Sixty Seconds on the HR-Marketing Relationship

Felix Thomson

Content Executive

The Financial Services Forum

We asked some people-in-the-know to tell us what they think is good, or bad, about the way in which marketing and HR interact.
The oxygen of business life
Some question whether HR is crucial to the marketing effort, but to me that is analogous to asking if we need to breathe to live. Financial services brands depend not only on visionary managers to set forth a stretching agenda but also on knowledgeable and committed staff to enact the brand strategy – for which the HR function is critical. Maybe this assumption is so apparent that many organizations have overlooked it – but that might explain why there are so few valuable financial services brands.
When was the last time your organization audited the extent to which your employees understand the nature of the brand, and also assessed their commitment to deliver the brand promise? If this isn’t done at least annually, there is a high likelihood that the brand potential is not being realized and that staff may well be frustrated in their brandsupporting role.
Have you tried to segment staff inside the organization using such data on a matrix that charts brand understanding against brand commitment? The assumption too often made by companies is that the majority of their staff are in the quadrant indicating a high level of understanding about the brand and a notable commitment to delivering the brand. This aspiration may not always be reality. Think about those employees who enjoy working in the financial services domain, have a good understanding of financial services principles, are highly committed to delivering good brand experiences, yet sadly don’t properly understand the essence of their brands. If so, they may be wasting corporate resources – resources that would have been more effectively focused on a narrower or more precisely-defined target group.
In contrast, consider an alternative scenario, with employees who are highly-astute politically and can decode the organizational culture and understand the extent to which they can “get away” with things. They cruise along, ever aware of the brand and the expectations of their role, but lacking any commitment to deliver the brand promise. Just think what may be happening to the bottom line there as well.
Surely it is only if HR and marketing work together that such tools can be used effectively to identify those employees who are the brand champions and give them further support to help grow the business. Likewise, if marketing works closely with HR it is easier not just to identify the underperforming employees but to appreciate why their performance is below par. Brands may be conceived on paper, but it is the way that HR and marketing work together that brings them to life and sustains the brands’ well-being.
To read the full article, please download the PDF above. 

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