Developing an Engaging HR Brand in the Digital Age

By Erin Long, Director, HR Communications, Emory University

Erin Long, Director, HR Communications, Emory University

A strong HR brand helps communicate an organization’s principles, philosophies, and purpose as well as shape an individual’s perceptions and experiences. In today’s technological age, where most people are receiving their perceptions and experiences from a screen such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop, a successful HR brand must fit cohesively in the digital world to engage and connect with employees (and potential employees).

When Emory University’s Human Resources Division embarked on creating and developing a new HR brand, we knew we needed a strong brand to accomplish our mission, but we also knew we needed a brand that would work well in a digital landscape. Not only were we developing a wide variety of digital materials to communicate internally and externally about our programs, but we were also getting ready to design a new HR website, and we wanted the brand to help guide and support its framework.

"Be creative, dynamic, and unique"

To begin our process, we worked with an outside consultant who helped us define our goals and uncover exactly what we wanted our brand to do. After many brainstorming sessions and focus groups, we determined that our brand should:

• Be inspiring and engaging.

• Be creative, dynamic, and unique.

• Be approachable and relaxed, yet still polished and professional.

• Be reflective of the services and programs that Emory HR offers.

• Be unifying (a brand that would help our audience view HR as one consistent department while still providing unique identities for our different HR program areas).

• Be flexible (a brand that people would recognize immediately, but also be versatile enough to communicate about the many programs HR offers).

• Be adaptable for both print and digital formats, translating easily for use in printed publications, but also for use in websites, emails, Power Points, videos and other digital media.

The next step was the creation and development of a series of ideas to visualize the new brand. The consultant’s team came up with many different variations and, after a few iterations in this process, we landed on “Emory + You.” We liked this concept because it successfully demonstrated the connected relationship between Emory University HR and our audience. It was an engaging and modern brand that worked really well in both a print and digital environment because of its bold colors and high visual impact. The brand concept not only checked off all of the boxes on our “wants” list, but it also became the entire framework for our new HR website design.

The “Emory + You” logo is the primary identifier for the brand. This logo also includes more precise categories to help the audience quickly understand the central topic of a specific communication area. These categories are the central core of the services Emory HR provides:

• Your Work Life
• Your Benefits
• Your Wellness
• Your Learning
• Your Career
• Your Rewards

The six categories also became the navigational framework for our new HR website. Each category, which has its own unique color and corresponding logo, is prominently featured on the site as a landing page. Subpages within each section also feature the category’s logo and color scheme.

Our “Emory + You” brand, because of its ability to thrive in both a print and digital environment, has helped us unify our messages, ensure consistency, connect with our employees and more easily communicate the total value of working at Emory University.

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