David started the session showcasing the agenda of the session:
- About brands
- About employer brands
- About localization of brands
He explained in a very subtle way what brand actually stands for, “one message one voice inside and outside the organization”. In the true sense a brand is an idea that the organization stands for and what the workforce relates to. He touched about the reasons why brand exists- Brands make us to take action. Every great brand is defined by a great idea.
“Does your brand have the simplicity about what defines you?”
He spoke about the world’s top 10 brands, explaining that ‘Brand Value’ is the brand equity that stays with the company. “When we talk about brands, we talk about the brand having enormous impact on the business” as quoted by David. He explained about how company ties master brand messages to employee equity citing the example of Intel. Making the workforce message about what it is being part of the organization gives a whole new outlook to branding. He cited the example of Xilinx, headquartered at Silicon Valley but having the Indian operations centre at Hydrabad. He explained about the challenge with the branding exercise was to tell the world about what the company did. The entire branding exercise revolved around brining to light the work that the company was doing and then localize it in Indian context so that they could relate to the brand.
“Branding is all about story telling in a post it note, it is about the idea, the message that matters.”
As told by David, the point of discretion from an employee perspective being the way one relates to the brand and decides to chose one brand over the other.
Rajeshwari spoke about bringing to life the employee brand that is created being the HR role. She asked the thought provoking question of what HR can do in the way employees view the brand they are associated with.
“Why do we need to focus on Employee Value Proposition?” One of the thoughts brought in the session by Rajeshwari. The brand alignment is a key. Those companies that are doing better in the market are those that have been able to live up to their brand promise in terms of the value addition done to the employees. Explaining about Employee Value Proposition she spoke about the company’s positioning in the employment market which communicates employee experience, denotes the relationship and differentiates one company from another.
“The key is how we differentiate ourselves, how do you build the relationships”, explained Rajeshwari. She also highlighted that EVP is not a short term initiative (it needs long term commitment), it is not static, it is not about glossy brochures, catchy slogans and spending more money.
She spoke about creating a conducive ecosystem of an EVP. “As HR we need to create the EVP. We need to concentrate on both internal and external branding.” As quoted by Rajeshwari. She gave the story of a confused product company which tried got a mix of service industry-like value and in turn confused the brand that it wanted to be associated with.
“EVP covers everything from attraction to retention.”
One needs to understand the segment that needs to be targeted. For Gen Y- the promise should be focus on structured career paths. Branding is all about deciding what the company wants to stand for. Building EVP starts with HR as they understand the people, the segments and the competitors, which gives them to build the platform for creating the EVP.
Rajeshwari explained the elements of EVP:
- Functional benefits- pay, work environment, tools & research, career development, learning opportunities, benefits
- Emotional benefits- inherent value of job, pride, belief in organizational values, status, organizational image
- Reason to believe- Daily Work Conditions, HR processes, Public,
She spoke about the point shared by Devdutt Pattanaik, Chief Belief Officer of Future Groups – that the mantra of HR “It all starts with belief, goes to behavior and resonates to business”
David spoke about the differentiating factor- resonance in what the organization wants and what the employee wants, to get the right fit.
One of the ideas brought to the discussion as quoted by David was “Heterogeneity of culture but homogeneity of purpose that makes great organization.”
The impact of social media in the diluting brand image is a result of brand image not rightly aligned the company functionality, as explained by Rajeshwari.
Rajeshwari spoke about aligning the brand promise to what a company actually does and how the HR creates the policies around that promise which sums up the entire discussion.