• Transform magazine
  • November 14, 2018

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The employer brand: More than a logo in a 3D space

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The implementation of an employer brand on the physical space can impact internal culture. Julie Schoenfelder from GLIMMA discusses the built environment

Join Julie Schoenfelder at the Employer Brand Management conference on 12 December. Attendees will learn from almost 20 in-house experts from global organisations who have mastered the art of managing their employer brands. To book your place, click here.
 

What makes one employer stand out from another? What I notice is that the top global brands also have extensive employer brand programs and pay increasing attention to creating a culture for their employees that reflects their brand.

This is hardly surprising as the world’s leading companies know that their employees are the best and most important ambassadors of their brand. The most successful brands invest in their internal brand-oriented activities as seriously as their customer-facing brand activities.

The employer brand is built on the brand identity and accompanies the employee journey throughout a working day. But it is based on the values and culture of the brand rather than on the physical logo. However, values and culture as intangibles are not the whole story.

The important aspect for GLIMMA, as a brand implementation company, is how this is reflected at all the tangible employer brand touchpoints. These stretch from the ID security card, to the intranet and communications materials to the way the workplace is styled and decorated to create a suitable work environment reflecting the brand.

In its award-winning global workplace environment programme, the HSBC logo does not feature at all. But walk into any of the refurbished workspaces, from a call centre in China to a private banking office on Lake Geneva and you immediately know that you are at HSBC. The brand experience as a whole is HSBC.

From early days, banks have been among the pioneers in exploring the values of their brands through physical space – the impressive porticoes, huge atriums and column arcades were set to impress employees, by making them feel proud to represent their employer, and customers by instilling confidence and demonstrating their sturdiness and security.

GLIMMA specialises in the project management and implementation of international branding programmes for clients such as HSBC, Amazon and Kaplan. We perceive that investment in real estate and workplace environment branding to strengthen employer brand efforts is continually on the rise.

Our clients know they can achieve high brand impact and shape the culture and attitude of their employees greatly through the physical creation and design of their workspace. Compared to customer-oriented advertising, a lot can be achieved with creativity in quality brand graphics and a lick of new paint – high impact at relatively low cost.

With mergers and acquisitions taking place increasingly often and a rebrand taking place on average every seven years across all industries, the need to understand how the employer brand and the external brand work together is essential. I can sum it up in a single word: consistency.

As head of brand implementation at Nokia Siemens Networks during the merger of the two companies, it was critical for the development of the employer brand that all internal touchpoints, programmes and activities paralleled what we were trying to achieve with the customer-oriented branding. Our EVP (employee value proposition) was tested and shaped globally by our employees to make sure that the values and basis for all activities were both credible and relevant. This was then implemented consistently over all the touchpoints and used as a basis for the creation of all new employee programmes. The employer brand was adjusted regionally according to local cultures, as was the physical branding of the workplaces. Regional flavours are important, as long as the core in terms of values remaining the same.

Julie Schöenfelder is brand implementation director at Global Image Management