Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Have a happy and prosperous holiday season, from all of us here at Brandemix.

Monday, December 19, 2011

360: Does Your Brand Have What It Takes To Go The Distance?

One Brand.

At Brandemix, it’s our vision. If you think it’s simple, think again.
Organizations, from healthcare non-profits to global financial firms, actually convey different messages to different audiences. These companies have one mission statement and set of values for employees, another for customers, yet another for shareholders, and possibly a fourth for talent they’re trying to attract. But some customers become applicants; some applicants become employees. Employees are also investors.
Put this in the new marketing landscape, where brands communicate globally to audiences 24 hours a day. It soon becomes obvious that a single, focused brand improves marketing, retention, recruiting, and return to shareholder.
Here’s how the process works:
Most people in your audience are customers first. We all know the reasons why branding is important in the general marketplace: it creates awareness, distinguishes you from competitors, and makes an emotional connection with buyers. Advertising has gone beyond answering questions like “What does the product do?” and now addresses “How does this product make me feel?” and “What does this product say about me?” Good branding creates loyalty and evangelism, as followers sing the brand’s praises to their friends through social networks. Look at the passion for Apple productsFord Mustangs, or even Oreo cookies.

That love leads some customers to want to work for the brand.
Check your home page, then your careers page.
Is there a value proposition? Are the branding and messaging still the same? If not, that potential employee might wonder which identity is the “real” one – and suddenly the idea of working for your brand doesn’t sound so desirable. It’s crucial that the marketing and HR departments share the same vision and values; otherwise, job-seekers may feel like they’re applying for a position with Jekyll & Hyde.

You passed the first test, now what?
Let’s say that your careers site is branded perfectly and the employer value proposition is consistent with your corporate brand. The customer, who became an applicant, got the job and is now an employee. What happens now? Are they exposed to and trained with the same branding that made them love the company in the first place?

This is an important question; a recent study by Aon Hewitt showed that the companies with the most engaged employees outperformed the stock market in 2010, and the Harvard Service Profit Chain states that engaged employees result in a 22% increase in revenue. So the internal communications office must also be aligned with the HR and marketing departments.

“One Brand” ensures that your customers, employees, and business partners all share a core belief in your brand.
Did your brand go the distance—360 messaging consistent across internal, external, candidate, employee, investor, alumni, and vendor?
 If your branding isn’t a singular, consistent message shared by your entire company, maybe it’s time to consider a re-branding effort. Brandemix can help. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

This Week in Social Media

Angry tweets ground Alec Baldwin
When an American Airlines flight attendant chastised Alec Baldwin for playing Words With Friends on his mobile phone as the plane was ready to depart, he immediately took his outrage to Twitter. “Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving. #nowonderamericaairisbankrupt,” he tweeted, referring to the airline’s November 29 bankruptcy filing. His verbal abuse of the flight attendant got him kicked off the plane, prompting him to tweet that American was “where retired Catholic school gym teachers from the 1950’s find jobs as flight attendants.” American responded with a press release on its Facebook page, standing by its employees for following federal safety rules. Hours later, Baldwin suspended his Twitter account.
Zynga shows its support for Baldwin
The Takeaway: This is another reminder not to tweet when you’re angry, as your words may come back to haunt you. Baldwin joins Ashton Kutcher, Gilbert Gottfried, and Chris Brown who were a little too candid on Twitter. I also find it funny that this entire episode couldn’t have happened a few years ago, before Twitter and Facebook and Words With Friends were invented.

Facebook’s most popular fashion brands are on your feet
The most-liked fashion brand on Facebook is Converse, with almost 21 million likes. This wasn’t a big surprise to me, as I covered the shoe company’s great social media efforts back in May. Second place goes to Adidas, third place to Burberry, and fourth place to Levi’s. I think it’s interesting that a luxury brand is nestled among two brands of footwear and a jeans company. Keep in mind that these are only fashion brands; the most-liked brand of any kind on Facebook is Coca-Cola, with over 36 million likes. Coke, after all, is the most valuable brand in the world.

