Not sold at Home Depot. Not sold at Canadian Tire. Not what you would expect to see on an ad for a chain saw or paint.


Barclays Bank, in business for a mere 300 years, has recently had their HR department try it’s hand at the exploding world of Employer Branding. They went viral with a hilarious Hollywood-quality action video showing Barclays “Quietly conquering the world of finance” by stealing, kidnapping, snatching and grabbing the best graduating students and their competitors’ star employees. Ha,ha,ha.

Hilarious, until you realize that the furthest thing from a bank’s Brand should be ‘stealing’ or anything untoward- especially after the industry’s poor morals showing in the recent run-up to the financial crisis.

Oh so fun, for the Ad agency who got this assignment from the HR group, without the usual restrictions of those spoilers- the Barclays Corporate Brand folks. No, these creative types had a ball- probably won a self-congratulatory award from their Ad industry brethren for their efforts.

Meanwhile, the Brand grownups at Barclays were carefully investing a fortune to regain their centuries-old trustworthy image, touting their heartfelt Core Purpose and Values to customers and shareholders “Helping people achieve their ambitions in the right way”. Excuse me? The right way? Is that the stealing or kidnapping part coming from HR?

If Employer Branding is its own silo, what comes next?

Will there soon be Production Branding? Financial Branding? Facilities Branding? Engineering Branding? Shipping Branding? Every function within an organization with its own (potentially misguided) ‘Branding’ efforts?

The real issue is that senior business managers don’t understand Brand and Branding in the first place – they don’t understand that consistency is the #1 Rule.

Not their fault. It’s because even the very best business schools didn’t teach them what a Brand really is. (That’s whole other blog.)

There is a dire talent shortage developing.

Keeping, finding, attracting and hiring great people is THE issue. But please stop.

Employer Branding is only one piece of the whole Brand. Granted, HR is a long belittled, neglected discipline, who now must really perform, but it’s still only a single piece of the Brand that must pull together with the whole.