Wednesday, December 12, 2007

YOUR BRAND- Will It Blend?

This morning’s email brought me the Top 5 viral video advertisements of 2007-- The advertisements that were most successful in attracting online viewers, as ranked by GoViral, the online marketing agency. It’s a subject I am fascinated by since everyone wants to go viral and its harder than you think to achieve viral status, particularly for commercial purposes.

I should know, I think that our viral videos  ( are hilarious but viral, they are not. Not even mildly contagious.

They are-
The Cadbury Gorilla Drummer
Launch online: August 2007
Views on Youtube: 5m + lots of other user generated versions
Smirnoff Green Tea Partay
Launch online: August 2007
Views on Youtube: 3.4m

Ray-Ban - Catch Sunglasses
Launch online: May 2007
Views on Youtube: 3.2m + user generated content

Lynx/Axe – Bom chicka wah wah
Launch online: August 2007
Views on Youtube: 3.4m

So, when I went to see the Best of for ‘07, I was was even more puzzled by most. Great songs, pretty girls, humor (particularly Ray-Ban) but still. And the trend of real Global Agencies making what looks like User Generated Home Movies?

There is one on the list that I do think is genius- for building a brand, a cult, and sales.

It’s a campaign called “Will it Blend”
According to a series of 30 second to two minute infomercials demonstrating the Blendtec line of blenders, especially the Total Blender. In the show, Tom Dickson, the Blendtec founder, attempts to blend various items in order to show off the power of his blender. Dickinson started this marketing campaign after doing a blending attempt with a box of matches.

Nothing could be less sexy than a blender, so the fact that this campaign- by the founder, has dramatically increased sales and built such a strong following is really impressive.


The phrase Will it blend? has become an internet meme on sites such as Digg. Dickson has revealed that the campaign has been a great success for Blendtec. “The campaign took off almost instantly. We have definitely felt an impact in sales. Will it Blend has had an amazing impact to our commercial and our retail products.” Dickson has made many national television appearances, including NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on March 30, 2007, on which he blended a rake handle in mere seconds.

Here’s the latest- Blending an Apple Iphone

Check the rest out:

Branding for Business Results- That’s what I’m talking about!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Manage Your Intranet: Don't Leave It to the Beav

By Susan Solomon, The ClickZ Network

Every day of his gray-hued life, Ward Clever kissed June goodbye, patted Wally and the Beav on their heads, and drove the Edsel to work. He sat at his desk until 4, pushed a few papers across the desk, and called it a day. The tune didn't vary much, except when -- every once in a while -- those crazy boys from accounting trotted across the hall to swap stories about those truly wild guys in finance. But that was a rarity. Most of the time, old Ward relied on a monthly corporate memo or two to learn about anything new in the company.

Today, Ward probably lives in Boca Raton and his sons Wally and the Beav are themselves nearing retirement at Ward's old stomping grounds, but, man, how times have changed. The company intranet has the power to keep them posted on everything that's happening to the company, not only in the Mayfield office but also at the outpost in Mexico City. "It's really neato," Beaver emailed recently to Wally. "But, geez, did you see what the guys and gals from accounting posted the other day? I don't think the company brass intended for us to use the intranet for publicizing the number of drinks they all enjoyed at their holiday bash."

Huh? Cut! I'll bet you thought this was going to be an article about the wonders of the intranet for employee communications. I'll bet you thought it was going to be about creating a free-for-all on the company electronic bulletin board. Well, yes and no.

The truth is, the content of internal communications is just as important as the external stuff. It may not be as glamorous, or as widely viewed, as a multimillion-dollar television campaign or even a well-visited Web site, but employee communications is truly a strategic function that affects the corporate bottom line.

Those marketing communications people who have responsibility for the corporate intranet have a very powerful tool to manage. Don't ignore your duties because it's "just internal communication." Employee relations efforts have a significant impact on your bottom line. Here are some suggestions for handling content.

The intranet is not a bulletin board. Don't clutter your site with employees' notices about cars for sale and condominium rentals. Worse yet is letting your site become a free-for-all. Employee communications -- similar to external communications -- must "stay on message." You don't have to be Attila the Censor, but you have to be a good editor. Set parameters early about what can and can't be posted. And make sure you -- or another communications professional -- are in the editor's chair. Set up a quick and efficient approval cycle and stick to it to prevent bottlenecks.

Architecture counts. Set up your intranet site with the same care you would your Web site. That includes considering which items go "top of fold." Test ease of usage with employee volunteers and listen to their responses.

Reward submissions. Give employees "beats" and reward them with bylines. But never, ever let an article go by without your initial perusal. (Have I emphasized enough the importance of an intranet editor?)

Don't mistake the intranet for email. Email is communicated to a select group of people under some semblance of confidentiality. Forget confidentiality on the intranet, where the message is shared with the entire organization. Therefore, if a department head has a message for a select group of employees, suggest the use of email instead.

Don't substitute the intranet for face-to-face communications. Employee satisfaction is highly influenced by the staff person's relationship with her supervisor. Remind supervisors that the intranet is not a substitute for communicating face-to-face with their direct reports.

