In the retail world, there is nowhere that brand reputation means more to consumers than in fashion. Whether it’s designer or high street, brands that get it right get the sales.
As a recruitment agency, when we’re briefed on vacancies by our client, the perception of their brand, their reputation and their potential as a business are all important for us to understand and advocate in order to attract the best talent for them.
Equally the brands that a candidate has previously worked for can open or close doors. In fashion, the recruitment criteria from our clients can be broad to include not only the right technical expertise but also cultural/brand fit. On the flip side, candidates will come to us with a wish list of names they would like to work for and even dismiss certain brands based on their reputation before we’ve discussed the role/package.
When it comes to brand reputation, our role as a recruiter can be similar to that of an internal marketing department.
Here are a few parallels that can be drawn:
- Endorsements As quickly as sales can rise from celebrity endorsements, so too can senior level appointments. Senior level appointments of brands with a good reputation can often accelerate the desire for a buyer or merchandiser to join the team. Peter Ruis moving to Jigsaw, Florence De Booser from Zara’s move to M&S and even Kate Bostock’s decision to join Coast are very recent examples of key management changes that affect the desire to join these businesses.
- Brand heritage In recent years, retailers with strong brand heritages have had continued success. They have a clear and distinct message and a loyal customer base. When recruiting top talent, a strong vision, clear strategy and profitable P&L are on a candidate’s wish list. With this typically comes loyal, long serving employees and clearly guided career paths.
- Multi-channel In recruitment, two thirds of candidates start their search online. To attract both active and passive candidates, we utilise LinkedIn, our own website (we receive around 70,000 job applications a month), Twitter, Facebook and online job portals.
- Good campaigns The Christmas John Lewis campaign is one of the most effective advertising campaigns year after year. Attractive, current and in perfect timing to optimise customer spend at a key trading period. Good recruitment campaigns work in a similar way, particularly when looking to recruit a number of positions or business critical, senior appointments. Confidential appointments need to be approached sensitively and there is nothing more damaging to a brand than the perception that the business is desperate and has been searching for a long time. Briefing multiple agencies or not appointing quickly can easily dilute a brand’s reputation.
- Service Customer service is paramount to brand reputation and in a similar way to a customer, treatment of a potential employee could boost or in fact destroy a brand’s reputation. The fashion world is well networked and one poor experience can easily be spread far and wide. As with any customer service, the bad is talked about twice as much as the good. One of the best clients we work with has agreement of detailed, timely interview feedback for both positive and negative interviews and each candidate they interview receives a complimentary discount voucher. They recognise that most skilled applicants will fully research their brand by visiting physical and online stores and relay their experience to others. Their perception as an employer and retailer is excellent – and the two should always go hand in hand.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help your brand reputation, the Michael Page Buying & Merchandising team are at hand for employer advice – get in touch.