What does your “talent brand” have to do with customer experience?

A new book by Jody Ordioni points to an unmistakable answer.

What does your “talent brand” have to do with customer experience? As it turns out, everything. Consider how Chicago law firm Levenfeld Pearlstein articulates what it calls the LP Way. At the top of five sequential steps to achieve the firm’s business strategy sits a simple goal: Deliver an unparalleled client experience. In reverse engineering how to deliver it, the firm found the right first step: Attract and retain talent. It’s the foundation for everything else that follows.

Like the mid-Atlantic firm Miles & Stockbridge, Levenfeld Pearlstein realized what a growing number of other businesses have: Creating a distinctive and memorable experience that keeps customers coming back over and over again is a brilliant business strategy. It’s also impossible to achieve without talent.

It’s why the release of a new book called The Talent Brand could not be better timed. In it my friend and mentor Jody Ordioni has captured the zeitgeist of the new thinking around how brands and cultures are inter-connected.

With The Talent Brand, Ordioni has managed to write a fascinating guide to uncovering your talent brand and creating a workplace that employees want to come back to, over and over again. Who doesn’t want that? Ordioni draws on decades of branding expertise to initially argue that a form of your talent brand already exists. It’s already deeply connected to your consumer or B2B brand, too, whether you realize it or not. In fact, your talent brand is so fused together with the traditional concept of brand it’s all blended together. As Ordioni wryly observes, you only get one reputation.

More than ever, we are bombarded with information about businesses. We can instantly find things like quarterly earnings, product reviews, social impact, and, what people think about working at a particular business. And because you only get one reputation, it all feeds into the narrative you form about how much or little to trust a business. Each part of your brand, on the inside and on the outside, affects the bigger picture. If you have a dubious reputation as an employer, it doesn’t just hurt your ability to acquire talent but could be scaring away customers too. Take the Samsung Galaxy Note recall. Ordioni writes the recall “didn’t just hurt the South Korean conglomerate’s sales figures, it made attracting top software engineering talent very difficult.” The inverse is also true. According to The Talent Brand, there is a “high correlation between customer admiration for a company’s products or services and their desire to want to work for that company.”

After all, every company has a brand. And that brand is built on trust. It explains why the most strategic marketing officers are beginning to think like experience officers. They know that to drive and sustain demand in the Experience Economy, it’s no longer enough to just focus on external messaging and colors and logos. With instant access to information, enhancing corporate reputation now takes a customer experience strategy. The Talent Brand makes it clear on where to start designing that strategy. It’s your employees who have the power to make or break the desired customer experience.

The Talent Brand does more than observe the convergence between marketing, HR, and brand and culture. It’s really a call to action. It’s articulates the need to break down the silos between departments. It reminds us that employees will take care of customers in direct proportion to how well the employees are taken care of. It also paints a picture on how to uncover and enhance your talent brand.

From your talent brand vision to your cultural pillars, from your employer value proposition to your positioning statement, The Talent Brand includes a framework on how to think about your talent brand. Beyond that, the book presents actionable tips for research such as stakeholder sessions, executive interviews, employee focus groups, and talent brand surveys. It informs the way forward in other ways too, with guidance on how to put research findings and a competitive audit together into a strategic plan. It includes a “wish list” of talent brand messaging and tools, and how to activate your desired talent brand internally and externally. In short, the book is a gift to anyone in search of meaningful and timely help to master the art of the talent brand.

Though its concepts are sophisticated, The Talent Brand is an easy, quick read for those paying attention to how quickly expectations are changing all around us.

The Talent Brand is available at Amazon.com. Author Jody Ordioni will also be discussing the book as a guest “Dive Master” on the new X Dive Live podcast, launching in September 2018. To be notified of new episodes, visit XDiveLive.com.

Edwin Bodensiek