Employer Brand

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Date Submitted: 08/19/2011 12:01 PM

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Internal advertising

Berry (1981) appears to have been the first to recognise the potential impact of advertising on (current) employees, yet, as Gilly and Wolfinbarger (1998) note, marketers today are still overlooking an important internal or ‘second audience’ for their advertisements: their own employees. They conclude that advertising decision-makers may underestimate the importance of the employee audience for advertisements. Given that employees will be influenced by advertisements, it is important that companies make every effort to ensure that this influence is positive.

Consequently advertising decision-makers need to understand the effect that advertising has on current and potential employees – for example, the fact that current employees enjoy an ‘insider’ role and want information in advance of marketing communications (Gilly & Wolfinbarger 1998) and that future employees can be influenced by mainstream advertising (Ewing et al. 2002).

Internal branding

Employees are becoming central to the process of brand building and their behaviour can either reinforce a brand’s advertised values or, if inconsistent with these values, undermine the credibility of advertised messages. It is therefore important to consider how employees’ values and behaviour can be aligned with a brand’s desired values (Harris & de Chernatony 2001). Internal branding, according to Bergstrom et al. (2002), refers to three things: communicating the brand effectively to the employees; convincing them of its relevance and worth; and successfully linking every job in the organisation to delivery of the ‘brand essence’. Coca-Cola’s

renowned former chief marketing officer, Sergio Zyman (2002, p. 204) concurs: ‘Before you can even think of selling your brand to consumers, you have to sell it to your employees.’ He goes on to argue that how a brand is positioned in the minds of consumers is heavily dependent on a company’s employees. It is worth noting that the first...