Employer brands, corporate brands, product brands, personal brands (e.g. the CEO), are just some examples of an organisation’s brand inventory. We’re heartened to see more and more organisations spending time and effort developing an employer brand and positioning their company as an excellent place to work.
However, we’ve also noticed that some organisations build their Employer Brand independent of their Corporate Brand and vice versa. Historically, Marketing focuses on the outside, the customers, and the HR on the inside, the employees. The danger is when HR drives one message, and Marketing drives another, and they never shall meet. This is less than ideal. Why? Let’s explore.
Corporate Branding & Employer Branding
Corporate branding is about your reputation as a business. It helps to promote your products & services, it is outward facing; targeting your clients, customers, the consumers, partners, distributors and answers the question “Why should you do business and/or partner with us?”
Employer branding is about you as an employer. It’s how you treat your employees, it entails developing the employee value proposition, is both outward and inward-facing; targeting job seekers and your employees, and it answers the question “What do we want to be perceived as an employer?”
Corporate Branding and Employer Branding share similar characteristics; both have to be unique, relevant and resonant, and delivering the brand promise.
What is the connection
Firstly, employees are the interface between the organisation and customers; hence, employees are a vital element of building an organisation’s corporate brand. If an organisation cannot deliver its brand promise as an employer, it is highly unlikely the employees would be motivated to deliver the brand promise to the customers.
A research study has also found that potential applicants compare their needs, personalities and values to the Corporate Brand. If the Corporate Brand is not “changing the world” in the marketplace as espoused in those lofty vision and mission statements, it’s going to seed doubts in the prospective talent as “the place to work.” If HR is experiencing cognitive dissonance sharing the corporate brand’s vision, mission and core values during the recruitment and onboarding process, well, there’s work to do on the Corporate Brand.
And finally, employees research the organisation just as much as a customer would – maybe even more. That is why the marketing and HR teams have to work together.
How to Align
What unifies the Corporate Brand and the Employer Brand is the organisation’s vision, mission, values, culture and personality – this is the sweet spot where HR and Marketing intersect, where both disciplines can collaborate to make a difference in the workplace and the marketplace. The Corporate Brand is the driver, and the Employer Brand must align closely to the critical elements of the corporate brand and contextualised to cater to the employees and the candidates.
Take for example, Microsoft, its corporate mission is “To empower every individual and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”, and the Employer Brand promise is “Be the one who empowers millions” – same message but nuanced. Now if this just sounds like “pure marketing messaging”, here’s where the rubber meets the road – Microsoft is ranked number 4 in the Best Global Brands 2019 report by Interbrand and ranked second as the World’s Best Employer 2019 by Forbes and Statista.
The Corporate Brand and the Employer Brand are inextricably connected, they cannot work in isolated vacuums, and run the risk of sending contrasting messages that serve to engage neither the external nor internal stakeholders. Look for common ground, articulate and reinforce the messages, and critically deliver on your promises.
When executed correctly, both brands can immensely benefit and be magnified by the other. Let’s get your HR and Marketing teams to work together to take your brands to the next level.