Employer Brand Blog

Employer Brand

Employer Brand: What’s the point?
With our Strategic Advisor and Transformation Consultant Ian Buckingham

  • Is your organisation going through a major transformation post Covid in an attempt to become future fit?
  • Are you hoping to launch a fresh brand promise, purpose or vision?
  • Do you struggle to explain the usp of your business to employees, suppliers and candidates?
  • Have you had enough of working in survival mode and crave higher ground?
  • Can’t manage the transition from smart or blended working back to bums on seats?
  • Struggling to recruit, retain or engage employees?


If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions above, you may want to consider re-evaluating your employer brand.

Why employer brand and why now?

For some. It’s a 90s concept, when the war for talent was raging and was used to define the promises and expectations generated between employee and employer. But as I highlighted in Brand Engagement, it should more accurately be known as “employment” brand because the relationship between those who work for and who lead organisations has far more give and take than most realise. It’s an equation that factors in experience (promises made) and subtracts workaday reality (behaviour experienced). And the point is, it’s supposed to make you more attractive to stakeholders.


In the current, cynical environment where customers and employees alike are liberated by choice and empowered by a plethora of communications platforms, it’s more important than ever that organisations deliver on the promises they make to markets.


Whether stakeholders are customers, shareholders or staff, the truth will always out.


Employer brand informs the customer and colleague experience. Crafted and positioned properly, it has the potential to engage employees and candidates with your purpose and business aspirations. It can and should embody what marketeers call your employee value proposition (EVP) or the sum of what makes your organisation unique as an employer.


Communicated well, it can transform your employment offering into simple, actionable, enticing, powerful, and easily understood language so everyone, including suppliers and business partners understand and can align appropriately. It has the potential to be inspiring, empowering, and unifying or to suck morale dry with cynicism and hypocrisy. Managed well, your employer brand, should be an asset on your balance sheet.

Employer Brand as an Employee Engagement Driver

If you’re struggling with teamwork in the post pandemic blended working world and can’t seem to get people into your expensive offices, your employer brand may well need some serious re-work. Yet you probably aren’t even aware of the blind spots because the best people will just leave without telling you and your worst people, left behind, won’t be listening.


Likewise, if you’re going through a major transformation or change or need to launch a new project, programme or way of working a shift in attitude, behaviour, culture, and direction is most likely required. Focusing on the employer brand can galvanise and help to shape fresh and evolving employee expectations and synchronise them with the latest strategy, narrative, business focus and objectives.


A proper employer/employee brand programme also has the potential to build a cadre of brand champions and underpin an appropriate culture that will engage rather than antagonise customers. Too many leaders are too impatient at the moment, re-imposing ways of working that no longer fit employee and customer expectations post pandemic. If they were ineffectual during lockdown, they will probably be worse when the doors open again.

What about our Marketing?

If you’re re-defining or launching a new consumer brand promise, product line or service offering, it isn’t good enough simply to “show your employees the adverts”.


The so-called consumer brand requires translation for your employees so they understand how to deliver on the customer experience. They need to know where they fit in and you need to be clear about how this development adds to the organisation’s existing narrative and is communicated via the information superhighway of your workplace and in the behaviour of your people.

Recognition, Retention and Recruitment

For those in recruitment and HR communications who are wrestling with their performance management system and frustrated with their current careers website, social media platforms, internal recruitment procedures, third-party interpretation by agencies, student recruitment communications, and more – you may want to re-evaluate your current employer brand. It should tell a clear story about “why candidates should work here” and give existing employees a very clear picture of the part they play in their organisation’s journey and story.


Right now, enlightened senior executives will know that the bottom of the slump past the eye of the storm is a time rich with opportunities. But they will be losing sleep about employee engagement and churn, believe you me. They will also be frustrated by the potential loss of momentum as opportunities come from dark times, as they always do. Times like these call for changing gears in order to re-focus and re-motivate a jaded workforce. But it’s hard to do that when the leaders themselves are worn and hoarse from shouting.


Leadership development is one option. Culture change is another. Better communication is certainly up there as an improvement intervention. But you may well already be trying all of these. Under conditions like we’re all facing, taking a fresh, appreciative but critical look at your brand, at the interface between the promises you make to customers and those you make to staff, can provide a focal point for culture development and behaviour change or even a new spark in the marketing space. Call us outrageous but why not get your HR and Marketing functions together with your Comms team to create a joint strategy? It can work really well, you know, if you’re brave enough to want to stand out from the crowd?

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