Empower employees. Give people the tools they need to do their jobs better. This includes online educational materials, software tutorials, and postings of important presentations.

Expand benefits. Let employees better manage their benefits with tools that allow direct access to their pension accounts, health insurance, and so on.

Communicate the message. Use the intranet to let employees preview ad campaigns. Provide an explanation of the strategy behind the campaign and "talking points" that will help employees further the branding message through word of mouth.

Survey employees. Be as responsive to employees as you are to Web site visitors. Survey users on the effectiveness of your efforts, and don't forget to report on how you've used the information to make changes.

Yes, Wally and Beaver, company communications have changed. But the new medium is useless -- or could even have negative effects -- if you don't take seriously your responsibilities as communications professionals. So, pay attention to those corporate intranets. Otherwise, I'll tell Eddie Haskell on you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Props to My Man Mark- Human Capital Business Leader of the Year

"At Leviton, I get to do work that's every HR executive's dream."  

My friend Mark Fogel, vice president of HR and administration at Leviton Manufacturing, and the 2007 Human Capital Business Leader of the Year, is featured in November’s HR Magazine and I was lucky enough to visit with him yesterday.

Leviton underwent a paradigm shift last year, when President Donald Hendler initiated a companywide reorganization. As Leviton moved from a function-based operation to a team-based approach centered around small business units, HR became a catalyst for change.

Mark implemented a "management by objective" structure, where now, every company decision and program must contribute to advancing one of these goals: grow revenue, develop business sources, invest in human development (HR), reduce costs and achieve quality. A new performance management system ties directly into these five goals. Senior managers set individual goals for each of the company's top 100 executives. Then, Fogel and his team review them and make sure they are covered in executive performance reviews.

Fogel and Shephard have worked hard to break down silos that existed under the previous organizational structure—beginning with the HR function. "It took us five years [2002-07] to build the foundation" for the new management structure. It's not easy work, but he reveled in the challenge.

As a true thought leader, Marc says this about the environment in which he works-
" "Today, I view myself as a business executive, and the entire HR team as businesspeople. I'm a member of the operating committee, and Kim [Kimberly Shephard, SPHR, senior director of human resources] and I attend strategic planning meetings regularly. We know every big project the company does."

By the way- Kim is my friend too.

 Catch Mark’s video at

Friday, November 16, 2007

Test Drive Potential Employees and Irritate People

A Recent Post from Tim Ferriss, new uber cult figure and Author of the 4-Hour Workweek has applications in the world of work as well. Pardon my adaptation but I don’t suspect Tim would mind... He’s cool that way. In fact, he might be surprised to hear that I’ve outsourced my blog to him today!

The art of irritation can, in fact, be just as valuable as the art of persuasion. How so? Let’s start with the problem: people are good liars and actors… up to a point.

What if it were possible to fast-forward relationships, whether with new employees or business partners? To get past the honeymoon facade of niceties and see their true tendencies underneath all it all?

Catching bad apples early begins with recognizing a truism:

Adversity doesn’t primarily build character—it reveals it.

Therefore, by putting someone under pressure or in a manufactured adverse situation, you can pull back the covers and get a glimpse of what’s in store a few weeks or months down the line.

Here are a few options for doing your own behavioral cross-referencing with a new potential friend, partner, employee or mate.

1. Meet them for dinner or lunch at an appointed time, and indicate upon their arrival that you made a mistake and set the reservation for 30 minutes prior. See how they respond to the change in plans. (Testing: how they contend with mistakes on your part)

2. Same as 1, but tell them that the reservation was accidentally made for 30 minutes after their arrival. Alternatively, travel with them and purposefully orchestrate things so that you miss a bus or train. Obviously, you then fix the problem and cover costs. (Testing: how they deal with waiting and unexpected changes in plans)

3. Take them to a restaurant with good food but bad service. (Testing: how diplomatically they contend with and resolve incompetence, which is the default mode of the universe)

4. Invite them to an event or function and then profusely apologize when you realize you’ve forgotten your wallet. Offer to repay them later or treat them the next time out. (Testing: how they relate to money issues. Wonderful people sometimes turn into irrational monsters as soon as even a few dollars are involved. It drives me crazy to keep a running ledger of who owes whom for a few dollars here and there, especially in social settings. Repaying the favor is mandatory, but dwelling on differences of pennies is tiring.)

5. Take them somewhere extremely crowded where they’ll be inadvertently bumped, preferably where they are exposed to people of different races and of lower socio-economic classes. Large outdoor markets are good, as are subways during rush hour. (Testing: biases against specific races and social classes, which are usually fast to emerge after there is any physical contact.)

6. Explore the most controversial topics until you find something the two of you disagree on. Ask them to explain why people have the opposing viewpoint. I use this mostly for potential romantic partners and potential travelmates. (Testing: how well they listen and both consider and summarize points-of-view or feelings opposite their own. I always look for both friends and girlfriends who fight well. Not in the physical sense, but in the intellectual and emotional sense. If I travel with one of my best friends for even a week straight, there will be times when we butt heads and fight. It’s inescapable. In those cases, are they civil and good at listening and finding compromises? Good at identifying common ground, picking their battles, and laughing off the unimportant? Or, do they lose control of their emotions and make hurtful personal attacks or generalizations? Do they use guilt or other negative emotions instead of taking time to discuss things logically? Hold grudges?)

