Monday, September 30, 2013

One Brand: Part 1. Extending Your Brand Through Internal Communications

Does internal communications matter to consumer branding?

You bet it does. Are you a retailer rolling out a brand positioning about knowledgeable salespeople helping customers navigate a myriad of product choices? Better make sure your knowledgeable salespeople stay that way.

Branding for financial services? A Forrest research report reveals that mergers and acquisitions have hurt customer relationships and advises a refocused attention on customer service. You better bring some TLC to your call centers.

What about an admired airline promising an incredible experience and having it come crashing (sorry) down when the baggage is stolen, lost, or delayed through poor handling?

While there are a variety of factors that influence public brand sentiment, your communicating to your consumer brand  to your employees is one that is easy to get right.
1. Roll in your brand.
 Let your employees in on the big reveal before you launch your new campaign.

2. Show the relevance. 
 Now that you have articulated your brand values internally:
  • Who needs to do what differently?
  • What do they need to change?
3. Communicate your brand inward
  • Look at your internal communications and the audiences you reach.
  • Where are the best places to infuse your positioning? 
Think about hosting a brand training event so sales people know what the customers will expect from them. Recognize and reward great customer service, and encourage testimonials from happy customers. Make sure your employees know how they are responsible for the success for your business and reap the rewards from a singular brand outside and in.

We welcome your input and are here for your help.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Recruiting With Gamification

Jason Ginsburg, our Director of Interactive Branding, shows how companies can use game mechanics to find more, better-performing, and longer-staying employees.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Win the Recruiting Game...Through Gaming

Job interviews can be stressful for both parties; the candidate worries that one wrong answer can take them out of the running, while the interviewer knows that a bad hire will cost the company time and money. Add to that the calls from some recruiters to replace interviews with personality tests because interviews only increase the likelihood of a great hire by 2%. In short, interviews don't filter out all but the best employees.

But there's a solution to ease the tensions of both the employer and the candidate: gamification. That is, requiring applicants to play a game that simulates the actual job. This not only gives applicants a rare inside look at what their work will be like but also subtly gauges their memory, aptitude, ability to follow directions, and other important factors.

Does gamification work? When the French postal service created a game for its applicants that included not just mail delivery but non-work activities like taking a shower and eating, the dropout rate for new hires fell from 25% to 8%. Marriott's famous hotel kitchen game, which launched in 2011, helped propel Marriott's careers Facebook page to over one million likes -- and is still available for new players two years later. Or look at it from the competitive angle: 
Research firm Gartner predicts that over 70% of the Forbes Global 2000 will have at least one gamified application by 2014.

Image courtesy of

I saw the growing excitement for gamification when two recruiting games won 2012 Creative Excellence Awards, given by the ERE:
Home Depot's Facebook game, in which players had to race among the store's aisles to help customers and find products, won first prize in the Social Media category. Deloitte China's "Green Dot Mission" game, a scavenger hunt through a virtual version of the company's office, took second place in the Interactive category.

Gamification can also be used for other initiatives, such as employee referrals, employee wellness, and even internal rebranding. A strong employee referral program cuts down on hiring costs while employee wellness cuts down on health insurance costs. I'm sure savvy companies will find other ways that gaming can reduce costs and increase profitability.

Ready to add gamification to your recruiting or other HR initiative? We're standing by.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Brandemix Bonus Reel: A Sneak Peek at Employer Branding Boot Camp

Jason Ginsburg, Director of Interactive Branding at Brandemix, reveals some of the lessons and insights from the upcoming free webinar, "Employer Branding Boot Camp." 

The presentation will be Wednesday, September 25, at 2 pm Eastern/11 am Pacific.

Space is still available for this fun, educational event! 

Register for free here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Employer Branding Boot Camp: A Sneak Peek

As many of you know, I'm presenting the free webinar Employing Branding Boot Camp on September 25. It's a fun, insightful look at the power and value of a strong employer brand, filled with fun facts, case studies, and useful tips.

But I just can't wait until the 25th! I want to share a few sections from the webinar right now.

What is a brand?
A brand is a promise. Think of one of the greats: McDonald's. Their brand promises not only quick, inexpensive food, but also that their French fries will taste the same at every one of their locations in the world.

