The importance of aligning employer and consumer brands

The ever-increasing demands of consumers and employees are closely linked. For years our attitudes and behaviours as consumers were different between choosing products and services and choosing an employer.

Technology is progressively closing the gap, as Linkedin, Glassdoor and the transparency offered by social media make choosing a potential employer more ‘consumer-like’ than ever before. To respond to this change, companies are having to invest not just in their consumer facing brands, but also in their employer brand.

The war for consumer wallets has never been hotter and the war for the best talent is equally fierce as unemployment rates in the UK and the US continue to fall. Consumers are becoming more demanding than ever and so are employees. This is a megatrend that isn’t going to go away.

Addressing the closing gap

The solution starts with aligning your employer brand with your consumer facing brands and creating a purpose that aligns your workforce to solve consumer needs. After all, we are all consumers and for those of working age, we are all employees, so the people we are selling products and services to and the people that we are employing are broadly the same people. And in this age of ‘whole self’ working practices, the lines are progressively blurring.

Great companies and great brands are built from the inside out. They start with powerful purpose and a strong positive culture and that shapes the experience that consumers have on the outside. By aligning your employer brand, consumer brands and purpose, companies can ensure that there is less contradiction between serving employees and serving customers.

Generating lasting value

When companies put real value creation for consumers and staff first, culture and incentives are aligned towards serving both groups together, which generates lasting value. Value that is reflected in overall brand opinion.

“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Amazon

“To create a better everyday life for the many people.” IKEA

Where the purpose of the company, the culture of the business and the needs of the consumer are in alignment, amazing results frequently happen. One of my favourite examples is Pret a Manger.

How would you like to get up at dawn, make sandwiches and then serve hundreds of people  all day in a busy shop. Yet Pret has found through its mission, hiring, training and rewards that they can create a motivated workforce that works together as a team and delights its customers.

Resolving the increasing demands of staff and consumers is an opportunity for growth, not just another management challenge. It’s not impossible. It’s just very hard to do well.


Chief Executive Officer, London