Aligning customer and employee loyalty
Employer Brand International (EBI) launched a new Global White Paper: 'In employer branding, experience is everything'. It zooms in on the role of loyalty and how employer branding requires loyalty from employees as well as customers. The authors, Brett Minchington and Lisa Morris asked me to share my view on the link between the loyalty aspects and were kind enough to add my contribution. This post is a more in depth look behind the scenes of customer and employee loyalty.
As with everything in life you learn by trial and error. We call it ‘experience’, which has a friendlier ring to it. You get experience by dealing with situations, people and challenges you meet. The same applies for employer branding. Many organizations ask me the same question: what is this employer branding anyway? You can’t see it, touch it or feel but at the same time you claim it’s important for my business.
Intangible assets are getting more important
I can only agree with their analysis. I explain to them that employer branding is about a company’s so-called intangible assets. Usually this leads to even more confusion, but when I explain it to them as ‘the softer side of an organization’ it starts to make sense. Today in business it’s not just about the buildings, machinery or inventory of a company, it’s more about the people, their ideas, their skillsets and their ability to organize. The intangible assets of a company are gradually over time becoming more and more important. After all, this creates the ability to separate oneself from a competitor. Anybody can buy a specific building, machine or inventory.
One simple question: why should I work for you?
Employer branding must be experienced to fully comprehend its impact. It can be very simple, though. Ask your employer the following question: why would I want to work for you and not any of your competitors? Although the question is simple, the answer is not. An advantage is, however, that every organization can ask itself that very question. The world is become more transparent and social. As a result people can take their business anywhere in the world and engagement from employees with the company and their customers results in total brand integration. Employer branding is important for any organization, especially in the world of work every business is active today. Talent is key.
Loyalty is key
To fully optimise your employer brand strength, a holistic approach to employer branding is necessary. The Brand Valley uses its research-based methodology, Blue Print, which consists of four phases and constitutes of additional segments to support a phase. The goal is attract, engage and retain talent. Besides employee attraction and engagement, customer loyalty is also crucial. In my research from 2010 on the return on investment – which lead to the birth of one of Blue Print’s segments: the Employer Brand Grid – loyalty is key. Loyalty of employees to their employer, but also loyalty from customers to the company that sells them the products and services they use. It is the degree of integration of employee and customer loyalty that is part of a company’s employer brand success. In Blue Print this loyalty is utilized through the Employer Brand Life Cycle (employees) and the Employer Brand Gateway (linking the corporate and employer brand through experience).
In my research one of the sources I refer to is Frederick Reichheld’s Loyalty-Based Cycle of Growth. Back in 1996 he wrote his best seller ‘The Loyalty Effect’ in which he describes his research on customer and employee loyalty and how alignment leads to better and longer-lasting profits.
From employee loyalty to customer loyalty
Reichheld’s research is based on extensive research and truly links customer- and employee loyalty to superior customer value. Although financial performance are not an extensive part of Minchington and Morris’ recent white paper ‘In employer branding, experience is everything’ (april 2015) they do refer to James Heskett’s research on the service-profit chain (1994) on loyalty: it is a direct result of customer satisfaction. In their white paper they make their contributing to explaining why alignment between customer loyalty and employee loyalty is necessary to obtain better results. I was more then happy to give my view on this aspect of employer branding by providing my contribution to their white paper by stating that the alignment between the employees and the customers of an organisation are a condition to build a strong employer brand. By truly linking the departments of Marketing and HR, a company is able to spread its values and create a smooth transition between experiencing the internal and the external employer brand.
Discover how employer branding can help your organisation. Start today, strengthen your knowledge by training your organisation and create insights on the topic for future benefits. Remember, aligning customer and employee experience is everything.