Employer Branding Isn’t the Future—It’s Now. So What’s Next?

In the last 20 years, a revolution has swept the business community. Since Simon Barrow introduced us to the “employer brand” in the mid 1990s, a lot has changed. During this period, we have seen a dramatic shift from employment branding as just a theory to widespread acceptance. Many practitioners have moved from “an EB concept is nice, but not essential” to the belief that “people join brands and leave managers.”

Companies were considered forward thinking when they simply invested in their employer brand. But most organizations operated under the assumption that financial success was not tied to it. Oh, how the times have changed. Today, approximately 60% of CEOs claim ownership of their company’s employer brand, meaning investment in your employer brand is no longer innovative—it is now standard operating procedure.

The Shift Has Begun

If significant investment and attention toward your employer brand is truly standard, then a simple, but important question remains. What is next? The answer: brand alignment. Those same innovative minds that brought employer branding to the business world are now looking toward aligning their internal and external brands. Recent research found that companies that more closely aligned their strong consumer and employer brands had a 36% growth in shareholder value over a five-year period. Conversely, companies with low alignment and low brand strength had a 6% reduction in that same period.

Blurring the Lines

Is brand alignment truly the future? Will the lines between consumer marketing and employer branding begin to blur within companies? Yes! The digital age has changed the way we communicate, learn and view the world. We are all more connected than ever and this trend is speeding up at an increased pace. Whether you want to call it work-life blend or some other term, they all speak to the same trend. The lines between work and personal are blurring. An alignment of consumer and employer brands is not optional, it is inevitable.

It is not a stretch to imagine many companies in the future simply focusing on one “brand.” Consumer brand and employer brand are concepts that speak to the distinction companies have created between employees and their buyers. The problem is that this is quickly becoming a distinction with no difference. Look no further than various industry leading companies and you will quickly see many have embraced this change. Of course, how well companies can integrate their brands will vary based on their markets and the products or services they sell. However, movement in this direction is already occurring. So it really comes down to one simple question—would you rather embrace this change as an industry leader or spend valuable time scrambling to catch up?