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BRANDE : blog archives for February 2009

February 28, 2009

Employees Find Trulia Happiness


Sami is the coo & co-founder of trulia, a real estate search engine that people (like me) find homes for sale. This from his blog:

Employee happiness dashboard – Really?

We typically have a small group lunch with all new employees and one of the questions I often ask is “What is different at Trulia? What can we do better?” Erika, offered an eye-opening response yesterday: “During my career, I’ve never worked for a company that surveys and listens to all the employees on a regular basis, not to mention shares all the results with the entire company in an all-hands meeting.”

I thought that – tuning into employee happiness – was what every respectable organization does in a professional environment, where the most valuable assets of the company walk out the door every evening (sometimes in the morning). We even have fresh new Harvard University backed research proving that happiness is actually contagious between people.

So they started asking, ranking (on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best) and tracking 2 simple questions from August 2005 until November 2008:

  • I like to go to work every morning
  • Work at Trulia is fun

Here’s what he has to say about the results:
Overall we have had very high “happiness” scores throughout our company life, about 4.25 on a 1 to 5 scale, which is especially impressive considering we have grown rapidly from just 4 people to about 85 today as well as moved offices three times during this period

– We’ve noticed some annual cyclicality tied into summer time, all company off-site event and holiday season
– Our team reacted into the overall economic downturn and dozens of other (online) media companies’ aggressive lay-offs; after we announced that we would not do lay-offs, but continue hiring selectively, the index bounced back again (last month)

While we may not be able to reduce the secret of happiness to a single number (and hopefully never will!), we have found that these anonymous surveys are an invaluable tool in adjusting and improving our culture, as well as other company practices to stay on the right growth track!

My favorite part of Sami’s blog was found at the end —

How’s your daily happiness and excitement level when you walk into your office? If you’re looking for something, possibly greener grass, check out our jobs page.

This “always be selling” approach to blogging and jobbing was really great, especially for a bean counter. But may I just say that with such a great culture and story, I think the Jobs page could be better?

I guess I’m always blogging and selling too.

BRANDEMiX adds Trulia to my list of companies to watch.

February 20, 2009

Pepsi Gets it Right

Back in June you may have read about my disconnected experience with Pepsi and their new website launch.

I’m happy to say that the issue has been resolved. In an apparent Phase 2, the new Careers site is fresh, informative and interactive with just the right combination of information and branding. (And no, sadly BRANDEMiX did not do the redesign.)

But that’s not the only thing Pepsi is getting right these days. According to a recent article in Brandweek sent to me by consultant Bruce Dorskind, back in December, Pepsi employees in Purchase were treated to the surprise of a new brand launch when they came to work. Rising on both sides of the campus driveway were 20-foot tall billboards plastered with greetings: “Howdy,” “Hope,” “Tango” and just “Yo.” Pepsi’s new circular logo stood in place of every “o” in the words. As employees parked their cars, they noticed an enormous blue flag that had been unfurled from the headquarters’ roof — a giant refresh symbol. The in-your-face signage was meant to give employees the same feeling that consumers would get in Times Square during New Year’s Eve, which is where PepsiCo would be launching its new initiative publicly.

Hall posters, floor and elevator decals and other placards made it impossible for anyone at headquarters to miss the brand’s new look and message. The push culminated with “Rally Day” on Jan. 15. Pepsi execs gathered up to 4,000 employees, in person and online, and laid out the brand’s strategy for the coming year. But in terms of size, scope and ambition, this effort was a first, according to Bill Wyman, senior marketing manager for trademark Pepsi.

Pepsi took great pains to assure that its employees weren’t just part of the marketing process, but that the internal and external messaging was aligned. Beginning a whole month before the holidays, the company conducted no fewer than 10 Webinars for its employees and bottlers, introducing them to the “refresh” message. Feature articles and meeting reminders were placed in the internal company “Pepline” newsletter and MyPepsiCo.com intranet site leading up to Rally Day. “We had to take the communications level to new heights,” Wyman explains. “It was critical to get information to every person [as to] how they could bring [the brand’s new marketing message] to life in the marketplace.”

