Solid As A Rock - Contributing to 'Brand Matters'

Our long-time friends and collaborators Ingrid and Nada at agency Luminous, London, invited us to contribute to their publication 'Brand Matters'... Edited by Luminous’ co-founder and creative partner, Jon Towell, the publication is a collation of thought-leadership articles on the theme of ‘Nowhere to hide: the changing face of corporate brand’ written by a number of experts in the areas of corporate narrative, values, culture, creative, employer brand, sustainability, digital content and measurement. 

Fiona's article features here:


There’s a new team pushing your brand agenda: your employees. And they are  a tough act. 

If employer brands were sticks of seaside rock, then ‘employee’ is the word that should run through each and every one of them. But in real life, how do you place employees at the heart of what you do, and what are the benefits of nurturing your employer brand?

Even casual use of social media soon has your people benchmarking your business’s purpose, strategy and culture against other businesses, as well as against their own ambitions and principles.

Electronic chit-chat lets your employees see your business as others do and they compare notes as to levels of transparency, and meaningful and ethical practice. Today’s talent looks for flattened hierarchies where the entrepreneurial are encouraged, career paths are non-linear, there’s rapid job rotation (along with flexibility) and accelerated leadership. Expectations are high. Meanwhile, opportunities from organisations vying to be a better professional and personal match regularly arrive in their inboxes.

So it is that leadership, far removed from its ivory towers of just 10 years ago, is progressively exposed. With heightened organisational transparency and a focus on culture as a marketable attribute, strategy can no longer be confined to the boardroom.

Your employees demand to know about your corporate brand. They want to believe in it and they want to actively play their part within a culture that supports them. A sophisticated employer brand provides them with this opportunity.

The relationship between the employee and employer – between leadership, managers and the wider employee community – is changing, putting new demands on the way enterprise grows and manages its employee communities.

Companies with embedded employer brands...

Experience up to 18% higher levels of productivity*

Find employees are 59% more likely to innovate*

Increase the likelihood of employees acting as advocates from an average of 24% to 47%**

How to engage employees with your brand

Get your corporate brand in order.

Translating your business strategy into brand strategy is key to communicating and embedding your purpose and ambition, positioning culture and values across your organisation. Your brand strategy’s objective is to achieve alignment across all your stakeholder experiences in support of your desired commercial outcomes. 

Listen to your employees

To increase and improve alignment and engagement it’s necessary to listen so as to deeply understand the status quo. Do all employees understand the direction of the company? Do they know how their best work contributes to company goals? Do they feel inspired by your strategy? Does it talk to their own personal ambitions? Do your culture and employee experiences align with the experiences you deliver to your customers and clients? Gathering and curating individual perspectives provides a pool of credible and authentic points from which you can build your employee experience story, and craft your employer brand message.

Create a coalition

Brand leadership has typically been the role of marketing. Today, however, brand must be co-piloted by a cross-functional team. Forming a brand coalition, where leadership, marketing, HR, recruitment and internal comms functions work together, is uncharted territory for many businesses accustomed to working in functional silos. Using this coalition to share and join up ideas, share skills, knowledge, experience and data, and take collective action will reap rewards in commercial efficiencies, and result in a more robust, defensible and sustainable brand reputation.

Build your employer brand

Your employer brand already exists. It’s what your business feels like to work in on its best day. Communicating this powerfully, consistently and competitively – in a way existing employees can take pride in and prospective employees find attractive – is achieved by translating your brand framework into a language and tone that speak  directly and personally to employees. This typically means defining your employee value proposition (the benefit of working with you in one sentence), a short employer brand narrative (one paragraph that captures what is special about your company or community) and employee-specific messaging reflecting your brand themes (the characteristics you want to be known for). All this can be expressed creatively through a bespoke design framework and communication strategy, transforming your internal communications and talent-attraction activities.

Embed your employer brand

Nurturing relationships inside your organisation requires continuous effort. Author of ‘Exceptional Talent’, Matt Adler, describes retention as ‘a process of continuous re-recruitment’. Listening, gathering feedback, making informed decisions and sharing the outcomes is the relationship glue that gives your high-performing employees the motivation to stay with you for the long haul.

Published July 2018

*MCA Brand Ambassador Benchmark, Ken Irons – Market Leader, 
Corporate Leadership Council

**The 2013 Towers Watson Change and Communication ROI Survey


Fiona Burnett