How Your Consumer Brand and Employer Brand are Connected, Yet Distinct
Most organizations spend a lot of time thinking about their consumer brand — your products, how consumers view your organization, and various marketing strategies to generate brand loyalty. However, there is another important aspect to your company’s brand: your brand as an employer. Your consumer brand and employer brand are intimately connected to one another, yet they remain distinct.
Learn the parallels and distinctions between your consumer and employer brand so that you can manage these two brand identities favorably for your organization.
Three parallels between your consumer brand and employer brand
In some ways, the way you position your company is the same whether you’re trying to sell a tangible product to a customer (consumer brand) or trying to sell yourself as an employer to a job applicant (employer brand). Consider these specific similarities between your consumer and employer brands:
Consideration of your customers
No matter what you’re selling or offering, it’s critical to know your customers. For your consumer brand, anyone who may potentially purchase your product or service is an important customer. When it comes to your employer brand, however, you need to consider both current employees and job seekers as your customers. Your organizations employees are .
Be clear about how much money and effort you spend to develop both of these brand identities, because each is important to the success of your company.
Benefits of transparency
Transparency is critical to your brand efforts. Both consumers of your products and your employees will respond positively to efforts to be transparent, honest, and authentic. For example, 46% of employees seek new jobs because of a lack of transparent communication from management. Your task: train managers to lose the habit of secrecy (where appropriate) in favor of honest, transparent discussions of the company’s vision and goals.
Need for consistent messaging
It’s one of the critical rules of public relations: always, always stay on message. Whether you are talking at an industry event, tweeting from your company’s Twitter account, or onboarding a new employee, it is essential to provide consistent messaging. The goal is to tell your story as a company: the story of how your product will fit seamlessly into your customer’s life, or the story of how a prospective employee will find a home working for your organization.
Three ways your employer brand differs from your consumer brand
Although many rules of marketing apply whether you’re talking about your product or your employees, there are some major differences between your consumer brand and employer brand.
Brand communication strategies
Consumer branding requires constantly evolving strategies to capture customers’ attention. In contrast, you don’t want your employer brand to appear disjointed or all over the map. With employer branding, creating a consistent message that implies stability without stagnation is critical. With more job candidates citing a company’s values as more important than awards in making an employment decision, keep a close eye on the values and priorities you project as an employer. Managing impressions on online review sites is one such way to convey your values and communicate with would-be employees.
The relationship(s) you’re trying to build
With your consumer brand, the customer is clear: it’s whoever is buying your product or service. This relationship may be short-lived (though it’s always important to earn repeat business and loyal customers) and is transactional. Additionally, price is an enormous motivator in a person’s decision to buy your product.
Your relationship with your employees, however, is more personal and less transactional. The goal of your employer brand is to cultivate strong relationships with existing employees as well as to gain the interest of talented job seekers. Here, price (i.e., salary) may not be as important as the less tangible benefits of the job. For example, employees rate fair and respectful treatment as more important than salary in determining job satisfaction.
Responsibility for branding
Your organization’s marketing department is likely (and naturally) in charge of most aspects of consumer branding for your products or services. In contrast, employer branding needs to be an all-hands-on-deck process; every worker, from the custodial staff to the corner office, needs to share positive impressions of your organization. Research shows that being able to use one’s skills optimally and maintaining positive relationships with colleagues are the major determinants of job satisfaction. Thus, focusing on building a team vibe and cultivating employees’ skills are likely to have a major positive impact on your employer brand.
And when it comes to ownership over employer branding overall, human resources and/or talent acquisition teams are the ones who should be steering most of the decisions. Why? Because these teams have the strongest connection to the talent you have – and need more of – in your organization; an employer brand without their input is going to be an uphill battle.