Life is both too long and too short to suffer through toxic relationships. Rather than hoping for the best and getting trapped in relationships you are unwilling to end due to guilt and inertia, test drive and get a taste of what’s in store.

Choose wisely.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch PT 2

From the Blog of Dr. Mark Goulston

As leadership expert, Warren Bennis, has said:
"There are none so blind as those who will not see;
none so deaf as those who will not hear;
none so ignorant as those who will not listen and
none so foolish as those who think they can change those who will not see, hear or listen."

The best laid plans of mice, men...and CEO's are minced meat against a "can't do, won't do" culture. What's the solution to keep a dysfunctional culture with more "naysayers" than "doers" from spoiling your company's chance for success?

It's simple, but it's not easy:

1. Quarantine -- if you can't exterminate -- the "can't do, won't do" people away from everyone else
2. Gather the "can do, will do" people in a group
3. Give them a vision that makes sense, feels right and is doable
4. Provide them with the skills and tools to turn that vision into a reality
5. Get out of their way
6. Watch them lap the course and turbo charge your company
7. Then watch the "naysayers" put up, shut up or leave

Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch PT 1

I’m not yet on my four hour work week so I still indulge at reading emails at all times throughout the day. One phrase from one friend caught my attention and upon further investigation, I’ve uncovered, not the source, but an expert. Here is some background and 7 ways to make sure that your positive culture radiates throughout your organization according to Ed Horrell.

Ed Horrell, a Memphis-based speaker and author, was speaking to group in Atlanta the phrase ”Culture eats strategy for lunch” was offered by one of his attendees.

Simply put, the statement implies that companies who establish a particular culture in their business will be superior in practice than those who forsake culture for strategy or process. Culture will win every time.

Take a look at the finest companies in providing service, such as LL Bean, Nordstrom, The Ritz-Carlton, Chick-fil-A and others. A close look will reflect an actual culture that permeates throughout the entire organization from top to bottom. It is not their process that sets them apart, it is the way that they deliver their product or service; it is their culture.

You buy the same stuff at Nordstrom that you do anywhere else; their culture sets them apart. You get fast food at Chick-fil-A, cooked on the spot, served with a Coke, but it’s not the cooking process or the food that sets them apart; its their culture. The Ritz-Carlton checks you in, gives you a room, and feeds you just like hundreds of other hotels; their culture of service sets them apart. Note that the process and strategy of each of these companies is the same as their competition. It is their culture, their people, which separates them.

The question here is “How does a company establish a culture?” You show by example, discuss what is going on, compassionately correct and encourage when things are right. This creates a culture. The result is what is called “constancy of purpose”, a never-ending focus on an end-result.

Here are some ways to make that happen.

1) Establish in detail how you want your customers to be treated. Make it clear and concise, remembering that your employees have internal customers as well as external customers.
2) Make sure your managers understand these basics down pat. Clearly. Also make sure they know the importance of this employee/customer treatment.
3) Reinforce these with management constantly. This results in the above described “constancy of purpose”.
4) Teach the basics to all employees and require management to coach and enforce the practices.
5) Hire employees who “fit” the new culture.
6) Remember that the way we treat employees is the way they will treat our customers.
7) Talk about the culture every day.

The result will be a shift towards a culture that will be observable.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We Heart HR

You may have read that we were recently listed as one of the top sites for Human Resources. We are flattered. Many of you first time readers who are unsure about what we do and why we do it should know the following: BRANDEMiX is an independent advertising/communications company committed to using the latest in today’s technology to attract and engage your human captal.

Our articles range from branding, marketing, recruitment advertising and occasional stats on the internet and human resources. Happy Reading.

You can check our viral videos at
Your can check out our website at

Happy Reading!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

You Can't Use Walmart Technology to attract a Tiffany Customer

A great article with insight and info--

From Lou Adler, Friday, October 26, 2007

How to Win the New Sourcing-is-Consumer-Marketing Game... Coupling technology with consumer-branded marketing ideas

The talent wars have entered a new phase. Now it's more about guerilla warfare and skirmishes, not big battles. With this concept in mind, I was lured to a workshop a few weeks ago to hear about some of the latest creative sourcing ideas going on throughout our industry. Some of them were Web 2.0 based, others technology-oriented, a few based on contests, and others just targeted and compelling advertising. Regardless of the approach, all had one theme in common:You can't use Wal-Mart advertising to attract a Tiffany's customer.

Bottom line, sourcing is comparable to consumer marketing: It must be designed to meet the needs of your target audience.

