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Product Branding vs Employment Branding: Is one more important than the other?

 Mike Sipple, Jr.

Depending on the size of your organization you may spend thousands or even millions of dollars managing the brand of your products and services. Any successful business professional can tell you that identifying your ideal customer is vital to any brand management. Your organization’s unique product offerings and educating your customers about your product, as well as how it will improve their lives are the other key components of product branding.  

When it comes to Employment branding, however, many executives are caught like a deer in the headlights. What many do not understand are two things:

  1.  Your employment brand is just as important as your product brand (as I will get into more detail below), and 
  2. Your employment brand should have just as detailed a strategy as your product brand, however many organizations don’t.  

As a leader of your organization, you probably understand the strategy of your product branding fairly well, but do you understand the message you are sending as an employer?  This identity can have a huge impact on the success of your organization in today’s atmosphere of conscious buying. Consumers like to do business with companies known to be good employers, equitable, and diverse.   

Who defines your employment brand?

With employment branding, if your consumers aren’t your primary customer, who is?  

  • Your current talent workforce
  • Passive and active candidates
  • Vendors
  • Past employees 
  • Key stakeholders

I get it.  You’re thinking, “Mike, I HAVE to get my product brand out there, or I don’t HAVE a workforce to support.”

I hear you.  But, you have to see how the two strategies support each other.  Your employees and anyone who has a professional relationship with your organization can be your greatest brand advocates.  We all know word-of-mouth is the best or the worst advertising.  When people experience your company you want them to have a positive experience-ALWAYS. 

For example: 

  • When a candidate interviews with your company, what is your policy (aka strategy) about following up with them? The amount of “ghosting” that candidates experience during the hiring process is staggering and rude.  When you treat people with respect, even if they are not a good fit, it gets noticed.  
  • Once someone is hired, what kind of experience do they get when they start?  What is your onboarding process and STRATEGY? Yes, you should have a goal and strategy to support your new hires (and not just in their first week) to create a sense of belonging and connection with your organization.  

In today’s tight talent market, intentional, strategic employment branding is crucial to maximizing your organization’s potential.  It is an investment that pays off, just like product branding. It will: 

  • Help you attract top talent because you are known as a company that is organized and growing
  • Free up resources spent replacing people to develop the people you have
  • Improve engagement, trust, and communication

Which is more important? 

If your marketing department went up against your Human Resources department in a budget meeting, who would win? 

In an organization that understands the importance of BOTH, it recognizes that they are complementary entities.  People want to work for a company that has a successful product, but if they have a negative experience as an employee, you will have created an adversary. How many other people will that person talk to?  How many others who work for you have a generally negative experience? This hurts your product branding. So…

 Which do YOU think is more important?  

Does your organization need a strategy to optimize it’s employment branding?  Check out our free checklist for more insightful tips!  

Please share your insights and comments!  Follow us on Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter!  We want to keep this conversation going! 

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