The Number of People Who Should Be Involved in Approving Your Employer Brand

The number of people involved in approving your employer brand: Is it one? Three? 27? As a general rule, the more minds, opinions, and pseudo-machinations that are applied to assessing and ultimately approving a creative idea, the less unique the final idea will be.

In the world of employer brand marketing, we call this “having too many cooks in the kitchen.” (We’re a simple lot, us employer brand marketing folks.)

The point is this: More often than not, a great creative idea “gets through” because that decision was made by one or a few individuals who felt free to be bold … who felt unencumbered in their thinking and unafraid to be different.

A Fictional Account of How an All-too-complex Creative Approval Process May Go

(Did you hear that corporate lawyers? A completely fictional account.) Here’s the scenario.

Corporate-wide memo: We are pleased to introduce our new global positioning statement. Of course, this is subject to committee approvals, but we are confident in our new campaign theme: “Just go do it.”

Memo from the Grammar Committee: We feel the modifiers “just go” diminish the strength of the message. Our recommendation: delete both words.

Clarity Committee report: After careful review, we are of the opinion that the word “do” does not project the visceral ethos of our corporate mission. We would like a stronger word: perform, engage, etc.

Sales Committee: We strongly suggest adding a transactional component to the slogan that will serve to directly boost sales. We recommend replacing the word “it” with a phrase that describes our product niches and their contributions to the everyday lives of our customers.

The ad agency proposed theme:

Just go do it.

The final theme after all corporate approvals:

Perform strenuous athletic activity that will amplify the need for you to buy innovative shoes, apparel, and accessories.

So, how many approval layers does your organization have when it comes to your employer branding?

One strategy is to assess the number of approvers you engage, and figure out if you can rely on a fewer number. These “few” may be internal employees who are closest to, or had a hand in, initiating the employer branding process, or even external professionals with employer marketing and branding experience.

It also helps to:

  • Map your approval process and assess it to ensure it is as flat as possible;
  • Identify all approvers to eliminate redundancy of roles and areas of conflict.

Your approvers should have the tools to make an informed decision.

All employer brand creativity is grounded in research. So, all approvers should have knowledge of the “discovery” process that preceded the development of the brand’s copy and designs.

They must know what was revealed in the focus groups, questionnaires, surveys, and interviews with employees, candidates, and other stakeholders. They must also know the message points that provided the roadmap for your employee value proposition and subsequently for the creative development of your employer brand.

You carefully vetted the recruitment marketing organization you chose. You made both a financial and time investment in the initial creation of your employer brand. Equal care should be taken to select those who will finally approve your brand’s creative design and copy.

The upshot is this: The fewer but more qualified approvers you have, the more likely it is that the most memorable and powerful branding creativity will be green lighted.

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So, if you are thinking of streamlining your creative approval process: Just go do it. If you are thinking of adding more approval bureaucracy, just go stop it.

Yes, you should have less approvers. But they should still be broadly representative of your organization.

Having fewer people approve your organization’s employer branding creative product doesn’t absolve you from choosing your approvers carefully. Select qualified representatives from key areas of your organization: the C-suite, Marketing, and yes, HR and Talent Acquisition.

A recent survey by Universum found that a majority of CEOs believe they have the primary responsibility for building their firm’s employer brand, while both Marketing and HR perceive that they each hold the majority stake

The best approach is to invite all of these stakeholders to the approval table, but establish clear lines of final decision-making. In other words, decide in advance who those few (few) people will be who will finally approve the look, feel, and messaging of your employer brand.

Ideally, your approvers should be small in number, thoroughly informed, and have some skin in the game. But that still leaves us with our original question: Exactly how many people should be involved in approving your ad agency’s employer brand creative product? The answer: One less than as few as possible.

Dan Stech

Dan Stech has more than 20 years of experience in employer branding -- serving as an award-winning copywriter, copy chief, and associate creative director at two global recruitment marketing agencies. Now as owner of danwillwrite, he provides copy, concepts, and content services to a wide variety of employer branding and talent acquisition clients. He also eats a healthy breakfast every day and regularly cleans his room.