Every brand strategy is about gaining attention for the company, but it has to be done in a way that does more than simply talk about what the company is doing. It’s got to engage with real people over issues they truly care about. In other words, it needs to have a relational element to it. That’s exactly what Merck is doing with their highly effective approach.

On this episode, Bernie talks with John Graham, Social & Digital Strategy Lead: Global Talent Acquisition at Merck. You’ll hear how Merck, the global pharmaceutical giant, is empowering employees to build their personal brands as part of Merck’s strategy to attract talent. The employees provide the “real life” component of what Merck is sharing on social which naturally attracts like-minded, competent candidates to the open positions available. Learn more in this episode.

A Whole-Person Approach Dictates the Brand Strategy of Pharma Giant, Merck

It’s very common for large companies to home in on the qualifications and experience of job candidates when trying to fill open positions. But John Graham says even though that is a significant part of the equation, it is still only one part. When companies only look at skills and experience, they potentially miss out on the other qualities that make a candidate a great fit for the company culture.

In this conversation, John describes how the brand strategy Merck is using centers around the human elements of what it means to be an enthusiastic and integral part of a team. They not only want the talent they are pursuing to see them as a leader in the pharmaceutical industry, but they also want them to feel that Merck is a great place to belong. You will hear John’s description of how a Pharma giant is applying its brand strategy through an employee branding approach, on this episode of Social Business Engine.

The Search for Talent Has Shifted to Social. Does Your Brand Strategy Reflect It?

John has found that his role in locating and recruiting global talent for Merck has required a different sort of approach than corporations typically take. He’s realized that the search for talent has shifted to social media. Under his leadership, Merck is making the pivot that enables them to make the most of that trend.

In this conversation, you’ll hear details of the amazing and unusual content strategy Merck has implemented. It uses the stories of their own employees as content pieces that engage with and attract outstanding, talented people to the company. Rather than a cold, “about us page” these stories expose candidates to the culture, values, and purpose of the company in powerful ways. As John is fond of saying, they’re not fighting the war for talent, they’re fighting the war for attention – and Merck’s new brand strategy is securing both. It’s a very insightful approach to social media that few corporations the size of Merck understand, much less know how to implement. John’s insights will be valuable to your company, so please take the time to listen.

The New ROI: Relationships On Investment

ROI, has traditionally been about the amount of return that comes from the time, energy, and money invested in a particular approach. John says the same approach holds true in the content marketing strategy Merck is implementing, but it’s a different ROI. What he is measuring doesn’t have to do with dollars and cents, it has to do with relationships. For John, ROI = relationships on investment.

In this episode, you will hear how the Merck team spent over a year planning out and testing their employer brand strategy. The company’s goal was to highlight open positions, use employee stories for culture building and recruitment, and track engagement of candidates from their first interaction on social up to their final interviews and hire. As companies like Merck lead the way with this kind of strategy, the talent acquisition landscape is changing for the better. You won’t want to miss this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:54] Who is John Graham? His role with Merck over social and recruiting
  • [3:46] The demand every company has for good talent and how Merck is approaching it
  • [5:42] A content strategy to “sell” jobs – what it looks like at Merck
  • [8:50] The challenges of a content strategy implemented across the globe
  • [13:09] Sourcing stories from employees to include in corporate content strategy
  • [16:11] The new ROI: Relationships On Investment
  • [18:34] Trends seen in the campaign: from first share to final hire
  • [20:36] How John sees the program shifting as it moves forward: snackable & visual
  • [29:15] The importance of testing the content marketing strategy prior to launching the employer brand strategy