Employer brand content: quick and dirty or highly polished?

23 May 2023

Employer branding content is a conundrum. You want candidates to get an authentic feel of the business, whilst demonstrating how much you care. But does that point to film-on-a-phone style stories, or something a little more high end?

Forget Charles, content is king right. We all need content these days, it’s what we all trade in. It gets traffic to our websites, makes us look good and can help us spread good vibes (cat videos anyone?).

When it comes to employer branding, content is our way of showing who we really are. It’s a way of getting stories out to potential candidates, keeping us in the minds of future employees and generally helping people understand what we’re all about.

But does it matter how we go about it?

Personal and credible 

The approach to your content can say a lot about you. It can showcase your skills for one thing. And whether we like it or not, people will make judgements off the back of it.

Remember hearing about the halo effect in GCSE psychology? When someone or something looks good, we generally expect it to be good in other ways. So, if you make good content, we assume that you may be good at other things too.

Let’s say for a minute you get a handwritten note through the door. It’s a bit of lined paper, torn from a pad, with handwriting written in biro…

  • If that’s a neighbour asking you round for a barbecue, then you probably see it as a nice touch and think little more of it.
  • But, what about if it was a local restaurant that just opened?

Would you still see it as a nice touch, or would you wonder why it’s not something more polished? Would you see the lack of professionalism as something to worry about? If they can’t even create a proper advert, how can they cook us a decent carbonara.


There’s a danger that things that seem put together cheaply and quickly don’t capture the quality we want to convey. When we’re selling anything – whether it’s our role as an employer, or our latest pasta extravaganza – that can be a problem.

So, what about if we add some real production value?

In the context of employer branding, a cheap and quick approach may be getting an employee to talk to your smartphone, and putting the video out as a story. A polished alternative, may be using a videographer, with some professional lighting, directing and post-production to create a high quality video.

Based on our halo effect, a top-notch video should convey the quality we want right? Content that has clearly had some real care put into its creation, will mimic the care an employee could expect when joining. Right?

Er. Maybe.

Here’s the thing – there’s a lot of research that tells us (younger candidates especially) don’t really trust companies. Content created by the company with time and budget signifies something that fits the brand’s agenda – and therefore maybe shows their less than authentic spin on life.

Persuasive content

Beyond the woes of credibility and quality, we should also consider the goal. Anyone from a comms or marketing background will know there’s a real challenge in matching your strategy to your audience and creating something that gathers attention, builds interest, and drives some action. It takes skill and hard work.

Can we really hit the mark without the time, effort and budget to produce something carefully crafted? Can we really create something engaging enough on the fly?

Head f#ck

It feels like an oxymoron. Create regular authentic content that feels personal and trustworthy, but also captures the quality and care that conveys your approach as an employer. Unless you have a team of people with an empty diary that work for free – it’s a head f#ck.

But – perhaps it’s not quite as bad as we’ve made out (sorry not sorry).

All approaches have merit. Standing alone they are open to scrutiny, but together they can appeal to different aspects of the psyche:

  • Regular digestible content – can provide a baseline authentic view of who you are, through regular short conversations with real employees, filmed on a phone or put out as audio clips
  • Creative campaigns and more permanent content – can showcase what you can do with a little time and budget, reinforcing the care and standards you hold dear as a business

Let’s be honest, getting regular content out is a challenge. We need willing employees, endless ideas, and a cycle of speedy production. So keeping it a little quick and dirty will give us a realistic way to create a baseline of believable stories.

Then we can layer on content designed to showcase how good you really are. Think creative campaigns, or career site videos – opportunities to really capture the imagination.

Quick and dirty, highly polished, they’re both winners here. The trick is to make the best of both. Think of the end user, think of your capabilities, and find the balance that draws it all together. And if you get time in between to visit to the local pasta place, all the better, even if their promotion didn’t blow you away.

Interested in employer branding? Download our whitepaper to understand the context, case and considerations for a modern employer brand.

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