The Takeaway:
 Converse does a lot right. Most of its tweets are responses to fans; its Facebook page is filled with great photo and video content; it reaches out to its artistic audience by offering free rentals of a Brooklyn recording studio; it posts music videos on its YouTube channel. CEO Geoff Cottrill’s philosophy is “Know yourself as a brand, be confident in your POV, and act that way wherever you are.” I couldn’t agree more.
Mexican restaurant tweets get spicy
An employee of a Boston restaurant tweeted that her job “sucks.” She then not only named her employer but also @replied it: “I work at this place called @boloco on Newbury Street.” Boloco CEO John Pepper tweeted back at her: “Sorry. Not anymore.” But Pepper took back his Twitter termination, giving the employee her job back without even a reprimand. “We’ll try to help her find more things to enjoy,” he told the Boston Herald. He may have been worried that the employee would sue over cause, or for being publicly humiliated; the law still isn’t very clear on these 21st-century issues.
The Takeaway: As Alec Baldwin has learned, be careful what you tweet. That goes both for the unnamed Boloco employee and for the CEO, who both looked impulsive and juvenile to the entire Twitterverse. And check with a knowledgeable lawyer about hiring, firing, and interviewing via social media.
Students find safety in social media numbers
The power of social media was shown again during last Thursday’s shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech. The student newspaper, The Collegiate Times, provided updates on its website; when that went down (probably due to traffic volume), the student journalists spread information through the paper’s Twitter account and Facebook Page. As the news changed minute to minute, other outlets were breaking the story on Twitter.
The Takeaway: A number of posts were from students, alerting others to the danger or telling their friends and families that they were safe. Between the school communicating with students, students communicating with each other, and the press communicating with the public, it’s obvious how much social media’s speed and scope have changed our world.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The 5 Secrets of a Great Intranet

What’s an intranet? A site where employees can read their about their benefits? A list of departmental phone numbers? A place where press releases go to die?
You’ve got it all wrong. A good intranet allows a company not just to inform and educate employees, but also to engage and inspire them. In a large enterprise, it might be the only way that employees connect with each other and the senior leaders. If you’re not using your intranet to build brand equity, you’re missing a crucial opportunity to improve employee engagement, satisfaction, and performance.
As the internet has evolved, the important characteristics of an intranet have changed. In fact, intranets don’t have to be accessible only on office computers – how about an intranet app that employees can access on their mobile phones?
To insure that you have an engaging and compelling intranet, make sure it has these five important elements:
Intranets should allow communication from employees, not just to them. A weekly poll on the front page is a an easy, no-pressure way to get insights from your staff. A simple question like “How can we best improve our sales channel?” can lead to all sorts of interesting ideas.


It’s almost 2012 – is your intranet still just text? Employees can only look at copy for so long. You should include photos of the senior leadership team, audio of the CEO’s speeches, and videos of company events. You might even allow employees to post their own photos and videos of company parties or field trips. Facebook’s own bloggers have said that sharing pictures is one of the most popular activities on the social network.

Effective intranets engage employees.
Nothing turns employees off like old news. No matter what exciting content the site has, if an employee sees “Get ready for Election Day 2008!” they won’t take the intranet seriously. Update the site at least once a month; once a week would be preferable. “Breaking news,” such as an employee getting a major reward through the recognition program, can keep employees checking the site frequently.
You’re going to archive a lot of information on an intranet: benefits information, press releases, company directory, HR documents. But if the employees can’t find the information, the intranet is useless. Have a robust search system that lets users quickly get what they need. Place navigation at both the top and the bottom, with clear and simple drop-down menus. Use the front-page poll to ask employees what information they’re having trouble finding and rearrange the navigation accordingly.
All our favorite sites are personalized, from Yahoo homepages that show local weather to sports sites that feature our favorite teams. Make sure that one section of your intranet home screen has a section that employees can personalize with their preferred links. Someone may want to see the company’s stock price while another might want to see how many sick days they have left. A “quick links” section not only saves the employees time; it also gives them a sense of ownership for the page.

Time to "reconstruct" your intranet?
At BRANDEMiX, we apply the principles of branding to employer branding, which covers the entire experience. If you’d like to learn how we can create or improve your intranet, visit our website or call 212-947-1001.
For the latest on social media, online recruiting, mobile marketing, and other branding trends, please like BRANDEMiX on Facebookfollow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn group, Your Digital Brand.