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How These Awards Help Grow the Industry

3 min read.



Employer Branding

While most awards celebrate the work of agencies, The Rally Awards applaud internal teams and clients, providing some much-needed validation on the way. Here's why that's good news for the industry...

In the rapidly evolving world of employer branding, one woman has made it her mission to shine a spotlight on the often-overlooked pioneers who are shaping the industry from within.

Lori Sylvia, Founder and CEO of Rally Marketing, is the driving force behind the Rally Awards - a global competition that recognises the groundbreaking work of in-house practitioners and clients rather than agencies.

She’s on a mission to lift up the people for whom employer branding is their full-time job, she explains. "Most of them are the first person at their company to have this job. Most of them work for somebody who's learning about recruitment marketing, at the same time that they're learning about it, so they can't rely on their boss to teach them."

It's a predicament she understands all too well. Having founded Rally Marketing in 2017 with the goal of bringing marketing strategies and skills to the talent acquisition process, she witnessed first-hand the challenges faced by those pioneering this new frontier.

"When we created our awards programme, we wanted to do several things, but one was we wanted to focus in on the people who are making this their career and recognise them for it and validate them," Lori says.

Recognition and Validation

For some employers, investing in recruitment marketing and employer branding is, to a certain degree, a leap of faith. As Sylvia explains, "Most employers that are investing in recruitment marketing, they're unsure about what is going to be the ROI. First of all, do we have the right people in place to do this? Second of all, how should it be done? Third of all, is it even effective?"

It's such uncertainty that makes the Rally Awards so vital. "When you can receive this external validation about the quality of your work and the impact of your work, it's great for career-building," she says.

And while the awards themselves are a testament to the outstanding work being done in the field, the true value lies in the feedback and learning opportunities they provide.

"Win or lose, you get feedback from the judges. Every opportunity you have to learn is just going to make you better."

She recounts the story of one woman who took the feedback she received in her first year of submitting and used it to refine her strategy for the following year, ultimately emerging as a winner.

"There's nothing more important that I do than run this awards programme, in many ways, because it really impacts someone's life," she says. "It really fuels my soul to be able to create this awards programme that recognises these people who are pioneers at their company."

Often, their value and contributions are not fully understood or appreciated. The Rally Awards is a chance to celebrate their achievements and amplify their voices.

"We want to shine a light on the people who are winners. But we want them to now teach other people how they did it," she explains. "It's an amazing thing about the people in our community that they are so willing and gracious to do that."

Employer Brand Trends and Innovations

In the past five years, the Rally Awards has provided Lori Sylvia with a unique vantage point from which to observe the trends and innovations shaping the employer branding landscape.

"Over the years, certain core strategies such as authentic storytelling, comprehensive research, and multifaceted campaigns have remained consistent," she notes. "However, the execution has evolved to include more sophisticated research methods, a deeper focus on diversity and inclusion, and innovative tactics like in-game advertising and comprehensive EVP frameworks."

While earlier winners like Mondelez (2020) focused on global brand consistency and collaboration, later winners like Dunkin' (2024) and SEB (2024) have embraced more dynamic and creative approaches to stand out in a competitive market.

"Innovative tactics in employer brand launches are not limited to industry-specific strategies like in-game advertising," Lori explains. "Many companies have successfully implemented creative approaches such as VR experiences, employee-generated content, interactive social media campaigns, brand ambassadors, gamification, and personalized candidate experiences."

A Growing Movement

As employer branding continues to gain mainstream recognition, Lori has witnessed a surge in submissions from companies beyond the traditional big names.

"What we're seeing now is that because this is becoming more and more mainstream, there's more and more companies that are not big name brand companies, but they're doing great recruitment marketing and employer branding," she says.

To accommodate this growth, the Rally Awards has introduced new categories for small teams and solo practitioners, ensuring a level playing field and further amplifying the voices of those driving change from within.

"It's a special thing about this field that we're in," she says. "People are quite happy to talk about their work, to talk about their strategy, show what they did, talk about their results. And everybody can learn from that."

In a growing industry The Rally Awards have become, as the name suggests, a rallying call and a rallying point for employer branders looking to make a name for both themselves and their clients, elevating both in the process.

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