July 6, 2016   view past issues

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Job Board Journalist: The Power & Peril of a Legacy Brand

From Monster’s first Super Bowl ad to CareerBuilder’s Monkey Business campaign, from Dice’s street art ads to today’s airport billboards, taxi rooftop placards and plain, old direct marketing emails, job boards have invested millions of dollars in building their brand.  Not every site has become a household name, but many are now imprinted on the prefrontal cortex of employers and working people alike.

Whether they’re huge companies with global brands or niche sites with a strong brand among select populations, they all benefit from consumer certainty.  Each stands for something in the marketplace that is clear, dependable, proven.  That’s the power of a legacy brand.  There’s no equivocation about what the site can and will do.

For most job boards, that means job postings for employers and job search for workers.  Sure, there will be riffs on that theme that particularize each site’s approach to delivering those services, but the underlying message will be fundamentally the same.  Until it isn’t.

Whether they’re large or small, more and more job boards are evolving to suit the times.  As I’ve discussed in previous columns, today’s employers and workers often want more than job postings and job search.  That doesn’t mean every site’s evolution will be the same, but all will adapt by altering some aspect of their look and feel, products and services and business model.

Making that change is hard enough, but it’s only half the challenge.  The other half entails altering a site’s brand among those employers and workers who have used the site.  As much as they may want new capabilities from a job board, however, they want even more to hang onto their old definition of the site.  That’s the peril of a legacy brand.  Updating it is like trying to unsolidify cement.

Resetting Cement

You’ve probably heard the aphorism, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.”  In essence, it’s warning against going to market before you’re absolutely clear about what your value proposition is as a job board and able to communicate that value proposition clearly to both employers and job seekers.  The first glimpse those populations have of a site – good or bad, accurate or inaccurate – will likely remain their view of it going forward.

Which begs the question: if first impressions are that sticky, how do you make a good second first impression?  How do you get beyond a legacy brand and cement a new brand for your site in the market, one that reflects a broader range of products and/or services?

In my view, you have to do three things:

First, leverage what you’ve already got.  Don’t destroy or discard your legacy brand.  Build on it.  A job board offering new services is still a job board; it’s just one with more capabilities.  And that’s what its brand should reflect.

Second, emphasize both new and old in your brand definition.  Don’t ignore what’s made your site successful in the past, but make sure you highlight the new products and services you’re offering going forward.

And third, adhere to this aphorism: “You get lots of chances to make a good second first impression.”  Promote your legacy 2.0 brand over and over and over again.  It’ll take awhile, but the new view of your site will eventually settle to solid among your users.

Food for Thought,

The Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle is brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Register for a Conference & Get a Room – that’s right, attend the only conference totally dedicated to showcasing the products and people of the talent acquisition solutions industry, and you’ll get your hotel room for free, if you register by July 15th!  For more information, please click here.

This Week on Jobboarders

This week, Jobboarders features:

Why employer branding is the key to a profitable job board by Stephanie Mills.  According to recent research by Madgex, job seekers spend up to two hours per week researching employers.  That’s a potential 120 minutes with a captive audience that could – and should – be spent on your job board.

Press Releases:

• (Talent Network for Verified Hourly Employees) Raises $3.3M Seed Round

Free Hotel Room Offer at TAtech Conference Ends Next Week.  Don’t miss the only recruitment conference that highlights job board owners and operators as speakers, offers an exhibit hall designed to provide maximum visibility for job board exhibitors, AND provides a free hotel room for those who register by July 15th.

Jobboarders Book of the Month: The Final Report of the TAtech-reThink Data Global Survey of Applicant Tracking Systems.  This report presents aggregated data on current ATS product design and interoperability trends and on perceptions of the market for ATS companies in 2016 and the challenges they face over the next three years. It offers a unique portrait of the current state and future direction of today’s ATS community.  TAtech Members can obtain a copy by emailing  All others please visit the TAtech Bookstore.

So visit Jobboarders today and ready your business for a successful tomorrow.