Guest Blog Post: Braden Marstellar, Brand Marketer at Cogo Labs
As the first Brand Marketing Coordinator for Cogo Labs, there are a lot of things I've learned in my first year. Here are six things that have been crucial to the upward momentum of our ever-growing brand.
1. Identify allllll of your stakeholders from the start.
It's easy to assume a brand's identity, goals, and their perception of who they are, but many stakeholders have unique ideas of what the organization's brand means to them. When I started at Cogo Labs I put a large poster board and some sticky notes in our lounge to allow employees, managers, and our executive staff to write one word that would describe the "Cogo Brand" in their perspective. This cluster of phrases allowed me to orient our verbiage on social media, press releases, and internal discussions within a shared vision. Once stakeholders have a say in the language, they feel like they can identify with the brand as ambassadors. When all stakeholders are included, the message resonates and will carry the brand far!
2. Planning content months in advance
Rome wasn't built in a day. Once you identify an appropriate cadence for publishing content on all of your social channels, planning the content as early as possible is critical. If there's an event you can't personally attend, an interview with an employee, or blog posts that need polishing, you want to ensure you have ample time to get these things in order. People get sick, events get canceled, and guest blog post writers get caught up with other tasks (more on this below). To mitigate a lack of relevant content, plan out what pictures, quotes, captions, and information you need to gather, so you're ready to hit "post" immediately.
3. Don't be afraid to enlist help from others.
Writing all of your own content can not only be time-consuming, but it also limits the perspectives and voices that you have on your social channels and website. At Cogo I make sure to reach out to others to write content that inspires them and tell stories that are meaningful to their experience at work. Most of the time, people love writing and talking about what they do, so don't be hesitant to diversify your contributors.
4. Swag, swag, swag
Nothing illustrates your commitment to a college more than that priceless hoodie or bumper sticker with your university’s name plastered all over it. However, that experience feels like one of the last moments when you get to indulge in a fancy branded pen or lanyard (yes, we all were freshman once). On their first day at Cogo, I make sure to give all new employees a thoughtful swag setup. This includes stickers, a new backpack, pens, business cards, and a new notebook. Not only do branded items help new hires feel included in the culture, but they also get exposure in meetings, on the subway, and even in traffic thanks to a sticker on the back of someone's car.
5. Attending the quarterly Boston Branding Breakfast
Yes, this is a shameless plug for my branding breakfasts. Meeting with other like-minded industry professionals is such a great way to learn employer branding strategies, work through problems from an outside perspective, and continue to learn more about the many facets that come with a brand. Always be on the lookout for relevant networking events on Eventbrite since many of them are free and can lead to even more valuable coffee chats down the road.
6. Get analytics on all of your content.
Once you have an idea of demographics or engagement with your different types of content, you begin to curate your content more meaningfully. If you're writing about topics that are proprietary to your business with little personal reach and see fewer impressions than on culture-related blogs or pictures, then maybe it's time to listen to your audience. They say writing is closer to thinking than speaking, so while you want to provoke thought through your content, it's crucial to establish what resonates well with your readers. Our Instagram demographics lean younger and prefer fun, cultural content, while our LinkedIn audience prefers more professional news-worthy updates. Catering your content from one platform to another is a great way to retain your audience and keep stakeholders engaged.
Although there is not a one size fits all approach to employer branding, a strong foundation of understanding both internal and external needs is crucial to getting your strategy off the ground. To learn more about employer branding or strategy, feel free to message and connect with me on LinkedIn at Braden Marstaller.