Employer brand and employer branding – are they the same thing?
- Posted by: Ali Ayaz
- Category: Employer Brand Management
EMPLOYER BRAND VS EMPLOYER BRANDING: UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES AND SIMILARITIES
People often confuse the concepts of employer brand and employer branding. It is easy to see even professionals use these terms interchangeably. You can see why, as both concepts focus on creating a positive image of the company as an employer. However, knowing the differences in terminologies lets you plan ahead and implement plans more clearly. Furthermore, it is important to understand the concepts of “brand management and branding”. As evident from their naming conventions; grasping brand management will make you help build a strong “employer brand strategy”
1- DEFINING BRAND MANAGEMENT AND BRANDING
Brand management is the process of creating, maintaining, and enhancing the perception of a brand in the minds of customers. Furthermore, it is the development and implementation of a strategy to reinforce the brand perception. It involves a set of activities and processes that are designed to create and sustain a positive image of the brand. On the other hand, branding is the use of various tools and strategies to create a distinctive identity for a brand.
Brand management and branding are crucial for any company that wants to build a strong brand identity. Specifically to differentiate itself from competitors, and create a positive image in the minds of its consumers.
There are several components of brand management and branding that are essential for building a strong brand identity. These include the following.
1A- Brand Strategy
Brand Strategy is the long-term plan that guides the development and management of a brand. It includes defining the brand’s purpose, values, and positioning in the market. The brand strategy should align with the company’s overall business strategy and help to differentiate the brand from its competitors.
1B- Brand Identity
Brand Identity refers to the visual and auditory elements that make up the brand. For instance; the logo, colors, fonts, and tone of voice. A strong brand identity helps to create a recognizable and memorable brand that stands out from competitors.
1C- Brand Positioning
Brand Positioning is the process of defining the unique space that a brand occupies in the minds of its customers. It involves two main concepts. Firstly, identify the key benefits and attributes of the brand. Secondly, communicate them to the target audience in a differentiated manner.
1D- Brand Messaging
Brand Messaging is the communication of the brand’s key attributes and benefits to its target audience. It includes the tone of voice, key messages, and marketing communications. Moreover, these are used to create a consistent and cohesive brand image.
2- IMPACT OF STRONG BRAND MANAGEMENT AND BRANDING
Strong brand management and branding can have a significant impact on a company’s success in multiple ways.
- Customer Loyalty: By creating a positive image of the brand and communicating the unique value proposition of the company, customers are more likely to develop a sense of loyalty to the brand. This can lead to repeat business, positive word-of-mouth marketing, and increased customer lifetime value.
- Revenue: By creating a positive image of the brand, organizations can differentiate themselves from competitors and increase the perceived value of their products or services. This can lead to increased sales, higher prices, and greater customer lifetime value.
- Overall Business Success: By creating a clear and cohesive brand image, organizations can attract and retain top talent, increase employee engagement and productivity, and improve overall company culture. A strong brand can also enhance the company’s reputation, which can lead to increased investment, partnerships, and other business opportunities.
3- DEFINING EMPLOYER BRAND
Employer brand is the perception and image of a company as an employer, as perceived by employees, job seekers, and the general public. It is the sum of the company’s culture, values, reputation, and employee experience. All of these shape how current and potential employees perceive the company.
Simon Barrow, the creator of the “employer brand” concept, states that employer brand management consists of many aspects and employer branding is one of them. According to Simon, “employer branding is a fragment of employer brand management, and it covers communication part only.”
There are two main aspects of employer brand management (EBM), but it is bigger than the sum of them. They both involve and comprise the overall “people experience”. Which means, the sum of the experiences, emotions, and interactions that people have with the company. Thus, it includes both candidate communications and employee communications.
3A- For Candidates (Attention, Awareness – External communications)
The AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action)l is used in candidate communications for EBM. It is a framework that marketeers and advertisers to understand the stages that a customer goes through before making a purchase. The ultimate goal of candidate communications, according to the AIDA model, is to have them take action: Apply for the openings. And in order for the candidates to take the action of applying, we trigger attention, interest, and desire. Overall reputation triggers these steps, which include bonding with the candidates and gaining their trust at touchpoints. For example, they can include the following.
- Corporate career pages or portal
- Social media channels
- Digital marketing
- Job postings
- Campus events
- Online career activities
- Candidate management
- Pre-boarding & Onboarding
3B- For Employees (Engagement, Retention, Performance – Internal communications)
Employee engagement is a measure of an employee’s level of involvement, commitment, and enthusiasm towards their work and the organization they work for. Previously defined as “emotional loyalty”, it is a key factor in the success of any organization and is an important aspect of employee experience.
Allen and Meyer’s three-dimensional model of organizational commitment might help us understand the concept better.
- Continuance commitment: Individual’s perception of the costs associated with leaving the organization. Employees are motivated to stay with the organization. Also, they perceive leaving to be costly in terms of time, money, and effort.
- Normative or moral commitment: Individual’s sense of obligation to remain with the organization. Employees believe that it is the right thing to do to remain with the organization. Additionally, they are motivated to stay due to their sense of duty.
- Affectionate commitment: Individual’s emotional attachment and identification with the organization. Employees are passionate about their work. Also, they are motivated to contribute to the success of the organization.
3C- Internal Employer Branding in Detail
According to the comprehensive review of Allen and Meyer’s organizational commitment theory, affectionate commitment, also known as employee engagement, develops as a result of positive work experiences and contributes to work performance. This means that when employees have positive work experiences, such as feeling valued and recognized, they are more likely to develop an emotional attachment to the organization and feel motivated to contribute to its success, thus higher levels of work performance and productivity. Employers can create positive work experiences by:
- Building a strong employer brand that communicates the company’s values, mission, and culture to employees.
