BRAND – but this has so many meanings!!!!
Initially, a “brand” is what identifies a product or the service offered by a company. All of us know of many great brands – Coca Cola, Nike, McDonalds, and Google – just to name a few. Apple created the most powerful and valuable brand in history. A brand attracts the consumer and Apple has people around the world lined up for hours for the opportunity to consume their product.
“Brand” has taken on more meaning with time. The brand of a company is also fundamentally responsible for the ability to attract and retain talent to the organization. The brand is the reputation. It is now not only spoken of in terms of the quality of the product or service, but defines where people want to work. The brand of a company is like an onion – it is multi-layered. On the surface it is what we think of when we hear the name or see the logo, but at its depth, it evokes the feelings a person has for a company. Brand defines the customer emotion when consuming a product or making a choice to work for a company.
The term has expanded much further into the concept of “Employer Branding”. This term is now widely used and accepted. Over the past two decades, as we have faced talent shortages in many parts of the world, the concept of employer branding has taken shape. Employer branding is focused on an organization’s ability to attract and then retain the talent that it needs. Companies who in the past interviewed potential employees and decided who to select recognized that potential employees were now interviewing them. In demand employees are now able to make a decision between multiple opportunities.
As companies focused on what their brand meant to their consumer, so too did they re-focus on what their brand meant to potential and existing talent. The value proposition for consumers morphed into the employee value proposition. This requires organizations to look deeper into their organizations. To focus intently on what skills and attributes were required. What the return on their investment in those skills would be. Businesses need to know to attract those skills, ensure those individuals were highly engaged, and therefore wanted to stay. Recruiters now speak to the value proposition for employment candidates directly. In fact, recruiters are now often functioning like a member of a sales team – helping a candidate to understand all of the components of the organization and recognizing that they are competing for that talent.
And now through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and others, the concept of personal branding is taking shape. People market themselves and their career as an actual brand. Many refer to this as the “self-packaging” of yourself. This isn’t a new concept, but a renewed concept. Employers refer to social media to screen applicants, even before the first interview. The personal and on-line brand has become as important as the resume and cover letter. Today many employers do not require a resume, but in fact just access to a number of the individual’s online media. The proficient well branded individual is careful about what they put forward and what they allow to have associated with their personal brand. The days of posting every element of one’s life to the internet are over for those who are carefully managing their personal brand. Reputation and online identity management are new and real concerns. Ahmed will comment further on personal brand later this week.
In today’s world we now talk about the alignment of company brand, the employer brand, the value proposition and the personal brand of those who work in the company. The world is changing – are you keeping up?
Please see ManpowerGroup’s white paper to learn more about the power of brand.