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BRANDE : blog archives for January 2014

January 27, 2014

Learnings from ERE’s Creative Excellence Awards Webinar

Last month, Brandemixwas fortunate enough to co-host the CEA awards presentation, along with ERE Editor-in-Chief Todd Raphael.



The CEAs are an award program designed to recognize outstanding achievement in recruitment advertising and marketing. Each year, recruitment ad agencies and corporate recruiting departments from around the world enter their best creative advertising campaigns. Each entry is judged by a panel of the finest creative and professional talent from across the country, of which I was one.

As context for the awards ceremony, Todd and I did some research on 2014 recruiting trends, much of it already familiar to readers of ERE, particularly John Sullivan’s illuminating articles. In case you weren’t able to attend, here are some of the important learnings you might have missed.

·      Layoffs are at their lowest level since 2001.
·      Hiring is heating up.
     
More employees quit their jobs in October than in any other month since the recession of 2007-09.
In fact, according to Dice.com, 55% of hiring managers and recruiters plan to hire more professionals in the first half of 2014 than they did in the second half of 2013 – a jump of 9% from the same period one year ago and the highest level on record since Dice first posed the hiring question in mid-2010.

Other 2014 Trends
      Employer branding is considered the best long-term recruiting strategy, as recruiting looks more like marketing.
      “Apply with LinkedIn,” instead of a resume, is gaining acceptance.
       Employee referrals and social media are melding.
       The idea of attending college is changing, and thus college recruitment marketing is changing as well.
       A metric-driven employee referral program is becoming a dominant hiring source.
       Boomerangs are a primary target once again.
       Predictive metrics and the use of big data have moved from interesting to essential.
       The mobile platform continues to be a critical tool.
When McDonald’s launched its first mobile career site in 2008, three million people visited it and 24,000 people used it to submit applications. By 2012, those figures had jumped to 30 million visits and two million applications. Now, it brings in a little over 10% of total applications.

      Though Facebook recruiting is becoming a more significant part of the recruiting budget and a more accepted as a recruiting source, here’s a bit of advice: Keep your eyes on the next trend. Teen panelists of Ignition 2013 had these comments: 

 “I hate Facebook. It’s just so boring. Now I’m an Instagram user.

 “I used to scroll down Facebook and read every single status. Now I just love Vine.”


From the CEA submissions themselves I learned the following:

      Augmented reality is really here. The seamless process from ads to booths and banners with QR codes or other ways to connect with smart devices has made for a totally immersive recruitment experience.
       Website redesigns on the rise — in fact, there were more than 50 submissions this year. Flash is out, HTML is in, and content is king.
       As a words person, I am disappointed to see that copy is still a second-class citizen to creative. While people and pictures were front and center, copy and provocative headlines have not evolved as much.
       The link from employer brand research to uniquely branded creative is still missing a beat. Those of you looking for DIY branding have the research part down, but take my advice: Call in a professional to do the analysis and brand architecture.    

And finally, my favorite. There is more transparency and greater detail given about the hiring and selection process, from attraction through onboarding. That’s great, as recruiting comes out from behind the curtain.

Want to know more? Download the full presentation here.


January 21, 2014

Winning the Competition for Content Marketing

According to a study by KPCB, the amount of content that people are sharing globally is around two trillion gigabytes. So, whether you’re a content marketer or a social media recruiter, you’re up against a lot of competition.

What sort of content should you create? And where should you post it to have the best chance of being shared?

I recently went to an expert in the field, ShareThis. They’re the ones who created that little button you see on so many blogs and websites (including this one), letting you easily share a post on more than 120 social channels. Their most recent study has some eye-opening findings.

First, the five leading channels for sharing are Facebook, followed by Twitter, which together make up 75% of all internet sharing. Email comes in third, followed by Pinterest and LinkedIn.

But that’s only one part of the story. A second study by ShareThis found that Pinterest content is five times more popular for sharing content than Twitter is — though Twitter itself is a more popular channel. In other words, fewer people visit Pinterest, but those who do share a lot of content. So if you have photos, cartoons, or infographics, you should post them on Pinterest along with Twitter for a one-two punch.

I was also surprised by the latest information on video sharing. 66% of video shares happen through Facebook. 13% are shared on Twitter, with sites like Reddit and Tumblr making up most of the remaining 21%. Once again, it seems that Twitter isn’t always the best venue for sharing content. Video creators, take heed.

The findings of both ShareThis and venture capital firm KPCB convinced me that mobile is the future of sharing. Right now, mobile sharing is twice as social as the desktop, and I expect that number will increase. The typical user checks social media on their phone nine times a day, but checks the web on their computer only three times.

50 ways to share content via buttons like ShareThis and AddThis



As always, it seems the only constant is change. 2012 became the year of Instagram, but now it gets fewer photos uploaded per day than Snapchat does. If you want to be seen as a cutting-edge brand, you may need to add Snapchat to your marketing strategy. 

What are other strategic ways of sharing content? Video gets all the attention, but don’t forget about audio; 11 hours of sound are uploaded to SoundCloud every minute. So consider creating songs, speeches, and podcasts along with YouTube videos.