Engineers won't respond to the same approach as entry-level call center representatives, and mid-level accounting managers aren't going to go the same website as retired people looking for part-time sales jobs. Targeting the right audience with the right message is critical to maximizing your sourcing efforts. For me, the other big takeaway from the workshop was that companies are getting much more aggressive with respect to their sourcing techniques. Benchmarking other recruiting departments' best sourcing processes is no longer the strategy. Instead, more and more companies are benchmarking best consumer marketing practices.

As part of this, going on the offensive and pushing advertising to your target prospect will be the difference-makers for those who want to be the winners in the next phase of the war for talent. So, to get in the new "sourcing-is-consumer-marketing" game, consider implementing the following ideas right away. Then, figure out ways to make them better. Implemented properly, they will work and they will allow you to increase your share of the top talent market in 2008 and beyond:

Harrah's MBA Poker Contest
. Susan Hailey, the vice president of talent at Harrah's, described a poker championship sponsored by Harrah's for MBAs only. The only admission fee is the MBA student's resume. Of course, the event was advertised at all of the major B-schools (participants must pay their own expenses, but they get a block rate room). Although the poker championship was initially designed to target Harrah's internal MBA recruitment goals, I just received an email from Susan stating that they're opening up their next event at Caesar's Palace (January 2008) to other companies. (Email me for more details < some info on Harrah's Poker Contest> .) Their tagline: "Imagine spending a weekend with 1,300 MBAs from the top schools in the country."
Dennis Smith's Wireless Blog. Google "wireless jobs" right now and see who's on the top of the organic listings. It's <> , which is none other than Dennis Smith's blog. Dennis, who is T-Mobile's senior manager of recruiting, started the blog three years ago and spends about 30 minutes a day keeping it current. The real key is that people looking for jobs in wireless, whether they're installers, engineers, or executives, will find Dennis first. This is a great way to build a proprietary database of resumes of top people. And, don't forget each person in the database knows six to 10 other great people. Dennis's blog is a great example of how to build a just-in-time pipeline of hot talent.

L-3's Creative Niche Advertising. Amber O'Brien is a staffing specialist for L-3 Communications Group in Sonoma, California. It's pretty tough to get aerospace engineers and support personnel to relocate to wine country unless you use some creative sourcing techniques. Amber has taken outrageous and niche advertising to another extreme. One ad, posted on an optics engineering job site, had the title "O.G.S.K.S., aka Optic Geeks Seeking Kindred Spirits," which resulted in five qualified candidates in a few hours. The rest of the ad was more compelling than the title, which is what really captured the attention of what Amber aptly calls "cryptonomicon characters." Another one of her ads had the unusual title "Wine Country and Aerospace, together at last." She posted this ad with compelling and unusual copy (e.g., "...loves finding new and creative ways to solve quixotic quandaries") on a site designed for government contractors. Amber said she was "deluged" with responses. The key: compelling advertising on niche sites.

Sodexho's Virtual Job Fair. Anthony Scarpino, senior director of talent acquisition for Sodexho, and Amy Brooks, led the company's first virtual job fair using Second Life. (Here's an article with some of their caveats and specific advice <> .) Anthony and Amy both contend that putting a virtual career is not easy and the results aren't instantaneous. Regardless, it's worthwhile investigating this new Web 2.0 technology, particularly for targeting entry-level candidates.

Jobs2Web's Career Site Cloning. Doug Berg is a genius when it comes to making technology work better in the recruiting space. If you don't know Doug, he's the founder of HotGigs and Jobs2Web. I'm continually amazed at how Jobs2Web <> can free up a company's website so it can be found. The Jobs2Web system clones every job, gives it a logical title, adds a bunch of keywords and meta tags, and then reverse engineers them so that people googling for jobs can easily find them. For results, consider that Merck's Jobs2Web system is rapidly becoming its lowest cost and primary means to find top talent online.

3M's Sponsoring Industry-Focused College Fraternity. John Lanning, 3M's manager of sales recruiting, described the impact of the company's long-term sponsorship of Pi Sigma Epsilon's annual Pro-Am Sell-A-Thon. For background, here's the purpose of the Sell-A-Thon directly from their website: To provide PSE collegiate members with the opportunity to experience the salesperson's role in a simulated business-to-business sales environment, with coaching from a sales professional. Of course, 3M has first access to the best college grads who win the contest, and most of the salespeople John hires make their quota way ahead of schedule. In addition to sponsoring similar contests, you might want to search within your resume databases for "PSE members" as well as for "Sell-A-Thon," "winner," and "runner-up."

Again, the key to success here is coupling the latest technology with consumer-branded marketing ideas. One thing is readily apparent when you attempt to do this: you can't copy someone else's marketing approaches and creative ideas and expect them to work just as well. So, being the early-bird and putting your own spin on everything is important. Despite this caveat, trying a similar idea in a different market is a good way to start. To try out the consumer marketing idea, just write a compelling ad on a niche site and compare the results to a traditional, boring ad on the same site. You'll probably get three to five times the response in both quality and quantity. This will be enough evidence to convince the naysayers. But don't wait. Everyone will be doing this kind of crazy stuff in the next 12 months.