A brand is also an emotional connection that goes beyond the product itself. Consider the "cult" of Apple users, or clubs for Ford Mustang owners, or lovers of Nutella. Even if there are better products out there, these fans have a personal relationship with everything the brand symbolizes.

Interbrand ranks the value of global brands every year. For 2012, the #1 brand is once again Coca-Cola, with a value of $77.8 billion. That means that if you took away all the brand's assets -- from the factories to the bottles to the actual soda itself -- just the name and logo of Coke would be worth almost $80 billion. 

Compare that to Pepsi, #22 on Interbrand's list, with a brand value of $16.6 billion. I think we can agree that Coke and Pepsi, as soft drinks, are pretty much the same thing. And yet there's a $60 billion difference in the way people respond to their brands. 

What is a employer brand?

An employer brand is the promise you make to employees, from first-time applicants to retirees, and from entry-level positions to the CEO. In the same way that emotion persuades consumers to choose Coke over Pepsi, your employer brand persuades job-seekers to join your company over all the others -- even companies that might pay better or have "fun" reputations, like Google.

An employer brand differentiates your organization in the job market. It encompasses your vision, values, culture, and mission statement. It informs new hires so that they know what to expect when they join your team and increases the odds that they're a good fit. It gets reinforced by the HR and internal communications departments, which reflect the brand in all their messaging.

Image from NAS Recruitment Communications

And this isn't just to create a happy workplace, though that's one of the results; there are real business reasons for a strong employer brand. It leads to more, and higher quality, applications. It decreases time to hire and cost per hire. It produces referrals and unsolicited resumes. And it ensures that the people you hire stay with your company and perform well.

Ready to learn more? Sign up for Employer Branding Boot Camp while space is still available. If you can't make it on September 25, download our free Employer Branding Strategy Guide to start improving your recruitment communications and attracting top talent.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

Decoding the 2013 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survery

Jobvite has just released its sixth annual Social Recruiting Survey, polling 1600 recruiters and HR professionals on their social media efforts.

The results continue a trend that I've been following for years: Social is a major part of any organization's hiring efforts. In 2008, 78% of recruiters were using social media. In 2011, it was 89%. This year, it's 94%. Even more telling, 73% of respondents planned to increase their social recruiting spend in 2013 - compared to the 39% who planned to increase their spend on job boards.

LinkedIn was the most popular social network in many categories, from searching for candidates (96% of companies), contacting candidates (94%), and posting jobs (91%). Only about half of respondents posted jobs on Facebook, and a little less than that posted jobs on Twitter.
Just what you'd expect, right? But there's more to these numbers than meets the eye.

Jobvite 2013 Social Recruiting Survey, page 12
First, the cracks in job boards' dominance, already mentioned above, become more apparent deeper in the survey. Respondents said that 42% of their applicants are sourced through job boards...but only 14% of hires come that way.Compare that to applications through referrals and company career sites, which make up 39% of submissions, but 61% of hires. This is a much better ratio, especially since 43% of these employees stay for at least three years, while only 14% of job-board hires do. It looks like job boards are generating lots of applicants who don't get hired - or don't stay if they do.

Another interesting discovery is that recruiters use LinkedIn differently from other social networks. LinkedIn was good for assessing a candidate's professional experience and "specific hard skills." But Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and others were better at determining a candidate's cultural fit. Which is more important? How would Southwest Airlines respond, whose co-founder Herb Kelleher coined the phrase, "Hire for attitude, train for skill"?

What I found most revealing were the questions that related to the financial value of social recruiting. 43% of companies spend less than $12,000 a year on social recruiting. But 65% believe that its value is greater than $20,000 a year. And 20% place its value at more than $90,000 a year!

Jobvite 2013 Social Recruiting Survey, page 10

I understand the budgetary restraints placed on HR departments, but these numbers show that even a small investment can generate tremendous savings, especially combined with higher quality of candidates (according to 49% of recruiters) and less time to hire (33%) that social recruiting produces.

Are you one of the 6% of companies not yet using social in your talent acquisition strategy? Or one of the 73% that plans to increase their social recruiting budget? Brandemix can help. Download our free Social Media Strategy Guide for Talent Acquisition. If you're ready for the next step, you can contact me directly.