At first glance, you see the term “branding” and immediately visions of Times Square with infinite billboards and advertisements appear. Or, maybe it’s standing in the shampoo aisle at your local big-box store and all of the elaborately (or minimalistically) designed labels are begging you to take them home. Personally, I think of the sometimes subliminal, sometimes not, splashes of red in a Target commercial, evoking a kind of internal game as to whether or not what I’m seeing is, in fact, a Target commercial — the logo at the end always instills a sense of victory.
Whatever it is that you think of, the idea of “branding” is very clear. It was for me at least, until I entered the human resources sector. In the HR world, “branding” almost always refers to “employment branding” or “employer branding.” It’s “consumer branding” that we encounter when we’re hunting down our favorite laundry detergent or watching Super Bowl commercials. But, the ideas behind the two are relatively the same — entice, engage and retain. In fact, we can liken the customer experience of consumer branding to the employee and candidate experiences of employment branding.
Fun fact: Simon Barrow and Tim Ambler, the founders behind the idea of “employment branding,” define the term as “the package of functional, economic and psychological benefits provided by employment, and identified with the employing company.” Essentially, it means that there are a variety of perks to being employed and a company recognizes what those benefits are. To take the lesson one step further, “employer brand” refers to how a company is perceived by employees and outsiders, while “employment branding” is the act and promotion from within the company to define why it’s a desirable place to work, again, to both current and future talent.
When you discover a brand or product that draws you in, do you ever stop to consider why it’s captured your attention? Chances are you haven’t – at least not beyond the initial attraction. However, subconsciously, it might spark a certain emotion or reaction from you that will either invite you to make a purchase, cause you to continue on without consideration or, if the branding is extremely successful, inspire you to tell friends and family what you’ve discovered.
The same idea applies to a company’s internal branding. Engaging, informative and transparent branding leads to a greater chance of attracting talent that aligns with the organization’s culture and increases the likelihood of organic marketing. If you love working for an organization, why would you hide that experience? This is why organizations should start considering (or further hash out) the concept of employment branding as a permanent fixture in the talent acquisition process, rather than treating it as an industry fad.
After watching the video below, do you feel that Facebook’s employment branding aligns with its overall consumer branding strategies?
Written By: Kirsten Robinette
After a few years working as a creative in the consumer advertising world (@ The Zimmerman Agency), Kirsten has taken her talents to the HR sector as an in-house creative and marketing specialist for WilsonHCG. While her roots are firmly planted in creating visual solutions through both traditional and non-traditional mediums, new passions have surfaced for topics such as employer/employment branding and social media tactics. When breaks from Adobe Creative Suite and Twitter present themselves, Kirsten is often busy Instagramming (@meanmug), reigning in her wild dog, Bentley, and checking out the local Tampa scene. Follow her on Twitter and/or LinkedIn!