So, another reason for BRANDEMiX’s success- the right model for developing a branded recruitment advertising campaign. Next step- employee engagement from onboarding through assimilation. Great article Lou.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007



BRANDEMiX Uses the Web and Social Networking to Transform Employee Referral Programs

Independent marketing communications agency updates recruiting employees to higher education.

Our new online employee referral program makes it easy and fun for our employees to contribute to our company growth -- and easy for us to manage the process

New York, NY (PRWEB) November 2, 2007 -- When Kaplan Higher Education, a premier education provider and subsidiary of the Washington Post Company, set out to enhance their existing employee referral program, they turned to BRANDEMiX, a Web-savvy internal communications agency. The result was an innovative online program built to engage employees and reduce recruitment costs.

"Taking it online makes the ERP process more user friendly for both employees and the company," explained Jody Ordioni, the founder of BRANDEMiX. "Along with ever changing downloadable posters and online postcards for employees to send to friends, we even created badges for them to host on their social networking sites to attract more attention to the program and Kaplan as an Employer of Choice."

Ordioni and her team at BRANDEMiX mapped out and will manage the entire annual campaign for Kaplan, from sourcing an easy-to-remember custom url name for the site, to creating reminder emails to blast out to employees to generate excitement and a constant stream of new referrals. BRANDEMiX even created a tech interface so that HR can link referrals to their applicant tracking system. "Our new online employee referral program makes it easy and fun for our employees to contribute to our company growth -- and easy for us to manage the process," says Lisa Summers Carriegos, Director of Recruiting at Kaplan Higher Education.

Employee referrals are a powerful tool that can cut recruitment costs by as much of 75 percent. And according to Ordioni, the number-one overall benefit is that they bring in a better quality of hire who can become productive in less time. "Online employee referral programs that offer cash and prize incentives to refer friends is the most effective way to go," says Ordioni The Kaplan ERP created by BRANDEMiX offers a cash award, quarterly gift cards and a grand prize drawing for a free vacation for two. "Who wouldn't want to refer some friends and be in the running for all that?" asks Ordioni, "And with employees using the Internet in and out of work and participating in networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, it's a natural to bring your internal communications message online where people spend more and more of their time."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A REAL POST- The USPS Gets Into the Branding Game

Several months ago I wrote about America’s Brand as seen through the pages on my passport. It seems that they’re not the only arm of government to redefine its image. The Postal Service, which has a budget of $30 – $35 million a year for advertising, wants people to view them in a new light.

Rant 1: Why is the budget a floating number with a $5 million spread?
Rant 2: Why does the post office need to spend $35 million on advertising?

Though I don’t have the answer to my first question, I can presume that the cost of a stamp- now at almost half a dollar, makes people like myself reconsider whether to actually mail my checks, or use the online bill paying services of my Bank- Bank of America- another recent member of the re-branding club. Losing so much revenue from no-competition stamps means they’re forced to compete head to head against mighty brands like FedEx, UPS and DHL. And that is a problem and the answer to Rant 2.

The manager of advertising and promotion at the Postal Service said that though the brand is changing, customers were not viewing them as the contemporary and competitive organization they are.

The new theme: Today’s Mail.

The ads highlight some new services including shipping a package from your kitchen, creating customized postage stamps, automated postal centers and “eco-friendly” packaging to mail gifts. (Lets cover every base including green- rant 3.) The attributes were culled from the information received from 37 focus group sessions around the country and it’s the first time a theme has been used USPS advertising in 10 years. The ads use real people and, in addition to appearing in both print and online, will appear…. Guess where…. Right in your mailbox. A Brand New Postcard will be sent to 146 million addresses. Direct Mail for Today’s Mail. (Not to be confused with Today’s Male.) I just wasn’t that impressed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Communicating the Experience can Increase Retention

Which Job Do You Want?

This interesting tidbit is from the Harvard Business Review.
Posted by Tammy Erickson on October 10, 2007 6:51 AM

Imagine that you’re in the job market, with offers in hand from three firms. All three are attractive -- the type of opportunities you’ve been looking for with competitive compensation packages. You decide to meet with each firm one more time, specifically to talk about what your entry experience might like -- what to expect in your first six months on the job. Here’s what representatives from the three companies say. Which job will you take?

“Actually, your first three months will be a probationary period in which you’ll get to know and work closely with your assigned teammates. They’ll see how well you work with the group and contribute to its success. At the end of that period, your teammates -- your peers -- will vote on whether or not you will get to stay in the organization.”
“We can’t tell you what your exact role will be or who you’ll be working with. For the first three months, you’ll be in our “fishbowl,” performing a series of weekly challenges, perhaps designing new products or marketing campaigns, under the close scrutiny of our CEO and other senior executives. At the end of the time, depending on what we observe, we’ll help you find the right position for your skills.”
“Your first three months will be spent learning our way of doing business. We have a specific way of operating, and we expect you to follow our processes closely. We’re convinced that the ways we’ve outlined are the most productive and successful. After an extensive training program, you’ll get a chance to apprentice with one of our strongest performers.”

If you’re like most people, these three ways of starting work at a new company are not equally appealing. In fact, depending on your personality and preferences -- depending on how you view work and the role you want it to play in your life -- you’ll probably have a distinct preference for one over the others.

