Back in August of 2020, we made the case for staffing firms to start thinking about the perception of their brands in the post-pandemic staffing world. As we edge slowly closer (fingers crossed) toward an end to COVID-19, we want to go deeper and propose a step-by-step process to redefining your staffing brand.
But first, a quick recap: How has the pandemic been a catalyst for change in the staffing industry?
Why Does Your Staffing Brand Need Redefining?
Relationships are changing. We were already on that trajectory, but the pandemic has sped it up. For many small to mid-sized staffing firms, client relationships are often built first by owners or leaders, followed by salespeople. For these firms, relationships are core to their success; in many cases, they even claim it as their differentiator—preferable to transactional approaches of larger firms.
However, access to decision makers, to target audiences, and even to candidates is getting more and more difficult. For most of us, the last time we had a face-to-face meeting was in the early months of 2020. The remote sales and recruiting environment—though convenient and in many ways life-saving—serves to make relationship-building that much less personal. Even though many buyers claim to prefer virtual meetings, there’s also the stark fact that the pool of opportunities for both buyers and candidates is significantly larger with the virtual element in the mix.
With this change, the waters are muddied and differentiation in the marketplace is nearly impossible. Staffing firms felt commoditized before, but now it’s even more the case. The need for brand redefinition is increasingly critical.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Redefining Your Staffing Brand
Before you can plan a rebrand, you need to set the baseline. That means taking a step back and getting a serious look at who you are. You should think about gathering client and consultant feedback, as well as employee feedback. This process should also include auditing your current website, messaging, social accounts, collateral, and more to understand exactly what you’re working with. Get used to asking tough questions in an effort to gain unbiased perspectives of your brand.
2. Competitive Analysis
The only way to assess your position in the marketplace is to take a look at the companies standing next to you. How do they market their brands? What value do they propose and how does it differ from what you say your brand offers? What do they say about their candidates, rates, network, process, and more? How are they engaging with their audience via content, social media, and ads? How big and active does their network appear from the outside looking in?
3. Business Climate
Industry outlooks and the general business climate will play an important role in how you position yourself in the marketplace. Gather and research the data and insight that reveal what the next 24-36 months might look like. While every twist and turn in the market can’t always be predicted (hello, global pandemic), the general trajectory should inform your brand positioning, which will need to carry you through at least the next 2-3 years.
4. Business Goals
Get clear on your business goals now, because they should be tightly aligned with your brand and subsequent messaging. What are your revenue targets, client targets, internal hiring goals, service expansion plans, business model, and more?
5. Marketing Foundation
This is the fun part (it’s why we at echogravity love what we do). Keeping the previous four steps in mind, now is the time to identify and wordsmith your brand purpose, value proposition, values, audience personas, and key messaging pillars.
6. Implement Your Marketing Foundation
The messaging that you established in the last step needs to be strategically implemented across the spectrum of your digital assets. First and foremost, that includes web copy and social media profiles, but it extends to all material that your target audiences will interact with—emails, sales collateral, blog posts, press releases, and much more.
7. Build a Brand Book
A brand book is exactly what it sounds like—documentation that defines and describes your brand. Everything you’ve created in prior steps can be documented here, complemented by any details about design requirements and preferences, like colors, logos, images, and more. Use this internally, to let your people know how to communicate your brand, and externally to let the world know how your firm is different.
8. Integrate Your Marketing Foundation
You already implemented your marketing foundation across your digital assets, but that foundation should be a living, breathing expression of your company, present in all audience-facing processes and content. Everything from sales calls and recruiting processes to highly relevant content like ebooks and articles should reflect your brand, poised to convert (and nurture) your clients, recruits, and new employees.
9. Practice and Modify Often
As mentioned, every element of your company should live and breathe your brand. Practice it on a daily basis in all that you do. Of course, as it becomes more ingrained and as you evolve as a company, modifications will be necessary. Run through these nine steps every few years to confirm your brand is as high value and relevant as the day it was established.