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BRANDE : blog archives for August 2012

August 28, 2012

Ready for a Mobile Site? Rethink Everything!

Based on a recent study by Mongoose Metrics, only 9% of all the websites in the world are optimized for mobile devices. And yet more and more people are viewing sites on smartphones and tablets. That means your site is probably failing a large part of your audience.
So you need to make your site mobile-ready. Think it’s easy? Nope. You have to rethink everything.
Rethink Design
A lot of clients I speak to think that “mobile optimization” means just shrinking their site to fit on a smaller screen. There’s much more to it. Because of the different needs of a mobile user and the different experience of a phone, the entire design has to change. This means bringing in your creative director (or using our fantastic one) to craft a new look and feel for the site, while keeping your branding. Seem like a big step? It’s only the beginning…
Rethink Navigation
Everything must be scaled down for a mobile site. Only the most important sections should remain, and they should all be prominently on the homepage. Compare the Famers Insurance website to its mobile site. The many options and documents have been reduced to just four items: reporting a claim, paying their bill, finding an agent, and browsing products. If you want to ensure users have access to more information, you can always include a link to your full site.

Farmers Insurance: From this…

…to this.
Rethink Text
There’s only so much room on a mobile screen, so try to keep text to a minimum. Most of the navigation should be done through buttons, large words, and clear icons. Look at AT&T’s mobile careers site. Notice how they divide their departments by icons, with very small text below. On a “normal” website, these options could be simple text links. But for a mobile site, you should never make your visitors squint.

AT&T Careers emphasizes icons over text
Rethink Experience
See? The mobile experience is very different from a desktop one. Big graphic files or videos, which usually aren’t an issue, must now be weighed against the time it takes for them to load. Avoid Flash animation, since most mobile devices don’t currently support Flash. And different mobile operating systems are like different web browsers; what looks great on an iPhone may not look good on a Samsung Galaxy.
A great example of a totally “rethought” mobile site is Loews Hotels. The site uses the phone’s GPS to find the nearest hotel and offers four simple choices: Visit, call, map, or book now. Navigation on the homepage is a simple scrolling menu with photos, short descriptions, and buttons large enough for a thumb. Choosing “Contact Us” at the top offers the option to “Click here to book through a mobile device,” in case users missed it. It’s a clean, simple, informative mobile experience. No wonder it won the Web Marketing Association’s award for Outstanding Achievement in Mobile.

Loews Hotels’ award-winning mobile site
 Want to learn more about creating a great mobile site? Use your smartphone as a phone (gasp!) and call us at 212-947-1001.


August 20, 2012

Employer Branding Numbers Everyone Should Know!

As experts in employer branding, we’re constantly researching the latest innovations and trends, and I’ve come across some recent recruiting studies that have some eye-opening findings. Think you don’t need an employer branding strategy? Read on.

88%
The percent of employees, out of 19,000 surveys and exit interviews, who leave an organization for reasons other than money. In that same survey, 89% of employers said they believed that employees left only because of money! (The Saratoga Institute)

What this means for you: You can compete even if you can’t offer top dollar. Generations X and Y consider many other factors, including culture, perks, flexibility, and corporate responsibility. If offering average pay and benefits is scaring you from reaching out to prospects, rest assured that your organization probably has one or more other strengths that will impress them.

60%
The percent of employees who would recommend jobs at their company to a close friend or family member — but employers say that only 23% of their employees participate in employee referral programs! (Bernard Hodes Group)

What this means for you: Organizations must do more to encourage their employees to refer talent. More than half your employees want to refer friends; they either don’t know how or don’t think about it when the opportunity comes. If you don’t have a referral program, you should create one. And if you have one, you should explore ways of getting information to your employees in a continuous, memorable way.