In a Harvard Business Review article, "What It Means to Work Here”, getting it right -- finding a work experience that matches your personality and preferences -- is key to your ultimate enjoyment of your work. In the end, the realistic demands of the job need to be in line with the role you’re prepared for work to play in your life. By choosing the company that is best suited to your needs and priorities, the more likely you are to be highly engaged in your work.

Organizations differ widely along these important components of the work experience. Some companies have risk-based compensation (options, bonuses), while others have predictable cost-of-living salary structures. Some organizations set up highly flexible, self-scheduling work groups; others take a pretty intense “all hands on deck” approach most of the time. Some reflect an underlying philosophy of paternalism; others a virtually complete contractor-like hands-off attitude. As you think about what you want to do next, it’s as important to think about your preferences for these “experience” factors as it is to consider the actual objective of the work you’ll be performing. If you don’t get this right, no matter how much you intellectually like the idea of what you’re working on, you won’t really be engaged.

Here were the results as of last night when I picked my choice. (B)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Future Employee Stuffs 10 Pounds of Fat into His Resume

Its not just because I'm a fat minded thin person that I oppose the sudden craze with video job postings and video resumes. I just haven't seen any evidence that these are especially good ideas.

What is more boring than watching someone who is not Puff Daddy sitting behind their desk talking to you about how much fun their opportunity is? Or, how about the recent video jobs on one newspapers jobs site where the voice-over sounds like a bad radio spot from the 60's.

What about video resumes?
The recent poll on MSNBC showed these results:

Can video resumes help you land a job? * 212 responses
Yes. They'll show off my personality and help me stand out above other applicants.
No. I could too easily make a bad impression, look unprofessional or be judged on my appearance.
Maybe. It depends on the quality of the video resume.

A year after Aleksey Vayner’s video resume made him a laughingstock on Wall Street and YouTube, he’s still searching for a job.

“Negative consequences are still felt,” the 24-year-old wrote in a recent interview conducted by instant message.

While still a senior at Yale, the aspiring investment banker had sent out applications, including a photograph of himself and the video resume. In the 6 minute 43 second clip, he bench-pressed 495 pounds, karate-chopped seven bricks and served a tennis ball at 140 mph, according to the captions. Despite the extraordinary achievements detailed in his application materials, Vayner landed no interviews — other than with the media.

Unless you're putting stamps on your email and have your cell phone transferred to your lan line, you have already realized that technology opens doors to doing things DIFFERENTLY! The message MUST suit the Medium. And the camera DOES add 10 lbs.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Job-Search Sites Face a Nimble Threat

WSJ 10/9 Emily Steel
Among the hottest Web sites of the past few years were job-search sites such as and Helped by lavish advertising, they became household names. Newspapers, eager to tap the fast-growing online-ad market, teamed up with them.
Now, the hottest names in online recruitment are increasingly specialized job sites. That poses a threat to the growth prospects of the broad-based online job boards and their newspaper partners, analysts said.
In August, the number of unique visitors to CareerBuilder -- which is jointly owned by Gannett, Tribune, McClatchy and Microsoft -- dropped 2% to 20.2 million, while's traffic rose 4% to 16.3 million visitors. By contrast, technology-focused saw its traffic jump 34% to 998,000. At, which posts health-care jobs, traffic rose 36%.
Of the broad-based sites, Yahoo's HotJobs posted strong growth, with traffic rising 53% to 11.7 million visitors, boosted by recent partnership deals with more than 350 newspapers. "Advertisers are increasingly looking for more-targeted audiences and better-reach sites where they can find candidates that are more qualified," said Eric Yoon, chief executive of JobThread, which sells recruitment ads on dozens of targeted Web sites. In some of these cases, the cost of placing an ad is a fraction of a post on the big job boards.
Unless the newspaper industry and the big job sites figure out how to fill this burgeoning demand, they could lose market share, said Gordon Borrell, Chief Executive of Williamsburg, Va., research firm Borrell Associates. The market is valued at $5.9 billion but is projected to increase 25% to $9.7 billion by 2011, Borrell estimates. That growth is expected to come both from big companies already advertising online as well as small and medium-size local businesses that mostly don't use the Web.
"Obviously when you are going to a site that has a much larger user base you can get more applicants. You have more to choose from." said a spokeswoman for CareerBuilder. CareerBuilder and Monster both note that employers can set multiple filters to weed out unqualified candidates.
"To ensure we always have the best talent in every region, across the county, Monster has relationships with several niche sites that target specific demographics. We also have added visibility in the regions touched by the local media outlets we have forged relationships with," a Monster spokesman said.
Some Web concerns are taking steps to be more targeted in their approach. HotJobs has built an application on social networking site Facebook and is including tools on the site that enable people to email or instant-message a posting.
Yahoo is creating systems so recruitment ads on HotJobs could appear on other Web sites, using techniques that target the ad according to a person's interests. For instance, if a person registers on an online profile as a nurse in the Southeast, that person could see ads related to the nursing profession. "This is enabling advertisers to go more into the niches...these people are out there on the Web in all sorts of places," said Kevin Krim, vice president of product at Yahoo HotJobs. "We can reach out to them there with display advertising."
Newspaper companies are starting to make other investments, too. The New York Times has invested in, a site that lets visitors search for jobs on all the sites that appear on the Web.
One possibility for broad-based sites is to partner with their niche rivals. The difficulty, analysts said, is such an arrangement would hurt the broad-based sites' revenue because niche sites can't charge as much for ads. "The larger boards need to be careful because to some extent they could cannibalize themselves [by investing in or working with the emerging sites]," said John Janedis, a publishing and advertising agencies analyst at Wachovia Securities. "Everything is on the table now. We'll see how it plays out."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Internal Communications. 3 Steps to Developing your Plan.

