Derek HermanJune 06, 2018
Topics: Recruiter Experience

IAMPHENOM Session Recap: Recruitment Marketing Done Right

Day two of IAMPHENOM emerged strong right out of the gate. Following Michael Fischman’s meditation bit to clear the audience’s minds and get them ready to soak in all the rich information the day was going to present, Jonah Berger, New York Times Bestselling Author and The Wharton School’s Marketing Professor, took the stage.

“When someone shares a picture on social media that they’re flying in first class, the airline brand comes along for the ride.” -Jonah Berger


Jonah’s work revolves around honing in on how and why topics, people, and companies get more viral spotlight time than others.

Scandals, business decision mishaps, PR stunts, and even acts of God may get media buzz and limelight attention for a moment, but it quickly burns out and that 15 minutes of fame (whether famous or infamous) soon fades from memory.

But Jonah knows that any good advertising or marketing ploy that not only catches attention but also stands the test of time, hits all the checkboxes in an algorithmic equation. The way to market anything right is to hold it to his six STEPPS test:

  • Social Currency

  • Triggers

  • Emotion

  • Public

  • Practical Value

  • Stories

In order to get people to talk about your brand, you have to create and market something that gives people a sense of exclusivity, emotional ties, and practicality. It has to be packaged up in an easy to remember and digestible story.

In his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, he dives deeper into these six building blocks that tap into the power of word-of-mouth. We recently summarized them in our mini eBook, Top 10 Takeaways from IAMPHENOM.

Recruitment Marketing

To breakout STEPPS further, it’s not enough just to attract anyone. Recruiters need to think about engaging the right types of talent.

There are four questions to ask yourself when setting up recruitment marketing initiatives:

  1. Who do we want to trigger? IT professionals? College students? Entrepreneurial spirits?

  2. When do we want them to think of us? Early morning? Afternoon? During specific seasons?

  3. What is around that time? Any events taking place? Holidays? More active job seeking?

  4. How can we link to that timing? What forms of media? How frequently is the message conveyed?

Employer Branding Executives need to and are thinking more and more like marketers to advocate their company’s employment reputation. Recruiters need this positive employer branding buzz so that it makes their jobs easier. Instead of having phenomenal talent just flock to their doors, it will help break them down with resumes in hand, desperately wanting to work for the company.

It’s the paradigm shift that candidates are consumers; you want to attract them, engage with them, retain them, and make them your brand ambassadors even when they are “off the clock”.

He provided examples on how a successful branding strategy can get people talking about your company without much effort even long after your campaigning is over. Think about these scenarios and see if your mind doesn’t automatically fill-in-the-blank:

  • Peanut butter and _____

  • Rum and _____

  • Picture a sunny day, on a sandy beach, with the blue ocean crashing on the horizon. Now picture a beverage sitting on that beach. What is it?

If you thought of jelly, a Coke, and a chilled, beaded sweat dripping Corona sitting in the sand, someone, somewhere did their job. That’s because marketing and advertising are crucial to a company’s product success, just like your employer branding is crucial to your company’s talent acquisition success.

Jonah urged that the next time you want your brand to be a topic of an employment conversation (in a positive light of course) apply STEPPS to your recruitment marketing tactics and watch your employer brand come to life.

If you missed it, go check out our last IAMPHENOM session recap and stay tuned next week for another speaker highlight!

Derek Herman

Derek leads the Marketing Communications initiatives at Phenom People. He engages with Phenom customers to spotlight their stories in the media.

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