When an organisation develops its brand, it’s a common mistake to focus on style over substance. Branding isn’t just about the product or service, it’s the people and the experience customers have of doing business with an organisation.

HR plays a critical role in understanding how the organisation’s people demonstrate the brand values and shape the experience the customer will have. A high performing organisation will understand what the values are and embrace them from induction and throughout the employee and customer journey.

HR also needs to recruit people who are aligned with brand and organisational values. An edgy retail brand needs to recruit people who demonstrate a unique personality and style; a luxury hotel epitomising five-star traditional service will recruit people with formal training and finely-honed skills.

It’s crucial that HR is involved in developing the job descriptions and identifying the attributes that are needed to recruit and train people to drive the brand and deliver the experience. Every employee should understand their own value within the organisation and how their role contributes to the customer experience. These values need to be established, developed, promoted and lived – HR is crucial in ensuring that this is cultural and not just a list stuck on a wall or included in an induction booklet.

This approach has to be driven by the leadership team, with the HR Director closely involved in strategic development. The leadership team should also drive the values of the organisation and work together to establish the ‘people brand’ that underpins the ‘product brand’.

Recruitment, performance management, training and development should all support the organisational values and the brand values. The HR focus should be on helping people to live the values of the organisation, understanding the brand and delivering the experience that customers will recognise and remember.

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