When did marketing jargon take over HR? It’s hard to tell, but the employer brand, the employee experience and the recruitment funnel are all the rage in people management these days. Moreover, since the advent of social networks, the people-first imperative has made marketing more dependent on the HR function than ever before.
In our experience, combined HR and marketing projects have grown rapidly in recent years. In fact, our largest project by revenue in 2023 will come from a big listed company involved in a huge employee brand advocacy project.
I was recently invited to speak at an event where marketing and HR leaders shared their perspectives and ideas on how to work together and combine budgets for mutual benefit. First, let’s analyse why marketing needs HR:
- Motivated employees score double. A motivated workforce is essential for a company’s success, and marketing teams can benefit greatly from HR’s expertise in talent management. According to a study by Gallup, highly engaged teams achieve 21% higher profitability and 17% higher productivity compared to their less engaged counterparts.
- People want to listen to people, not brands. Consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know and respect, rather than from a brand itself. This is where HR can play a role in marketing by helping to identify employees who are passionate about the brand and empowering them to share their stories. In fact, a study by LinkedIn found that employees’ social media posts generate 8 times more engagement than posts from a company’s official channels.
- Co-workers bring credibility to the table. Employees are often the best ambassadors for a brand. They have firsthand experience of the company culture and values, and can help to build credibility and trust with customers. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, 76% of people trust “average” employees more than the CEO when it comes to information about a company.
On the other hand, HR can also leverage marketing knowledge and practices to boost the employer brand and attract talent:
- Brand building is a marketing affair. HR can benefit from marketing’s expertise in brand building. A strong employer brand can help to attract and retain top talent, while a weak brand can lead to high turnover and difficulty in filling open positions. According to the same study by LinkedIn, companies with strong employer brands see a 50% reduction in cost per hire and a 28% reduction in employee turnover.
- Communication and marketing are fun. Marketing is known for being a creative and dynamic field. Inviting employees to participate in advertising and communication campaigns will increase their engagement and sense of belonging.
- Know-how and customer acquisition methodologies. Boards are used to marketing departments managing huge communications budgets. As HR becomes more data-driven, it can benefit from marketing’s expertise in customer acquisition methods.
Collaboration between marketing and HR doesn’t just work in theory – many brands have proven its effectiveness in practice. By working together, both departments can create innovative strategies that drive results for the business. Here are a few examples that reflect the effectiveness of this practice.
Ambässadors: employees, influencers and clients in the same IKEA community.
IKEA is one of the most beloved furniture brands worldwide, but the competition is growing so they needed to strengthen their presence and popularity. The brand was focused on improving brand awareness within their existing audience, but they also wanted to reach out to new groups of people who could potentially become future customers.
To achieve this, we created an ambassador program that featured profiles with the IKEA DNA. These ambassadors were not only credible and honest, but they also had a genuine and close relationship with the brand. From these profiles, some of them were fans of the brand, and others were loyal employees.
In the first year after launching the project, ambässadors created more than 9,000 pieces of content, generated more than 63 million impressions, and achieved a 5% increase in sales and an 11% increase in shop visits. From our case study, “this new form of collaboration has created a true brand manifesto. IKEA has changed the rules of influencer marketing by building its own value proposition on prescription marketing, earned content and authentic communication”.
Luring tech talent through Be Tech! with Santander.
In recent years, traditional banks have realised the importance of having digital professionals to keep up with the latest trends and emerging technologies. For this reason, banks are fighting a global war for tech talent against big tech and fintech companies.
In 2020, Santander Bank launched ‘Be Tech! with Santander’, a digital recruitment programme led by the Group’s Technology and Operations (T&O) and Human Resources, which has sparked expansion to other regions. To facilitate this process, they have created a new website that functions as a central hub for job offers in this area.
In addition, they have formed a group of San Experts who are responsible for publishing content and testimonials on the latest trends and topics of interest to tech talent. These experts run a series of MeetUps to discuss the trending topics in financial tech.
Storymakers, by Coca-Cola European Partners.
The creation of internal content platforms to foster engagement and connection between employees is becoming an increasingly common practice in companies.
When Coca-Cola European Partners created Storymakers, to gather their most engaged employees to speak on social networks and events about the company, they knew that losing momentum and connection with your brand ambassadors is often the main reason for failure in this type of project. That’s why they created Redline – a platform for interaction and internal content distribution, built on Sociabble technology – to be the daily meeting place for storymakers. They would find publications, initiatives, rankings and training resources.
The platform includes elements of gamification, rewards and recognition to encourage active user participation. This initiative shows how companies are using innovative technologies to connect their employees and improve their engagement with the brand, resulting in a positive impact on the company’s image and reputation. If you are interested in this case study, you can read more about this project here.
Ready to unlock the power of the collaboration between Marketing and HR?
As the world becomes increasingly connected and customer-centric, the convergence of marketing and HR has become more important than ever before. By working together, these two fields can create powerful synergies that drive employee engagement, build brand awareness, and ultimately lead to greater profitability. From identifying brand ambassadors to creating compelling content, HR and marketing have a lot to offer each other.
So if you’re not already collaborating with your colleagues in marketing or HR, now is the time to start. Together, you can create a workplace culture that fosters creativity, innovation, and success.
So, is your brand ready to boost your results through this powerful collaboration?