How Marketing and HR Can Align to Build A Strong Brand And Enhance Customer Experience


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I just got off the phone talking to a prospective client, who reached out to us for helping them with their Employee Branding initiative. One of the concerns cited by their Human Resources (HR) head was a high attrition and difficulty in recruiting fresh talent to meet the growing demands of the business.

A recent internal assessment revealed “employee disconnect” as one of the key reasons.

My colleague, who was with me in the call, was wondering why marketing firm was being approached by the clients HR team to address an HR issue. In this post, am sharing my views, as to why this alignment is the need of the hour, for companies of all sizes.

Let’s Understand The Cause of the Disconnect

In a small office setup, building connect between employees is relatively very easy, everyone know the product, what the company stands for and how each one of them can contribute. The challenge begins, as companies grow and get busy adding product lines, acquiring new businesses. Often many factors get overlooked:  employee onboarding, ongoing training, and internal communication.

The Outcome:  Employees get disconnected from the heart of the business, as they

  • do not relate to the products/services
  • are not well-versed with the terminologies
  • are unable to align their career goals with the company goals
  • can’t make decisions that reflect a clear understanding of what the business does

The magic potion for a thriving business is not only acquiring customers and winning their loyalty but putting together the right team with the right attitude to help your customer’s succeed.  

Aligning HR and Marketing – Is It Necessary?

Typically, Human Resources (HR) is all about the managing the internal brand i.e. “employee”  – meaningfully connecting internal stakeholders together. On the other hand, Marketing is all about creating and managing the external brand and reputation with external stakeholders.

In today’s digital era, a handful of employees in the marketing team and the agencies alone can’t manage your brand reputation. To key to keep up with the ever-changing expectations of customers is empowering employee engagement.

The relationship built by marketing with customers by defining and promoting the brand, company mission and vision has to be in sync with the relationship HR is making with its potential, current and former employees, the critical pillars of an organization success.

When HR and Marketing operate in silos, the disconnect is like an unplugged power cord, impacting internal customer (employee) and external customer engagement.

Believe in the Power of Alignment

“A well executed a marketing plan, can never compensate for employees failing to deliver a seamless customer experience. Similarly, HR cannot attract top talent if Marketing fails to develop great content and promote the brand purpose.

Creating better synergy between the two teams will ultimately produce more significant results in strengthening the company brand.

Working Together: Aligning Marketing and HR

To facilitate a seamless customer experience, the leadership must have clear objectives and roadmap for the future growth, desired outcomes, and measurement criteria for the KPIs. This demands commitment from leaders to providing the necessary investment and support to drive this alignment.

The alignment approach requires a data-driven approach:

  • Defining business goals, objectives, department and individual KPIs and measures of success.
  • Shared knowledge around the effectiveness of types of channels, tactics, vehicles & tools used to manage effectiveness.
  • People, process and technology – a broad mix of skills and experience, and support from a third party (i.e., agencies, independent consultants). Define and continually refine the way you work, working towards continuous process improvements to facilitate the greatest efficiency possible.
  • Realistic budgets to invest in people, process, technology, data, vendors, projects or campaigns.
  • A dedicated team to lead the transformation from the current state (ad hoc) into a data-driven (process oriented) culture.

When HR and Marketing join hands, the employees will feel the connect with the organization. Marketing reinforces the company mission and vision and brand purpose to the employees and HR identifies the best talent to represent the brand.

Taking Next Steps – Further Brand Experience With The Employee and Customer Connect

Kudos to you, if you are already there, then you are ahead.

If not, to get there – How can a company make this transformation?  

You may do it in-house or take external help, whether an agency, or an independent consultant, or a consulting firm.

While you decide on your next steps, implementing few of these best practices will help cement the relationship with your employees:

  • Ongoing workshops instead of just a one-time employee onboarding
  • Transparent employee communication via mailers, internal events
  • Due recognition and timely appreciation, help transforms current and former employees into brand advocates – who can help recruit new hires and clients
  • Effective social media policy and active participation of employees in the social media channels creates more visibility for the brands
  • Take exit interview seriously and action on the feedback.

Change does not come easy, so if critical pointers like employee onboarding, ongoing training, open and transparent communication are the norm in an organization, the data interpretation will be in the organization’s favor.

Article was first posted on Linkedin

Vidya Priya Rao
Vidya Priya Rao (PhD), is the Founder and Director of Innovatus Marketers Touchpoint LLP, a customer experience, design thinking and marketing consulting firm based in Mumbai, India. She is a design thinking/service design thinking decoder and promotes a proven approach to build a design-led innovation culture. She is also a visiting faculty at leading B-Schools in India. She is an Executive, Marketing & Sales Coach, Trainer, and Keynote Speaker.


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