An employee referral program that Brandemix created for Kaplan

55%
Percent of employees, from more than 1,700 organizations worldwide, who believe “it’s important that other people want to work for my employer.” (Employer Brand International)

What this means for you: Employer branding isn’t just for recruiting; it can help retain talent, too. Just as employees leave for reasons other than money, they also stay for reasons like reputation and pride in work. Even if your recruiting is going somewhat smoothly, employer branding can help keep your current employees satisfied and productive, lowering your overall hiring costs.

51%
The percent of global employers, out of 632 surveyed, who believe that not having the right people had some effect on their companies’ losing business. (Universum EB Insights 2011)

What this means for you: Talent can be an unappreciated, overlooked, and under-funded resource. Some CEOs are familiar with cost-per-hire, but what about quality of hire? The wrong hire can cost more money than not hiring at all. In this economy, it may be easy to fill certain positions with warm bodies, but finding top talent who will lead the next generation of your company requires a compelling, differentiated message.

Image from Universum Employer Branding Insights 2011

3%
The percent of employers, out of a survey of 175 HR, communications, and marketing professionals, who said they had no employer branding strategy. 51% had an established strategy and most of the others were in the process of developing or refining theirs.(Bernard Hodes Group)

What this means for you: You must have an employer branding strategy. Presuming that you are an “employer of choice” with no need to engage job-seekers is no longer an option. Ninety-seven percent of your competitors are communicating their mission, vision, values, culture, and benefits to your talent pool; you have to get in the game or you’ll give away the victory.
 

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Interesting information, no? And here’s one more number: 33%. It’s the percent of companies that plan to increase their investment in employer branding. Are you one of them? Contact Brandemix for a free employer branding consultation.
August 13, 2012

Why Zappos is a Social Media Superstar

As many of you know from my speaking engagements and webinars, I’m always looking for brands that are using social media in innovative ways. I honor these organizations with the name “SoMe Superstars.” Past winners include State Farm and PepsiCo

Today I’d like to recognize a company that’s taken a fantastic brand and brilliantly expanded it into the social space: Zappos.
I’ve written about my love for Tony Hseih’s online shoe company before, but now it gives me great honor to truly call it a Superstar.
With more than 2,600 YouTube subscribers, 260,000 Facebook Likes, and almost 2.6 million Twitter followers (across seven accounts), Zappos has definitely made a social media splash. But lots of footwear and apparel companies appeal to young social media users. How does Zappos stand out? Here are a few reasons.
Website Videos – Instant, Honest, and Short

Zappos created a team of ten employees to make videos about every single one of its shoes. The videos are done on-site and are unscripted. Since starting the program in 2009, these employees have now created around 100,000 videos. They’re all under a minute, so that customers don’t get bored. Even better? Each video has three prominent sharing options – Twitter, Facebook, and HTML code for bloggers. The videos allow Zappos employees to share their love of the product and encourage customers to share their love on social media.

Social Recruiting, Too

Zappos offers a YouTube channel just for recruiting, with 33 videos. The content ranges from employee interviews to a look at the Zappos HQ fitness center to advice on how to dress for your job interview. This is a fantastic resource for job-seekers, with each video showcasing the spirit of fun and customer service that is the foundation of the Zappos brand. On Twitter, ZapposInsights and Inside_Zappos both offer a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s unique culture, with lots of interaction with followers.


Their Own Personal Pinterest

The Zappos website has a unique feature that really makes it a superstar. It’s called the TweetWall; a collection of tweets from anyone who has linked to a Zappos product. It’s a form of crowdsourcing, where customers can see what styles have the most buzz. And instead of encouraging fans to tweet about the company, Zappos is rewarding fans for already doing it. Fans know this, and may tweet about Zappos just get a spot on the coveted wall.


Through YouTube, multiple Twitter profiles, employee videos, and the TweetWall, Zappos has created a virtuous circle: fans celebrate the brand because the brand recognizes the fans who celebrate it.
 

For sharing videos, tweets, and photos with their fans, and allowing their fans to share content in return, I name Zappos a SoMe Superstar!

Do you know of a brand that deserves superstar status? 
Drop me a line.