Ready to Take Talent Attraction Further? Start Thinking Like a Brand Manager

For talent acquisition professionals to elevate the value of their function, there must be some strategic business case that links talent attraction strategies to the bottom line. But are there mechanisms that can be applied from consumer branding to do this? Examining HR through the branding lens provides the answer.

The Control Levers

As HR professionals learn to think like brand managers, they can leverage the control levers of product, price, place and promotion through the talent perspective. Adding a fifth ‘P’ to this mix—people—helps establish the commonality between marketing and HR. Let’s take a look at each of these levers further:


Typically, when we think of a product, we think of consumer goods or items sold on the shelf. But what if we thought of the HR product as the organizational brand or culture? When thinking like a brand manager, you can identify the personality of your cultural brand to help tell your authentic story. Our practice calls upon the combination of archetypes to express a company’s cultural brand. Organizations most often embody one particular archetype, but may also score reasonably high in other areas.


While place in marketing is generally where products or services are exchanged, this concept is slightly altered for the HR professional. Place, through the talent lens, is the work environment that exists in and characterizes the organization. More specifically, place is the culture that is created and resides in each company. How can HR managers address the culture in their organization? The answer is by engaging in the cultural discovery process. Understanding your organizational brand allows you to better manage your work environment and leverages the strength of your employment brand.


To brand managers, price is a key component of the marketing mix. The price at which products and services are sold determines the demand of the product. But how can we apply price as a control lever to HR? The answer is simple. Price equates to the reward and recognition we use to attract top talent and retain employees. In other words, how can we appeal to the head and heart of each employee?

Thinking and acting like brand managers, we must make sure that employees feel recognized for their achievements and accomplishments. We must also ensure that employee referral programs make it easy and enticing for existing employees to refer other good candidates. By using the price mechanism in this fashion, we emphasize the value that employees have in creating and maintaining organizational culture.


The promotional aspect of marketing allows companies to showcase their products and services through creative expression and through traditional or non-traditional media. The same is true for HR managers. Articulating and expressing messages that reflect the organization’s culture are crucial for successful recruitment and retention. Tactical development of recruitment marketing, career sites or other materials aid in the expression of these promotional efforts. Ultimately, promotion from an HR perspective can enhance the recognition and strength of your cultural brand and make the entire recruitment process more efficient and cost-effective.

Four + One

By examining the four P’s of marketing through the HR lens, it’s clear that when HR managers view their organizational culture, work environment, reward and recognition programs and recruitment and retention materials as brand managers, they can leverage the power of their practice more fully. This way of thinking also creates a commonality between marketing and HR teams. But what is this connection? People.

In any organization, marketing and HR typically operate with relatively separate purposes. Yet when the common vision of these departments centers on people, the value of HR as a strategic branding tool is significantly enhanced. By thinking and acting like a brand manager, you can apply tried and true consumer branding methods to your employment branding strategy—leveraging your true cultural identity to attract, connect with and retain top talent.

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