Employer Brand Vs. Corporate Brand: What To Know

Employer Brand Vs. Corporate Brand: What To Know

Emily Smykal

Are your organization’s employer brand and corporate brand working together seamlessly? Probably not, but you’re not alone. Last year BLR found that only 27% of firms had an employer branding strategy in place, while Universum reports just 20% of companies have one strategy combining the two. Employer brand and corporate brand are not entirely the same, but they do need to work in tandem.

Corporate branding has a longer history, and greater acceptance as a necessity at any successful business. But interest in employer branding has grown, and it’s importance for attracting and keeping talent is now well recognized.

HR leaders who need to build their employer brand would do well to first analyze their company’s corporate brand, and let it inform the direction they take. After all, your employer brand shouldn’t be promoting an opposing message to your corporate brand. Instead, think of your employer brand as an offshoot of the corporate brand, one that conveys the same values but serves a different purpose.

We will discuss employer brand vs. corporate brand, but don’t let the “vs.” fool you into thinking of them as being in opposition. Quite the contrary!

What Is Your Corporate Brand?

Finding the baseline of your employer brand–your corporate brand–should be pretty easy. Your entire company can be summarized by its corporate brand. So first spend some time with your peers in Marketing. The corporate brand they’re busy promoting has a broad scope, covering all the firm’s products and services and all the firm’s locations. But it should have a clear, consistent message.

That message and all its components (e.g. design, delivery) are your company’s public face. The products or services you sell, the markets in which you operate, the people in charge–your corporate brand should be easily identifiable whenever a consumer interacts with one of these pieces. When you think of Apple, or Wal-Mart, you probably imagine the same brand that comes to mind for a complete stranger.

Most employers already have an established corporate brand, so you won’t need to work hard to establish a baseline. What’s tough for HR leaders is that too many firms only care about their corporate brand, and they may not even know what employer brand is. But your employer brand is a crucial element of your overarching corporate brand.

What Is Your Employer Brand?

If your firm’s corporate brand encompasses the business as a whole, employer brand focuses specifically on the people who work there, and who might want to work there in the future. And what is a business without its employees?

During the 1990s, employer brand was established as a company’s reputation as an employer. As more firms competed for top talent, standing out as an ideal employer became increasingly important. So employer brand expanded as an outward-facing strategy, promoting the benefits of working at your firm as a way to recruit candidates.

As technology and candidates became more sophisticated, employer brand turned inward to include employee reviews, social media engagement, even employee referrals. Employer brand today encompasses the satisfaction of your existing workforce, the impression left on former employees, and the interest you generate among job seekers.

What’s The Difference between employer and corporate brand?

From a design perspective, not much. Your employer brand strategy shouldn’t look radically different from your corporate brand strategy. Assuming your firm is happy with its corporate brand, you’ll want your employer brand to evoke a similar response. The crucial difference for HR leaders will be the message behind that brand.

Take your corporate message–your values, your culture, the vision for your products–and think about how that can be pitched in an attractive way to job seekers. After all, many of the people you’re looking to hire will work to sell those values and those products. Your employer brand shouldn’t be targeting consumers, but it should use those same talking points to attract candidates who will ultimately do the selling for you.

Making Both Brands Work Together

Your employer brand shouldn’t be implemented in a vacuum, and it shouldn’t be in contrast with your corporate brand. If executed properly, your employer brand can actually be amplified by your corporate brand, and vice versa.

Think about the best parts of your corporate brand, maybe a best selling product or a well-liked customer experience. These are also attributes that can attract top talent, and can be featured in your employer brand. On the flip side, pay attention to any negative aspects of your corporate brand. A bad experience with a brand as a consumer can lead candidates to disregard that same company as a potential employer.

Knowing that the actions of the entire company can impact your employer brand, and leveraging the best of those actions, will go a long way towards building an employer brand that stands out in an increasingly crowded job market.

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