Many companies have employer brands (that part of the brand that you show to prospective talent) that are different from their consumer brands (that part of the brand that you show to customers and prospects).
In fact research that we conducted in partnership with The Society for New Communications Research found that almost 20% of companies have an employer brand that is different from their consumer brand. And almost 70% of those that said there was a difference between the brands, also said that their organization was not attempting to make them similar.
Worse than having a different brand is when organizations show prospective employees a different organizational brand during the recruiting process as compared to the brand they experience after they are hired – they account for 15% of all companies that participated in our research (1,000+).
Having an employer brand that is different from your consumer brand may in fact not be such a great idea, and here is why:
1. A consumer brand promise in embedded in a company’s culture and how they behave behind the firewall
With more and more employees interacting with customers and prospects, your internal culture will inevitably become part of your perceived brand promise.
As John Kennedy, the head of corporate marketing at IBM said during a recent CMO 2.0 Conversation: “It is this whole intersection between not only what marketers promise and how a product may or may not perform, but also what the company is like behind the brand.” Or as Phil Clement, the CMO at Aon said during another CMO 2.0 Conversation, when he described how Aon spent two years building the brand from the inside out before taking it out to the marketplace, convinced that their consumer brand is in fact an externalization of their internal values and beliefs: “And then (we) spent about two years building consensus around the company that those characteristics were true, and built credibility around them, so that when we started to talk the talk, the employees and teammates and colleagues would be walking the walk.”
And these are not the only CMO’s that believe that, so do the CMO’s at SAP, Kimpton, Con-Way, and Macys.
2. The numbers show that is a bad idea to keep them separate
The same research study mentioned higher found that companies that show a unified employer and consumer brand can expect the following benefits compared to those that maintain separate brands:
- 1.6X higher employee satisfaction
- 3.5X higher employee loyalty
- 2.7X the number of self-directed employees
- 1.7X the number of new employees who have a positive impression of the company
- 1.5X the number of employees who are proud to tell others that they work with their organization
- 1.5-3X being more attractive to recent college grads
Those numbers are even worse for those organizations that show a different organizational brand during the recruiting process than they really have once an employee joins the company.
It pays to have consistent brands!