Employment Branding Hits the Big Time — and an Unexpected Company is Leading the Charge

What do you think of when you hear the name “General Electric”? I’d guess words like “power,” “industry” and “machinery” come to mind for most of you. But what do you think of when you hear the term “General Electric employee”?

That’s a question that GE is very focused on, and I know that because I’ve seen and heard a number of advertisements — both of television and radio — related to the matter. The series features a millennial named Owen who has just taken a developer job at GE, writing code that allows machines to better communicate with each other. Only his friends and family have trouble equating GE with coding — in one of the commercials, for example, Owen’s father insists on giving him his “grandpappy’s hammer,” since he’ll be working in “manufacturing.”

I love these ads, and not just because they achieve the rare feat of successfully getting their point across while being legitimately funny. I’m interested in their purpose: employment branding.

Employment brand, as the name suggests, refers to the reputation of a company specifically with regard to job-seekers. In this case, GE is targeting technologists to let them know that it’s part of the digital world — it’s place where coders are not only crucial, but they do interesting and meaningful work.

We’ve talked about employment branding (also referred to as employment marketing) a lot in the recruiting industry, but now we are seeing multimillion dollar advertising spends behind it. GE is the only mainstream example I’m seeing right now, but they are hitting it out of the park. With the success of these ads, don’t be surprised if we start seeing a lot more spend behind employment branding in the near future.

Have you seen any other examples of employment branding recently? Let me know in the comments below, or give us a shout on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Kevin Krumm is a managing partner at Objective Paradigm and Talution Group. These companies offer recruiting and staffing solutions for growing companies in the financial and technology industries.

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