Brand matters. Just ask Coke and Pepsi, Levi Strauss or Apple, to name a few. As consumers, we know what to expect with those brands. We recognize their logos without any words and what distinguishes their products.

Now consider your company’s brand. Your brand is the sum of what people perceive about your company’s customer service and reputation. It’s the experience customers, employees and perspective employees have when interacting with your company. A healthy brand replicates the story you want told, the mission and values you say are important. Industry leaders are trusted and respected. People don’t hesitate to recommend them.

It only makes sense that if your brand is what you want it to be, the best candidates will want to work at your company.

“You want a candidate to understand what they are walking into when they walk in for an interview,” said Wes Ashworth, Vice President of Executive Search at Lee Group Search. “They should be energized by what they’re seeing out there.”

Videos with authentic employee testimonials on a company website can promote your brand. Candidates want to hear from their peers, not upper management bragging about why a company is an awesome place to work. Real voices telling real stories about the perks of working at the company matter more than rhetoric from a figurehead.

It helps to have a state-of-the-art website and an engaging social presence, too. The website should be visually appealing, professional and up to date. That means no dead links that lead to error codes. That means if a company has a blog, actual posts are there to read. It pays to be a thought leader in your industry. That means your news feed isn’t several years old.

Being active on multiple social media platforms informs candidates how your customers view the company. If your feed is full of complaints about poor response times, deficiencies in products or overall dissatisfaction, that’s part of your brand’s story. It’s also a turnoff to potential employees. If you fail to communicate to your customers, candidates aren’t likely to trust you to get back to them, either.

In many ways, you can control your brand. Companies can invest in a sparkling new website and spend advertising dollars touting their image. But public perception plays a major role in brand. Don’t overlook how you treat employees, customers and even competitors. These authentic voices matter. They lend credibility or in a worst case, take it away. For example, if part of your brand involves investing in your own community, that shouldn’t be lip service. Make sure you actually do what you say you’re about. Brand creates buzz. You want a potential employee to not only be aware of that buzz but be eager to generate more. If you’re relevant in your industry, your brand tells the story you want to tell and attracts the kind of employee you’re seeking to hire.

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Lee Group Newport News office. Wes Ashworth.