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HR Leader or Leader of the Employer Brand?

When NS Rajan recently got appointed as the joint CHRO & CMO for IDFC Bank it got me thinking about the power of ‘cusp’ roles once again. One that I champion too as an employer branding leader – cusp roles bring the best of HR & Marketing on one table to create workplaces that are relevant and exciting for the changing times!

I am now curious to see what Mr. NS Rajan will do with these roles? Will he play them independently? Do what everyone else does? or focus on the “merge”, the inflection point which could turn the fortunes of IDFC Bank as a business and employer.

Most companies choose to have separate value propositions for customers and employees but there are few who choose ‘one’ brand promise that translates equally for all stakeholders. To my mind those are the real winners in today’s competitive world. Famous examples include Apple’s Think Different or Nike’s “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.” The asterisk in the brand promise says that if you have a body, you’re an athlete. Very powerful messages that are demonstrated brilliantly well in their products or brand experience and employee experience too.

An additional point

I was so tempted to look through the IDFC platforms to see how the promise will come alive?

A quick glimpse of IDFC across digital channels shows a very vibrant brand, ‘pop’ colors type branding - definitely different in looks department when compared to other banks. But that’s where the differentiation ends.

The brand language and story is plane jane. Digital interface is a regular wireframe. No thrill in the story. No newness in the service or employee offerings. It is a collection of all that the bank has done uptill now. It is just another finance company.

It doesn’t overtly show what the company really stands for? What is its purpose? What is it aspiring to build for the nation? What opportunities or services are unique to IDFC? Why should someone be excited to work there? What people programs are peculiar to IDFC? 

That said, with his dual role Mr. Rajan has a promising opportunity in creating a unified brand purpose and to redefine The IDFC Story!

The power of ONE brand promise is immense – it truly creates a workplace which generates PRIDE. Every employee touchpoint and program when defined around that core promise seeks to elevate employee and customer experience. The end result of all business activity.

Let’s take Facebook’s “Connect the world” as an example. When you stay true to this promise – starting from your selection process to your employee engagement initiatives everything should accentuate and celebrate employees who demonstrate the power to connect the world – it will then automatically identify core technologists who can innovate at the drop of hat to create platforms that connect the world.

Likewise the HR programs will get transformed to deliver to this promise too – instead of doing local induction, Facebook should conduct global inductions virtually where a group of new joinees converge on a virtual stage to get ingrained into the culture of uniqueness and innovation. It will also translate into how they design offices. Sample this article “The new space will have moveable walls and furniture so workers can feel nimble and ready to switch gears, to again join and disjoin teams that create unique platforms. The rewards and performance program will then also acknowledge and appreciate talent whether internal or external to Facebook that has truly launched innovations to connect people across the globe. Needless to say, today, Facebook's market cap is $435 billion!

One brand – one promise that is the power of TalentX, the new maxim in employer brand!