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Corporate brand vs employer brand: Learn the difference

Successful organizations include both in their overall brand strategy
brand spelled out in cut out letters on a cork board, during the corporate brand vs employer brand debate.

Having trust in a brand is a critical factor for both individual consumers and business customers when they consider making a purchase. In fact, according to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, 81% consider brand trust a deal-breaker for buying decisions. That’s why branding is such a key consideration when making long-term marketing plans and enacting their day-to-day initiatives. Yet some companies neglect to realize that in their focus on the corporate brand, they are neglecting or even missing an important component: their employer brand.

As a part of your overall corporate brand, the employer brand relates to how your organization is positioned as an employer, as well as how it is perceived by both current and potential employees. More subtle and complicated than the corporate brand, the employer brand is often less understood in the corporate brand vs employer brand debate. Successful organizations include both in their overall brand strategy—but that requires a clear understanding of the distinctions between them. This article will define both types of brands and explain the unique facets of each, as well as what makes both your corporate brand and your employer brand important for growth.

1 / Target audience

One of the most obvious distinctions in comparing corporate brand vs employer brand is the intended audience of the brand initiatives. For your corporate brand, you are mainly targeting potential consumers of your products or services—and possibly investors, partners, and other stakeholders. Depending on your targeted customers, this audience may be a narrow category or broad enough to include all people or businesses.

For your employer brand, the intended audience is much more specific: the candidates that will be the best fit for the organization’s current and future openings. Relationship building is important in both corporate and employer branding, but in attracting and retaining the right audience, effectively creating connections is essential as an employer.

2 / Communication channels

In corporate brand vs employer brand, communication is another area in which the corporate brand has a broader scope. You want to promote your brand anywhere and everywhere that your consumers frequent, in both physical and digital spaces. Channels for communicating corporate messages can range from posts on social channels and email newsletters to television ads and whitepapers.

Some of these communication channels are also used for promoting your employer brand as well. For one, social media can be a particularly effective way to reach job seekers as well as top talent who may not be looking as actively. However, the contexts for employer brand messages are more limited and are focused on specific areas like career pages, job postings, and reviews.

3 / Audience experience

The customer experience is one of the most discussed concepts in marketing and sales, for good reason. Whether your organization offers a physical product, in-person service, or a fully digital offering, the experience leading up to and after the sale all contribute to your corporate success. A positive experience leads to more satisfied customers who are not only more likely to become return customers but also to refer your brand to others.

Comparing corporate brand vs employer, the employer brand experience is going to focus far more on digital channels and experiences when it comes to potential employees. Hiring managers should be aware of how job postings, company reviews, candidate evaluations, and the hiring process all reflect on the employer brand. After hiring, that experience shifts to encompass all elements of the work environment, including the work atmosphere as well as resources and opportunities provided to employees.

4 / Audience engagement

Engagement is another factor that receives a great deal of focus from a corporate brand perspective but also deserves consideration from an employer brand perspective as well. Marketers for consumer brands strive to engage with their audience through social media posts and comments and messaging tools, as well as email and advertising campaigns. The goal is to build the kind of relationship—and brand trust—that creates loyal customers.

Looking at corporate brand vs employer brand, employee engagement, while a similar concept, takes a very different form as it’s based primarily on the interactions of team members. Company culture, including management structure, employee incentives, feedback systems, and opportunities for learning all factor into the engagement levels of current employees. According to Harvard Business Review, the reality of the employee experience and work culture need to be an accurate expression of the corporate brand in order to be effective and sustainable. When the organization’s stated values and actual culture don’t match, this creates tension and reduces employee engagement.

5 / Competition and challengers

The last distinction in corporate brand vs employer brand is the competition that the brand faces. On the corporate brand side, it is generally easy to compose a list of the top competitors offering similar products and services—or challengers in related industries. Competitor analysis can provide significant insights for improving your corporate brand and the customer experience.

The competition for your employer brand is less easy to define. As similar roles can exist in a wide array of industries and businesses, as an employer, your competition is any organization with similar openings. However, each company has unique facets and benefits, which therein lies the strength and opportunity of your employer brand. Understanding the current landscape and offering a competitive compensation package, along with a strong company culture, can help you differentiate your brand from other employers.


When comparing corporate brand vs employer brand, it’s easy to see why the latter is often neglected. The nuances of the audience, channels, experience, engagement, and experience for the employer brand is more personalized and complex than the corporate brand. Yet for ongoing success as a business, a strong employer brand that attracts the right candidates will be just as critical as an effective corporate brand. Where the corporate brand attracts customers, the employer brand allows for building and retaining a strong team.

If you are ready to strategically improve your employer brand and boost your recruiting program, CareerArc has the tools to help. Our social recruiting solutions in particular can assist you in creating the candidate experience and engagement that will make it easier to attract and hire the ideal talent for your company’s open positions. Contact us today to learn more about our social recruiting platform.


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