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The Resilient Recruiter

Feb 2, 2024

Effective employer branding is not just about attracting candidates but also about retaining existing employees. A positive work environment and reputation increase employee satisfaction and reduced turnover. As a recruiter, how can you partner with your client companies to achieve employer branding objectives?


To answer this question, I am delighted to have a very special guest, Bryan Adams, CEO and founder of Ph.Creative, an award-winning employer branding agency with offices in Liverpool, London, San Diego, and Auckland. Bryan shares insights and strategies on creating an effective storytelling framework to apply this branding philosophy: repel the many and compel the few.


Bryan helps his clients define their essence as a company, both in its uniqueness and what it stands for, and then crafts and aligns those aspirations with the people his clients are looking to attract. They’ve worked with famous brands such as Apple and Nike.  He is also a two-time best-selling author. His latest book is Give & Get:Repel the Many and Compel the Few with Impact, Purpose, and Belonging. He has written for the Harvard Business Review,, the Entrepreneur magazine, and has been featured in Forbes. 


Episode Outline and Highlights


  • [02:22] How Bryan launched his branding agency.

  • [05:45] DIscussion on employer branding and the philosophy of attracting the right people.

  • [13:01] Roadmap in helping your client attract the right people.

  • [18:02] What are the components of a good employer brand?

  • [27:41] Bryan gives us key stories from his book, Give & Get Employer Branding.

  • [30:36] What mistakes do companies make concerning employer branding?

  • [37:31] How can recruiters partner with their client companies in achieving the objectives of employer branding? 

  • [43:00] Book recommendations and references on storytelling.

  • [48:10] Employer branding case studies on small to medium-sized businesses.


Repel the Many and Compel the Few - A Guide on Employer Branding


Recruiters are ambassadors of their clients. Understanding the employer brand of the company they represent is crucial to attracting the right candidates. Effective employer branding is critical for attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent. It goes beyond just salary and benefits; it encompasses the company's values, culture, work environment, opportunities for growth, and overall employee experience. 


Contrary to the notion that the correct branding should attract as many candidates as possible, Bryan believes that doing it right should only compel a few, well-screened candidates. He said:


“And it's interesting still in a recent survey, 70% of employer brand leaders still cite an increase in volume of applicants and traffic to their career site as a success metric when delivering an employer brand. I've never met a TA leader, a talent attraction leader who just wants more applicants, more noise, more admin, and more work to get to the people who are ideally matched.”


Bryan shared case studies of corporations and small-medium businesses they worked with and how the right employer branding worked well to find the right people. Bryan pretty much defined the right approach to branding when he said “The idea is, if you're confident and clear enough to know your culture and what it takes to drive the organization forward, and you also can answer some fundamental questions of not just why people join, but why they stay, then you can craft a give and get proposition which is a two-way value exchange of not just what you stand to get as an employer but actually what you're willing to give in return candidates and employees alike can make very informed career decisions as to whether it's an ideal match.”


How to Strategize a Good Employer Brand 


Bryan shared the mistakes companies make when envisioning and strategizing their employer brand. He also shared vital pointers and elements to consider in designing and marketing effective talent branding. It leads to creating a communication framework, which should include the following:


  • Research - the goal is to look for something authentic enough for employees to try on and recognize their personal experience in the messaging that you will put out.


  • Ask the right questions - organizations need to ask the right questions and get the right information to create a messaging that makes sense for them while compelling a segment of the talent audience that they are targeting.


  • Messaging - Bryan described it clearly: get a 360 view and design the messaging to touch a very tangible bridge between the reality of today and the aspiration of tomorrow. 


  • Brand Essence - just like Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, a clear brand essence needs to start a conversation where people can look at the sentiment of what you are saying and be intrigued or make an interpretation that can create an affinity with the audience.


Bryan also discussed the importance of storytelling. He mentioned that this is part of what makes their company successful and also shared books and references that you can look into if you plan to begin engaging in this skill.


How Can Recruiters Promote Their Client’s Employer Brand?


How can recruiters partner with their client companies in achieving the objectives of employer branding? I was interested in picking Bryan’s brains on this question and he was able to give insightful advice which is to focus on creating a compelling story structure.


“The formula is this: empathy, curiosity, surprise, insight, and action,” Bryan said. This approach to creating a story structure he shared is interesting as it is backed up by psychology. 


This is how he explained it: “Empathy is an emotional immediate connection to the organization, what they're trying to do, and the purpose and vision of the organization. Curiosity is something that differentiates you from everybody else and gets people to lean in. So there's an emotional connection and now we're leaning in. Surprise is here's three things that you didn't know. You weren't expecting this. So what we're doing is we're playing with, we're opening the right side of the mind now, the right side of the brain, such that you're now ready to receive facts and information, insights and specific that you can deliver about the role. So we've talked about the company, maybe there's curiosity about the team and the specific objectives in that team, then insight around the specific role, and then we make a call to action. Usually, the call to action ties everything together from a purpose perspective. And if you walk through that formula, it's incredibly powerful if you have a proposition that's compelling and true that plays on all of the strengths that we've talked about.”


Our Sponsor


This podcast is proudly sponsored by i-intro 


i-intro® is an end-to-end retained recruitment platform. Their technology and methodology allow recruiters to differentiate themselves from the competition, win more retained business, bigger fees, and increase their billings. Their software combined with world-class training enables you to transition from transactional, contingency recruiter to consultative, retained recruiter. Instead of being perceived as a “me too” vendor, you’ll be positioned as a “me only” solutions provider. Be sure to mention Mark Whitby or The Resilient Recruiter. Book your free, no-obligation consultation here:


Bryan Adams Bio and Contact Info


Bryan is the CEO and founder of Ph.Creative, recognized as one of the leading employer brand agencies in the world with clients such as Apple, American Airlines, and Entain. Bryan is also a bestselling author, podcaster, creative strategist, and specialist speaker.


Bryan has interviewed over 50 of the world's greatest storytellers including Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Robert McKee to strengthen knowledge and fuel a passion for what it means to effectively move people with language.

He is considered a prominent employer brand thought leader and his creative, unconventional, and even controversial methodologies are said to regularly change the way people think about employer branding and EVP.



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