The 4 P's of an HR Brand: People, Pay, Process & Promotion
By Gabriela Santamaria, HR Business Partner
Just like the four P's of Marketing (product, place, price and promotion), HR can build a brand with four P's of its own — people, pay, process, and promotion. An HR brand is defined by the culture of the organization and is important in attracting, engaging, developing, and retaining a best in class workforce. Having a strong identity and image in the marketplace can be implemented by taking the following steps:
- Creating your identity — The first step is to clearly define your department's direct value proposition. A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered, and a belief by the (internal or external) customers that value will be experienced. Your brand should demonstrate what can be expected in terms of the quality and service provided. As part of the first step, be sure to define the gap in perception between the current experience and the ideal experience.
- Making your mark — Once you have a clear idea of the desired experience, you can begin to establish your brand by taking appropriate actions in the following areas: people, pay, process and promotion. For each area, identify what actions are helping you build or break your brand perception and what actions you would like to start doing, stop doing, and continue doing as you build an action plan. Be sure to consider all materials, messages, and communications associated with HR such as overall culture, pay and benefits, leadership, and performance management, growth, and development.
- On Your Mark, Get Set, Brand! — With a clear message, purpose and action plan, it is time to begin branding. Becoming an organization of choice does not happen overnight. Consistency is vital to successfully building a brand that creates loyalty, builds relationships, consensus and collaboration. Solicit feedback from various touch points to get the pulse on the current perceptions and experiences from both your internal and external customers.
Southwest Airlines is an example of successful branding orchestration and execution. The company's brand is driven through its culture and woven through all aspects of HR including recruiting, onboarding, training, development, rewards, and performance evaluations. As a result, Southwest Airlines has three times lower turnover and significantly higher earnings than the industry average and has won numerous awards including Fortune's America's Top Ten Admired Companies and Aviation Week’s Top Performing Companies (Strategy/Design & Advertising).
Southwest Airlines: "Freedom begins with me."
The bottom line? It pays to brand. When executed properly and consistently through people, pay, process and promotion, internal branding can be a source of strategic competitive advantage with significant impact on employees, customers, and profits.