Because developers have no shortage of job opportunities, they’re always looking to learn more about what makes one company more exciting to work for than the competition. While tech recruiters could pitch benefits and perks until they’re blue in the face, your organization’s most influential brand storytellers are often your current developers themselves. A talented developer has heard just about every sales pitch in the book, but when a fellow programmer speaks glowingly of his or her company or the projects the team is working on, it's difficult for even the most in-demand candidates to ignore that type of review. Turning your developers into brand storytellers won’t happen overnight, but here are a few tips to help you get started.
Before you can reach out to your current developers about becoming brand advocates, it’s important to know what you’re asking of them. Sure, you could have them wax poetic about your company’s amazing perks and culture, but this is one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when describing your culture to developers. Not surprisingly, your current developers also want to tell potential candidates about much more than these types of perks.
Turning your developers into brand storytellers is often as simple as listening to what they have to say. Some of them might rave about your fully-stocked kitchen, but you’ll likely find that the majority of them think your engineering culture is incredible because of the risks they’re allowed to take or the overall sense of collaboration across the team.
One of the most satisfying parts of a developer’s job is seeing real consumers using the products they build. Of course, many of them say this in the context of writing code. But when they’re passionate about working for your company, developers can be just as enthusiastic about helping you create your employer brand.
The Marketing and Recruiting teams at Lever realized that they could turn their employees into brand storytellers by using their input to create candidate-facing messaging that articulated what makes them a great place to work. Using a tool called Brand Amper, they created an online exercise that prompted them to create a simple, yet compelling story about themselves and why they came to work for Lever based on pre-populated “brand statements.” Based on their employees’ reactions to each statement, they were able to create employer branding materials that resonated with their staff. More importantly, each employee walked away with a clear idea of why they were passionate about the organization—and 80 percent of the staff ultimately upgraded their LinkedIn profiles with summaries that firmly established them as brand advocates.
When developers have strong opinions about most things, they’re not bashful about sharing them. But when it comes to brand evangelism, it can be difficult for developers to know which platforms are appropriate for sharing even the most positive opinions about their companies. The good news is that many developers I’ve spoken to are open to acting as brand storytellers when they’re excited about the companies they work for. However, it’s up to you to give them an easily accessible outlet on which to do so.
Many companies have started encouraging their developers to share stories about why they decided to join the team and what makes them excited to come to work. Although many developers maintain personal blogs and know how to craft compelling stories, you can make it even easier for them to contribute by implementing a content calendar and providing editorial support. Alexis Sheehy, Brand Communications Manager at Klara, tells us that opening up their blog to developers has proven to be an easy way to include their product team in its brand evangelism strategy. She adds, “We have our editorial team help whenever possible, but this process encourages developers to lend their voice to our brand, which is very important.”