Pick a ‘Company Anthem’ to Attract Top Talent

February 4, 2015

Dictionary.com defines the the word “anthem” as follows:

“a song, as of praise, loyalty or devotion…”

We are all familiar with national anthems, school anthems, and even our own personal anthems. But, what about a, “company anthem?” As an employer with a talent brand, should you have one of those too?


Music is communication on steroids

A recent article by LinkedIn Influencer, Bruce Kasanoff on the power of memorable presentations outlines the five things needed to communicate more effectively:

  1. Evoke emotion
  2. Spark mental images
  3. Be shocking and visual
  4. Tell a story
  5. Exaggerate

A good anthem does all of that – and more. Studies all but conclude humans are hard-wired to respond to music messaging (this NPR article discusses it in detail). That’s why, as an employer, a company anthem could be just what you need to take your recruiting to the next level. Here’s why…

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, a song is worth a 10,000

Choosing a company anthem gives you the opportunity to communicate your desired talent brand on a deeper level with your staff. They’ll understand the passion and positivity the company wants every employee to possess. If chosen well, the song will be an inspiration and source of motivation.

More importantly, given employee referrals are one of the BEST ways to recruit talent, your company anthem can make it easier to share your messaging with potential candidates. Imagine a scenario where your employee meets a potential candidate at an event:

Employee: “I work at XYZ Corp.”

Candidate: “Never heard of them. What’s it like.”

Employee: “Very laid-back and focused on harmonious teamwork. Our Company Anthem is, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Candidate: Cool. My company is very intense. Where you work sounds less stressful. Are they hiring?

See how one song could help your employees reinforce the talent brand for your company and spread the message more effectively?

How to choose an anthem that inspires the right talent brand messaging

When I ask a client to name a song that best represents their company’s anthem, I often get a puzzled look. It can be hard to narrow down music without some parameters. To make it easier, we have them take a moment to come up with three adjectives to describe the following five aspects of their company:

Executive Assets – What is the leadership team like?
Employee Spotlight – What does the ideal employee represent?
Core Values & Beliefs – What does the company stand for?
Business WOW Factor – What makes the company unique within its industry?
Company FUN Factor – What makes the company a happy place to work?

Once the adjectives have been defined, we start to think about types of music that would best represent these descriptions collectively. We even have the client consider song lyrics that could directly tie to the company’s definition of itself.

It’s not long before a short-list of potential fits comes together. Then, it’s simply a matter of choosing one that works the best.

For a little more inspiration, check out which songs the Bay Area's 10 Most InDemand Startups of 2014 chose as their anthems.

  1. Lytro -- “Best Day Of My Life” (Gazzo Remix) by American Authors
  2. Theranos -- “Young Forever” by Jay-Z
  3. Fitbit -- “My Step” by Little Dragon and “D.A.N.C.E.” by Justice
  4. Coursera -- “Birthday” by Katy Perry (check out Coursera’s parody video)
  5. Minted -- “One More Time” by Daft Punk
  6. Wealthfront -- “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship
  7. Bromium -- “Let’s Go” by Calvin Harris featuring Ne-Yo
  8. Twilio -- "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants
  9. Egnyte -- “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities (interested in learning how Egnyte chose its song? Check out the company’s blog post)
  10. Leap Motion -- "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" by Daft Punk

You can hear these songs below on this Spotify playlist - enjoy!

PS – Just Like talent brands, company anthems can change too!

The best part about a company anthem is it can be changed as needed. If your company is switching directions, needs a new focus, has a challenge to overcome, etc., a new company anthem can be selected to help reinforce the messaging for your staff and future potential talent.

To sum it up: it’s up to you to make sure your company anthem is always in alignment with the talent brand.

I hope this inspires you to have some fun choosing your company anthem. If you do, I want to reward you with the following…

Tell me your company anthem & I’ll feature it to 900,000 passive candidates

I love sharing company anthems of employers in my feed as a way to showcase their talent brands to my followers. Post your company anthem in your LinkedIn feed and give me a shout-out (i.e. link my name so it notifies me), and I’ll be sure to feature you in my own LinkedIn feed, where I currently have over 900K followers. Who knows? I might be able to help you find that next great hire with your company anthem!


J.T. O’Donnell is a Top 20 LinkedIn Influencer and CEO of CAREEREALISM.com, a site that helps employers of all shapes and sizes tell accurate and compelling stories to recruit better candidates for their companies. You can learn more here >>

*Image by Amanda Tipton

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