It takes great planning to successfully plan and execute a great internal communication strategy.

Here are 3 simple steps to help you build relevant, meaningful internal communications plans that work. But, for extra simple, call us.


1. Background/Business Objectives/Behavior changes

  • Who needs to do what differently
  • What do they need to change
  • Stop, start, do more, less
2. SWOT analysis
  • What forces are producing the current behaviors
  • How might people react to this new communication
3. Deliverables
  • Key issues for next 6 months that may require communication
  • Precise media, audiences they reach
  • Time frames/Resources required
Download more details.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

BRANDENew Apples!

It's fall and apples are in season and I set out to buy 3 shiny new ones for BRANDEMiX.

In terms of Brand Equity, Apple's ranks 22 on the list of best Global Brands, and it's brand equity is up 22% over last year. The Apple brand is innovation, style and design. It's thinking out of the box.

And the Apple stores themselves are an experience worthy of the Apple logo.

Though the store was every bit as busy as you would imagine on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the my salesperson guided me through my purchases, asking me qualifying questions such as who were the computers for and what kind of work would they be doing.

When I expressed concern integrating the new Intel-chip Macs onto my network, out came a Mac Genius. Another company might call this person a Geek or part of technical support.

But in Apple-land he is a genius and he helped alleviate my concerns. He handed me his card and told me to give him a call on Monday and let him know how it worked out.

Yes, I was buying 3 computers but there are companies buying 500 Ipods to give out to their employees. There are customers raffling 100 Iphones at the next networking conference. My purchase was not large by Apple standards yet I was given the red carpet treatment.


The most significant impact Human Resources can have within their company is to support the brand, hire to the brand attributes and make sure training and development programs, performance management systems and compensation programs are designed to reinforce and promote "brand behavior."

The geniuses both in the stores and running the company know how important every person walking in the door is. Not only are they connected to the culture- the create the culture every day.

They know that my children want Mac computers because Mac makes their favorite thing- the Ipod.

Here's what InterBrand's insights on Global Branding had to say about the company:

Apple is the supreme master of Demand Creation. Consumers
are now happy to own multiple iPods that are styled for
particular functions: home, video or exercising. And in a world
filled with technology, the expectation created around the
launch of the iPhone demonstrates the supreme desirability
this brand has created. With iPhone, Apple plays a double trick
on its competitors. It transcends the problems of the highly
saturated communications environment by creating products
with such extraordinary customer pull that there’s no need to
push. At the same time, the phenomenon of the product launch
pulls free media toward it, proliferating brand impressions and
flooding media channels with branded messages. Essentially,
it has created such a profound demand that the product itself
generates a media blitz. It’s a high profile demonstration
of the convergence of technology. It was unthinkable some
years ago that Apple could make a phone. Consumers wouldn’t
have given the brand permission to do so. But now Apple
can transcend the ‘old thinking’ of limited boundaries. In this
sense the brand has become its passport, to roam wherever its
proposition can be applied.

That's the power of a brand and the power of Human Resources to take a big bite of the business strategy and get in the game.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

In search of a new BRAND...And the Winner Is....


In the world of Branding, it is a well-made assumption that all the big shops are filled with talented writers, art directors and presenters. I've always wanted to know the deciding factors that tip the scales in favor of one agency vs another.

Fortunately for me, Business Week published a "behind the scenes" look at a recent pitch for the $600 million Hyundai account. Fortunately for you- I'm about to describe it.

The Situation: Despite receiving high marks for quality, Hyundai has struggled with stalled sales. The company, which was the fastest-growing car maker in the U.S. from 2000 to 2005, had a target of selling one million vehicles in North America by 2010. Hyundai sold just 455,000 cars in the U.S. last year.

The Solutions:
  • Siltanen & Partners: signed actor Kelsey Grammer as the voice for its TV ads and created a series of ads that compared Hyundai models to much more expensive brands like Lexus and Land Rover, making the point that the Hyundai in many instances outperformed or had more standard features than vehicles $10,000 to $20,000 more expensive.
The problem with it: "I don't think long-term we want to define ourselves relative to other brands. We want to establish our own story,"

  • StrawberryFrog: An idea—and a word—it felt Hyundai could own in the marketplace: defog. "There's something unusual about Hyundai drivers, something you may not have noticed. They're curious. They do their research…more than any other driver. They find the truth. They cut through. They see the world more clearly." A Web site called Hyundaipedia would be a Wikipedia-like site for Hyundai facts and information on such technical terms as "ABS brakes."
The problem with it: Hyundai was looking for a really big idea. But the consensus of the selection committee was that "defog" was too big an idea, and perhaps too complex.

