Do your working practices reflect your brand?
In today’s crowded market, one of the most successful ways to make your brand stand out is to make it more relevant to your customers. All brands are ultimately powered by the people who work for them and if your workforce reflects your target audience, you are far more likely to be able to understand their needs and motivations and turn them into loyal customers.
Unfortunately, we have noticed that large organisations can sometimes have a disconnect between HR and marketing, which means that their internal corporate culture and external brand values do not align. If you want to keep your brand relevant and hire employees who mirror your customer base, you need to introduce working policies that attract those particular candidates. For example, a company that produces family and kids’ products may want to hire mothers as they have insight into their consumer base, but if they don’t have options for flexible working to support those mothers, candidates may feel that they are not really living their own values. Ultimately, this could go on to undermine their brand’s reputation in the long term.
Employees as advocates
Social networks and employee review websites such as Glassdoor and Indeed have made it easier than ever before for candidates and employees to share their hiring or working experiences. If your staff are unhappy, it could not only affect your company’s ability to hire new employees, but could also disrupt your brand’s reputation with its customers. With many different options available to them, consumers increasingly want to purchase from a company that they feel is ethical and responsible in its attitude towards its staff.
On the flipside, when they are satisfied at work, employees can be extremely powerful advocates for your brand. Staff who feel a powerful emotional connection to the products that they sell are going to offer a better service that turns buyers into loyal customers. When people care about and believe in a brand, they are motivated to be more loyal and productive, to the benefit of the company.
Companies who have strong HR policies that really reflect their brand values are increasingly being recognised by lists such as Workingmums Top Employers or the Corporate Equality Index. Inclusion on these directories can give brands a real boost, both with potential future employees and customers.
How one company did it
Flipkart is an Indian e-commerce giant, selling everything from fashion to home appliances. They have recently undergone a brand refresh and wanted their marketing to reflect the rapidly evolving and progressive Indian society. Their first campaign, #PenguinDads, was inspired by male penguin who take a very active role as a parent and was designed to celebrate the fathers who are increasingly taking on childcare and household chores.
As well as traditional advertising, Flipkart encouraged their male employees to share their experiences as penguin dads online and change their LinkedIn profile pictures to ones including their kids. Flipkart has a generous paternity leave policy, working from home options, a workplace creche and wellness support for new parents. These policies really help their employees to achieve a better work life balance and makes them excellent advocates for the brand.
Getting HR and Marketing to work together
Rapidly evolving technologies and communications means that the employee experience, as well as the customer experience, is changing fast. HR departments can often be slow to react to this pace of change and purely focussed on filling vacancies without much thought as to what those roles should look like. In order to create a brand that stays relevant to its audience, companies have to shake up their hiring, training and working policies to make sure they can attract the right kind of employees.
For more information about the expectations of employees in the marketing sector around flexible working and the opportunities available for flexible employers, see our report on Flexible Working in the UK Marketing Sector. And if your organisation needs any advice on finding and attracting the right kind of staff to support your brand, get in touch.