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Brand Management

The Intersection Of Brand And Talent

by

The Intersection Of Brand And Talent

Your brand management and talent management approaches are two of the most powerful levers at your disposal in driving tangible, measurable improvement to the performance of your business.

Brand Management helps ensure that people are aware of you, of what you can do for them and why they should consider and purchase from you. It gives you something clear to stand for and to steer by; it guides some of your biggest strategic decisions. Name something more important to a CEO than the reputation of his or her firm.

Talent Management helps you make sure you get the right people aboard to help in the first place, and then create an environment where they can contribute more so that your organization can deliver on its promises. Name something more important to a CEO than the talent needed to deliver growth.

Chances are, they are both in the top five; for some, the top three, according to recent surveys by McKinsey, PWC and BCG. But the two are inextricably linked – a fact that seems to be lost on many boards, CEOs and strategists today.

Why do so many organizations manage these distinct drivers of business effectiveness as if they are completely different things? This book seeks to answer that question, and it makes the case for a different (integrated) approach to thinking about the way your organization manages the way it attracts, recruits, develops and motivates the people it needs to thrive, in order to provide a product or service that is authentic, relevant to its customers and differentiated from its competitors – for both business and talent. Does that sound crazy?

It still does to some people. When I set out to create the idea of ‘Brand and Talent’ as a practice area in one of the world’s biggest global communication networks years ago, I encountered surprising resistance to the very name ‘Brand and Talent’ itself. They just didn’t get it. Brand? That’s about external positioning. Logos. PR and advertising campaigns. Reputation management. Social media. Talent? That’s about recruiting. Employee communications. Human resources. ‘They just don’t go together. It’ll confuse the marketplace.’

One of the most telling challenges in setting out to make the case for integrating several related disciplines is how easy or hard it is to research those disciplines. Brand? There is a lot out there about how to define, create, activate, maintain, defend and grow your brand in the marketplace. Talent? There is even more out there about talent acquisition, talent management, employee engagement, motivation and the many human resources techniques to help make the most of talent.

But Brand and Talent? While, to be fair, the world of ‘employer branding’ has grown in profile, as has the idea of ‘living the brand’, these are still generally seen to be separate activities aimed at solving different challenges. While there is evidence of some organizations and service providers connecting employer branding and living the brand/employee brand engagement-type activities, they are far from being integrated and hardwired to the organization – at either communication, operational process or management level. It is virtually impossible to find an actual example of where brand, employer brand, human resources and employee engagement have been genuinely connected and managed as a single integrated process.

But the tide is turning. The now irrational (yet at one time perfectly sensible) functional separation of many of the activities relating to brand management and talent management has reached the end of its usefulness. Smart organizations understand that there is a better way – that one core idea is better than many when it comes to focus and clarity in a dynamic internal and external environment.

Excerpted from: Brand and Talent by Kevin Keohane, in partnership with Kogan Page publishing.

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