It’s also time to re-evaluate Facebook likes. They’re not the same as shares. Scott Monty, social media director at Ford, recently called likes the “digital grunts” of Facebook: “The like, as far as I’m concerned, is the minimum commitment you can ask from a fan. Likes, comments, shares — it goes in that order of importance.” Keep that hierarchy in mind when analyzing your metrics.

There’s real value to a share. EventBrite came up with this breakdown for buying an event ticket: A share on LinkedIn is worth 92 cents; a retweet is worth $1.85; and a Facebook share is worth $4.15. This may mean the era of “clickbait” articles is over, since content that gets clicks and views simply isn’t as attractive as that which gets shared (I’m looking in your direction, UpWorthy.)

As for the type of content to produce, Likeable Local’s CEO Dave Kerpen recently delineated seven important qualities. The more of these your content has, the more shareable it becomes:
Consistent — Post regularly so readers know when to expect your content.
Useful — Find a way to help, educate, or entertain your readers.
Authentic  — Be honest and real instead of writing press releases for your company.
Emotional — The most shareable content often tugs our heartstrings.
Where the audience is — Find the right channels using the statistics given above.
Paid for — Use sponsored posts on Facebook and promoted tweets on Twitter.
Storytelling — Tell the true stories behind your company, its leadership, and its employees.

Need help determining what content to create and where to post it? Brandemix has a long history of using shareable content to support marketing, branding, and recruiting campaigns. Contact me if you’d like to know more.

And don’t forget to share this article using the button below!

January 12, 2014

What the Viral Ads of 2013 Tell Us About Video Marketing

Several publications and websites have released what they calculate to be the most shared video ads of 2013. I’ve watched them all — some for the 20th time — and I’ve discovered some factors that may be useful when you’re creating your own video content.

Fool Me Once…

Two successful 2013 ads featured pranks. MGM, which released a new version of Carrie this year, set up an elaborate illusion in a coffeehouse that made it appear that a young woman had Carrie-like magical powers — which terrified the unknowing customers. Meanwhile, Pepsi Max disguised NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and had him take an unsuspecting car salesman on a high-speed test drive that left the salesman breathless.

Playwrights call audiences knowing something the characters don’t “dramatic irony” and it’s worked since Shakespeare’s time. But be careful: Ads like this can come off as mean-spirited tricks. Luckily, these two ads stay on the right side of the line.



Tug the Heartstrings

Some of the most viral ads of 2013 tried to make us cry. Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” ads illustrated that women often aren’t aware of their own beauty: A forensic sketch artist, hidden from his subjects, drew a sketch of a woman as she described herself. He then drew a sketch of the same woman, this time described by a stranger. Each time, the stranger’s sketch was more beautiful than the woman’s description of herself. The message was very powerful, making it the most viewed ad of all time.

Extra Gum’s “Origami” ad had another moving premise. It told the story of a father who makes origami cranes out of gum wrappers for his daughter over her entire childhood. As he packs her things for college, he finds a box full of the cranes; she kept all of them through the years.
Many of us remember the most funny or shocking or raunchy ads, but pure, unironic emotion can also be very effective. Especially when combined with…
Animals

Two of the most viral ads of 2013 touched us by featuring adorable animals. GoPro’s “Be a Hero” ad showed a firefighter, wearing the company’s new camera on his helmet, as he found and revived an unconscious kitten after a house fire. Budweiser’s “Brotherhood” spot, which aired during the Super Bowl, showcased the bond between a horse trainer as he raises a foal to become one of the brewer’s famous Clydesdales — and who remembers the trainer after years apart.

People love stories about animals, and about the connection between humans and their pets, so it’s no surprised that these ads were shared so widely.


Make ‘Em Laugh
Of course, comedy still sells. AT&T showed that with its series of “It’s Not Complicated” ads featuring children saying the darnedest things. Kmart delivered some clever wordplay with “Ship My Pants.” Ron Burgundy presented his usual clueless arrogance for a dozen Dodge Durango ads. And Doritos even got a joke across without any dialogue in its Super Bowl ad “Goat 4 Sale.” Humor, in all its forms, is the most shared content across the entire internet, so don’t be afraid to show your silly side.

Ads That Defy Description
Not every popular ad of 2013 falls neatly into one of these categories, of course. Did Geico’s “Hump Day” ad go viral because it starred a camel, or simply because it was funny? Was Evian’s “Baby & Me” so popular because it featured babies, or dancing, or dancing babies? And no other company staged a stunt this year like Volvo Truck’s “Epic Split,” in which Jean-Claude Van Damme does the splits between two 18-wheelers while they’re moving.


Length doesn’t seem to be a factor in creating shareable content. For example, Dove released a six-minute version of its “Real Beauty Sketches” that was almost as popular as the three-minute version. While the longer version never aired on TV, availability doesn’t seem to be factor in viral ads; But Geico’s “Hump Day” was on TV all the time — yet it was the second most-viewed internet ad of the year.

