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The Myth of Employer Branding

Three Sculptures
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sudhamshu

In 2000 employer brand was a hot topic in the HR circles (and I recommend everybody to read Lynda Gratton’s brilliant book “Living company”), so I was surprised and also fascinated that 10 years later, at trulondon employer branding was tabled again and even in its own track. And nothing really has changed from the discussions in the year 2000.

For me an employer brand per se doesn’t exist and is a red herring. I think it can even be detrimental to the overall successful brand building process of a company. It will be discussed when a company’s brand essence is fuzzy, the vision blurry and the communication lines messy.

People are the brand, so employer (or in this case “employee” – btw also a term coined 10 years ago) brand is a facet of the brand itself based on culture and corporate identity. At Jobsite we have a clear brand essence: “We help you build your worklife, so your whole life works better” – this is at the heart of all the actions we do and all the interactions we have, with all of the participants in our network, be it candidates, recruiters, suppliers and employees.

Especially nowadays with personal and corporate brands being intertwined this clarity of corporate brand essence is essential. Any customer is a potential employee and an employee is the strongest brand ambassador, so there always can only be one brand and every employee needs to find their own interpretation of the brand.

A smallish company even gets away without a clear brand essence as long as it has a strong and clear understanding of its own culture. The challenge will be how to foster this culture in growth spurts and how to manifest it, this is normally when a brand essence needs to be defined.

So let’s not discuss the need of an employer brand but focus on the execution of the main brand in the employment arena and to find recruitment methods that allow recruiting people that fit into the culture of the company and help it achieve its next incarnation.

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