  • Arnold Worldwide: "Here's To More." Arnold believed Hyundai's strength to be that it offers customers more standard equipment than competitors such as Toyota and Ford Motor (F ) at lower sticker prices. Comped TV ads trumpeted Hyundai's superior safety ratings show a man celebrating his 60th birthday. The ad then replayed his life in reverse, all the way back to when he was 22 and survived a crash in a Hyundai. The ad line: "Here's To More Birthdays."
No reason was given for why this didn't win. I kind of like it.

  • Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners: "Why Doesn't Everyone?" The agency created a strategy of social networking, direct marketing, and multicultural and corporate marketing. To get past the baggage that Hyundai's own logo is associated with its poor-quality past, the agency hatched an idea to break out the letter "Y" from "Why Doesn't Everyone" and Hyundai's own name, and turn it into a new graphic icon that overshadows the Hyundai logo. It was a clever way to give Hyundai a fresh look and new start without asking the automaker to change its global logo.
Hyundai was impressed with how the agency went well beyond advertising: "I could see we couldn't do everything because of cost, but every idea was exciting, and that's a nice problem to have." And still, they were not selected.

THE POWER OF RESEARCH: Hyundai opted for San Francisco-based Goodby, Silverstein + Partners. Goodby helped to define Hyundai's problem using research involving 200 people who sized up the new Veracruz crossover. When a group was shown the vehicle without any identifying logos on it, 71% said they'd buy it. Once the Hyundai logo went on, however, that dropped to 52%. In the same research, a Toyota logo lifts intent-to-purchase by more than 20%.

"Think about It" One TV ad showing a woman walking in slow motion through an art gallery carries the following voiceover: "There's a lot of great stuff in the world that you miss when you're in a hurry. In your mad dash to get to the Mona Lisa, you miss cubism, impressionism, and the whole French Renaissance. So, what we are really saying is slow down. It's not something you usually hear from a car company. We're not telling you to go out and buy one of our cars. We're just going to tell you how we're safer and better made than some of the cars you might be looking at. And then ask you to think about it."

Interestingly enough, Goodby's actual slogan, or tagline, bombed with Wilhite and most of the rest of the group. "Have A Nice Car," Wilhite thought, was too trivial a phrase like, "Have A Nice Day."

More interestingly to me: This week,
Steve Wilhite, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America who was in charge of this entire agency review, has stepped down from his post directing Hyundai's U.S. operations after the world's sixth-largest automaker had to cut its sales target this year.

So, how do you like life in adland? Don't quit your day job.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

5 Ways to Fill The Talent Gap

Saturday's WSJ contained a big (though smaller than last year's) pull-out section entitled "How to Fill the Talent Gap." It reminded me that perhaps the War for Talent really is here.

The Problems as they listed them are
  1. Emerging markets and no talent acquisition solutions for them
  2. Narrow thinking creates internal silos and talent gaps
  3. Demographics and economics of running lean and mean have left a void that will only get worse
  4. Expectations gap between what workers want and what employees pay
  5. Blind spots from a lack of diverse thinking/population

The Solutions
  1. Make your talent plan match your business plan (my fav)
  2. Talent management is everyones job
  3. Global excellence needs local effectiveness (see #1)
  4. Support matters (See #2)
  5. Measure what matters
Well that sounds easy doesn't it? Crisis solved.

There is one thing that does scare me. It's this recent from About. Com on the 5 most popular articles of the past month:
  1. Twelve Tips for Team Building
  2. Your Strategic Framework
  3. Sample Resignation Letter
  4. Job Interview Tips
  5. Work Dress Code
Doesn't seem like the talent gap may get filled any time this week.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This One's For You

I often get emails from BRANDEblog readers who want a more complete picture of what BRANDEMiX does. So, for that audience, I would like to share more information about our unique niche in the marketplace and make available some case studies with greater detail.

If you know us already, you can skip this one.

BRANDEMiX is an independent advertising/communications agency that develops brand-aligned employee communications around business goals.

Think of us as a bridge connecting your marketing, advertising, internal communications and Human Resources. This powerful synergy creates a veritable BRAND FORTRESS – consistent, indisputable, relevant and meaningful messages across all print and interactive channels. All with one singular goal—to create a line of sight from your business strategy to your employees.

Our unique value is in our ability to create, deliver and manage an end-to-end program from strategy through launch.

Our services include:
Brand DevelopmentBenefit CommunicationsChange Management Communications
Corporate Identity
Corporate Social Responsibility
Employer BrandingE-MarketingEvent Marketing & Support
Internal Communications
Investor Communications
Market Research
Media Planning & Placement
Public Relations
Recruitment Advertising
Viral Marketing
Website Development