How to revitalise your early talent strategy.

 Photo by  Zachary Nelson  on  Unsplash

Youth Marketing can be a tricky business, with its constantly evolving trends in attitudes and technology offering as many contradictions and questions as they do answers. There's no golden-bullet solution for designing campaigns that hit the mark, but these 5 insights should help you limit the guesswork when it comes to planning your next early talent strategy. 

1. What students say doesn't necessarily indicate how they'll act

Why does the overwhelming majority of research we use to inform our early talent messaging still rely on ‘self-reports’ such as trend surveys and focus groups?

We’re not saying those tools aren’t useful. But when it comes to getting an undergrad to apply to your vacancy or accept your offer, understanding the motives that will make them act is more valuable than knowing what they think.

2. Student’s career decision motives will change over time

How likely is it that career motivations of a student will sustain over their 3 years at Uni? It stands to reason that as they learn more about options, their strengths and generally grow up and mature, their values will shift too.

Many companies are now adopting a fresher-to-finalist approach to early talent attraction, so having a fixed employer brand built around a single motivating factor feels inflexible. Building an agile employer identity makes more sense. That means more content to replace fixed creative concepts and taglines. It also means creating a dynamic brand experience that students can tailor to their own ambitions as they evolve over time.                                  

3. We're not 18 anymore

Students are a complex audience. And if behavioural science has taught us anything it’s that our beliefs about how and why people act are often flawed, especially when it feels like our target audience grew up on a different planet, let alone as a different generation.

It means that when we create brands or campaign strategies based on assumption and ‘common sense’ we can be led to ineffective or even harmful answers.

4. Create, test, learn, adapt

Running a pitch process and choosing from 16 creative variations might feel like making an informed choice, but it’s just guesswork. Testing 3 or 4 carefully developed concepts in a real-world setting and using A/B methodology, will tell you exactly how students are reacting your messages.

5. Analyse the data to refine your objectives

What do you want to achieve with your early talent employer branding? Do you want students to think differently about your organisation? Do you want to recruit a higher calibre of graduate? Do you want more people to apply for your open roles?

When you know the answer to that question, keep digging. We’d ask, what are the specific barriers to you achieving those goals and do you have the data to support that theory? The insights of behavioural science can offer new ways to think about these questions, and through testing and optimisation, we can prove their worth.


If you'd like to find out how we can optimise your early talent attraction strategy, get in touch below.