Ready to create some video content with a good chance of going viral? Whether you want to be emotional, feature an animal, or pull a prank, Brandemix can help. Contact us and we’ll talk.

January 10, 2014

Brandemix Reveals Best Practices in Award-Winning Annual Report Design

‘Tis the season for…annual reports! Brandemix’s resident expert on the subject is Creative Director Clarissa Zorr, an award-winning designer with more than 10 years of experience. Her team created a report that IR Global Rankings named one of the top global annual reports of 2010. Clarissa is also a member of AIGA, the professional association for design. Today, we turn the blog over to her to get her thoughts on how to create a compelling and honest annual report.

It’s The Start of Crazy Season

Not the holidays, but annual report season. Every year, publicly traded companies must present their shareholders with a report on corporate performance. The date varies from state to state, but it’s always around tax time. Companies often start creating the report during the fourth quarter. The final earnings don’t come until the end, and you can’t really design the charts or graphs until they do, making November through April the “crazy season” for people like me.

What Makes a Great Annual Report

What makes an annual report successful is transparency. All companies have bad years. How do you keep your investors during the tough times? After all, people often want to get rid of bad stock. But a financially sound company will have a plan if, say, a drug didn’t get approved or a merger didn’t work out. The shareholders deserve honesty and it’s the agency’s job to convey that. Of course, there are ways to be transparent while still giving the story a theme or framing information in a certain way. The company wants investors to know that, though it was a tough year, the company still has a long-term strategy for success.

How Annual Report Design Affects Storytelling

The format of an annual report can go in any direction. Some companies talk about their pipeline and look to the future after a bad year. Some brag about their recent accomplishments after a good year. The interior of the “book” will vary depending on the story the company wants to tell.

Whatever the report’s concept is, we tell it with design. That includes photography, typography, illustration, and charts. These all must come together to tell that story clearly. It used to be that all annual reports were physical books, but within the last 10 years, some states have allowed online versions. Interacting with screens instead of paper certainly affects the design and reader experience as well as the cost. For companies that preach sustainability, not printing hundreds of thousands of books is essential.

A sample annual report chart created by Brandemix

New Trends in Annual Report Design

As long as the investors have access to mandatory 10-K tax documents, the report can take any form. I’ve had clients whose annual report was little more than a video; they told their whole story on a website with almost no text.

If you’d like to learn more about annual reports, write to me. Or view some of Brandemix’s design work on our website.

January 6, 2014

New Year’s Resolutions for HR and Talent Acquisition Professionals

Welcome to 2014. The economic outlook predicts that competition for talent will increase, making this one of the most challenging years for recruiting in recent memory. How can your company stand out and attract the most talented workers?

For friends of Brandemix in talent acquisition, I’ve analyzed some recent trends and found there are three pressing issues for recruiters in the coming year. Make one, two, or all three of these your New Year’s resolutions and watch your company make better hires.

Invest in employer branding
An employer brand is the promise your company makes to employees. It communicates your vision as an organization and the employees’ role in realizing it. A strong, compelling employer brand attracts top talent, retains them, and helps them perform to their best abilities. It also increases referrals, decreases turnover, and drives profits

The best employer brands come from research. Communications audits and anonymous surveys make a good start; employee focus groups and executive interviews are even better. From these findings, you’ll discover why employees choose to work for your company, why they stay, and even why they leave. You’ll learn the C-suite’s long-term goals. And you’ll see the company’s values clearly emerge. None of this has to cost a lot of money: a basic research plan’s price is around $10,000. This can be the year you make a bold statement to job-seekers and take a unique position in the job market. Download a FREE copy of our Employer Branding Strategy Guide.

Add social media to your recruiting
78% of recruiters have made a hire through social media, and 29% of job-seekers found their favorite job through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Social media is a great way to communicate your employer brand, keep your company top of mind, and engage with the most attractive job-seekers — even passive ones. Make 2014 the year you put a significant effort into social recruiting.

Already on Facebook? Add Twitter. Already on Twitter? Take the next step to Pinterest or Instagram. Mastered those? Get on YouTube and start creating videos. Reach out to job-seekers by showing and telling how your employer brand differentiates you and you’ll create a unique connection with your desired audience. Download a FREE copy of our Social Media Strategy Guide for Talent Acquisition.

Make your careers site mobile-friendly
Here are some amazing facts: 31% of searches for “jobs” come from mobile devices. But many careers sites aren’t optimized for mobile — and 65% of job-seekers will simply leave a site if it’s hard to use on their mobile device; 40% will even have a negative opinion of that company. This doesn’t just apply to entry-level positions, either, as 65% of applicants to executive positions use tablets.

As phone, tablets, and “phablets” become more popular, this demographic is only going to increase. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile (also known as “responsive design”), you’re conceding a large pool of talent to your competition. This year, it’s time to not only to match your competitors but to leave them behind, with a mobile site that’s clear, easy, and even fun to use.

Ready to rock 2014?
If you’d like to learn more about how Brandemix can help with your employer branding, social recruiting, or mobile websites, contact us, and one of our experts will be in touch.

I hope you and your entire recruiting team have a great year.