Q. Brands are a firm’s most valuable asset and brand management is a key activity in many organisations. How do brands carve a niche in a competitive market?
A. Brands create an emotional connection with the audience. They are not about features and benefits, but creating cult attachments that lead to increased revenue – premium drugs cost upwards of 50 per cent more than generics, Starbucks charges more for a cup of coffee, and brand loyalty creates free marketing by consumers that cannot be replicated through traditional and expensive advertising.
Q. Some call employer branding an indispensable strategy, while others term it as a mere fad. What do you think?
A. Employer branding is the essence of creating an emotional connection with target employees. Done well, it promotes the essence of a culture and attracts candidates aligned with the mission, vision and business strategy of the employer. I believe, it is an indispensable strategy that separates you from your competitors and creates long-term loyalty in talented employees.
Q. Lately, employer branding as a concept has gained popularity among practising managers. What are the factors driving this managerial interest?
A. On the external side, employer branding drives a groundswell of interest from talented employees, often unsolicited. This increases the pool of available talent at given time and drives down both cost-per-hire and time-to-fill. On the internal side, you have an opportunity to hire employees that are already predisposed to the mission, vision and business strategy of the company, which lessens the time-to-productivity and decreases turnover. It also means that practising managers can focus on proactive projects rather than tactical issues. All of this combined reduces costs and increases share value.
Q. Despite the popularity of employer branding among practitioners, there is a lack of academic research on the topic. How should employer branding be validated as an appropriate practice for HR management?
A. While many HR professionals may look at HR metrics to validate the practice, we believe in branding for business results. As I stated above, if you spend less time on tactical recruiting, have more unsolicited resumes (preferably from your main competitors) have less involuntary turnover, and more time to work on strategic projects, then business results (profitability; productivity) should follow. A great employer brand can increase ROI by 22 per cent.
Q. What are the key differences between the employer brand and the product brand?
A. We believe there is no difference. The employer brand is just the articulation of the brand essence to employees and potential employees. To build a brand fortress, companies must employ the same principles to the employer brand discovery process, and collaborate with key stakeholders from marketing, corporate communications and advertising.
Q. How is employer branding related to the concept of employer attractiveness?
A. Employer branding is promoting the attributes of what makes the company attractive as an employer. A strong employer brand will build connections between the company and people who find those attributes attractive
Q. How should employers motivate their employees to live and feel the brand?
A. Employer branding connects companies with candidates who are already predisposed to living the brand. At Brandemix, we promote the connection of the employer brand through every touchpoint in the process of recruitment through engagement. Once a client goes through the employer branding exercise and articulates the employer value proposition, the client can embed it throughout the talent management lifecycle. This will create a seamless brand experience and help employees become activists in the recruiting process, thereby bringing in more people who can live the brand. It is a complete brand cycle.
Q. Employer branding is believed to be a potent weapon against the scourge of unbridled employee attrition. Can you elaborate on that?
A. Employer branding can create a transparent recruiting model as employees who join are already aligned with the vision and core values/business strategies of the company. People are not shocked because they are connected with both the culture and the tangible rewards they expect to receive.
More importantly, you are working with people who are like-minded, and this truly creates an engaged and efficient workplace where people stay, perform and recommend.
Q. What are the main characteristics of a successful employer brand?
A. The characteristics are as follows:
• Alignment: One brand connected to marketing, corporate communications and advertising.
• Authenticity: Stay authentic, relevant and true to who you are.
• Differentiation: Position yourself as unique in the marketplace.
You succeed when your customers, employees and business partners all share a core belief in your brand.
Q. Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. how true is that?
A. I believe this is absolutely true. It means that you are truly living your employer brand values every day, and they have become the guiding principles by which you conduct business.