10 Tips to Build a Story-Centric Employer Branding Strategy

by Katy French

How do you show people what type of employer you are, how you’re making a difference, and why they might want to come work for you? By drafting—and implementing—an employer branding strategy built on storytelling. When you effectively tell the story of your employer brand, you can break down the walls of your company, take people behind the scenes, and spotlight the things that make you truly special. The result? You will attract and keep the right kind of employees (aka the people who share your vision and want to achieve it with you).

But how do you incorporate these unique and compelling stories into your employer branding strategy? Lucky for you, we’ve compiled 10 great ideas to get you started. 

How to Tell Stories in Your Employer Branding Strategy

You can think of each of these suggestions as its own category of storytelling. In fact, at your next brainstorm meeting, try to come up with 10 ideas for each category. That’s 100 employer brand story ideas off the bat. (Not bad, eh?) 

Idea 1: Tap into your team’s creativity.

While not everyone is comfortable being the “face” of your employer brand, everyone who works for you contributes in a unique way. That means your employees can be a great source of content. Whether people want to write articles, answer a Q&A, film a tutorial, or create entertaining social content, encouraging people to contribute their own content is a great way to cultivate community and put your team’s expertise, passions, and personalities in the spotlight.

[bctt tweet=”Employee stories are 20% more immersive than recruiting through career sites.”]Ere Media/ Immersion Neuroscience research

Example: Spotify asked their summer 2019 interns to document their experience, giving us a great look at the office, team, and culture.

Idea 2: Answer potential employees’ questions.

When people are in the awareness and consideration stages of their employee journey, they’re researching your employer brand to find out if they’d be a good fit. You can meet them where they are (and convince them to apply) by telling stories that answer their questions. Beyond the job description, think of ways to highlight who you are, what you stand for, and why people like to work for you.

Tip: Start by mapping your employee experience journey. This will help you figure out what people want to know and inspire content ideas to move them along to the next stage. 

Example: Vans shares their company’s origin story with an explainer video packed with personality. If it doesn’t make you want to be a part of their brand, nothing will.

Idea 3: Tell the stories your competition can’t.

Finding and keeping the best talent isn’t easy. You need to shine a light on everything that makes you different, special, and—frankly—better than your competition. Look for ways to show (not just tell) people what your employer brand looks like in action. 

Tip: Conduct an employer competitive analysis to get a sense of how to position your brand. Then look at the points of parity and differentiation between you and your competitors. What stories aren’t being told? How can you highlight your strengths?

Example: We’ve written about things like the unique Careiosity fund we provide to our employees and the changes we’ve made for our working parents to give people a sense of what it’s like to work for us.  

Idea 4: Spotlight your Brand Heart.

Beyond making a paycheck, employees want their work to make a difference. One of the smartest ways to stand out is to lead with your Brand Heart (purpose, vision, mission, values), and tell stories that highlight the ways you put your beliefs into practice. 

Tip: If you haven’t articulated your Brand Heart, use our free template to do it (and share the finished version with your team).

Example: GoDaddy puts their Brand Heart front and center on their site. From their philanthropic work to their employee resources groups, these initiatives show the brand’s commitment to their principles. 

Go daddy employer brand content


You’re not just talking to potential employees through content. Your current employees also want to feel connected to your brand. The stories you tell speak just as much to them as to strangers who are learning about your brand for the first time.

Idea 5: Showcase your benefits and perks.

This doesn’t mean you have to publish your full benefits package. But you can tell great stories around what you offer and why. Connecting your benefits to your Brand Heart is also a smart way to show that you walk the walk on your values. 

These types of stories are especially important if you can’t compete with your competitors’ salaries. You want to emphasize the way you do take care of your employees, and how doing so makes their lives richer. Do you have a unique volunteer program? Do you encourage people to take a sabbatical after a certain number of years? These types of perks speak volumes about a brand.    

Example: Charity Water does a great job of articulating their benefits—and how they relate to their values.charity water employer brand content

Idea 6: Talk about the way you work.

People really want to know what the day-to-day experience is like in your organization. Bring them behind the curtain and tell stories about your inner workings, your philosophy, the tools you use, the way you lead, the things you’ve learned, etc. 

For example, you may run brainstorms in an interesting way, or have a unique feedback system, or host a laid-back Friday afternoon hang with your founder. These types of things give people a better sense of your culture than your About Page ever could.  

Example: Mailchimp gives people an excellent behind-the-scenes look through featurettes that show real employees talking about the work they do, and what they love about it.

Idea 7: Share the human stuff.

Every company is a community of humans who care about human things. Celebrations, parties, passion projects, traditions, jokes, wins, failures—all of these things can become great content that shows people why your company is a great place to work. 

Did you host a pumpkin-carving contest that went off the rails? Do you play pranks? Do you create themed playlists when someone gets hired or leaves the company? These simple things show off your personality in big ways.   

Example: To promote peace through a visual demonstration of unity, the Black@ group at AirBnB created a powerful portrait series documenting black employees aligned with the coworkers who support them as allies. This beautiful installation is a perfect reflection of AirBnB’s mission to help create a world where you can belong anywhere. 

Idea 8: Show off your environment.

The environment you work in matters, even if it’s a home office. Showing off your office or workspace can foster a sense of intimacy, showcase your personality, and help people feel welcome in your “home.” 

Show off your desk-decorating competitions, give people a virtual office tour, or share dispatches from the field if you don’t have a specific office. These are all ways to show people what working for you might be like.

Example: Salesforce provides a look inside Salesforce tower, giving potential employees an intimate look at where they might work.

Salesforce inside tower

Idea 9: Show people the numbers.

Data doesn’t sound interesting, but it can be a powerful source of storytelling when it comes to your employer brand. If you are looking for more ways to show people your Brand Heart in action, look for data stories to support it. 

For example, if your fashion brand believes in saving the planet, you might share data about how much clothing you’ve recycled. Or, if you’re committed to diversity and inclusion, you might share data about the racial and gender makeup of your company.  

Example: In this simple explainer, Toms breaks down how the company distributes profits to charity—and how their areas of focus have expanded over time.

Idea 10: Experiment with visual formats.

Articles are great, but visual content is especially powerful to help people make an emotional connection. Whenever possible, put your people front and center—in videos, photography, annual reports, interactives, etc. The more you can use visual mediums, the more people will get to “see” your brand in action.  

Example: The Giphy team page is a true visual masterpiece, featuring custom GIF animations for every team member.

How to Build a Stronger Employer Branding Strategy

As you continue to invest in employer brand content, make sure you’re working to improve every aspect of your employer brand at every touchpoint. This work will help you find and tell new and engaging stories, which will only contribute to your success.

If you’re looking for more ways to do that…

  • Add stories to every stage of the employee experience. Here are 25 additional employer brand storytelling ideas.
  • Measure your success. To find out if your content is working, determine the metrics you’d like to track (e.g., number of applicants, quality hires, turnover). These insights can help you identify what resonates most with the people you’re trying to reach.
  • Nurture your culture. To build a strong brand, you need to align every aspect of your culture to your Brand Heart. Here’s how to do it.  
  • Learn about your strengths and weaknesses. Conduct a brand audit to make sure your employer branding strategy reflects what your employees are experiencing.  

And if you need storytelling help at any point along the way, follow these tips to find a creative agency or holler at us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *