The branding platform should reflect employee participation in the brand

Continuing with stakeholder profiles and info that’s of value in developing a brand – and therefore needs to be documented in your Brand Profile – I’ll address employees today.

After consumers, I’d say employees are the most important stakeholder group for most organizations.

One of the main reasons, from a marketer’s point of view, is that employees reflect the brand to customers and prospects. And not just salespeople, it includes all employees. That includes those who will never meet a customer unless that customer or prospect happens to be family or a social contact. Many companies actively encourage and incent employees to spread the word about the companies and its offerings.

So as ambassadors of the brand, employees must know the brand. There should be training. There should be informational meetings. There should be understanding. And there should be participation.

There is a new term being used, primarily within human relations departments. It’s Employment Branding. It appears that HR people have taken it upon themselves to establish and promote certain branding ideas that will make the company attractive and appealing to employment recruits. These are often, though may not be entirely, independent of the corporate branding program.

I’m sure the HR folks are feeling left out of the main stream branding activities and felt they had to take steps, even though their activities may be  redundant, and possibly in conflict with the corporate brand.

So I suggest the employee plank in the Brand Platform be a co-operative effort. The human resources people should lead this effort, and the plank should reflect their main concerns: recruiting, retention and training. It should probably be their job to actually set up and conduct brand training for all employees.

I remember walking past a The GAP employee training center office in an office building and seeing the sign that greeted new employees as they entered the room.

It stated: “YOU are the brand”.

If this is to be so in your organization, make sure your brand platform reflects it.

Martin Jelsema

One thought on “The branding platform should reflect employee participation in the brand

  1. It’s important to make a distinction between “employment branding” and “employee branding”. Employment branding (aka employer branding) is about defining and communicating what a particular company is like to work for. Crafting and communicating the organization’s employer/employment brand is intended to attract potential employees who will be predisposed to find that organization attractive as an employer. Employee Branding is quite different. It is the practice of training employees about the brand and establishing HR practices that will reinforce and reward employees’ behaviors that express the brand within and to the outside of the organization.

    Employee branding is a primarily a management practice.
    Employment branding is a primarily a recruitment practice.

    The real place for a conflict of images & messages is not between the product or service brand and the employer brand, but instead between the ‘corporate identity’ and the ’employer brand’.

    I doubt that HR folks feel ‘left out’ and are just now trying to crash the branding party. HR has always been responsible for attracting potential employees by communicating an image of the company as an employer– they are just now using branding language to label their efforts. That’s rather saavy of them, too, because more managers are knowledgeable about marketing than about training and development. [How many MBA programs require an HR class? All of them require Marketing!] The bigger challenge for HR departments is getting involved in internal branding/employee branding programs. If organizations want their brand expressed in everyday behavior by every employee, employees need to be taught about the brand, taught how to express the brand’s attributes in their behavior, and reinforced, supported and rewarded when they do.

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