This paper tests the application of brand management techniques to human resource management (HR). The context is set by defining the ‘Employer Brand’ concept and reviewing current HR concerns. Pilot qualitative research is reported with top executives of 27 UK companies, who were asked to reflect on their HR practices and the relevance of branding.
This exploratory research indicates that marketing can indeed be applied to the employment situation. Bringing these functionally separate roles closer together would bring mutual benefit and lead to comparable performance measures, eg, trust and commitment. Strong corporate equity with the brand's customers can improve the return on HR, while at the same time improved HR can improve the return on brand equity from external customers. Formal, larger scale research would be required to substantiate the reciprocal benefits from a closer alignment of HR and marketing practices.
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1Tim Ambler is Grand Metropolitan Senior Fellow at the London Business School.
2Simon Barrow is Chairman of the management communication consultants, People in Business.