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What Is An Employer Brand And How Is It Different From A Consumer Brand?

neon sign saying here for an article on employer branding

Employer branding is an emerging discipline within the world of Human Resources. While many are familiar with the term branding from the world of consumer marketing, employer branding is its own unique domain and requires a shift in perspective to truly get it right. 

So let’s start with what an employer brand is by definition. An employer brand is the organizational identity related to the employee experience. It’s not a logo or a tagline…those are simply branding tools. Rather, it’s what an employer becomes known for in the marketplace. It’s the associations that current, past, and prospective talent form about working at that organization.  

Your organization has an employer brand today whether you realize it or even more importantly, like it or not. You may just not be in a position of influence over your employer brand. Notice the word influence and not control. You can help influence your organizational identity but you cannot control it outright.  

The authentic stories employers share help build influence. When those stories are employee-generated, this influence increases even more as credibility grows. 

Savvy employers are becoming more strategic and intentional around how they show up in the world and the quality of the employee experience they wish to offer. Thank goodness! 

Many confuse the art and science of employer branding as an exercise in career site beautification. It can and should be so much more.  

The employer branding projects we have the delight to lead have allowed organizations to truly crystallize the essence of their existing employee experience and set out goals for what they wish to become. Rather than sharing an image of perfection, they share the journey and in doing so, build trust with their existing team and those ready to join the journey in the future. 

So how is employer branding different from consumer branding? 

While many branding principles are transferable, we are dealing with a completely different relationship where the stakes are much higher and the level of intimacy in the interaction must be thoughtful. It’s not simply a different audience. 

For example, when buying a pair of shoes, if you select the wrong brand and make a poor choice, you write off the purchase as a lemon, possibly return the item or leave a one-star review and move on with your life. In the world of employer branding, you cannot return the job. You may have uprooted your entire professional life and/or family thus creating far-reaching negative impacts. The stakes are much higher. Candidates need credible information and an employer with a clear sense of self to be able to make a strong and positive career decision.  

Enter employer branding… 

As mentioned above, employer branding is not a career site makeover or selling an illusion. It’s about reflection, strategy, intention, and commitment to who you are as an employer and who you wish to be.  

Employees provide their unwavering commitment. They deserve the same dedication to building an exceptional employee experience and one that can be proudly shared with the world. 


Ready to learn more about employer branding? Join my free HRDQU webinar on May 26th, 2021 to dig into Employer Branding in the New Normal. Hope to see you there! 

To learn more about Powerhouse Talent and our employer branding projects, click here. Don’t forget to check out our Employer Branding training and certification program, LAND YOUR BRAND.

Employer Branding course