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Why do companies struggle to define their employer brand?

Why do companies struggle to define their employer brand?

There are many definitions of brand. My favourite centres around the ‘gut’ feeling you get for a product, service or experience – how it makes you feel. However the deeper I delve into organisations, the more I realise that depending on how you look at brand, this definition really only scratches the surface and requires a more connected view.

With more and more companies coming to understand the power of their employer brand and the connection it has with the customer brand, I’ve started thinking that there’s yet another way to look at brand.

Everyone has a personal brand, right? My brand is ‘brand Matthew’. There are certain things I stand for, certain things I want you to remember about me when you walk away from meeting. A perception of me I’d like you to have. I live by my own values and behaviours. And just like a product brand, this requires management; conscious or otherwise.

Which leads me to think that as we all have personal brands – our employer brands, and then the articulation of these through our customer brands, are the sum total of all the personal brands in an organisation. Which in turn leads me to think this is why many companies have difficulty defining their employer brand and organisational culture. Because it’s the sum of many parts that make the whole.

Now I’m sure this isn’t new to everyone, but it does help to steer in a direction that encourages co-creation to enable many voices to be heard. To succeed, the starting point needs to be a universal understanding of behaviours that are either ‘on brand’ or ‘off brand’ – and how these are either rewarded or otherwise to encourage ‘preferred’ behaviours.

Then of course there’s the damage an individual can cause their own personal brand and the enormous negative impact their off-brand behaviour can have on those around them; but I’ll save that for another time!

More reading:

Using brand to breathe life into the machine
What is so special about your brand?
Organisational change and the importance of your employer brand
Employer brand and consumer brand. Why should there be a difference?
Brand positioning: More sameness = less potential
4 steps to making your personal brand a winner
10 essential personal branding tips for Twitter
How to leverage employer brands to attract top talent
Brand equity: Are CEOs neglecting a valuable asset?
Brand revitalisation requires more than a facelift
7 steps to creating employee brand ambassadors using social media
13 things that really annoy people on LinkedIn
Are brands still judged by the company they keep?

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