Customer-based brand equity and human resource management image: Do retail customers really care about HRM and the employer brand?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between an organization’s human resource management (HRM) image and its customer-based brand equity. Research into HRM in relation to branding has mostly dealt with how to attract and maintain employees through employer branding. The present study attempts to link HRM directly to marketing and branding aimed at customers as an altruistic dimension of the brand image and as something that applies to customers’ sociological needs. Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on a survey of Swedish customers in two different retail categories: groceries and home decoration. Findings: The results show that HRM image is distinct from a more traditional service image and that there is a significant relationship between favourable customer perceptions of an organization’s HRM and customers’ willingness to buy and pay a premium for products provided by the retail chain. This finding leads to the conclusion that HRM is not only relevant for employer branding, internal branding and operations management but also plays a significant role in building customer-based brand equity. The results show that further integration of HRM and brand management is needed, both in theory and practice. Originality/value: This study takes a holistic approach to marketing and is one of the first attempts to incorporate HRM and employer branding into the customer-based brand equity framework. Implications for future research, retailing and other businesses are discussed in the conclusion.


External organisations
  • Stockholm University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • Brand equity, Brand image, Brand management, Human resource management, Retailing
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1185-1208
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Issue number7-8
Early online date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jul 11
Publication categoryResearch