We at BRANDEMiX, have always been a strong proponent of internal Brand activation but both experts and I concede that it happens less than it should.

Before you could blink your eyes, Coca-Cola followed in kind. On Jan. 21, Coca-Cola aired a Webcast that previewed its marketing plans (including its highly anticipated Super Bowl spots) for both employees and bottlers. Employees in the Atlanta office all got T-shirts bearing the new slogan next to Coke’s iconic “contour” bottle. To reinforce the “Open happiness” message, Coke invited its employees to share photos of ways they were living positively. They accepted, submitting some 4,000 pictures showing people behaving optimistically both in and outside the office.

According to Coca-Cola North America CMO Katie Bayne, taking the time and effort to introduce new messaging internally is critical-and something the company has not always realized. “One of the things we fundamentally feel is that our employees — not just at the Coca-Cola Company, but the Coca-Cola bottling company — are the best brand ambassadors we have,” Bayne says. “At times we have left them behind.” She also adds a concept that you can find as well on BRANDEMiX website and in our materials–

“If employees are not aware of the goal or strategy for achieving that goal, how can they be expected to implement it? They need to understand that they are critical to the organization’s success.”

Most importantly- let’s look at the business results– Pepsi was rewarded with the 3 words every influencer wants to hear after launching their campaign.

Following a town hall-style meeting in which the brass explained the new logo and the marketing, “People came up to us afterwards and said, ‘Now I get it.'”

So great news in Soda-land. I am optimistic that change is coming, and that more and more, we at BRANDEMiX will be preaching to the choir.

One last treat: Pepsi’s Valentine, this courtesy of talented Matt Kalish also known as my talented nephew and BRANDEMiX Buzzmaster.

February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine’s Day

February 8, 2009

Embracing Change the Integrated Way

Inspired by the fiscally responsible new President, the Swedish Ikea, the home products retailer kicked off an on-brand out-of-home ad campaign called “Embrace Change ’09” to honor President Barack Obama.

The here integrated campaign includes out-of-home billboards featuring the “Embrace Change ‘09” slogan on local buses and trains. Ikea also held a “mock motorcade,” touring the D.C. area and strapped “furniture fit for a president” on top of vehicles to symbolize the incoming president and his family moving into their new home.

Other components include a site, www.embracechange09.com, where Ikea fans can design their own Oval Office using a drop-and-drag click tool, a $1,500 gift card giveaway to visitors who log onto the site and a mock-up of the office in the main hall of the Union subway station.

“We have never had an opportunity to do anything surrounding the message of change from a national standpoint,” Marston said, adding that Ikea seized a good branding opportunity. “[Obama’s] notion of change and his commitment to fiscal responsibility match the Ikea philosophy of practical and affordable home furnishings for all.”

Go to the site and decide how YOU would decorate the Oval Office- from there, you can actually email your design. Best of all, there’s still a chance to win $1,500.

February 1, 2009

BRANDEMiX Partners with New Talent Management Network, the First Free Global Network

New study finds that talent management may be recession-proof as 77% of participating companies plan to increase or maintain spending levels.

As specialists in the branding of human resources initiatives, BRANDEMiX is proud of our partnership with the New Talent Management Network, the only free network of more than 800 Talent Management professionals.

Our initial work began with designing their new logo and website (www.newtmn.com), and we have just completed the production of their 2nd Annual State of Talent Management study, conducted in November and December 2008.

Be among the first to hear the results of the 2nd Annual Talent Management Survey
Download the Study
NTMN_Survey08.pdf

Register and participate in a free conference call to review the findings

DATE: February 18
TIME: 12 – 1pm EST
LOCATION: Virtual Event

During this session, you’ll hear:
:: The three key insights that emerged from the survey—and
their implications for talent management professionals
:: How the recession is impacting budgets—and what you can do about it
:: How talent management professionals rate themselves in core
competencies and where you stack up
:: Best practices that drive talent management effectiveness
:: What talent management professionals are paid, who they serve,
what they do and the future outlook for the profession

Our collaboration with the New Talent Management Network is directly tied to our commitment to both Human Resources professionals and employee development, and we’re proud to be part of an esteemed group leading the way.

Happy Groundhogs Day
Jody