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How can businesses differentiate themselves in 2018?

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Well, isn’t this the million-dollar question? How can you differentiate yourself from the 5.7 million businesses in the UK, and your competitors, many claiming to do what you do, only better?

For our Clients, being able to stand out from the crowd has an importance all of its own. With Employment rates at their highest in decades and the talent pool of Candidates shrinking, it’s more important than ever to be confident in your Employer branding, to attract that top-quality talent.

We have talked about Employer branding a lot before, but the reality remains the same; if you can’t differentiate your brand from others in your field, then it’s in trouble before you’ve even started trying to build it. Regardless of the size of your business, differentiating yourself from your competition is crucial.

So how do you do it? Here are just some of the ways:

Get to the root of who you are

To do this, you need to start by looking at your existing customer and client base, and conduct an audit regularly to make sure you are always adhering to your brand’s values.

Talk to your customers or existing Employees, too. Why did they come to work for you? What was it that attracted them to you in the first place? Was it salary, or the promise of quick progression in the role you hired them for? Perhaps it was the interview that gave them the indication that you were a company with high standards, on a journey they wanted to be a part of.

Either way, when you know this, it becomes far easier to develop your brand personality, which will come across when you meet those Candidates you want to work for you.

Foster a positive company culture

This is touted around a lot, but it’s not all about beanbags, slides and football tables. A positive company culture centres around encouragement, training, reward, honesty and transparency. It’s all about communication, rather than quirks.

A company that can communicate well on anything from strategy, to where things might have gone wrong and how to learn from them, will breed a positive culture. This will spill out into the conversations your Employees have, onto sites such as Glassdoor, and consequently come to the attention of the Candidates looking for roles.

Keep Innovating

Candidates are discerning these days. Gone are the times when job security meant staying in one place forever. Research now suggests that the average Candidate will change jobs 10 to fifteen times, looking for greater fulfilment and experience.

Identify your brand personality, sure, but it’s a crucial mistake thinking that you will be able to rely solely on that. Just about every sector, competitor and company continues to evolve, and if you want to continue to attract (and retain) the top talent, so should your business. If you are happy with the way things are going and don’t bother to look for innovative ways to grow, the resultant stagnancy may lead to the downfall of your business, and a lack of Candidates knocking on your door.

As a Client, you need to move with your Candidates to accommodate their needs, or risk them leaving you behind.

How do you differentiate your business? Tell us, we would love to hear from you. 

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.    

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