In recent years, there’s been an increasing effort to more closely align employer and consumer branding. Companies like GE have poured massive resources into creating brand narratives that are attractive to both clients and potential employees – the idea being that there is a large overlap between those two groups.
A study by LinkedIn and Lippincott looked at hundreds of global brands to better understand the benefits of aligning consumer and employer brands – and companies with strong marks in each showed a five-year cumulative growth in shareholder value of 36 percent.
We asked executives about this connection – how strong they feel it is today, and what they envision to be the case in five years. Relatively few claim the two are perfectly aligned (19 percent say “they are the same”), though nearly 30 percent aim to achieve that objective over the next five years. Over one third (36 percent) say “there is a connection today”, a number that jumps to more than half (52 percent) for the five-year figure. And those who claim no connection at all? They stand at 17 percent today, dropping down to 6 percent in five years.
We also asked whether organizations have strategies in place to improve the connection. Do they have a combined consumer and employer brand strategy? The responses track fairly closely to those above. While only 16 percent have one strategy for both, another 16 percent say they have “more or less the same strategy”. In contrast, nearly one third (31 percent) say they have two completely different strategies or “barely any combined strategy.”
When asked whether the consumer brand is a factor when planning activities for the employer brand, 12 percent cite it as a very strong consideration (a score of 10 on a scale of one to 10). And a third (33 percent) choose a score of seven or higher. Ask marketers these questions and the answers are starkly different. Marketers are much more likely to report a connection between the consumer brand and the employer brand.
Eighty-two percent of marketers say there is either a connection or they are one and the same, versus 55 percent of respondents in general. And 60 percent say the consumer brand is a consideration in employer branding (defined as those answering a seven or higher). Compare that to 33 percent overall.