- Investing in employee development and growth opportunities to help employees feel valued and recognized.
- Providing competitive compensation and benefits packages to help employees feel appreciated and motivated.
- Creating a positive work environment that fosters collaboration and teamwork.
By creating positive work experiences, employers can foster affectionate commitment and ultimately improve work performance, which is beneficial for both the employees and the organization.
The other components of employer brand include but are not limited to the following.
- Company culture: The shared values, beliefs, and practices that shape the company’s environment and employee experience.
- Values: The principles and beliefs that guide the company’s actions and decisions.
- Reputation: The way in which the company is perceived by the public and the media.
4– DEFINING EMPLOYER BRANDING
On the other hand, employer branding involves using marketing strategies to attract and retain top talent and communicate the unique value proposition of the company as an employer. It is the way in which the employer brand is communicated to the target audience. It may seem like a confusing concept at first sight because of the following reasons.
- Complexity: It involves multiple components and strategies, including company culture, values, reputation, e Overlapping concepts: Employer branding overlaps with other concepts such as corporate branding, marketing, and HR, which can lead to confusion and misunderstandings.
- Lack of consensus: There is no one-size-fits-all definition of employer branding, and different experts and organizations may define it differently.
- Evolving nature: Employer branding is an evolving concept that changes over time, which can make it difficult to keep up with the latest trends and best practices. Employee experience, and candidate experience.
5- OTHER TYPES OF EMPLOYER BRANDING CONFUSION
In addition to being confused with “employer brand”, “employer branding” is also confused with other concepts, including below.
5A- Employer reputation
While employer reputation is a component of employer branding, it is not the same thing. Employer reputation is the perception of the company as an employer, while employer branding involves creating and promoting a positive perception of the company as an employer.
5B- Recruitment marketing
Recruitment marketing involves promoting job openings and the company as an employer to potential candidates, but it is not the same as employer branding, which involves creating and promoting a positive perception of the company as an employer.
5C- Employee branding
This refers to the process of transforming employees into willing brand ambassadors through robust employer brand management. It involves motivating employees to positively represent their employer through various communication channels, such as social media, review sites, and word of mouth.
5D- Employee engagement
Employee engagement is a critical component of employer branding, but it is not the same thing. Employee engagement involves creating a positive work environment and promoting employee satisfaction and productivity, while employer branding involves creating and promoting a positive perception of the company as an employer.
Employee Value Proposition is a platform used for employer brand communication and actions; It is a summary and the base of the experience promised to candidates and employees.
6- IMPACT OF STRONG EMPLOYER BRAND AND EMPLOYER BRANDING
A strong employer brand and employer branding can have a significant impact on recruitment, retention, and overall business success. Here are some of the key benefits below.
A strong employer brand and employer branding can help attract top talent by differentiating the company from competitors, communicating the unique value proposition of the company, and showcasing a positive work culture and employee experience.
A strong employer brand and employer branding can also help retain top talent by promoting a positive work environment and culture, and fostering a sense of employee loyalty and commitment.
6C- Business success
A strong employer brand and employer branding can contribute to overall business success by enhancing the company’s reputation, attracting and retaining top talent, and improving overall employee engagement, productivity, and performance.
7- SIMILARITIES IN BRAND MANAGEMENT & EMPLOYER BRAND MANAGEMENT
While brand management and EBM are two distinct concepts, there are several key similarities between them contributing to the overall business success. Both of the concepts require the following.
By understanding these similarities, organizations can apply principles of brand management to their EBM strategies.
This means ensuring that the brand is presented consistently across all channels, from advertising to social media to packaging. Similarly, in EBM, it’s important to ensure that the company’s employer brand is consistent across all touchpoints, from the job application process to onboarding to ongoing employee engagement. Consistency is the key while designing employer branding campaigns.
In this context, positioning means understanding how the brand or employer brand is perceived by its target audience in the talent market and how it compares to its competitors.
7C- Value Proposition
In brand management, this means communicating the unique benefits and features of a product or service that make it stand out from its competitors. In EBM, this means communicating the unique benefits and features of the company as an employer, such as opportunities for career development, a positive workplace culture, and work-life balance.
In the case of brand management, this means building a positive reputation among customers through exceptional product or service quality and customer service. Similarly, in EBM, it’s important to build a positive reputation among job seekers and employees. This is mostly done by offering a positive employee experience, including fair compensation, opportunities for growth and development, and a supportive workplace culture.
8- DIFFERENCES IN BRAND MANAGEMENT & EMPLOYER BRAND MANAGEMENT
Branding and employer branding differ in the following ways.
Branding focuses on creating and maintaining a positive perception of a company’s products or services among its customers. Employer branding, on the other hand, focuses on creating and maintaining a positive perception of the company as an employer among its employees and job seekers.
The audience for Branding is primarily customers and potential customers. The audience for employer branding is primarily employees and potential employees.
Branding involves communicating the value proposition of the company’s products or services to its customers. It is done through marketing and advertising.
Additionally, employer branding involves communicating the value proposition of the company as an employer to its employees and job seekers. This is done through various HR strategies; such as employee engagement, recruitment marketing, and candidate experience.
Without a sound strategy, having only the “communications” part is not sufficient for creating positive work experience, employee engagement & candidate engagement. For a practical framework of employer brand strategy, we have listed 3,5 steps here.
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