Have you ever wondered why leading consumer brands like Google or Apple are also some of the most attractive employers? These market leaders have managed to successfully incorporate their consumer and employer branding into their over-arching branding strategies.
A company's consumer brand is its public identity, the image that greets customers and shapes their views. It's the promise of quality, the appeal of new products or services, and the base of customer loyalty. But is this consumer brand the sole reason for a company's reputation?
Not quite: there’s a second, behind-the-scenes brand that the public may never even see. Instead, the only people for whom that branding matters are current and future employees. Specifically, a strong employer brand focuses on attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent. It's about creating a workplace where job seekers aspire to work and current employees feel proud to be part of it.
Unfortunately, far too many organizations neglect their “employer” brand in favor of developing their public “company” brand. Doing so can damage their ability to recruit and retain workers. That’s because prospective employees value totally different things than customers do. How exactly do consumer and employer brands differ?
Your employer brand will communicate with its audience (prospective employees) differently than your corporate brand. Your consumer brand uses communication vehicles like social media channels (like TikTok or Instagram), marketing materials, and product reviews. Your employer brand will likely use different social media (like LinkedIn), job descriptions, company reviews, etc.
Make sure you are always delivering the information the intended audience wants and that you are using the right channels to do so. For example, consumers will want to know more about the product. Whereas job candidates want information about the workplace and its culture.
Your competitors as an employer may differ from the businesses you compete with for customers. Obviously, there will be overlap when identifying competitors but it's important to understand the difference.
Imagine you're a retailer recruiting for a technology position. Your business competitors are other retailers. As an employer, however, your competitors are any other company with in-house IT staff in your geographic range. Additionally, if you permit remote working, competitors could potentially be anywhere in the country or world.
Note that you don’t necessarily get to define your own competitors as an employer. You might prefer candidates with sector-specific backgrounds, but that doesn’t necessarily work both ways. If the job candidate interviewing with you is also interviewing with a software company, that software company is also your competitor.
3. Value Proposition
Just as your primary product or service must stand out in the marketplace, so must your workplace when compared to others. Articulate why someone should come to work for you rather than another employer. This distinction is referred to as an Employee Value Proposition (EVP).
What is an Employer Value Production
An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is part of an employer's branding strategy that represents what a company can offer its employees. Common offerings include pay, benefits, or career development. This can also encompass the company culture, flexible work options, or resource groups.
Almost any aspect of employment can set your business apart from your competitors. Offerings like compensation, opportunities for professional development, and benefits are some of the most common. Some offerings like work hours or location, work/life balance, and culture are becoming more popular.
If you can't be competitive in one area, you must be able to compete in other areas. For instance, if you're a small business that can't afford competitive salaries yet, you may have to offer schedule or location flexibility.
Think outside the box when coming up with strategies to stand out from other employers. For example, if you can only afford relatively limited benefits packages, your employer brand will suffer. Partnering with an organization like a PEO can help make your employer brand even more competitive. A PEO can give small businesses access to Fortune 500-level benefits at economy-of-scale pricing.
No matter the approach you take, it's crucial to have a strong proposition that appeals to two groups: your customers and your employees. In other words, you need to provide value to both those who buy your products and services as well as your employees. Ultimately, this approach leads to great employer branding that resonates in the day-to-day experience of your inspiring employees.
Understanding the relationship between consumer and employer branding is important to succeed in today's highly competitive landscape. While the consumer brand serves as the face of a company, shaping its reputation, there exists an equally important yet often overlooked employer brand. This type of branding is crucial for attracting top talent and retaining them!
So, how do these two types of branding differ? We've detailed the distinctions in communication, competitors, and the value proposition they present to potential employees. Understanding these two types of branding can help you tailor your branding strategies for both consumers and job candidates.
- Value Proposition
Talent acquisition and retention are crucial in the highly competitive employer market, where the effectiveness of your branding strategies becomes essential. Remember, your proposition must appeal to both your customers and employees. Strive to provide value to those who buy your products or services and to those who choose to work for you. By doing so, you'll elevate your brand, ensuring sustained success in the ever-evolving marketplace.
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