Employer Brand vs. Consumer Brand: What’s the Difference?

Employer Brand vs. Consumer Brand: What’s the Difference?

Branding is a vital part of any organization. But what many companies don’t realize is the difference between and the importance of both their consumer brand and employer brand. Ideally, the two should align with each other because if not, the company may appear disingenuous. This can raise red flags to both customers and current/potential employees. Of course, being disingenuous can lead to a poor reputation, and as this article from the Harvard Business Review reveals, a bad reputation could cost a company up to 10% more per hire.


CLICK TO TWEET: #EmployerBrand vs. Consumer #Brand: What's the difference?


A company’s consumer brand is probably the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about a company’s brand. Think Nike’s “Just do it,” or Apple’s “Think different.” Investopedia describes this as a unique symbol, slogan, name or a combination of all that sets a company apart from all the others. A company’s consumer brand is a kind of public identity that can become synonymous with the company itself. An organization’s consumer brand tends to have a greater reach compared to their employment brand and is a contributing factor to brand loyalty.


A company’s employer brand is most likely lesser known compared to its consumer brand. According to The Social Workplace, a company’s employer brand is “designed to attract the right talent to your organization (talent marketing) and then infused into your HR programs and culture to retain your current employees (employee engagement).” It has been seen many times that one of the biggest source of hires for a company is their employee referrals. If your current employees don’t believe in your employer brand, why would they invite their network to apply for a job at your company? According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2017 report, only 8% of a company’s total recruiting budget is going towards employer branding.


This Glassdoor article lists the following as three of multiple areas in which consumer and employer branding differ:

Target Audience

One of the main differences between an employer and consumer brand are the audiences that each of the brand messages target. Depending on the the type of product, the target audience for a consumer brand could be very broad. For example, a toothpaste company would target everyone since everyone uses toothpaste. However for employment branding, the messaging is most likely more targeted since an employer would be targeting those individuals who fit specific qualifications or whose values align with a mission statement or company values.


Due to the different target audiences for employment and consumer branding, the competition is different as well. For consumer branding, your competition would be those customers who sell similar products or offer similar services. For employment branding, the competition could potentially be much fiercer since you’re competing against every company that is hiring for similar positions. For a sales role for example, you might be competing against almost any company since salespeople are needed to build almost any company.

“Customer” Experience

A consumer brand and an employer brand cater to two different types of “customers” and as a result, there are two different experiences that need to be considered. For consumer branding, the customer experience might involve a website or a physical store and some sort of tangible product. But for employer branding, the “customer” is actually the candidate. The candidate’s journey involves everything from the application process to the final interview process.

CLICK TO TWEET: A bad #employerbrand can cost a company up to 10% more per hire.

An enduring consumer brand is what attracts customers to an organization but a unique employer brand is what allows a company to attract and retain ideal talent. What are your thoughts on consumer versus employment branding — Is one more important than the other?

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