• The Heart of Recruiting: Branding Circa 1870

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    June 26, 2013

    by Sue Keever Watts

    Sue Keever WattsBranding today isn’t solely about visual representation. A company’s logo doesn’t stand alone as the company’s brand. A brand has to work much harder. To be successful, it must evoke an emotional reaction, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec knew this better than anyone.

    I went to an exhibit a few months ago at the Dallas Museum of Art and learned that the earliest forms of advertising were done by way of the poster. Early posters in Europe were uninspired but plentiful, as they appeared like graffiti on every major street in London, Holland, Paris, and cities in the United States. Things changed dramatically when artists took on responsibility for poster design. At the same time, a new form of advertising was introduced in Renaissance Europe as advances in the printing press introduced the world to mass communications.

    Posters were the medium of the day, and Toulouse-Lautrec was celebrated for his ability to use color to capture the dramatic scenes of Paris life. Imaginative, theatrical, melancholy, and mysterious designs created an emotional response from viewers and ultimately moved communications from informational to emotional.

    Today’s employer brand must also appeal to the spirit of its intended viewer. A successful brand appeals to a deep-seeded need or a long-held value. It isn’t simply informational in nature. As you go about developing or refining your employer brand, take a moment to look backward. Look at the history of advertising through the lens of the poster. The heart of recruiting lies in our ability to use beauty, drama, emotion, and the desire for human connection to inspire action from our intended audience.


The Heart of Recruiting: Branding Circa 1870