Two brands or one?

Do you have a customer brand and employer brand?

There is a change going on in our industry. A change that as brand consultants, we completely agree with.

That change is saying ‘your brand is your brand’. Companies don’t have an employer brand and a customer brand. They have a brand. For sure they will flex their brands in different ways to be relevant to staff (articulated through an EVP – employee value proposition) and relevant to customers (captured in a CVP – customer value proposition). But those are two sides of the same coin, not two separate coins.

The world of agencies is still playing catch-up to this new reality. There are a number of agencies who specialise in employer brand (leaving the customer side to someone else) whilst others are clear they are here to help with your external-facing brand.

For the past 15 years, said & done have focused primarily on creating, maintaining and refreshing brands with the customer in mind. Whilst we have always cared about the internal aspects of brand (in fact we lecture on employee behaviour as one of the key outputs of a brand) it hasn’t tended to feature heavily in our work.

However, in the last couple of years we have been privileged to gain greater insight and increasingly move into this area of brand – where customers and employees are both considered.

Redefining the boundaries of brand
Having attended conferences, presented at seminars and spoken to well over 50 businesses about their current brand challenges, a clear picture is emerging. It’s a picture of organisations wrestling with the potential brand disconnect between customers and employees.

Here are just a few quotes from senior leaders within large corporates whom I’ve spoken to in the past few months:

“Our customer brand was developed without consideration to our employees and our key ‘brand thought’ holds no resonance with them. I am now having to work out what that means for the organisation. ”

“There is a lot of good work being done. Corporate purpose, personal development and employer brand. The trouble is that this has all been created in silos and it doesn’t all hang together. We are looking at ways to try and bring it all together.”

This shift in thinking about brand is not insignificant. It poses a real challenge to the way large companies operate, as more than ever before it is requiring HR, Marketing and Comms teams to work more collaboratively to create their brands – and make sure they are brought to life for customers and employees alike.

Here’s to the future of building your brand, and not your brands.

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