Promote Your Employment Brand via Rex Ryan and Southwest Airlines

Feb 23, 2011
photo from

Another exciting Super Bowl has come and gone. Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers, the new Champions of the National Football League. Not appearing in the Super Bowl this year was, the infamous or famous, depending on how you view them, New York Jets, who unfortunately came up one game short for the second year in a row. Although they didn’t make it to the world’s largest football stage, don’t let their shortcomings take away from what they have accomplished over the last two years.

I attribute the majority of the Jets’ success to its head football coach, Rex Ryan. Love him or hate him, Ryan has built both a strong personal brand and a team brand in his own image: that of a tough, tenacious, outspoken, hard-nosed, defense-first team. I would argue that over the last two years, no coach has been more outspoken with the media than Ryan. But deeper than his outspoken character is the personal branding that Ryan has accomplished. He is now known as one of the top coaches in pro football with confidence in his team’s ability to play and win tough games.

So what can we take away from Ryan?

He speaks up and holds true to what he believes in. His brand is that of confidence, strength in his coaching ability, and the belief that his team will get the job done. In the NFL playoffs, the Jets went on the road and beat two of the top teams in the league, the Colts and Patriots. Ryan had predicted his team would defeat both.

The company that has set the bar extremely high in the employment branding world is none other than Southwest Airlines. Pilots dancing, flight attendants singing, baggage handlers rapping … are you serious? This is just pure brilliant use of its employees as recruiters to share and sell its corporate and employment brand. They aren’t afraid to call out the competition and have fun while doing so. Moreover, its career site is aimed at attracting individuals searching for an opportunity beyond the average job. Southwest promotes a career that is fun, rewarding, exciting, and interesting with a company that is committed to the happiness and well-being of its employees.

For companies and organizations looking to attract talent, have the confidence of Rex Ryan, perhaps even a little cockiness in your organization. Use the vision and leadership of Southwest Airlines, have fun with it, be bold, and brag to the world about why you are an employer of choice. Furthermore, make it known that your company is a force to be reckoned with in the recruiting/employment world. Establish talent networks so broad that individuals will be knocking down the door to come work for you when a position opens up.

If you are not sure where to start, start by building your depth chart with strong partnerships and tools. Locate, partner with, and use an agency, consultant, or expert who can deliver visionary employment branding, leadership, and initiatives. Lastly, don’t be afraid to compete, even if you are a smaller organization and feel as if you are competing with Goliath — just as Ryan’s Jets did. Giants can be defeated!

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!