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Tips For Managing Your Employer Brand

As a distributor or an importer, it’s important for you to be clear about who you are & what you’re recruiting for.


“All of the products that you make, it starts from the ingredients and you can’t make your products without the ingredients that you have, and it takes good ingredients. And so, building your employer brand, and your culture has to start from the inside out” says Alexis Smith, Former Director Employer Branding & Digital, North America, Anheuser-Busch at the 2019 ABID Conference in New York.

It’s one thing to build a brand for the public eye and portray success stories externally, but making sure you’re a respected employer brand is another ball game of its own. Imagine having people on the outside thinking that everything is going on well, but internally things are always on edge. Once things are a bit haywire internally, with the progressive world we are in now, it doesn’t take long for the same to reflect externally.

Alexis Smith, Former Director Employer Branding & Digital, North America, Anheuser-Busch explains how to manage your employer brand successfully.


It all starts from the minute you think of building a team. Once a candidate has a certain impression of your company, that impression goes a long way. At the 2019 ABID conference in New York, Alexis Smith delved into the details of four major points on managing your employer brand.

  1. Define Your Culture 

  2. Build Your Recruitment Marketing Plan

  3. Deliver On Your Commitments 

  4. Candidate And Employee Experience Are One

1. Define your culture

You have to be very clear about the culture you want to portray as a company, and the values you implement in your company. Some of the common values that Alexis spoke about are:  transparency, accountability, integrity, teamwork, ownership, lead by example, customer service, and the holy grail of them all; trust.

However, these values are ones that a lot of companies hold in common - so it’s important for you to differentiate yourself in the candidate’s eye. With times and meanings of things changing, it’s very important for you to portray exactly what you mean by these values.

Ownership could mean something else now than it did ten years ago, and as an employer it is important for you to put that across to the candidate so they have a clear view of what the company culture and values really are as what something means to you might not mean the same to someone else. Therefore, it’s important to set your views straight.

2. Build your Recruitment Marketing Plan

When you’re hiring, there are a bunch of tools that you as a brand can leverage, especially in this digital age. According to Alexis, your basic marketing tool kit should include: Social Media, Digital Media, Job Boards, Job Fairs, Referrals, and E-mails.

In simpler words, what she’s trying to say is that invest in marketing dollars. You know what they say, you’ve got to spend some to get some. A lot of people have social media, but they don’t invest in marketing. “There is no such thing as organic reach anymore” says Smith, explaining further about how you need to invest in marketing dollars, to get eyeballs on your hiring campaign, or your brand in general for prospective candidates to notice your company.

To a lot of people, investing in digital marketing might seem like a huge step, of course considering budgets and all. However, the beauty of this digital age is that you can invest as little as $10 or invest up to your comfort - but the key is to find a way to make sure that your message is actually being heard.

To make things easier, you can start by taking your own route to Smith’s recruitment funnel, which includes

Awareness - You want to make sure that people across your target candidate spectrum know who you are as a company. Alexis gave an example of her own, explaining how people knew of Budweiser, Stella, Bud Light, but didn’t know about Anheuser-Busch. This is what happens most of the time. People might know the brands that are in your portfolio, but they might not know who you are as such. It is important to create awareness in the sector of your own brand - making sure that people know you for you, and not just for the big names attached to your portfolio. Of course, this is because 

You do not want to portray an image that you’re hiring for one of the brands in your portfolio
You wouldn’t want people to be confused about what you do, and who you actually are.

As a distributor or an importer, it’s very important for you to be clear about who you are and what you’re recruiting for.

Consideration - So why should someone work for you? This is where you can leverage your story-telling and your existing employees. Share your experience in the company, share the experience of other employees. These are said to be tangible aspects that will persuade people to work for your business.

Desire - They might know you, and they might know all the good things about your business, but they have to want to work for you before even giving an interview. You need to understand that you can’t be everything for everybody, and that’s okay. It’s easy to want to convince everyone to work for your company with the pressure building, but everyone is probably not right for your company - especially in the alcohol beverage sector.

Tip to remember: There is a fine line between your consumer and your candidate. Just because someone says ‘oh we love your brand, we love your wine’ doesn’t mean that they’re right for the company. Remember that your consumer and your candidate are two different levels. Yes, sometimes they overlap, but not all consumers can be candidates.

Apply - This is pretty simple, yet complex. It’s how you get your candidate to apply. The process has to be clear, and simple. Questions that run through every candidate’s mind are: how do I apply? Who do I talk  to? When do I find out?

It’s important for you as a company to eliminate these questions with a clear procedure for application. However you can bring that tangibility to your candidates will keep their desire up as well.

Keep in mind: You’re in the consumer business, so make sure you know the impact of how this might affect your sales or external success overall when you’re pushing for distribution and sales when you’re trying to increase sales. If people have a negative experience, they’re probably also going to say “Hey, I don’t want to buy from that company”.

And since word travels fast, they’ll share their experience with others and that isn’t going to be good for your brand as a whole.

3. Deliver on your Commitments 

Imagine if someone sold you a lager and gave you a stout, or sold you a white wine and gave you a red wine. What impressonional position would that put you in? Similarly, if you give a candidate a certain experience, policy, or hope during recruitment, then stick to that once they are a part of your team.

Another thing to keep in mind is that everyone wants themselves to be valued. So, accepting suggestions, valuing opinions, and rewarding your team for the work that they’re doing is very important. This will motivate them; which in turn will build your external success.

4. Candidate and Employee Experience are One

As already mentioned, if there’s something you portrayed during recruitment, make sure to continue with it during their term of work. Giving your team a good experience matters in terms of your bottom line. A happy employee means good productivity and a happy company.

Above all, Smith mostly emphasises on building a relationship with both candidates and employees, providing them an honest experience, and an experience that they can count on and stay satisfied with. This in turn will boost your bottom line as a company. 

2020 ABID super early bird offer is now on! The event is on May 26-27, 2020 in New York. Register here to book your seats at the lowest price. Offer ends August 31, 2019.