For decades it was taught in American schools that it was Columbus (although some Viking supporters lobbied hard for Leif Erickson). But the question was flawed in that it was Euro-centric to the point of ignoring the land was already populated by hundreds of tribes.
I don’t bring this up in an effort to fly the banner of political-correctness, but to offer a comparison to the origin of an organization’s employer brand. (Oh, yes – this is quite clear, think my five or six loyal readers. Please go on with more what-the-hell-are-you-thinking streams of thought.)
Is an organization’s employer brand simply lying in the tall grass of the African savanna like some sleek cheetah waiting to spring upon an unsuspecting scimitar-horned oryx? (Okay, I’ve been watching a lot of Animal Planet lately.)
The reality is no – and it’s not because of the bad analogies. It’s because brand is a deliberate marketing construct, not simply an ad campaign addressing company culture, mission, and product mix. Culture and the related employment experience are an amalgamation of attributes, sometimes deliberately developed, other times evolving of their own volition.
Brand, on the other hand, is the outcome (note the use of “outcome” vs. “intent’) of creating specific associations in the minds of the target market. Aspects of culture, mission, and product mix may be part of that, but so might compensation, location, place in the industry, and dozens of other factors. Your brand story may spread organically, but the crafting of that story is deliberate.
Richard Knerr, co-founder of the toy company Wham-O that popularized the Hula Hoop, Frisbee and other fads that became classics, died this month. He was 82.
The man helped spread the gospel of the Hula Hoop and the Frisbee. Who could ask for a better legacy than that?