“Over half of CMOs will make employee experience (EX) essential to brand planning.”

— Forresters Predictions 2022: B2C Marketing And Innovation

A New Frontier Emerges

I spent most of the winter months hounding a panel of brand experts for their insights as I wrote Forrester’s annual brand spotlight report (to be published later this month, so keep an eye out for it!). Like every year, we immersed ourselves in the highs and lows of customer experiences, seeking brands that stood apart from the pack. But there was something different about our conversation this year. It was apparent that a different kind of “customer” was hovering around the periphery of brand building; it was the employee. Faced with the “great resignation,” companies likewise faced a new exigency in building brands that worked for employees as it did for customers.

The writing is on the wall: Brand building in 2022 will be as much about employer branding as it is about traditional consumer marketing. At Forrester, we’d already put down our stake in the ground, predicting that in 2022, over half of CMOs will make employee experience (EX) essential to brand planning. I’d already advised several clients in 2021 on the convergence of brand and employee experience, and the time was ripe to begin the process of formalizing our recommendations. Hence, the new year meant a new research focus for me: employer branding.

The Paradigm Is Similar

My work at the convergence of brand and employee experience guided me toward a simple premise as a launchpad for this research. Employer branding is, at its core, not very different from traditional consumer branding; it simply requires a slight adjustment in perspective. Here’s what I mean: The best marketers excel at building brand awareness, acquiring and retaining customers, deepening relationships (and spending), and sparking fierce advocacy. The mandate for employer branding is similar: Acquire the right talent, groom and grow them to create value, and develop an advocacy engine that entices more high-quality talent to join the company. In other words, the very qualities that make for successful customer branding will entail success in employer branding. That’s why, as we wrote in our predictions report, CMOs need to saddle up and play a vital role in employee branding and experience.

The Research Begins

We are at the beginning of this journey. Over the next several months, we will dig into existing research, pore over data, talk to experts inside and outside of Forrester, and interview executives with experience in employer branding as we formalize our recommendations. My purpose in reaching out is to find those among you who are interested in this topic and would like to engage with us. I’ll take your ideas, questions, and participation. I’ll take your enthusiasm and your skepticism. We have a great few months of research ahead, and I invite you to be part of it. You can find me at dchatterjee@forrester.com.