Talent Attraction for Placebranders

Lena Miranda

Written By Lena Miranda, CEO Mjärdevi Science Park

I was invited to speak on the topic of talent attraction at Placebrander’s Day in Åre during October 2014. Why would attracting talents be of interest to destination marketers? Well, the branding of a destination often has three goals; attracting visitors, attracting business and attracting new inhabitants. For me it’s all about attracting people. And in order to attract new business and inhabitants – you will need to attract talent.

Where do I begin? I guess you’ve made a thorough work in establishing your destination brand. You’ve probably identified your unique selling points together with the core values of your destination. I would imagine this comprises identifying what business dominates your industry and creates growth to your industry. Probably you have also identified what companies – large as well as small – will be expanding over the next few years. These companies – or rather the entrepreneurs and the managers of these companies will be crucial in your work on attracting talent to your destination. If you’ve read the research of Richard Florida, he highlights that “talent attracts talent”, meaning these people are great ambassadors in your work of attracting talent.

Having a meaningful job with god possibilities to develop your skills and your competence is the most crucial argument when talents apply for a job. Of course, a critical mass of companies lures more talents to open up their eyes for your destination. Bigger cities, more naturally attracts highly skilled people than small cities do. Nevertheless building a strong brand connected to an expanding industry is crucial in order for you to succeed in attracting the right people – and attracting the right competence is crucial in order for business to grow. As a destination marketer you can help by branding the industry on a higher level, describing the structure of the companies, how they interact, what competences they are looking for etc. Defining your target group on an overall level is very important. Also, you will need to map the target group in order to get to know them in different aspects. Only by doing this, you can create stories that are relevant to them. Only by getting to know them, you can interact on interesting topics – wether it is on a technical topic or on where to find the best mountain trails of your area.

Successful Projects in Sweden

From the employer perspective, you can contribute by inspiring people working with HR and marketing to work with employer branding. Having a clear and attractive “employee value proposition” helps them to succeed in signing on the right talents. Companies of size, often works with Employer Branding, but smaller companies might not have either the competence or recourses for this work. Nevertheless, they need to work on this. Here is where you can make a difference by gathering engaged marketers on your destination and work together. There are some great examples on successful projects; “Wanted in Jönköping” by Jönköping, “Career East Sweden” by East Sweden and “Skaffa ett liv” by Örebro.

Given that your destination can offer the right position with the right employers, there is still one crucial decision to be made in order for a talent to choose your destination. You need to be asking yourself a few questions from a talents point of view. Is your destination my next home? Is this the place where I want to live? Will I be able to find my dream accommodation? Is this a place where I feel safe? Do I want to raise my kids here? Can you offer interesting leisure time activities? What makes your destination my next home? These are factors to preserve current residents. If you have happy residents, this will help you to attract new ones.

As a destination marketer you will need to create an emotional selling point for the “work-life experience” of your destination. You will need to point out the most fires arguments that help build your position as a talent magnet.

Good luck with your future achievements!

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