Employee branding: Are you a 'Lemonite' or a 'Xoogler'?
Brands trigger different psychological and emotional reactions including loyalty, security, and a sense of camaraderie
While less prevalent, having an eye-catching ‘employee brand’ can turn out to be a low-investment high-reward employer branding tactic
Business analysts and social psychologists have tried to define a brand and measure its psychological impact on an individual for a long time. Branding as a discipline of study has been around since the 1920s. While many definitions float around, most theories on branding converge on the idea that a brand serves as an identity for a concept, a product, a service, or a business ecosystem.
Brands trigger different psychological and emotional reactions including loyalty, security, and a sense of camaraderie. Organisations borrow the principles of branding to inflect behaviours and psychological reactions in the talent pool within and outside the enterprise through an employer brand.
One of the lesser explored concepts of driving an employer brand is the aspect of brand communication through employees. Branding employees or ‘employee branding’ can be termed as the idea of driving the organisational and employer brand to the market by portraying employees as ambassadors who live and preach the principles of the organisational brand.
LinkedIn profiles of employees at Lemon Tree Hotels reveal that they exude a sense of pride in calling themselves ‘Lemonites’. Google employees call themselves ‘Googlers’ with variants, such as ‘Nooglers’ and ‘Xooglers’ for new and ex-employees.
Dr.CV Harquail, an organizational identity and reputation scholar, says that, “An employee brand is intended to establish a psychological connection between the employee and the brand and induce brand behaviour.” Employee branding has the potential to establish a deep relation between the organisation, the employee, and the brand.
There are many ways by which an organisation can establish an employee brand in a short span of time. Some include:
Treat it like an internal marketing campaign
Dr.Harquail argues that an employee branding campaign needs to draw lessons from marketing and organisational studies in order to understand what kind of brand identity will stick.
Solicit employee feedback
It always helps for an organisation to solicit feedback on what they care about. Most of the successful employee brands are usually popular names picked straight from what employees prefer to be identified as in the talent market. It is important for the organisation to have their eyes and ears open and become receptive to such potential marketable opportunities.
Convey the personality
A good employee brand name should capture a personality that the organisation wants to portray to its customers. When employees brand themselves with the name of the organisation it needs to reflect that the organisation cares as much about the employee as they do about the organisation.
Leverage social media
Social media experts reveal that to maximise the employee brandingopportunity, the organisation needs to establish a social media strategy. A common social media strategy involves employees putting their employee brand name (Lemonite, Googler etc.) as the headline for their professional profiles.