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When Your Branding Leader and Your HR Leader Are One

Todd Raphael
Dec 28, 2011, 5:32 am ET

When the recruiting and marketing departments are on the same page, that’s a good thing. But what if they’re not only on the same page, but they’re the same person?

Indeed: the chief brand officer at Women’s Healthcare Associates, LLC is Anita Jackson. The director of human resources is also Anita Jackson.

In the video below, about 7 minutes long, Jackson and I talk about her unusual dual role at this Oregon gynecology and obstetrics organization. She shares whether this model could work in a larger organization, and how this structure affects the candidate experience.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Laurel Clay

    The folks at Newton Software have been writing on the topic of HR and Corporate Recruiting being the new CMO for a couple of months now. You can read their posts at

  2. Keith Halperin

    Hmmm. ISTM that it makes about as much sense to have the same person be the head of Recruiting and Maintenance, as we both clean up other peoples messes….


  3. Paul Rowson

    I would be less concerned about whether or not HR has direct accountability for corporate branding, and more concerned that the leadership team had a shared vision and commitment to the desired employment brand. The CHRO should always be concerned that all corporate officers are employment brand leaders, but in large organizations with sophisticated consumer branding needs, its not practical to add that functional responsibility to HR’s plate in my opinion.

  4. Keith Hadley

    This is great! Too often marketers consider “employer brand” as the link from the homepage to the careers page. Too often, talent aquisition folks don’t apply basic branding principles when communicating their employer brand. Principle #1 – make your brand attractive to candidates – by messaging what they care about. Too many career sites emphasize company history, products or industry when candidates seek info about what the company offers them? Strong partnership is the answer. See this blog on the tests of a strong Employment Brand:

  5. Keith Halperin

    @ Keith Had,

    Employers have increasing less control of their brands unless they actually have something decent to offer their (potential employees), so they might concentrate more on actually being good places to work, and less on trying to convince others that they are.

    I looked at the blog, and found this interesting:
    And if there’s any doubt as to whether building your employer brand is worth the investment, consider the words of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a recent interview in Wired:

    “If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people, because very few companies are willing to do that. Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue.”

    Three year time horizon sounds about right- new employees should figure that they should get everything they possibly can in the three years or less that they’re there. You want people to stay with you longer and have a “longer time horizon”? Offer them a multi-year employment contract…


    Keith Hal

  6. Keith Hadley

    “they might concentrate more on actually being good places to work, and less on trying to convince others that they are.”

    The interview hits on the creative tension between HR and Marketing when it comes to Employer Branding. It might be helpful to approach this as a “both/and” proposition… a brand must be both AUTHENTIC (actually be a good place to work) and ATTRACTIVE (engage the target audience, your candidates). It helps internally when leaders enthusiastically support the brand promise. It helps externally if the brand is unique from the competition. Hence; creating a employment promise that is:
    1) Attractive to candidates, and
    2) Authentic to employees, and
    3) Embraced by the leaders, and
    4) Unique from the competitors.

    Meeting this test takes real partnership between HR and Marketing to accomplish. Granted, the scale of most orgs. would prevent this from being under one individual.


    Keith Hadley

  7. Keith Halperin

    Thanks again, Keith Had. When I speak with hiring managers, I ask them which one of the following are they prepared to sacrifice for the sake of the other two:
    1) Quality of hire
    2) Cost of hire
    3) Speed of hire.

    Analogously, I’d ask which (one or two) of the four are prepared to be sacrificed for the sake of the other (two or three:)
    1) Attractive to candidates, and
    2) Authentic to employees, and
    3) Embraced by the leaders, and
    4) Unique from the competitors. (IMHO, it should be “Superior to the competitors’” as it could be unique and very bad, like some employers’ of choice hiring procedures.)


    Keith Hal

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