CEO Ruins Company’s Employer Brand With a Single Email

February 24, 2016

If you haven’t seen this story, it’s worth reading – and then passing along to your executive team.

A young woman who worked at a retail store started posting pictures of herself in adorable outfits from the store on Instagram. How great is that? An employee loves what she sells so much, she’s willing to promote the company on her own social channels (for free!) to all her like-minded friends in hopes of inspiring them to come in and buy the clothes.

Until the CEO sent her this email…

"Something I want to make sure you keep in mind. I want size small, the stereotypical 'model' to model our clothes. Please use our pictures of our models if Stillwater store can't find someone who would be considered 'model material.' This is not to put anyone down but to communicate expectations of presenting our brand. Don't take it personal, all I ask for is really good representation. In exchange for the freedom, I ask you to take down all pictures of anyone that doesn't fit the criteria."

Translation: you can work for me, but I don’t think you are worthy of representing the company’s consumer brand.

A single email revealed the company’s true employer brand

Besides losing a lot of customers, this company will likely lose a lot of talented candidates too. In a single email, this company shared the following with job seekers interested in working for them:

Leadership style = Discriminatory
Employee attributes = Unrealistic standards
Values and beliefs = Looks over substance
Fun factor = Body shaming
WOW factor = Mean girls club

Lesson learned: those emails you are sending represent your employer brand. Think before you type!

It’s time to give your c-suite a reality check

Got an executive team that still doesn’t understand employer branding and why it’s so important? This video tutorial might help them realize why they need to pay more attention to it.

Employer branding is so widespread that it's expected by talent these days. If you aren’t investing in creating and promoting the right message, you’re sending the wrong message. Moreover, as proven with this PR disaster, without a strong employer brand, you have nothing to back you up when someone in the company (like the CEO!), makes a mistake.

Never forget: brand or BE branded.

My name is J.T. O’Donnell and I’m passionate about helping companies reveal their true employer brand. Contact me and my team today to learn more on how we can help you brand yourself properly to attract the right talent.

*Image from Death to the Stock Photo

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