Businesses spend considerable time, money and energy building their brand in marketing to a target audience. They carefully curate the messages they send to the public. But the brand is more than just the messages you put in the public space; it's also the aggregate of customer experiences that form how consumers see your brand. A well-crafted brand image can break through the clutter of competition to vie for audience attention.
Far too often, we present different faces to the end consumer and target market than we do to our workforce and prospective candidates. However, who you are in either sphere is ultimately revealed. Compartmentalizing your public brand and your employer brand isn't sustainable.
What your employees think matters. How do your public-facing employees treat your customers? What would your employees tell your consumers about your business outside of the workplace? A poor relationship with the workforce can undo the goodwill built in the public sphere.
Good news travels. Unfortunately, bad news travels faster and further. Who you are eventually spills out into the public space. Employees share their experiences with friends, family and the public in conversations, in the news, on social media and in courtrooms. When the market begins to wonder if you are who you say you are—or when what you say and do aren't consistent—you look disingenuous to both your workforce and the public. This dissonance between a public image and how companies value their workforce damages credibility and ruins reputations. Your reputation allows the market to trust and believe what you say about your products. Breaking public trust can be catastrophic, undoing millions in capital investments. Having a public brand image at odds with the employee brand is an invitation to disaster.
Like your customer base, employees represent your growth potential. In fact, HR leaders often use the terms "internal customers" and "external customers" to distinguish between the people on the outside and our employees. As business leaders, our impact on customer experience is moderated through our workforce, our internal customers. Cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with our internal customers impacts how well they create positive experiences for our external customers.
Culture is still king. Organizations must be as intentional and meticulous about building, maintaining and protecting their employee brand as they are about their public brand image. To do that, they must be clear about their culture, who they are and how they operate. Culture drives you to hire people with a shared vision for getting things done. Healthy workplace culture is the catalyst for a positive employee brand as it fosters employee engagement and facilitates positive workplace experiences.
Identifying and leveraging synergies when engaging internal and external customers is essential. A consistent brand image allows you to attract and retain people—clients AND customers alike. When the employer and public brand images align, businesses are poised for sustained success.