brands.

But you’d be wrong.

Think about it: how many strong job board brands are out there? A few – LinkedIn, GlassDoor, Monster. But not a lot. Same for ATSs – in fact, with the exception of newcomer Greenhouse, I’d be hard pressed to name one. Recruiting platforms? I don’t know.

Wait a minute, you’re saying. What about (my favorite company)? Well, let’s talk about what actually makes up a strong brand – a brand like Apple or LinkedIn or Mercedes-Benz. (By the way, this isn’t me making up stuff – this is what the marketing geniuses out there have said, over and over):

  1. a) A strong brand commands a price premium. Yes, it’s true. If your brand isn’t charging more than your competitors – and getting it – then you’re not a strong brand. Period.
  2. b) A strong brand occupies a slot in its customer’s mind that can’t be filled by any other product or service. Basically, the brand’s customers believes that it supplies a particular service that no one else can or does. Doesn’t matter whether this is empirically true, by the way – only that the customer believes it is true.

So why are so many recruiting brands anonymous? MyDad’ Because branding is hard work. If it was easy, everyone would do it. As it is, only a few in our industry buckle down and work on it. And guess what – they get to charge more than the rest of us. Their renewal rates are higher. Their customers are more loyal. And they’re very hard to compete against.

By the way – a logo is not a brand. A tag line is not a brand. You’ll have all of these in a strong brand, of course, but branding goes much deeper. It gets into what you do and why you’re unique. It is the opposite of commoditization.

And perhaps, in the end, that’s why our industry is scarce on strong brands. Maybe there just too much copy-cat, and not enough uniqueness.

But in my opinion, it’s a lot more fun (and more lucrative) to work for and with a strong brand. Just sayin’.

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