EBA Opinion

Emily Dickson

Employer Branding Australia’s 1st Birthday!

On March 22nd 2019, it will be exactly one year since Founder and Chief Energy Officer of Employer Branding Australia Mark Puncher pressed go on launching his business whilst sipping a coffee in the middle of Brisbane.

And what an adventure it has been so far.


Since then, this dynamite has been the energetic personality behind Employer Branding Australia - the engine of the entire operation. If you’ve had the opportunity to get to know this passionate and dedicated People Engagement Specialist, then you’d know he’s one in a million.

In 12 months, Employer Branding Australia has grown from a one-man party, to a team of five consisting of our talented videographer Alex Greaves, our creative Marketing Manager, Amy Simpson, our awesome around-the-clock web developer Chris Gill (based in the UK!), and me, Emily Dickson as the Digital Media and Content Manager.

A year after launching his business, I’ve checked in with my favourite boss to take five and reflect on the amazing twelve months that have been.

What inspired you to start Employer Branding Australia?

Australian employers really need to get more proactive about engaging their current and future people. I’ve found that those who do get proactive often seem to go for, or end up with, gloss and hype.

I want to help employers understand and share why they’re a great choice for the right people and why they might be a terrible choice for others.

I want them to be okay with their imperfection and proud of the reality. I believe that in a world where we’re being sold to 24/7, it’s imperfection and authenticity which really resonates with candidates and employees.

I got fed up with seeing so-called EB specialists put out work that fails to hit the mark or which oversells the employer. That helps no one.

Mark on ABC radio in Feb 2019 talking about candidate mistreatment

What is your favourite thing about being CEO of EBA?

People and impact. I genuinely feel every single day that I’m doing something important to help people -  both our fantastic clients and my awesome team. It makes me very proud to see them thrive.

Emily and Mark enjoying Friday cocktails as they wrapped up a busy day meeting clients

How do you balance family and the business?

With difficulty! Overall, running my own business has brought us really good flexibility with the kids. My wife Carly just went back to work four days a week, and we have one daughter in prep and the other still at home, so it’s good to be able to be flexible and help make things work. That said, I’ve never worked harder than I am right now. So I’m trying to balance that with being mentally present with Carly and the kids.

Mark’s beautiful family: His wife Carly, and daughters, Violet and Eve

Why is authenticity so important to you?

It’s definitely a word I use a lot! I think it’s because I believe we all badly need more ‘real’ in our lives. There’s so much hyped selling going in... so much fake smiling and ‘broadcasting of the positive’ (Are your friends really as happy and successful as they seem on Facebook? Are you?).

As a 40 year old, tired father of two, what I value most in others is sincerity, honesty and integrity. I happen to think that’s the same for most people and that, when making decisions - whether it’s where to shop or where to work - they will respond to those things much more than the horrendous hyper-gloss we see on most TV ads... and many job ads too.

It’s funny really - I’m a marketer who hates most marketing...!

Mark taking a selfie during one of EBA’s team dial-ins

What is the one non-negotiable trait that all EBA team members have?

Integrity, every time. I have to trust our people to make the right decisions, to own their work and to be up front with me. We can teach someone to be a great employer branding specialist or recruitment marketer but I can’t teach them to be a decent human. I love our team so much!

Mark delivering one of his many workshops on employer branding in Jan 2019

Do you have any moments that made you think “This is why I do what I do.”?

So many and they’re all so different! I loved the moment when we played back to Vocus Group our EB findings and the EVP we’d created for them. They were really energised and instantly started creating ideas for how they’d use it. Another highlight was the staff engagement sessions and videos we did with SwanCare last year. It’s wonderful to see the response from their people, and to feel so immersed and integrated in their future strategy.

All this said, do you know the most powerful moments? It’s the stories I hear from employees I interview.

Sometimes, I’m midway through a conversation and the person says something which catches my attention. I challenge them, or ask them to tell me more. Out of nowhere comes a story which just blows me away. We’ve now helped our clients get some of those stories into their job ads or across their social channels. Some of them became the key ingredient of a client’s EVP. Those stories drive pride, connection and real impact. Knowing that those stories wouldn’t have been told if I hadn’t encouraged the employee to share - that means the world to me.

Mark and one of his wonderful clients, Johanna from Vocus Communications.
It was an awesome EVP-workshop day!

Out of all of Employer Branding Australia’s accomplishments, what are you most proud of?

This one’s easy! It’s that every client who has completed a project with us is an active advocate for our business. Our marketing mantra is ‘We’re a magnet, not a parasite’. That means we keep winning and growing by being good at what we do, and bringing value, not through mass cold calling and sneaky, aggressive sales tactics.

What can we expect for Employer Branding Australia in 2019?

2019 will be a huge year for us. We’ve grown at exactly the right pace this year and are now scaling up, growing the team and expanding our client base. That means a big focus on empowering my team to keep growing, owning and smashing it. We have a number of fascinating new projects about to kick off but will also be pushing hard with our year one clients to ensure we - and they - optimise their results.

Emily, Mark and Amy working in our coworking space

As our chat comes to an end, I ask Mark to give me some numbers on Employer Branding Australia’s accomplishments. Here’s what he told me:

A look back on our first year in numbers:

  • 19 superb projects or services delivered with clients we love! (0 projects delivered with clients we don't)
  • 1000+ connections with People People at meetings, workshops and seminars we’ve delivered
  • 42,000km travelled across Australia to share our passion (And many more kilometres saved through video conferences). That’s more than the circumference of the world!
  • From an empty room to a party on social: 40% growth in our social audience in the last 3 months alone
  • 100%: The stat we're most proud of? Every single client who has worked with us since we started out has loved the outcome and the journey

And finally, Thank you Mark!

I’ve loved working with you the last eight months, and I’m so excited to kick goals with you, Amy, Alex and Chris in 2019!



About the Author:

Emily Dickson is Employer Branding Australia’s Content and Digital Media Manager. A creative marketer who never says no, she specialises in content and social media and loves bringing your talent stories to life. She’s also multilingual, an incredible multi-tasker and better than most at keeping Mark in check.

About Employer Branding Australia:

We exist to help you attract the best talent and keep them engaged. Together, we’ll create and promote your 'Why work for us?' and turn your authentic people stories into your most powerful marketing tool.

Contact us today for a free, honest assessment of your employer branding opportunity.

e: hello@employerbrandingaustralia.com

t: 07 3501 0558