The Importance of Employer Branding - Speaking with "The Employer Brand Nerd" James Ellis

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Published Sep 27, 2021, 10:31 AM

James Ellis produces an astounding amount of valuable content around marketing and recruitment, specialising in employer branding. In this episode, Christina talks with James about the journey of employer branding, why it’s so important, and what we can all learn from it.



  • James recognised that most marketing it is the same: recognise your market, understand what you offer, figure out your channels, measure and adjust. However, employer marketing is different, the goal is quality not quantity. You are just looking for that one right person, anything else is waste. This is why he loves what he does and has so much passion for it.
  • Employment branding began in the 90s in the UK, it was a leap forward at the time but stalled in the US as was very ad based. It isn’t new but the industry is getting better at it, still deciding what the next steps are and what 'great' looks like, so it can often still ‘feel new’.
  • We have a lot of examples of what employer branding shouldn’t be, but not much in the way of examples of best practice and what it should be.
  • It’s drummed into us that we have a product or service brand and a personal brand yet not many people talk about their employer brand. This needs more focus. The best brands are the ones where the employer brand is done well and this in turn supports and creates a better consumer brand.
  • Employer Branders generally have either marketing or recruitment experience but they must learn to speak both languages to be truly effective. Understanding the importance and relevance of both areas.
  • By introducing the downsides of a job/company to a candidate, you introduce more realism to the positives you outline at the same time. You are providing them with the whole truth which makes everything feel more authentic and allows candidates to make a better decision.
  • People think about employer branding when it is too late. They only think about it after they start having recruitment problems.
  • Marketing is about telling a story and employer branding is no different. It’s important to recognise that you should tell this story multiple times reaching your audience at as many touch points as possible. 
  • It’s imperative to remember that there is no workplace or brand that everyone wants to work for. It’s not about that, it’s about finding the right fit, for them and for the brand.



08:06 “Employer branding, it’s kinda like therapy, when you do it really well, it’s really saying what is the company all about?”

13:05 “The best brands, are the ones when the employer brand when done well, supports the consumer brand”

21:42 “Knowing your audience and knowing what you care about, tightening that message, that’s where the real value comes in, that allows for that transparency, that allows for authenticity”

24:44 “Every good marketer knows you can’t tell a story once and assume anybody heard it at all, let alone believed it”

32:04 “The why reason I love employer brand, the biggest one, is because it’s always challenging”

39:01 “There is no universal place where everybody loves working here, it doesn’t work that way, it’s about where do I fit”




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James Ellis


Before falling in love with the art and craft of employer branding, James Ellis was a digital marketer with 15 years of experience learning how audiences think and behave online. He has taken those skills and become one of employer brand’s leading voices, developing and activating dozens of brands of every size, running The Talent Cast podcast for more than four years, writing the Employer Brand Headlines newsletter and writing for a number of industry publications. His mission is to evolve the conversation around recruiting and hiring and to support that mission, he has recently published two books: The Employer Brand Handbook and Talent Chooses You. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter

Twitter: @TheWarForTalentLinkedIn:





Christina has been working with SME’s since 2013 to launch, develop and perfect their online presence. In 2019 Christina made the move from employee to business owner of a successful digital marketing agency focused on educating business owners in the use of

social media. Christina is driven by the fact that in today’s world, it doesn’t

matter how big or small your marketing budget is, you can be a major player.

For small businesses, the tools are just as accessible – you just need to know

how to use them!







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